Thursday, January 30, 2014

Jollibee, Mang Inasal bosses file P1.16 B IPO

Jollibee, Mang Inasal 
bosses file P1.16 B IPO

The founders of Jollibee and Mang Inasal are taking their property partnership public, reported the ABS-CBNnews.
Here's the complete report (
DoubleDragon Properties, which is owned by Jollibee chairman Tony Tan Caktiong and Mang Inasal founder Edgar "Injap" Sia II, has filed its application for a P1.16 billion initial public offering (IPO) with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
That would be one-fourth of DoubleDragon, giving the company a total value of P4.5 billion.
"We are all excited because this is my first listing, and the second listing of the Tan family. The last listing of the Tan family was 21 years ago, when they listed Jollibee at P9 per share," said Sia, who is chairman of DoubleDragon.
Tan Caktiong and Sia became partners after Jollibee bought Mang Inasal in 2010.
For its IPO, DoubleDragon is offering for subscription up to 579.73 million primary offer shares, up to P2 per share.
DoubleDragon said it will use the money for its residential, commercial and mixed-use real estate developments.
The bulk of the proceeds will go to its flagship project, CityMall, which is envisioned to be a chain of community malls around the country.
A CityMall will have a floor area of approximately 5,000-10,000 square meters, and located mostly in Visayas and Mindanao. It will have a food court (which will feature Jollibee, Mang Inasal, Chowking, Highlandas Coffee, Red Ribbon and Greenwich), retail shops and a supermarket.
Double Dragon said it aims to roll out 100 City Mall community malls by 2020.
The first City Mall is expected to be located in Roxas City, where Double Dragon has recently acquired a 12,654 square meter commercial land in Arnaldo Boulevard.
Aside from the community mall chain, Double Dragon is also planning to complete three office towers in the next six years in business districts in Metro Manila. The office buildings will be leased out to corporate and BPO tenants.
In 2013, Double Dragon posted a P170.48 million consolidated net income before tax, 29% higher than the P132.03 million in 2012. The company's net income after tax in 2013 stood at P126.63 million, 37% higher than the P92.48 million in 2012.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Landfills would have protected Calajunan from toxic gas horror

Landfills would have protected 
Calajunan from toxic gas horror

"The environment is everything that isn't me."

By Alex P. Vidal

The fire at the Calajunan dumpsite in Mandurriao district, Iloilo City, now on its fifth day, has become an environmental fiasco after experts confirmed that aside from thick smog that descended on villages, toxic gases such as carbon monoxide were generated from the burning trash thus endangering the health of more than 10,000 residents in some 900 households in the area. The poisonous fumes have also affected nearby towns.
Classes have already been suspended in the following schools: Yusay Elementary School, Sto. Nino Elementary School, Arevalo Elementary, Severo Abeto Elementary School, and Ramon Avancena High School.
The blaze that spread to about 1.5 hectares of the 23-hectare dump since Monday noon could spread further if not contained immediately, according to Bureau of Fire Protection chief, Supt. Jerry Candido.
The cause of fire was not immediately known but firefighters were working double time to control the conflagration as of press time to prevent more harm on environment and health of residents.


Although it's too premature to conclude if it was intentional or not, the damage inflicted on the people's health and environment was already in horrific degree, to say the least.
Since it was a dumpsite, the catastrophe would have been prevented had provisions on the development of sanitary landfill sites in the Republic Act 9003 or Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, was developed and operated as a final disposal site for solid and residual wastes. 
The law does not allow open dump sites as final disposal sites.
If an open dump site is existing within the city or municipality, the law says, the plan shall make provisions for its closure or eventual phase out within the period specified under the framework and pursuant to the provisions. 


"As an alternative, sanitary landfill sites shall be developed and operated as a final disposal site for solid and, eventually, residual wastes of a municipality or city or a cluster of municipality and/or cities. Sanitary landfills shall be designed and operated in accordance with the guidelines set under Secs. 40 and 41 of this Act," says the law.
Republic Act 9003 is "An Act providing for an Ecological Solid Waste Management Program, creating the necessary institutional mechanisms and incentives, declaring certain acts prohibited and providing penalties, appropriating funds therefor, and for other purposes."
It was enacted into law on January 26, 2001.
The law has plans to identify existing and proposed disposal sites and waste management facilities in the city or municipality or in other areas. 
The plan shall also specify the strategies for the efficient disposal of waste through existing disposal facilities and the identification of prospective sites for future use. 


The law states that "the selection and development of disposal sites shall be made on the basis of internationally accepted standards and on the guidelines set in Sec. 41 and 42 of the Act."
It further states that "strategies shall be included to improve existing sites to reduce adverse impact on health and the environment, and to extent life span and capacity. The plan shall clearly define projections for future disposal site requirements and the estimated cost for these efforts."
In its general provisions, it declared a state policy to adopt a systematic, comprehensive and ecological solid waste management program "to ensure the protection of the public health and environment and utilize environmentally-sound methods that maximize the utilization of valuable resources and encourage resource conservation and recovery," among other declaration of policies.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Probe abuses against OFWs, child porno, not mauling of comedian

Probe abuses against OFWs, child 
porno, not mauling of comedian 

"You can't move so fast that you try to change the mores faster than people can accept it. That doesn't mean you do nothing, but it means that you do the things that need to be done according to priority." ELEANOR ROOSEVELT 

By Alex P. Vidal

We became a laughing stock of the world in 2009 when we wasted taxpayers' money and time in the senate hearing that tackled the case of the lover of a famous female cosmetics surgeon and several showbiz girls and models which became known as the "Hayden Kho video sex scandal."
Aside from being romantically linked to the celebrity lady surgeon, nothing can be said to justify the misuse of public funds for the senate inquiry involving Kho, a private medical practitioner; henceforth, there was no logical reason why taxpayers money should be wasted.
A sex scandal involving a private person and his conquests who were all adults was far from being a national concern. It's mind-boggling how the sex ruckus was allowed to be tackled in the august halls over other urgent national issues while most people couldn't make both ends meet and were wallowing in abject poverty and lack of opportunities.


The issue did not threaten national security; it did not involve the welfare of the nation; it was not about classroom, water and rice shortage, massive graft and corruption, economic and political stability, health and environmental problems. Yet, the sex scandal inquiry authored by Sen. Bong Revilla pushed through. This explains the kind of mentality and quality of senators we elected.
And now, there is a possibility that the senate hearing zarzuela will be repeated again. Senator Jinggoy Estrada, Revilla's former showbiz colleague and co-accused in a plunder case filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to the multi-billion pesos "pork barrel" scam, is poised to calling for a senate inquiry into the mauling incident involving his comedian "best friend" Vhong Navarro.
Aside from being Estrada's "best friend" and a known sitcom mainstay and noontime TV show host, Navarro has no significant contribution or involvement in government or public service for that matter that will justify why his mauling should be given importance over other more pressing national issues.


In a nation where public servants are easily elected into office based on popularity and name-recall, it isn't far-fetched for the now famous Navarro to join his former showbiz ilk in government via electoral process once he decides to enter politics given our defective electoral system.
But the real cacophony is not only about scoundrels joining the government, but the excessive and blatant misuse of public funds and government time for useless and unproductive public hearings both in the lower and upper chambers of the House which were only always used in aid of pogi points for grandstanding politicians.
These unnecessary senate and congressional inquiries, which are myopic priorities, also send a wrong signal to the young generation. Intelligent citizens hooked on social media have become sophisticated and incandescent; and are now the force to reckon with in molding public opinion. Our elected officials should now zero in on the plight of our OFWs in Malaysia and other countries in the Middle East who are being abused, harassed and murdered. Foreign and local pedophiles have forged an alliance to perpetuate child pornography via internet as recently reported. Graft and corruption, rice smuggling, arrival of powerful drug cartels in the country, oil spill, power and gas hike, among other critical issues.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Are buildings in Iloilo's Chinatown fire hazards?

Are buildings in Iloilo's 
Chinatown fire hazards?

By Alex P. Vidal

As an elementary pupil at the Iloilo Central Commercial High School (now Hua Siong College) in the 70s, I witnessed how families of my Filipino-Chinese classmates suffered when their business establishments, which also served as their residences, were gobbled up by fires in downtown, City Proper.
Some of the biggest fires that razed antic buildings built way back during the Spanish and Japanese period happened in the 70s and 80s. In the early 80s, I witnessed how a female occupant was trapped to death in the upper floor of the burning Sambo Bazaar on J.M. Basa St. Firemen and rescue teams watched in horror as the victim tried in vain to remove the grills on the window until she was burned alive.   
Some Filipino-Chinese families have businesses--groceries, shoes, kitchen products, toys, ready to wear items, hardware, among other goods--in the heart of Calle Real for more than 100 years now. Everything that the Ilonggo shoppers needed, Calle Real stores provided. Even original cinemas were located mostly in Calle Real. The emergence of big malls slowed down shopping activities in the area. Moviegoers have also shied away and are now patronizing the more modern and sophisticated theaters in big malls.


The fire that gutted several business establishments on Iznart St. last Friday night (January 24) was in the area called "triangle" where some of the oldest stores in the Chinatown were located.
Some of my Filipino-Chinese classmates and friends who own stores in that area admitted they were constantly on alert and always ready to pack up in case of fire. "Faulty electrical wiring" was always blamed to be the cause of fires in this area.
Some of the recently refurbished buildings are fire hazards and actually need total repair and should have been abandoned a long time ago.  


During the time of Mayor Mansueto Malabor, the city council passed an ordinance sponsored by Councilor Jose Junio Jacela and now Rep. Jerry Trenas to preserve buildings that are 80 years old. 
Meaning that these old buildings can not be condemned and will only be rehabilitated to preserve their historical values.
It's time for the Bureau of Fire Protection to make a thorough check of all buildings--old and new--in the Chinatown area to ensure that they are not fire hazards and their occupants comply with the building code.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

'We thought Tonyol was dead; we had no money"

RODULFO "TONYOL" CAASI JR. (Photo by Sharmane P. Vidal)

By Alex P. Vidal

Poverty drove the family of Rodulfo "Tonyol" Caasi Jr., 27, to release him from hospital and bring him to the funeral parlor thinking he was already dead.
"We had no money to sustain his hospital bills and our daily expenses," lamented his mother, Elizabeth, 51. "We had no one to turn to and we were very much confused at that time."
Elizabeth and daughter, Lilibeth, 30, thought Caasi, who had been in state of camatose, was dead -- or had no more chance to survive. They convinced doctors at the West Visayas State University Medical Center (WVSUMC) in Jaro, Iloilo City to remove him from life support system and brought the body to Sumagpao Funeral Homes in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo last January 6. 


Caasi was about to be embalmed at the Sumagpao Funeral Homes in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo when funeral owner, Angel Sumagpao, heard him gasping for his breath.
He was rushed to the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Mandurriao, Iloilo City and is now breathing through a respiratory apparatus.
"Now that he is alive, we want him back in our house to be with us permanently," requested Elizabeth, 51. "I was the happiest person when I learned that Tonyol was alive. I thank God for giving him back to us."
Caasi's family lives in Brgy. Taloc Baybay, Bago City, Negros Occidental. Elizabeth's husband, Caasi Sr., is a fisherman. Caasi Jr., single, is the third in nine children.

Caasi's mother, Elizabeth, talks to Alex P. Vidal

A delivery boy of Jollibee, Caasi lost consciousness  when his motorcycle bumped a road construction stockpile on his way back to Iloilo City from Pototan, Iloilo. He incurred wounds at the back of the head.
"He is the only bread winner in the family," Elizabeth sobbed. Lilibeth, also single, said her income as sewer in Cavite, Metro Manila, is not enough to sustain their expenses. She left her job since December to attend to Caasi.
Elizabeth brought her two other daughters, Evelyn, 21; and Clarizza, 13, to help her watch Caasi in the hospital.


"We desperately need help," teary-eyed Elizabeth appealed. "The respirator alone costs us P600 a day. We have no enough money for our daily foods and other expenses. We have nobody to turn to because we are strangers here."
Caasi can open only his right eye. Lilibeth said she believed her brother could understand and hear everything they said even if he could not talk. His nose is attached to a machine.  
Caasi is under the care of Dr. Melinda Pechayco.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mauricio Sulaiman, right man to succeed Don Jose as WBC president

Mauricio Sulaiman, right man to 
succeed Don Jose as WBC president 

"Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes." PETER DRUCKER 


By Alex P. Vidal

I exhort all my friends and colleagues in the world boxing fraternity to support Mauricio Sulaiman as the next president of the World Boxing Council (WBC). I am making a personal endorsement of Mauricio, knowing him as a truly competent, dedicated and sincere person both as a boxing leader and son of the late and highly-regarded Don Jose Sulaiman Chagnon.  
Most of us know that Don Jose had tremendous trust and confidence on his son, who, as secretary general, is actually his right hand in running the affairs of the biggest professional boxing organization in the world with headquarters in Mexico City. If Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra's  Don Quixote had Sancho Panza, Don Jose had Mauricio.
Like King Philip II of Macedon, who wanted his son, Alexander the Great, to succeed him in his throne, Don Pepe had seen the potentials of Mauricio to lead the WBC in the future ever since Mauricio officially joined the WBC family in 1992 as public relations director.


"With Mauricio around, I can see the renaissance of the WBC in this millennium," Don Jose said during a one-on-one exclusive interview with this writer in Mexico City in 2008. "His heart is in boxing and he gets along very well with everyone involved in this sport."
Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy Sr. saw his dreams dashed to pieces when his favorite son, Joseph Jr., was killed in a naval airplane crash in 1944, but was rewarded by God when his other son, John Fitzgerald or JFK, became president of the United States in 1961.
Don Jose's dream was not only to ensure that the WBC will continue to expand and reach out with promoters and boxers in the four corners of the globe, but to see to it that the WBC is safe and sound under the able leadership of Mauricio even if on some occasions, he expressed reservations of his son taking over the helm of the organization as he did not want Mauricio to be victimized by intrigues and attacks mostly from American press.


The elder Sulaiman had protested the "hurtful" and "humiliating" attacks he suffered from writers mostly in the United States over the way he managed the ruled the organization.
Don Jose had lamented that during his 36 years as WBC president, he's been "the victim of tremendous of public scrutiny by boxing and sports media outlets who based their reports on innuendo and insufficient data," he told writer Richard Powell.
 Don Jose, however, remarked in the same interview: "Mauricio, my son, is the one who decided to help me in the WBC and without his efforts and his work, it would not be possible for me to do what we are doing now. Mauricio would do a fantastic job (as president). Better than me!"
Like his father, Mauricio treats people in boxing like his extended family. He deals with them equally and does not discriminate them whether they are Asians, Africans, Europeans, Latinos or Americans.


Mauricio also remembers faces wherever he goes and lends his time to chat with them even for a few minutes. When he spotted me during the WBO welterweight tussle between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Angel Cotto at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in 2011, he stopped and gave me some boxing memorabilia for souvenir. He was there to represent the WBC which awarded Pacquiao diamond belt.
In all the boxing promotions, conventions and other related activities that we attended, Mauricio was a regular acquaintance, accompanying Don Jose and helping push the wheelchair of the immortal WBC chieftain.
When Texas-based Dr. Allan Recto and I went to visit Don Jose in Mexico City in July 2008, Mauricio was our gracious host; he awarded this writer with a WBC silver medal in the WBC headquarters. Despite their not-so-pleasant experiences with the press, Sulaiman father and son have high regards for journalists.  
We expect the WBC Board of Governors and all the prominent personalities -- promoters, boxers, managers, trainers, writers -- to throw their strong support behind Mauricio Sulaiman as the next WBC president.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Adios, Don Jose Sulaiman!

Adios, Don Jose Sulaiman!

“All the misery of the world is nothing next to a farewell.” DANIEL BALAVOINE

By Alex P. Vidal

When Don Jose Sulaiman ascended as president of the World Boxing Council (WBC) in 1975, the biggest and the greatest ever world heavyweight championship match in history unfolded in the Philippines known as "Thrilla in Manila" with Muhammad Ali emerging victorious after 11th round via technical knockout (TKO) over Joe Frazier.
Since then, Sulaiman never relinquished the presidency of the Mexico-based world boxing body until his death due to heart ailment last January 16 at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.
A Mexican of Lebanese descent, Sulaiman, 82, was scheduled for cremation on January 19, Sunday, and a Monday Mass was to be offered in his honor at the iconic Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City.


Before he died, Sulaiman's wish was granted. This was to see the WBC belt once again strapped around the waste of Manny Pacquiao, whom he considered to be "the best boxer in history next to Muhammad Ali."
This happened on November 13, 2010 in Arlington, Texas when Pacquiao annexed the WBC light middleweight title via 12-round unanimous decision over Antonio Margarito. 
In my one-on-one exclusive interview with Sulaiman inside Polanco, his favorite restaurant in Mexico City shortly after Pacquiao demolished David Diaz via 9th round TKO for WBC lightweight belt in Las Vegas on June 28, 2008, Sulaiman expressed sadness that Pacquiao would leave the WBC and embrace the rival WBO.


"Pacquiao is with the WBC ever since he won his first world crown (via 8th round KO of Chatchai Sasakul in Thailand on December 4, 1998) and I want him to continue fighting with the WBC," Sulaiman said.
After humiliating Oscar De La Hoya via 8th round TKO in Las Vegas on December 6, 2008, Pacquiao fought for rival IBO light welterweight title and obliterated Ricky Hatton in two rounds in Las Vegas on May 2, 2009.
From IBO, Pacquiao went to the WBO where he destroyed Angel Miguel Cotto (TKO 12) on Nov.14, 2009 and Joshua Clottey (UD 12) on March 13, 2010 in welterweight rumbles.
Then came Pacquaio's comeback fight under the WBC against Margarito where Sulaiman flew all the way from Mexico to act as supervisor.


"I'm the happiest person in the world because Pacquiao is once again with the WBC," beamed the wheelchair-bound Sulaiman, who was born on May 30, 1931 in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico to immigrant parents from Lebanon.
For unknown reason, Pacquiao, however, discarded anew the biggest and most prestigious boxing body in the world and fought his last five fights under the WBO: Shane Mosley (UD 12), Juan Manuel Marquez III (majority decision 12), Timothy Bradley (lost, split decision 12), Juan Manuel Marquez IV (lost, KO 6), and Brandon Rios (UD 12).


"Was Jose Sulaiman tenacious? You bet," boxing analyst Bob Newman remarked. "Dedicated to the sport he loved? Without a doubt. Was he unconventional? Perhaps. Then again, what is conventional in the irregularly regulated sport of boxing? There are so many contradictory rules and disagreements in this sport, who is to say who’s right and who’s wrong? In keeping with the theme song that accompanied slideshows at the annual conventions, he did it his way. As he often did during the portion of the WBC convention where members of boxing’s fraternity were remembered, we now sound the bell for a count of ten in remembering and paying respect to him."
Sulaiman, who was the longest president in any world sports body according to the Guinness Book of Records, is survived by his six children- Jose, Lucy, Hector, Fernando, Mauricio and Claudia and his loving wife of over fifty years Martha.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Foreign docs impressed by Pinoys' resilience

Foreign docs impressed 
by Pinoys' resilience 

"In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, to struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life." ALBERT BANDURA


By Alex P. Vidal

Despite the devastation of typhoon and the horror they went through, they still managed to smile.
This was how Dr. Hamira Welye of Nigeria described victims of super-typhoon Yolanda he met while in the Philippines since November 10, 2013 as a medical missionary.
Welye and Dr. Vera Siesjo of Sweden are medical workers representing Zuellig Family Foundation. They witnessed the joint relief operations for typhoon victims conducted by ABS-CBN Iloilo and Iloilo Cyber Cockers Club, Inc. in Dao, Capiz last January 16.
Welye, medical doctor at Jos University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria, has gone to other cities and provinces in the country since arriving in Manila from Sydney, Australia. 


He witnessed how typhoon victims suffered especially in the first two weeks when they were conducting their medical mission. Welye described Filipinos in general as "brave, friendly and always smiling." 
He and Siesjo, of School of Public Health--University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine, conducted a medical mission in Ivisan and Dao towns last November 19.
Siesjo, International Project Coordinator at Afa-Press, Project Coordinator Mental Health at HIGA Eva Peron de San Matin Education: University of Sydney, Universidad de Palermo, said they also conducted leadership training program among mayors and midwives aside from medical mission.
She revealed that the leadership training program included five different modules where the trainees are taught how to incorporate health system in their programs.


Siesjo confirmed that the Foundation’s Institute for Health and Policy Studies works in building the capacity of health leaders so they can, in turn, establish and sustain equitable health programs and services that will greatly benefit the poor, as stated in the Zuellig Family Foundation website. 
"The capability-building program recognizes the important role that leadership plays in establishing and replicating best practices in local health systems," added the Foundation.
"As an essential part of the Foundation’s agenda for action, various training and mentorship programs equip health leaders and professionals with the necessary tools to strategically address health inequities."


It explained that "one of the key steps to strengthen local health systems is to assist in the development of the inter-governmental and inter-sectoral collaborations of different stakeholders in healthcare at the local level."
It added: "The focus is on strengthening the primary health capacities of rural health units and partners to ensure cooperation and responsibility. Local health system reforms cannot be implemented unless there is broad participation among the different stakeholders. Major actors as well as appropriate leadership training interventions in the local health system must be identified. Shared agreements among the different players at the local level are necessary to implement innovative programs which should, in turn, result in better health outcomes for the poor."


Meanwhile, Dao municipal health officer, Dr. Mary Humbelyn-Horneja confirmed that Zuellig Family Foundation has been assisting Dao in the health training and leadership governance.
"They have been here since last year and aside from training programs that they are giving they also provided us medicines and other supplies during their medical mission," Humbelyn-Horneja said.
Six people died in Dao during the typhoon Yolanda, according to the municipal health officer.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

'Salamat sa Diyos'

'Salamat sa Diyos' 

"Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us."  SOCRATES

By Alex P. Vidal

DAO, Capiz -- Moving away languidly with the help of a bamboo cane in duck-walk, Esparanza Gardoce, 89, attributed the arrival of relief items composed of rice, canned goods, noodles and bottled water to the Divine Providence.

"Salamat sa Diyos makaka-on na ang mga apo ko (Thank God my grandchildren will have something to eat now)," hissed the diminutive Gardoce of Brgy. Duyoc, Dao, Capiz.
"Diyos namon nga makagagahum salamat gid oh Ginoo. Dali na wala taho to sa balay (Our most powerful God thank you, Lord. C'mon let's go home now nobody's watching our house)," gushed Lolita Capapas, 87, putting her arm on neighbor Gardoce's shoulders.


They walked home together teeming with excitement and exuberance over the food stuffs that could last for two to three days. Dao Mayor Joselito "Bobo" Escutin personally supervised the distribution of relief goods for 631 families aided by ABS-CBN Iloilo and Iloilo Cyber Cockers Club, Inc headed by Ray Rico in a joint project dubbed "Build A Shelter Project For Typhoon Yolanda Victims."

Twenty three other families whose houses were totally washed out when super-typhoon Yolanda struck on November 8 last year in Brgy. Duyoc were given G.I. sheets.
Myrna Venancio, 44, a single parent and a laundrywoman, who got 8 pieces of G.I. sheets, said she will start to rebuild her totally damaged house for her four children aged 18, 17, 11, and 5. 
Daniel Lacheca, 46, a driver, and wife Elsa, 44, a laundrywoman, said they will rebuild their house if they have additional materials. 


The team, composed of two DPWHS dump trucks, brought 200 G.I. sheets. Escutin and his father, former Mayor Ernesto, continued the distribution of relief goods in Brgy. Malonoy where  335 families were benefited.
With a population of 31,911 composed of 20 barangays, Dao, a fourth class municipality in the second district of Capiz, was among the towns in the province badly hit by Yolanda. All the 20 multi-purpose gyms in 20 barangays were totally destroyed, said Escutin. 

"We are here because our group (Iloilo Cyber Cockers Club, Inc.) is not only for cockfighting but also for social service, and this project is part of our civic projects and care for those who are in need," said Rico, village chief of Blk 22, NHA Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Ex-solon wrong to bring matter of US visa cancellation to media

"If I could go, I would tell the truth to the North American people. President Reagan personally ordered my visa to be denied." TOMAS BORGE 

By Alex P. Vidal

Going to media and "blasting" the U.S. Embassy in Manila for cancelling his tourist visa, was like permanently saying goodbye to any chance to get another visa in the future for former Ifugao congressman and governor Gualberto Lumauig.
But the U.S. Embassy only cancelled Lumauig's B1/B2 or tourist visa, it did not ban him from applying again in the future.
Criticizing the U.S. Embassy in public would not stop the embassy from its decision to cancel any visa. 
A visa issued by any embassy is a privilege, not a right given to any citizen in the Philippines who wishes to travel to the United States and other countries.
The U.S. Embassy appeared to have exercised fairness when it informed Lumauig that his visa had been cancelled, thus he should not make any attempt to use it if he was planning to travel to the United States before Christmas Day last December 2013. 
It would have been another story if Lumauig wasn't told about the cancellation and he suffered embarrassment after being prevented from leaving the country in the immigration. 


Embassy officials may have valid reasons, but they reserve the right not to reveal these reasons in public as a matter of policy and security. 
The fact that Lumauig immediately sent a letter to U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg to seek for answers, bringing the matter to media was not anymore necessary. 
The U.S. Embassy would not give back what it had revoked only because the matter was discussed in media. 
The U.S. Embassy may have thoroughly studied Lumauig's case before making the decision to cancel his visa, and would not give special treatment to anybody. 
Any visa holder--congressman or not--would have been treated fairly.
It was reported that two days before Christmas, Lumauig received a letter from the U.S. Embassy. In part, it stated, "The U.S. Embassy hereby informs you that additional information became available after the visa was issued and your B1/B2 visa with expiration date of 03 October 2021 has been revoked."


Furthermore the letter stated, the report said, "The U.S. Embassy requests you to present your passport with the aforementioned visa... so that we may physically cancel the visa. Your passport will be returned to you."
ABS-CBN New reported that in the latter part of the letter, the embassy's Nonimmigrant Unit Chief Mignon Cardentey stated that Lumauig was welcome to apply for a visa again after the cancellation.
Before receiving the letter, the report said "Lumauig was all set to travel to the United States to see his ailing son who had just undergone brain surgery, so it was a great disappointment for him when he received a call from the U.S. Embassy informing him that his B1/B2 or U.S. tourist visa was cancelled."
"Gulat na gulat ako! On December 20 I was coming down from the province to Manila to catch a scheduled flight to the U.S. the following day, December 21. Midway en route to Manila I got a call from Ms. Laly Javier from the U.S. Embassy who identified herself as an information officer to tell me my visa was cancelled. I asked her, 'Why? What have I done?' She said she's not in a position to tell me why," Lumauig told ABS-CBN News.


"Lumauig was shocked, especially since he had already traveled to the U.S. about 50 times since the 60's, and his 10-year visa is valid up to the year 2021," the report added.
Report said Lumauig did not anymore attempt to proceed with his travel. "I was very much disappointed but I'm not pleading for any reconsideration. Pero yung ginawa nilang 'yan, I think I deserve an explanation. I've been in government for so long with a record that's unblemished," said Lumauig.
ABS CBN News quoted Lumauig as saying, "I'm not anymore interested sa visa. I just want to know. It's my right to be told."
The TV network further reported: "Just last year, Lumauig had been to the U.S. twice. When he was still active in politics, he was sponsored by the U.S. to study at Harvard University.
"He doesn't even look like a terrorist, he said, especially at the age of 80 and could hardly walk.


"But according to one New York licensed attorney, the embassy's letter stated that they received additional information that led to the cancellation. But as to what the information is, no one but U.S. authorities knows.
"Atty. Howard Calleja said it is entirely up to the discretion of the U.S. whether or not to reveal the purported information.
"Calleja added a visa is not a right, but merely a privilege. This is no different when visa applications are denied and the reason is not disclosed.
"'That, at the time you applied for the visa, you withheld something, an information, and if proven true that is a big violation,' he said.
"ABS-CBN News tried to get a statement from the U.S. Embassy but they have yet to respond.What is clear is that all US visas can be cancelled at any given time as they continue to investigate visa holders all around the globe even if the visa has already been awarded."

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Dealing with anger

"What is it about me that you hate so much?" a man asked his wife six months into his sobriety. "Everything!" she replied with a glare.  ANONYMOUS QUOTE

By Alex P. Vidal

Can we deal with anger, mankind's most destructive emotion?
In her book, Codependent No More: How to stop controlling others and start caring for yourself, Melody Beattie describes anger as "may be a commonplace emotion, but it is tough to deal with."
Most of us haven't been taught how to deal with anger, because people show us how they deal with anger; they don't teach us. And most people show us inappropriate ways to deal with anger because they're not sure either, Beattie suggests.
According to her, people may give us good advice. 
"Be angry, but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger." "Don't seek revenge." Many of us can't adhere to these mandates, she says. Some of us think they mean: "Don't be angry." Many of us aren't sure what we believe about anger, adds Beattie. 
Some of us believe lies about anger.
She warns that repressed anger, like other repressed emotions, causes problems. 
"Sometimes our anger may leak out inappropriately," she explains. "We scream at someone we didn't intend to scream at. We wrinkle up our faces, curl our lips, and help people feel like they don't want to be around us. We slam dishes around even though we can't afford to break anything of material value because we've already lost so much."


Other times our anger may show its face in different ways, reveals Beattie, who stresses: "We may find ourselves not wanting, unable, or refusing to enjoy sex. We may find ourselves unable to enjoy anything. Then we add more self-hatred to our already heaping pile by wondering what is wrong with us and going on our hostile way."
When people ask us what's wrong, we tighten our jaw and say, "Nothing. I feel just fine, thank you." We may even start doing little sneaky mean things or big sneaky mean things to get even with those we're angry at, she warns.
"If anger is repressed long enough, it will ultimately do more than leak out. Unpleasant feelings are like weeds. They don't go away when we ignore them; they grow wild and take over. Our angry feelings may one day come roaring out. We say things we don't mean. Or, as usually happens, we may say what we really mean," Beattie observes.


"We may lose control and unleash ourselves in a fighting, spitting, screeching, hair-pulling, dish-breaking rage. Or we may do something to hurt ourselves. Or the anger may harden into bitterness, hatred, contempt, revulsion, or resentment."
Beattie says "we have every right to feel anger. We have every right to feel as angry as we feel. So do other people. But we also have a responsibility--primarily to ourselves--to deal with our anger appropriately."
Dealing with repressed emotions will not happen overnight. Dealing with a significant amount of repressed anger may take time and effort. Dealing with new anger takes practice, she counsels.


Beattie makes some suggestions for dealing with anger:
1. Address any myths we have subscribed to about anger. 
2. Feel the emotion.
3. Acknowledge the thoughts that accompany the feeling.
4. Examine the thinking that goes with the feeling.
5. Make a responsible decision about what, if any, action we need to take.
6. Don't let anger control us.
7. Openly and honestly discuss our anger, when it's appropriate.
8. Take responsibility for our anger.
9. Talk to people we trust.
10. Burn off the anger energy.
11. Don't beat ourselves or others for feeling angry.
12. Write letters we don't intend to send.
13. Deal with guilt.
Once we start dealing with anger, Beattie says we may notice we feel angry most of the time. "That's common," he explains. "We're like kids with a new toy. We'll settle down with it. Be patient. We aren't going to deal with it perfectly. No one does. We'll make mistakes, but we'll also learn from them. The reason we're told not to seek revenge is because getting even is a common response to anger. If we've done or do some inappropriate things, deal with earned guilt and go on from there. Strive for progress."


She advises that "we need to be gentle with ourselves if we've been repressing loads of angry feelings. Things take time. We may need to be that angry for now. When we don't need to be angry any more, we'll quit feeling angry if we want to. If we think we might be stuck in anger, get professional help."
Beattie continues: "Some people believe we never have to become angry; if we control our thinking and are appropriately detached; we will never react with or wallow around in anger. That's probably true; however, I prefer to relax and see what happens, rather than guard myself rigidly."
"I don't believe that anger should become our focus in life, nor should we look for reasons to become angry to test ourselves. 'It's not good to be angry all the time,' says counselor Esther Olson. It's not healthy to act hostile. There is much more to life than anger. But it's okay to feel anger when we need to."

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Unspoken assumptions of conventional science

“There is nothing that will cure the senses but the soul, and nothing that will cure the soul but the senses”  OSCAR WILDE

By Alex P. Vidal

From Willis Harman's Global Mind Change, the promise of the 21st century, we learned that there is a set of 10 premises, which, if encountered in a textbook a few decades ago, would hardly have aroused a question.
It is humbling to the educated Westerner to realize that to an indeterminable extent, science, like the traditional belief systems of "primitive" cultures, describes a world that is shaped by its built-in assumptions, observed Harman.
The rational set of premises for a scientific age, according to Harman, are the following:
1. The only conceivable ways in which we can acquire knowledge are through our physical senses, and perhaps by some sort of information transmission through the genes. The sole way in which we extend our understanding of the nature of the universe is through empirical science--that is, the exploration of the measurable world through instrumentation that augments our physical senses.
2. All qualitative properties (at least the ones we can talk about scientifically) are ultimately reducible to quantitative ones (for example, color is reduced to wavelength, thought to measurable brain waves, hate and love to the chemical composition of glandular secretions).
3. There is a clear demarcation between the objective world, which can be perceived by anyone, and subjective experience, which is perceived by the individual alone, in the privacy of his/her own mind. Scientific knowledge deals with the former; the latter may be important to the individual, but its exploration does not lead to the same kind of publicly verifiable knowledge.
4. The concept of free will is a prescientific attempt to explain behavior that scientific analysis reveals is due to a combination of forces impinging on the individual from the outside, together with pressures and tensions internal to the organism.
5. What we know as consciousness or awareness of our thoughts and feelings is a secondary phenomenon arising from physical and biochemical processes in the brain.
6. What we know as memory is strictly a matter of stored data in the central nervous system, somewhat analogous to the storage of information in a digital computer.
7. The nature of time being what it is, there is obviously no way in which we can obtain knowledge of future events, other than by rational prediction from known causes and past regularities.
8. Since mental activity is simply a matter of dynamically varying states in the physical organism (primarily in the brain), it is completely impossible for this mental activity to exert any effect directly on the physical world outside the organism.
9. The evolution of the universe and of man has come about through physical causes (such as random mutation, natural selection), and there is no justification for any concept of universal purpose in the evolution, or in the development of consciousness, or in the strivings of the individual.
10. Individual consciousness does not survive the death of the organism; or if there is any meaningful sense in which the individual consciousness persists after the death of the physical body we can neither comprehend it in this life or in any way obtain knowledge about it.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The enemies of sexual happiness

People could disregard the Biblical warnings against fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and other perversions. 

"The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: It's a girl." SHIRLEY CHISHOLM

By Alex P. Vidal

Two experts with opposing views about human sexuality have produced some of the greatest arguments that became subjects of intelligent debates among scholars in this age.  
Dr. S. I. McMillen wrote a controversial book that opposed some of the views of Dr. Alfred Charles Kinsey and "as a result of a thousand sighs for the many people who left my office without receiving adequate help."
Kinsey was already dead for seven years when McMillen's book, None Of These Diseases, was published in 1963; thus, he was not around to defend himself when McMillen devoted chapter 7 to crush and expose Kinsey's numerous "faults" in the Kinsey Reports,  two books on human sexual behavior: Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953).
McMillen, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania Medical School and the London School of Tropical Medicine, pointed out: "I have written the prescription that I would have given these patients if only I had the time. I hasten to add the counsel is not original with me. When God led the Israelites out of afflicted Egypt, He promised them that if they would obey His statutes, He would put 'none of these diseases' upon them."


McMillen recalled the story of the pied piper of Hamelin who enticed the younger set to follow the enchanting, irresistible music of his flute. 
He led the children into a cave in a mountain, and they were never seen again.
Each generation produces a swarm of pied pipers, he proceeded. In the middle of this century one of them swung down the main streets of America, playing the catchy tune of "sex freedom." 
He sprightly, jazzy jingles promised emancipation from the "traditions" and "horrible confinement of religious inhibitions." 
There were many who left their homes and loved ones to race down the street after this alluring music. 
The piper had neither flute nor the waving hips of a rock-and-roll singer. 
He was a zoologist who gathered certain statistics on the theme of sex, and he shook them and beat upon them like a tambourine.
First, let us look at the statistics he gathered. He and his associates had interviewed 5,940 women, questioning them about the intimate details of their past and present sexual lives. 
From these reports, our piper figured the percentages of the women engaged in this and that sexual perversion, the percentages of those who had had premarital experiences, and the percentages of those who were guilty of extramarital affairs. 
From these percentages he drew certain conclusions.


Authorities and specialists have taken exception to this report and to the conclusions that Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey made. In the first place, Kinsey interviewed only one out of every fourteen thousand women in the country. 
Second, these women were certainly not typical of the average American woman, because in this abnormal sampling the ratio of single women to married women was three times greater than that found in the country at large, and the ratio of college women to noncollege women was ten times greater. 
Third, the only women in the group were women who had volunteered to lay bare the details of their intimate sexual lives. 
Such women are rare in more ways than one. Women who would volunteer to reveal sexual secrets would be women who had, probably as a result of their sexual experiences, lost an inborn female reticence. 
Many of these women stated that they enjoyed being bitten during the sex act, and that trait certainly marks them as being abnormal. It is a neurotic mind that can translate pain into pleasure.
Kinsey's sampling was loaded with typical and masochistic women. 
It was the sexual image of this group of women--who were strangely devoid of the natural inhibitions of women--that was superimposed on all other women.


There are number of other faults in the Kinsey report. First, it is inferred that if the "average woman" is engaged in an act, then that act is advisable. 
There is a gulf as wide as the Grand Canyon between that which is advisable and that which is average. 
The average Hindu drinks filthy water on his pilgrimages, but it is certainly not advisable, since the Hindus die of cholera by the thousands. 
The faulty implication in the Kinsey report is that it is advisable for women to adjust to that which is average, even to a badly distorted average.
Second, having classified a woman and a hog in the same zoological category, Kinsey could see no reason a woman's sexual life should not be patterned after that of a hog. 
A hog has no horrible inhibitions about sex; why should a woman?
Many people thought the reasoning seemed plausible, smacking as it did of science. 
After all, they asked themselves, had not "certain skilled psychiatrists" told Kinsey that restraints were bad for the mind? 
Now, if men and women mingled freely in the pen of promiscuity, the ultimate in living could be achieved. There would be no restraints and no frustrations. 
Here at last was the panacea that could cure all their longings.  
People could disregard the Biblical warnings against fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and other perversions. 
They could follow the piper of promiscuity into a Utopia where nary a restriction would be placed on sexual impulses, however wild and bizarre they might be.


This zoologist deplored the fact that the "outdated laws" of the moral code were a great hindrance to the operation of his ideas. 
But modern pipers feel that these laws will soon be changed. Until they are, they suggest that their followers seek "to avoid open conflict with the law." 
I suppose rape of little girls and defenseless women should not be attempted if there were the probability of conflict with the law.
It is not a little strange that a zoologist, a specialist in animals, should set himself up as an authority on the sex life of women? Dealing with the purely animal aspects of the matter, he fails completely to realize the deeply human relationships involved.
What do medical specialists think about putting women and hogs in the same sexual category? 
Two specialists, a gynecologist and a psychiatrist, resented this bull-in-the-china-shop intrusion so strongly that they wrote a book to refute Kinsey's erroneous statements.


Kinsey assured his followers that the spread of venereal diseases through premarital intercourse is "a relatively unimportant matter today." 
This salesman of promiscuity is at variance with the U.S. Public Health Service which recently reported: "We estimate the reservoir of untreated syphilitics today at 1,200,000 cases and that the true annual incidence is 60,000 cases." 
It has been further estimated that the annual number of new cases of gonorrhea in this country is 1,000,000 cases."
Kinsey is far removed from the best medical opinions when he makes repeated inferences that girls who engage in premarital petting have more successful marriages than those who do not. 
Medical specialists, who deal with people rather than animals, refute his deduction: Such advice is scientifically wrong.
There is no premium for premarital petting to orgasm. There are no penalties for not indulging in this manner. Experience proves that neurotic girls are the most persistent petters and that emotionally healthy girls usually reject sex without love. 
Successful marriage and sexual adjustment are based more on gradually established confidence, liking and mutual respect than on any premarital trial and error sexual process.


The real enemies of man's sexual happiness are those who would entice him away from his home, his family, and the Biblical standards. 
Few people have ever stopped to realize that the blessings of sex and civilization that we enjoy exist because a large proportion of people take heed of the words of Jesus: "But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. 
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh."
People who take this Scriptural standard as their model will save themselves from many diseases and a thousand heartaches.