Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Illegal drugs, not prostitution, is No. 1 problem in schools

“Addiction isn’t about substance—you aren’t addicted to the substance. You are addicted to the alteration of mood that the substance brings.” Susan Cheever

By Alex P. Vidal

SAD to say, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has failed to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs in many campuses.
Classes have closed but not a single drug pusher that catered to university and college students was apprehended.
What was tackled in the media was “survival sex” or prostitution involving teenage students who sold their bodies for tuition and allowances.
The City Council even responded to the clamor of a university professor about “survival sex” and held a committee hearing on the issue.
Nothing has been heard after those committee hearings.
“The No. 1 problem that hounds the students (in some universities and colleges in Iloilo) today is illegal drugs. Prostitution is not new. It’s also a concern, but the problems on illegal drugs are still the most serious,” said a retired prosecutor who refused to be named because his grandchildren are studying in one of the universities involved.  


The retired prosecutor said he does not want his grandchildren to be involved in illegal drugs and wants school authorities to tackle the problem with utmost priority in the next school opening.
His nephew was once arrested in a buy-bust operation conducted in Jaro “and I don’t want my grandchildren to remember anything about that incident.”
Sources said drug peddlers used small eateries and restaurants located in the university belts to transact business with students.
Shabu “runners” mixed with potential buyers in billiard halls, 24-hour min-marts, bakery and coffee shops and sometimes could be mistaken as university or office employees because they wore formal attires, sources said.
“Kambio banga” (a term coined by shabu pushers to refer to college coeds who offer sex services for shabu) is a combination of illegal drugs and prostitution “and the most serious problem that has not been addressed until now,” lamented the retired prosecutor.


College students short of cash don’t need to steal money to buy shabu, it was learned.
They offer their bodies for sex for shabu.
“They perform the sexual services while under the influence of shabu,” confirmed our informant, “Mr. Tooth Decay.”
Many students have dropped out and will miss the graduation ceremonies this summer because they are hooked on shabu; meaning they didn’t take their studies seriously and their schooling was interrupted by their addiction to illegal drugs, said our sources from the Central Philippine University (CPU) in Jaro district and University of Iloilo (UI) in the City Proper in Iloilo City.


UPDATE ON BONIFACIO DRIVE TRAFFIC. As of this writing, traffic jam was still giving motorists a colossal  headache and terrible inconvenience on Bonifacio Drive, Iloilo City Proper due to the ongoing road-widening project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
From the foot of the Forbes Bridge that links the City Proper to the district of La Paz, vehicles are trapped especially during rush hours.
The road going to the Atrium Mall could accommodate only a single lane.
Traffic management authorities should have declared the area as “one-way” only before the start of the DPWH project last March 2.
If they could not do it because they were not authorized, they should have sought the help of the City Council, which should have passed a resolution declaring the Bonifacio Drive as “one way” only.
This is clearly a case of a “small” problem that has been neglected.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Thieves in 3 town halls armed and dangerous?

“Poverty is the mother of crime.” Marcus Aurelius

By Alex P. Vidal

THE thieves who recently ransacked the treasurer's offices of the municipalities of Ajuy, Concepcion and San Dionisio and carted away cash and valuables, could be members of a robbery gang operating in the fifth district of Iloilo.
Based on their boldness and blazing attacks, they were probably organized and not just ordinary bandits.
They must have been operating by a group and their actions were well-coordinated and well-planned.
If the robberies occurred simultaneously during the weekend, it’s hard to establish that they were inside jobs unless evidence will prove otherwise.
But police investigators must not stop on one angle alone.
They must subject the security guards assigned in these municipalities in a thorough investigation.
Did they sleep on their job? Or they were part of the heists?
If a large amount of cash stashed away during the robberies were kept in the vaults of those offices before the incidents, it becomes a big question mark.


Treasurer offices are supposed to deposit them in the bank by Friday unless prevented by circumstances.
Now that municipal halls have become the new and favorite targets of robbers who operate after office or during weekend, other municipalities must now start tightening up their security for precautionary measures.
It is possible that the culprits were able to study the physical lay-outs of their target municipal halls days or weeks before launching the attack.
Other potential targets in that district are the municipalities of Anilao, Barotac Viejo, Banate, Sara, Balasan, Batad, Carles and Estancia.  
CCTV gadgets must be installed in their surroundings.
The robbers must have used one or two get away vehicles.


Their movements can be monitored by active CCTVs.   
After the recent triple robberies, police and municipal authorities can’t afford to be lax.
They should start to be suspicious with individuals who saunter their premises without any official business.
It is possible that the robbers are armed and dangerous. They could be capable of staging a burglary in residential houses and hostage members of the households.
They can actually be collared in authorized police checkpoints.
Citizens and barangay officials must also do their share in helping nip in the bud those criminal elements.
An ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure. The League of Municipalities-Iloilo headed by Barotac Viejo Mayor Neil Tupas III and the Iloilo Provincial Police Office (IPPO) led by Supt. Cornelio Salinas will have their hands full.


BONIFACIO DRIVE TRAFFIC SNARL. Traffic on Bonifacio Drive, City Proper continued to worsen even during holidays (meaning no classes and no offices).
The road widening project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) from the foot of the Forbes Bridge to the Iloilo Baptist Church (in front of the Iloilo Provincial Capitol) is only actually half way.
As of this writing, it is only in the vicinity of the overpass (in front of the Department of Tourism regional office).
Bulldozers and other heavy equipment continued to repair a small portion of the road yet the work has produced a monstrous traffic.


The traffic snarl started two weeks ago when vehicles from the districts of La Paz and Jaro were choked as they approached the bridge.
Vehicles from the City Proper going to the districts of Jaro and La Paz were also jammed as they negotiated the Bonifacio Drive from the intersection of Gen. Luna Street and Fermin Caram Sr. Avenue (Iznart Street).
The only solution actually is to declare the area as “one-way” or only for vehicles going to the route of the City Proper while the DPWH project is not yet finished. 
Those going to the districts of La Paz and Jaro may use the road in the back of the Iloilo Provincial Capitol.
As simple as that, yet it seems nobody is giving a damn from the authorities concerned.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Is Manny Pacquiao now richer than Mang Inasal's Injap?

“I want the people of the Philippines to be happy, even if they have nothing.” MANNY PACQUIAO

By Alex P. Vidal

Publisher Lemuel Fernandez estimated the worth of Manny Pacquiao to be somewhere between P5 to P10 billion.
“I think he is now richer than Edgar Sia,” said Lemuel, who watched Pacquiao steamroll Shane Mosley via 12-round unanimous decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 7, 2011.
Sia, also known as “Injap”, is the founder of the Mang Inasal food chain.
Sia’s fortune skyrocketed when he sold 70 percent of Mang Inasal Phils. to Jollibee Foods Corp. for P3 billion in 2010.
As chief executive officer of the Injap Investment, Inc., Injap Land Corporation (DoubleDragon Properties, Corp.), and People’s Hotel Corporation, Sia is considered as one of the richest Filipino-Chinese businessmen in the country who is below 50 years old today.
Pacquiao is expected to get more or less P4 billion in his “Fight of the Century” battle against Floyd Mayweather Jr in Las Vegas on May 2.
Like most pugilists, Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) doesn’t have a college degree.
As an out-of-school-youth in Gen. Santos City in early 90’s, boxing was his only way out of dire straits.
In fact, after a brief stint in the amateur ranks as “Kid Kulafu” (his first moniker), poverty pushed him to turn professional on January 25, 1995, winning by a four-round decision in a light-flyweight aperitif against patsy Edmund Enting Ignacio (8-24-3, 1 KO) in Sablayan, Mindoro Occidental.


“But he possesses a practical intelligence not found in any other athletes in this generation,” Fr. Marlon Beof told this writer in a private residence in Las Vegas, Nevada two days after Pacquiao snatched the WBC super-featherweight title on a 12-round split decision against Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KOs) on March 15, 2008.
Beof, 46, a New York-based Roman Catholic priest, celebrated a thanksgiving Mass to Pacquiao the morning after the event in Pacquiao’s last 10 fights.
He discovered that Pacquiao has a special gift aside from his boxing skills because of the way the boxer-cum-congressman analyzes issues and events during their conversation.
“Yes, he did not have a formal education. But God has given him a special knowledge that most of us don’t have. He can analyze; he can decipher complex issues even if he can’t express it in English,” explained Beof.
Beof’s observation was sustained by Gen. Santos City-based businessman Adriano “Rey” Golingan, Pacquiao’s wedding godfather and civilian spiritual adviser.
“Pacquiao is spiritually-attached to God. He has a special gift, the kind of practical intelligence not found inside the classroom; the kind of knowledge that he did not learn from the books,” swore Golingan, owner of the gym where Pacquiao first trained as an amateur in 1991.


Golingan had predicted Pacquiao’s major victories against dangerous opponents like Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Angel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, and Joshua Clottey.
“It appears that Pacquiao is always being guided spiritually; that it’s almost impossible for him to lose because of his attachment to God,” added Golingan, who led the evening prayers inside Pacquiao’s hotel suite either in the Mandalay Bay or in the MGM Grand.
International promoter Rex “Wakee” Salud, 58, Pacquiao’s Cebu partner and fellow cockfighting aficionado, described Pacquiao, 36, as “a ring genius.”
“It’s not hard to place a bet on him,” said Salud, former manager of ex-IBF world flyweight champion Gerry Penalosa. “His victory has always been crystal clear even before the duel in the ring. He is a ring genius and nobody can match his talent in the entire planet.”
On June 23, 2008, five days before his 9-round demolition of David Diaz for the WBC lightweight diadem, Pacquiao made the final announcement before the eight-vehicle entourage romped off to Las Vegas from the Wild Card gym in Hollywood.
Pababain ang lahat ng container ng tubig na naka expose sa sunlight. Hindi maganda sa health natin kung uminom tayo ng mineral water na naka expose sa sunlight (let’s leave behind all the containers of mineral waters that were exposed in the sunlight. It’s not good for our health if we drink them),” Pacquiao ordered.
The caravan left L.A. without bringing several bottles of mineral water.


Pacquiao can also retain in his memory the first names of those who accompanied him regularly in his travel to Las Vegas even if he met them only briefly.
He is generous to most of those who come to him for his signature and for some pennies.
If Pacquiao can’t immediately remember a person’s name, he acknowledges that he met that person in the past and recognizes the person only in the face by flashing a smile.
Inside his hotel suite, Pacquiao personally distributed the electronic cards that served as keys to the rooms of members of Team Pacquiao.
On April 27, 2009 inside his suite in Mandalay Bay, Pacquiao handed to me the electronic card for the room of the four accredited journalists from the Philippines.
O ito ang para sa mga photographers (This key is for the room of the photographers),” Pacquiao said, referring to the four accredited journalists: Abac Cordero of Philippine Star, Nick Giongco of Manila Bulletin, Roy Luarca of Philippine Daily Inquirer, and this writer then of Philboxing.com.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Protesting sugar planters should've lobbied in congress

“That’s what mayors do. They lobby Congress to provide resources for their city.” Maxine Waters

By Alex P. Vidal

TRAFFIC gridlock is worsening in the Bonifacio Drive, City Proper due to the on-going road-widening construction project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) from the foot of Forbes Bridge (the bridge that connects Iloilo City Proper to the districts of La Paz and Jaro across the Iloilo River).
Because it is a main street used by motorists going to the districts of La Paz and Jaro and those going to the City Proper, the gridlock results in monstrous traffic in the adjoining Gen. Luna and Iznart Streets.
Vehicles stopped on the bridge causing heavy inconvenience on the riding public.
Because they are late in their offices, schools and other transactions, programs and activities, people who take the Jaro Liko, Jaro CPU and La Paz passenger jeeps and cabs curse the city hall, the DPWH, including President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
They also use expletives to describe their harrowing ordeal in the traffic.
And nobody disagrees with them.
The city’s traffic management should do something to solve the problem as soon as possible.


WHERE was the Jalasig Sugarcane Planters Association, a group composed of sugar industry leaders in central Iloilo, when congress was deliberating the Senate Bill No. 2400 or the Sugarcane Industry Development Act, which sought to make the sugarcane industry more competitive by consolidating small farms?
The measure also reiterated the exemption of refined sugar for export from value-added tax (VAT).
It sought to prepare the country’s industry for integration with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic community by the end of 2015.
The Iloilo sugar planters should have fought tongs and hammer during the committee deliberations to also exempt raw sugar from 12 percent VAT.
Their chances to be heard were great.
The measure was known in the Lower House as House Bill no. 4633, and one of the measure’s authors was Rep. Sharon Garin (AAMBIS-OWA party-list).
With some 40,000 members, Jalasig Sugarcane Planters Association, is a force to reckon with in the industry.


Garin and another Ilonggo Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Negros Occidental, third district) would have given weight to their representation.  
The measure sought to consolidate farms smaller than five hectares into blocks to make management “more professionalized” and ensure better delivery of assistance.
It would institutionalize the Sugar Regulatory Administration’s (SRA) Block Farming Program, explained Senate agriculture committee chair Cynthia A. Villar.
In their rally in Zarraga, Iloilo on March 25, sugarcane farmers asked President Aquino and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares to scrap the 12 percent VAT on raw sugar.
The government requires sugar cane planters to pay in advance the 12 percent VAT before the commodities are removed from refineries and distributed to customers.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Drilon's worry with Diversion Road 'eyesores'

“A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work.” JOHN LUBBOCK

By Alex P. Vidal

SENATE President Franklin Drilon called the drinking establishments and talaba (oyster) stalls along the Sen. Benigno S. Aquino Sr. Avenue or Diversion Road as “eyesores” and wanted them removed from the widened areas.
Before the highway was rehabilitated and widened, it served as the enclave of videoke bars and talaba stalls for many years.
Drinking establishments mushroomed all the way from Brgy. San Rafael, Mandurriao district to Brgy. El 98, Jaro district since the incumbency of Iloilo City Mayor Mansueto Malabor in the 90's.
With the newly-refurbished Diversion Road, financed mostly by Drilon’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds or “pork barrel”, those establishments disappeared from the map one by one.
Either they were demolished to pave the way for the project, or were forced to transfer during the road-widening.


Their locations have been replaced by spacious sidewalks and lampposts.
Which made us think which drinking establishments Drilon was referring to?
There are remnants of small talabahan in the back or within the parameters of the highway, but they can’t attract the sight of motorists who are, in fact, mostly impressed by the highway’s modern lay-out.
There are several restaurants, 24-hour mini-marts and hotels along the highway that serve beer and liquor to customers.
But they can’t be considered as “eyesores” because drinks are served inside the bars or premises of these establishments and restaurants.
And their existence is part of the “night life” in that area.
Without those establishments, there is no “night life” and warm bodies of people going to and fro the bars, hotels and restaurants in the vicinity.
If partygoers and tourists will shy away, businesses in this area will die a natural death.
We understand the concerns of Drilon, whose efforts to bring development and beautification in the metropolis became full swing and was fast-tracked under the administration of Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.


By eyesores he probably meant private establishments “squatting” or “encroaching” on government property which were not immediately addressed.
Since massive works and development are still ongoing in the Diversion Road, it’s too early to segregate the businesses.
As more companies, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls construct buildings in the area, more problems are expected to surface in the long run.
It ain’t over yet until the fat lady sings, as the saying goes.
It’s good that Drilon brought the matter to the attention of city hall, which has an agency tasked to handle the matter.
Even if he is the third highest official of the land and a project donor (through government funds) to boot, Drilon cannot dictate to city hall on what to do with those “eyesores” or whatever they are.
It’s the job of the city mayor.
But Drilon can always suggest; and his suggestions always have the weight, he being the most influential and powerful Ilonggo leader in the national government today.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Santa Isabel kids dramatize life of St. Elizabeth of Hungary in musical show

“How could I bear a crown of gold when my Lord bears a crown of thorns? And bears it for me!”

By Alex P. Vidal

IN a colorful and pompous musical production, pupils of Santa Isabel College in Iloilo City and Santa Isabel International School Inc. dramatized the life of St. Elizabeth of Hungary at the Rose Memorial Hall in Central Philippine University (CPU) in Jaro district, Iloilo City March 21.

Sixteen-year-old Alleah Frances Marie Francisco played the role of the Queen, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who died before her 24th birthday in 1231.
Luis Miguel Alvarez played the role of Landgrave Ludwig IV, who, at age 20, married 14-year-old St. Elizabeth at Wartburg Castle in 1220.
They had three children: Hermann II, Landgrave of Thuringia, and Sophie of Thuringia.
Young Elizabeth became the patroness of Catholic charities and of the Secular Franciscan Order when she manifested great love for the poor and suffering.
Her great popularity resulted in her canonization four years after her death.


Under the spiritual direction of a Franciscan friar, she led a life of prayer, sacrifice, and service to the poor and sick.

She also wore simple clothing in a hope to become one of the poor. She gave bread to the poorest in the land who came to her gate.
Ludwig IV died in the Crusades after six years of marriage and she became grief-stricken.
Her husband’s family mistreated her on suspicion that she was squandering the royal purse until she was thrown out of the palace.
She was reinstated when her husband’s allies returned from the Crusades owing to her son’s status as heir to the throne.
“I love the role (that was given to me). It was very challenging but I’m proud I was able to deliver,” beamed Alleah.
Show producer and scriptwriter Aldene Jose Lapating Duyag hailed Alleah “for giving justice to the role.”
He also credited Alleah’s “one big family for their 100 percent support of her talent.”

Rhea Borres Canong, Alleah’s mother who came all the way from Chicago, Illinois, USA to watch the play, said her daughter was “high spirited” when she rendered the “live” solo song “I Dreamed A Dream” in the penultimate Scene 18.


Other casts were: Gian Franco Espinal as Master Conrad of Marburg, Umbriel Heather Ortega as Young Elizabeth, Eariane Jed Quimot as Queen Sofia, Akef Arnel Ledesma as Landgrave Herman I; Laurie Joyce Piedad, Jamellah Kate Chan, Michaela Francheska Reyes as Three Handmaids; Paul Gabriel Gasataya as Young Herman.
The Franciscan Friars were: Ethan Craig Inguillo, Jesse Cyrille Magno, Chris J. Oribe; Jacob Ledesma as Young Ludwig, Rex Michael Pelobello as Adult Heinrich Raspe, Sean Brendan Setias as Young Heinrich Raspe, Julienne Ysabelle Villalobos as Sister, Lyia Adrianna Libanan as Aunt Matilda, Anthony John Keenan Belleza as Uncle Eckbert, Jerdin Vince Quimot as Priest, Bernard Anton Obligacion as Ambassador to the King, Herbert John Balasa as Castle Official.
Ludwig’s followers were: John Marvic Tumilba, Geonell Jereza, Jose Miguel Sanson, Marc Jonler Ulay, Juan Gabriel Haguisan.
Elizabeth’s children were: Eiharra Anjelive Corral and Gabriel Louise Urbino.
The beggars were: John Michael Mella, Joryn Oribe, Kjetil Josth Acielo, Kaiser Prince Villanueva, Josh Ryan Reynoso, Pawandeep Singh Aytan, Chan Hyuk Jeon, Francis Gielor Castro.
Lora Mae A. Gabawa was the narrator.
The show, directed by Avelino Dayang Jr., started at 4 o’clock in the afternoon until 7 o’clock in the evening.
Executive producers were: Angel De Leon, Jr., president of Santa Isabel College; Dr. Nanette De Leon, school principal; and Angel Theodore De Leon, school administrator.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Run after cabbies, sikyu pimps, motels

“The sexual abuse and exploitation of children is one of the most vicious crimes conceivable, a violation of mankind’s most basic duty to protect the innocent.” Jennifer Weiner

By Alex P. Vidal

IF authorities are hell-bent in curving the incidents of “survival sex” (the term coined by West Visayas State University professor, Ma. Rosario Victoria E. De Guzman) involving teenage students, they must also throw the books on campus security guards and taxi drivers who serve as pimps.
Drive-in motels that don’t restrict female and male minors from checking-in with adult female and male sex patrons should also be penalized.
Some of those who enter the drive-in motels wear high school uniforms, so it’s not difficult to discern if they are minors or not.
Most students who sell their bodies for tuition and to earn extra income for their vices and other private wants and needs can’t attract customers within the parameters of campuses without the connivance of some security guards and taxi drivers.
By acting as part-time pimps, they reportedly get a share of at least 10 to 15 percent.
Some of them also maintain contact numbers of prostituted students in their wallets or in their mobile phones.
In some cases, security guards and taxi drivers enter into an unholy alliance to act as conduits of this illicit transaction.


Cab drivers who pick up the students sometimes can earn extra “tips” from both the prostituted students and their clients.
So rampant is “survival sex” in our society nowadays that it has become a cottage industry.
In every transaction, legal or illegal, moral or immoral, it always takes two to tango.
There is more than meets the eye in this issue. If minors are involved in prostitution, their parents are not blameless.
They should also be held accountable under the law.
Exposure or being subjected to sexual exploitation and violence are punishable under Republic Act 9262 or an act defining violence against women and their children providing for protective measures for victims, prescribing penalties therefore, and for other purposes.
Authorities should not only focus on cases of minor students.
There are also out-of-school minors forced to commit prostitution by their own parents or guardians and by unalloyed circumstances like poverty and psychological factors.
When the City Council committee on women and children chaired by Councilor Liecel Zulueta hold a serious hearing on this issue, it must compel representatives of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Iloilo City Police Office Women and Children Protection Desk to submit detailed reports on cases of sexual abuse or prostitution involving minors and what have they done to minimize if not stop it.


BUT, ARE WE READY TO HOST A CRUISE SHIP? According to Department of Tourism (DOT) Director Helen C. Catalbas her office is promoting the northern Iloilo port; Iloilo port in Loboc, Lapuz district, Iloilo City; Guimaras port, Bredco port in Bacolod City; and San Carlos City port as possible destinations of cruise ships from all over the world.
While we laud Catalbas’ efforts, we are also worried that our local ports may not be physically and economically prepared to host giant cruise ships coming from major tourist spots all over the world.
Another concern is peace and order and transportation.
Local authorities led by the Philippine National Police must ensure first that tourists from other parts of the globe are safe once their cruise ships happen to dock in our ports and they want to tarry offshore.
We may not want to see the tourists being hauled off to and from the port by trisikads (pedicabs), tricycles and taxis due to lack of buses and other decent and safe transport facilities, unless we are courting international embarrassment.
Catalabas is part of the Philippine delegation in the Cruise-Shipping Convention and Exhibition in Miami, Florida from March 16-19.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cockpit disguised as 'sports center'

“I think if you’re against cruelty, and you look at what happens to animals, in slaughterhouses and on factory farms, you have to be completely against eating meat.” INGRID NEWKIRK

By Alex P. Vidal

IF we want to know how healthy are the citizens living in one community, we must look at the sources of the foods they eat.  
One important source of food is the abattoir or the slaughterhouse where we get the meats and pork we regularly consume.
If our slaughterhouse is dirty and does not pass the standards set by our meat inspectors and other food agencies, there really is a reason to be worried about.
It’s a health disaster.
Any gains and success we possess in life will have no more bearing in the long run once we have a health problem.
Some experts believe that there is also a connection between what we eat, how we think and how it affects our lifestyle.
Reports that our slaughterhouse in Brgy. Taca, Jaro district, Iloilo City did not attain the “AA” classification according to a recent test conducted by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) were not only embarrassing but also alarming.
Meat inspectors also failed the NMIS test, it was reported further.
How long has this been going on?
Why were these concerns not discovered and addressed earlier?
If the NMIS did not conduct a test and evaluation and the public wasn’t warned, could we still be grappling with parasites left by the meats we eat inside our intestines?  
In a nutshell, this could only mean one thing: we have an unsanitary abattoir and the meats we consume are not safe.


SAN JOSE, Antique Mayor Rolly Molina should take full responsibility for the discovery that the Antique Sports Development Center in San Jose, Antique has been operating illegally as a cockpit.
Based on the activities discovered inside, it’s neither a mecca of sports development nor a youth-oriented training facility as what was trumpeted in the past.  
It’s a haven for “sabung” or “bulang” where gambling patrons place bets for two fighting cocks.
If we call spade a spade, it is disguised as a “sports center.”
No more passing the bucks.
Although the cockpit, owned by Virgilio “Biyong” Ong was approved during the term of Mayor Fernando Corvera in 2001, its presence within the parameters of a national high school and a provincial hospital is a clear violation of the Presidential Decree No. 449 or the Philippine Cockfighting Law as amended by P.D. 1974.
We understand Molina’s negligence or why he was “adamant” to cancel the cockpit’s permit.
Ong is reportedly a political benefactor of disqualified former Gov. Ezequiel Javier.
We are not saying here that Javier tolerated Ong’s illegal cockpit.
It was possible that no one from the municipal hall was gutsy enough to touch the cockpit with a ten foot pole during Javier’s heydays probably for fear of reprisal.
Now that Rhodora Cadiao is the Antique governor, Molina should show his constituents that he is not what they think.
The mayor should crack the whip and let the chips fall where they may.


THE coast of Baliguian Island in Concepcion, Iloilo continued to be the favorite hang out of illegal fishers from other regions.
Thanks to the vigilance of the Iloilo Provincial Bantay Dagat Task Force led by SPO1 Gilbert Piedad.
The task force has formally charged for violation of Republic Act 8550 or Unauthorized Fishing before the Municipal Trial Court of San Dionisio, Iloilo the eight fishermen from Bantayan Island, Cebu arrested recently for using super hulbot 12.46 kilometers off the coast of Baliguian Island.
Reports said they were using a sophisticated and very expensive fishing boat when elements of the Bantay Dagat Task Force collared them.
Despite the no nonsense campaign of the capitol, illegal fishing remains to be a huge problem in the coastal area of the Iloilo province.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Let's trust Manny Pacquiao; he's not Marcos Maidana

“Only in death will I relinquish by belts.” Manny Pacquiao

By Alex P. Vidal

WE doubt if Marcos Rene Maidana (35-5, 31 KOs) would survive in six rounds against Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs).
But orthodox Maidana, an ex-convict from Margarita, Santa Fe, Argentina, nearly pulled the rug from under Floyd Mayweather Jr. (47-0, 26 KOs) in the first of their two 12-round 147-lb duels in Las Vegas on May 3, 2014.
Shorter by one inch, Maidana, 31, was the first boxer to give Mayweather real hell.
Nicknamed “El Chino”, Maidana, who defeated the fading 38-year-old Erik Morales (52-9, 36 KOs) by 12-round majority decision for WBA super-lightweight title on April 9, 2011, turned out to be Mayweather’s biggest mistake.
It was Maidana who exposed Mayweather as a sucker to body attack.
Only the likes of Maidana, Saul Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs), Ricky Hatton (45-3, 32 KOs), Zab Judah (42-9, 29 KOs), Mayweather’s sparring partner for the May 2 fight, and Pacquiao can muster the guts to penetrate Mayweather’s ribcage and risk being bundled out by a Mayweather counter combinations.


In their first rumble, Maidana tried to finish off the busier and taller Mayweather with body punches in the early rounds.
If it is impossible to hit Mayweather in the face during a fierce exchange, he can be smothered by a non-stop bombing in the body.
Fighting like a matador, Maidana stayed in front of Mayweather most of the time and refused to backpedal despite being drilled by wicked jabs in the face.  
He even trapped Mayweather in the ropes in the fourth canto and obliged the black American to engage him in a risky waterfront brawl.
Using Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope tactics employed against George Foreman in the 15-round “Rumble in the Jungle” world heavyweight championship in Kinshasa, Zaire on October 30, 1974, Mayweather survived Maidana’s assaults and eked out a controversial 12-round majority decision at the MGM Grand.
Unimpressed by the result, both camps agreed to a rematch on September 13, 2011 in the same arena.
Mayweather learned from his mistake in the first fight when he allowed Maidana to engage him in lips-to-lips. 
He bicycled his way to a 12-round unanimous decision.
Against hard-hitting opponents, Mayweather can attract rats in his stomach.
Maidana doesn’t possess even half of Pacquiao’s power and yet, he was able to wobble Mayweather on various occasions in their first meeting.
If Maidana used at least one fourth of Pacquiao’s brains, he would have been the first prizefighter to flatten Mayweather.


But unlike Pacquiao, Maidana is not an intelligent fighter. He fights like a brainless bull; but when Maidana connects his opponent crumbles to the canvas like being gored by a bullet train.
Against Pacquiao in their fight of the century on May 2, Mayweather, 38, will face a human being who can solve a mathematical puzzle, while at the same time marshal his forces to dismantle an opponent’s defense.
He will face a robot who hits like Mike Tyson and thinks like a university magna cum laude, not a boxing derelict or an idiot from the slums of Santa Fe and Villahermosa.
“Mayweather’s strength is defense. But I am not worried about that. I can easily break that,” Pacquiao, 36, recently boasted.
Fans should continue to give their trust on Pacquiao.
He is not Marcos Maidana, who allowed two golden opportunities to scalp Mayweather slip away.
Pacquiao is a thinking one-man wrecking crew.
In his recent media appearance, fire and brimstone were traced in Pacquiao’s eyes, a sign that he won’t let all his fans and countrymen down.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Garin loses bargaining chips with Janette's appointment in DOH

“I don’t wanna talk about things we’ve gone through. Though it’s hurting me, now it’s history. I’ve played all my cards. And that’s what you’ve done, too. Nothing more to say; no more ace to play.” ABBA in “The Winners Takes It All”

By Alex P. Vidal

NOW that Dr. Janette Loreto-Garin has been officially appointed by President Simeon Benigno “Nonoy” Aquino III as secretary of the Department of Health (DOH), father-in-law Oscar “Oca” Garin Sr. loses his political bargaining chips in the 2016 elections.
When Mr. Aquino delayed Loreto-Garin’s appointment (he was supposed to install her after the visit of Pope Francis in January), there were speculations that the president “has changed mind” as he is now notoriously known to do.
February came and still Loreto-Garin and her fans were anxiously waiting on tenterhooks; her fate wasn’t clear.
The scuttlebutt was the “dark forces” within the department prevailed upon the president to forego with Loreto-Garin’s appointment as DOH chief and retain her as undersecretary.
Lo and behold, Malacanang delivered the coup de grace on March 12 when everyone’s attention was somewhere else: Loreto-Garin is now officially the new full-fledged DOH secretary.
Good news for the Garin clan of Iloilo and the Loreto clan of Leyte.  
How about to the older Garin’s political plans in 2016?
Garin Sr., father of Loreto-Garin’s husband, Iloilo first district Rep. Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr., is reportedly planning to run for vice governor of Iloilo in 2016.


It is still unclear though, as of this writing, whether Governor Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. is inclined to accommodate a fellow Liberal Party (LP) stalwart Garin Sr. as Defensor’s runningmate in 2016.
Garin Sr. could have used the delay or rejection of Loreto-Garin’s appointment in the DOH as a bargaining chip to compel Malacanang to consider him as Defensor’s runningmate in 2016, or he will make tampo or sunggod and bolt the party and embrace the opposition owing to the “double whammy” (if Loreto-Garin didn’t bag the DOH’s top portfolio and the nomination as Defensor’s runningmate).
Now that Loreto-Garin’s appointment is moot and academic, Garin Sr. has no more reason to make tampo or sunggod  to Malacanang or to the LP hierarchy.
A political debt of gratitude today could mean a death blow to any ambition for higher posts in the future.
If Garin Sr. can’t clinch LP’s vice gubernatorial slot in Iloilo, he has no more aces in his sleeves to pressure President Aquino and the LP bigwigs.
We have given your daughter-in-law the biggest pork. Leave to us the beans, Malacanang and the LP bosses can always tell Oca Garin straight in the eyes.
After all, beggars can’t be choosers.


THE claim of West Visayas State University (WVSU) professor, Ma. Rosario Victoria E. De Guzman, that some college students, mostly below legal age, are engaging in “survival sex” or prostitution to finish their studies, is not new.
Parents have heard this story in the 80’s and 90’s and even in the early years of the new millennium.
Each time the issue is tackled in the media, school authorities and social scientists have always blamed the economic dilemma that bedevils the students involved in selling their bodies for sex.
We agree to some extent. There really is a need to seriously address this gnawing problem with the active participation of the parents.
Economic realities force students to perform lewd acts in the internet and sexual services to patrons who take advantage of their plight.
Concerned authorities should trace the problem’s origin at home.
Financial problem may not be the only reason why some young students engage in prostitution.
Many members of the younger generation nowadays are hooked on a lot of vices and even illegal drugs.


They need not only money but attention, as well. Attention from their parents, guardians and guidance counselors; attention from their friends, boyfriends and girlfriends.
In their confusion, some of these young students get the “quickest” and the “most practical” answers to their questions about their sexuality from non-experts or from those outside their homes and schools.   
Here’s another catch: Ninety-nine percent of “experts” in the sexual problems of women never had a menstrual period, a hot flash, or a baby—and never will, according to Dr. David Reuben, an expert in human sexuality.
“In fact they will never have any female sexual experiences at all—because they are men,” he added.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

One-punch KO win possible for Pacman and Floyd?

“You can’t find anything better than boxing because of the trials and errors, the ups and downs, the struggle when you get knocked down to get back up. Use it symbolically and interchangeably for life.” DON KING

By Alex P. Vidal

BASED on what we observed during the face-to-face meeting between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on March 11, we can conclude that both fighters are in excellent shape.
With six weeks to go before the richest showdown ever in the history of prizefighting, both Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) and Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) appeared to be ready even if the duel will happen next week.
We don’t want to spoil the excitement of boxing fans eager to witness a donnybrook when the fight of the century unveils on May 2 in Las Vegas, but we don’t see neither Mayweather nor Pacquiao winning by a one-punch knockout.
Should there be a knockout in the 12-round world welterweight duel, it would be the result of an accumulation of punches or a volume of “finishing touches” where the referee is obliged to terminate the bout to save the crestfallen.
Owing to his higher KO percentage of 59.38 percent, Pacquiao has the upper hand if flamboyant Mayweather, who tots a 55.32 percent KO percentage, elects to engage the Filipino phenom in a toe-to-toe brawl in the first three stanzas.


Fight fans all over the world are so familiar with the styles of both fighters.
They fear that in order to save his ass, Mayweather might use the ropes and the clock to avoid a bloody brawl and to just leave his fate on the judges’ scorecards.
Intelligent fans are also aware that bull-strong Pacquiao will go for the kill in the early rounds as he is wont to do against high caliber rivals in the past like Ricky Hatton (KO2), Erik Morales (rematch KO3) and David Diaz (TKO9).
With all the sportswriters writing voluminous stories about Pacquiao and Mayweather these past weeks, fans almost have memorized even their childhood hobbies and how they treat their respective families when there are no cameras on.
A one-punch knockout victory for any of the protagonists can only happen by accident, which is a remote possibility given the solid reputation they both possess as world class fighters.
The closest that we can compare the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight is with the epic war between Marvelous Marvin Hagler (62-3-2, 52 KOs) and Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns (61-5-1, 48 KOs) for the WBC middleweight title at the Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas on April 15, 1985.


Like Mayweather, Hearns was black, taller and used his footwork effectively to befuddle his rivals.
Hearns, who had earlier pulverized another Pacquiao-like Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Duran in 2 rounds for the world super-welterweight tiara on the same venue, predicted a third round KO victory against Hagler.
Hagler, who, like Pacquiao, did not have a solid defense, was an easy target but carried molotovs in both fists, was the heavy underdog even if he was the undisputed middleweight world titlist in that era.
The first round of that explosive fight went down in history as the best ever with both Hearns and Hagler determined to maim each other without let up.
Due to the intensity of the Mayweather versus Pacquiao rivalry, we expect the first three rounds to be similar to the Hearns versus Hagler fisticuffs.


The end came in the third round as Hearns had predicted. But it was Hearns who ended up with glassy eyes and laying flat on the mat.
Hagler did not mow him down with a single blow.
It was Hagler’s follow up that ended the argument.
As Hearns backpedaled after throwing a three-punch combination to Hagler’s severely damaged face, Hagler, with blood oozing from a wound on the right eye, chased Hearns with murderous intent.
A solid right caught Hearns flushed on the left face. As Hearns was reeling backward on spaghetti legs, Hagler made a follow up and sent Hearns to the canvas like a sack of potatoes.
If Mayweather is not careful and keeps on underestimating Pacquiao, he could suffer Hearns’ fate.
Like Mayweather, Hearns was the toast of the boxing community in the world, treated by the press and the Hollywood biggies like a demigod, the same marquee status being enjoyed by Mayweather today.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Premature campaign soliloquy

“Never do today what you can do tomorrow. Something may occur to make you regret your premature action.” Aaron Burr

By Alex P. Vidal

THE constant power blackouts experienced by residents of Iloilo City these past weeks didn't augur well with the metropolis’ forthcoming hosting of the two Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meetings in September and October this year.
In 1993, when the Panay Electric Company (PECO) sought for a renewal of its franchise for another 25 years, a feisty cooperative group threatened to block PECO’s application if it could not assure the local consumers of a sustained and uninterrupted power supply for the next 25 years.
The cooperative group’s swashbuckling opposition came to a screeching halt when the power firm’s application for renewal of franchise went on a smooth sailing in the Iloilo City Council and in the House of Representatives.
Now that Iloilo City is in the thick of preparation for the important international confabs, PECO is giving the Ilonggos legitimate reasons to be jittery by the off and on power blackouts.


IT’S very apparent that June Mondejar is using his power and privilege as a member of the Iloilo Provincial Board to get undue advantage in his vitriol against Iloilo second district Rep. Arcadio “Cadio” Gorriceta.
If Mondejar did not reveal his intention to run against Gorriceta in 2016, people would not suspect that he was already launching a premature campaign assault to disparage the neophyte congressman from Pavia, Iloilo.
In his privilege speech on Tuesday’s regular session of the Iloilo Provincial Board, Mondejar scored Gorriceta for claiming credits in the implementation of various infrastructure projects in the second district of Iloilo by placing his name on the billboards.
Mondejar, a former mayor of New Lucena, bewailed: “When the old box culvert at Sayang, Baclayan in New Lucena was replaced with new box culvert with a bigger cross-sectional area, there was a printed name of a congressman. People believe or agree that it is his project because of the billboard. But, is it really his project? What effort did he exert so that this project was implemented on that part of the second district? Do not lie. Be honest.”
Since the speech was neither an expose involving an anomalous transaction and misuse of public funds, nor an inquiry on questionable deals “in aid of legislation”, Mondejar’s speech sounded like a premature campaign soliloquy.
If Gorriceta will also use his privilege hour in congress to blast Mondejar as a tit-for-tat, public service will derail.
If Mondejar wants to devote his time attacking his future rival for a congressional seat in the second district of Iloilo, he must resign as a board member and buy a radio blocktime program at a risk of electioneering.
A privilege speech in any legislative body—local or national--should not be wasted and exploited to launch a political assault and promote a political agenda.

ILOILO provincial administrator, Dr. Raul Banias, is reportedly being prepared to spoil former Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) administrator Oscar “Oca” Garin Sr’s bid to become vice governor in 2016.
No serious contender against Gov. Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. has been spotted in Iloilo’s gubernatorial radar in 2016 except, perhaps, perennial loser Toto Serapio Camposano (Independent).
Thus all eyes are in 2019 when Defensor will be prevented by the constitution from seeking a fourth term.
The hypothesis is that Defensor will walk away unscathed for his third and last term in 2016.
As a matter of strategy, anyone who wants to be remembered by voters in 2019 must secure a mandate in 2016 as the next three years will be crucial for name recall.
Garin Sr., an astute political strategist, must have anticipated this.
He is aware that former Iloilo fourth district congressman, Dr. Ferjenel Biron, has been patiently waiting for Defensor’s three terms to expire in 2019 and shoot for the slammer.
If Garin Sr. won’t make his move earlier, the well-rested and well-oiled Biron will decimate him.
Garin has been reportedly trying to inch his way to Defensor’s graces in a hope to secure the dream Defensor-Garin tandem in 2016.
If he wins as vice governor, Garin will be a breath away from the office of the governor.
As Vice Governor Garin, he will have leverage over his rivals, including Biron, for governor in 2019.
But it appears Defensor isn’t yet ready for a political marriage with Garin Sr. although they both belong in the Liberal Party.
The grapevine says Defensor is eyeing Banias, not Garin Sr. as his runningmate in 2016.