Thursday, May 31, 2018

Iloilo City trade mission, a brilliant idea

“From my very first day as an entrepreneur, I've felt the only mission worth pursuing in business is to make people's lives better.”
--Richard Branson

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Whoever conceived the idea of holding the first-ever Iloilo City Trade Mission and Investment Forum Ilonggo Fashion and Jewelry Show in the East Coast must be a visionary.
The mission is on the right track of globalization.
Convenors of this brilliant project certainly wanted to link Iloilo City to the world in a unique fashion; they wanted foreign businessmen, investors, students, tourists, as well as Filipinos living in the United States and other parts of the world, to “invest, work, create, study, retire, live, and grow” in Iloilo City.
City hall and Iloilo City’s business sector, in fact, have assembled some of the finest, aggressive, and very talented “missionaries” with global minds and technical capabilities to promote local products and tourism as well as investment opportunities no other cities in the Philippines can offer.

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The trade mission, which started on June 1 and officially introduced in a formal program on June 4 at the Kalayaan Hall and Kalayaan Annex of the Philippine Center (which also houses the Philippine Consulate General), is being headed by Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III and his wife, Mrs. Regine “Gina” Sarabia-Espinosa.
They are being backed by key advisers in local government and academe like Commercial Diplomat for Trade Relations and Executive Assistant Rex L. Aguado, City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia, City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) chief Jose Roni Peñalosa, Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO) chief Ariel “Aye” Castaneda, Dr. Carmencita “Menchie” Robles, dean of the West Visayas State Universty (WVSU) College of Mass Communications; University of the Philippines in the Visayas Vice Chancellor Mary Ann Gumban, Iloilo Business Park-Megaworld Sales Director Carla Margarita Perez, and Eon Group of Companies Founder and CEO and Iloilo Trade and Investments Board Co-chair Felicito Tiu, among others.
Among the topics to be discussed are property development, Infotech and infrastructure pipeline; Iloilo City’s premier schools, business matching and networking.

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The exhibit will feature Habol Ilonggo: Fashion and Jewlery Show by Djohn Clement, Totong Gellangarin, Bo Parcon, Aisha Penalosa, Jaki Penalosa, and Edison Ruedas directed by Iloilo Provincial Tourism Officer Bombette Golez Marin.
Tess Salvador, a pioneer in the promotion of heritage Hablon fabric and the craft of Habol--the art of Ilonggo traditional weaving, and Jhett Tolentino, Tony Award-winning Filipino theatre producer of “Dungog Sang Dakbanwa Sang Iloilo 2017” awardee and dedicated son of Iloilo, will be given recognition.
Also to be recognized are: The Philippine Consulate General and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in New York as venue partner of PHILCOMAN and the Iloilo City Trade Delegation, and the 2018 Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. as organizers of the 120th Philippine Independence Anniversary Commemoration in New York City.
Other schedules outside New York City are: Investment forum at University of North America, Fairfax, Virginia on June 6; Childhood Education Study in Washington D.C. in the morning and Investment Forum in the evening at the Philippine Embassy on June 7; a tour in Washington D.C. on June 8; a Philippine Independence Day Ball in the evening at Hilton, East Rutherford, New Jersey on June 9.
Members of the Iloilo Trade Mission depart to the Philippines on June 10.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Will Drilon let go of Lex Tupas?

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”
--Havelock Ellis

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Senator Franklin Drilon considers former Iloilo City Councilor, Dr. Nielex “Lex” Tupas, 38, as an “asset” of the Liberal Party (LP), Ugyon Party’s umbrella political party.
Drilon was enamored with the youthful Lex, youngest son of the late former Iloilo Governor Neil D. Tupas Sr. and Ugyon Party bigwig, the moment the senator heard Lex speak in a private gathering in Iloilo City more than 10 years ago.
In 2005, Drilon predicted Lex Tupas “would be the next congressman in Iloilo (the senator did not specify whether in Iloilo’s fifth district or in Iloilo City’s lone district).”
Since “Tito Frank” is a closed ally--personal and political--of his late father and considered as one of the sharpest minds in the Senate during President Benigo “Nonoy” Aquino III’s tenure, the feeling became mutual.
Lex would consult “Tito Frank”, among other political big guns he trusted, in some of the most important political decisions he made.

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It was in the LP, political party of former President Benigo “Nonoy” Aquino III, where Tupas’ political stock skyrocketed.
After he was elected as a city councilor in 2007 where he garnered a head-turning 73,000 votes in his first try, Lex Tupas grabbed headlines from his equally talented siblings also making waves in Iloilo province.
Many Ilonggos, in fact, were saying that Lex Tupas, appointed by President Aquino as executive director of the National Youth Commission (NYC) on November 11, 2015, was “more popular and well-loved” than his older brother, former Iloilo fifth district Rep. Neil “Junjun” Tupas Jr., at the time when both Lex and Junjun were lording over the political landscape respectively in the city and fifth district of Iloilo.
Lex gave up the NYC post on May 5, 2017 “to be with my family.” Others suspected he did not want to “displease” some “worried” LP stalwarts by holding on to the position under the Duterte administration.

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After a three-year hiatus in local politics (wife Dr. Candice Alumisin-Tupas replaced him in the city council), Lex Tupas sent shock waves in the hearts of those aspiring to become the congressman in Iloilo City when he guested in Manuel “Boy” Mejorada’s program in 89.5 Homeradio Aliw Broadcasting on May 30.
He confirmed stories circulating since March 2018 that he and Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas “had talks” since last year about the possibility he would run for congressman on May 13, 2019.
Treñas, who is allegedly at odds with his brother-in-law, Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Jose III” Espinosa III, has announced he would run for Iloilo City mayor and his runningmate would be Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon.
Treñas and Ganzon, as well as Espinosa, are now with President Duterte’s PDP-Laban.

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Some independent-minded Ilonggos believe when the smoke has been cleared, PDP-Laban will field Espinosa (congressman), Treñas (mayor), and Ganzon (vice mayor) in its official line-up in Iloilo City.
If Lex Tupas will formally announce his candidacy on August 11, 2018 during his 40th birthday, will he also announce he is discarding the LP and embracing the PDP-Laban, and thus “bumping off” Joe III?
Or will Lex Tupas be the LP’s official candidate for congressman versus Joe III?
“My decision to run is not based on political personalities,” Lex Tupas told Mejorada’s program. “There is a clamor; there is a calling from the people. I was raised by my father to excel, not as a mediocre. This is not about Lex Tupas but the future and vision of Iloilo City.”
If Lex Tupas decides to team-up with Treñas and takes an oath as the new PDP-Laban member, will “Tito Frank” let him go just like that?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

After a long procession it’s Warriors vs Cavs once again

“We're all just playing our own game. I don't see it as a rivalry. We're just trying to play our best.”
-- Michelle Wie

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Please wake me up before I will be tempted to suspect that the National Basketball Association (NBA) finals has become a veritable replica of the ridiculous World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
When the Cleveland Cavaliers played the Golden State Warriors last year for the third consecutive time in the best-of-seven NBA Finals, it marked the first "threematch" in the league’s history.
It was premature to downgrade their mind-boggling repeat rivalry to WWF.
But if we once again use mathematics, this year's series marks the first "fourmatch."
The teams playing in the finals will be the same as the three previous years--2015, 2016, 2017--for the fourth year in a row.
Like in their finals face-off, both the Warriors and the Cavs are borrowing each other’s title.
The Golden State Warriors won their first NBA championship whipping Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015. The Cavaliers turned it around the following season in 2016 and won their first championship trouncing the Warriors.
Golden State reclaimed the title last year.
Who will the fountain bless this year?
We will know when finals action unwraps on May 31 (US time) to be hosted by Warriors in Game 1 and on June 3 in Game 2.

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Incumbent politicians who interfered in the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Liga elections knew they violated the law, but they feigned innocence because they needed to flex their muscles to make sure their favorite bets won.
Never mind if they were denounced for “politicking” and “influence peddling” by their critics as long as their chosen candidates were elected.
If they aspire for higher offices in 2019, these politicians would be hypocrites to deny they needed to secure the major SK slots in the provincial and city legislatures.
These youth representatives also weild marvelous power and influence among barangay-based electorate like the punong barangay; some of them are more credible than their senior peers.
Some politicians who invest heavily on SK chairs are like engaging in planting of rice.
Come harvest season, they see themselves grinning from ear to ear.

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Many of our bright and outstanding leaders in the country began their journey in public service in the SK federation.
Not all of those who rose from the ranks of SK were swallowed by the corrupt system as feared by critics who agitated for abolition of SK.
There were a few who succumbed to the glitter of glory and gold and scandalously blasted their way to public coffer, but there were gifted and morally upright SK-trained public servants who became distinguished mayors, governors, and representatives.
I won’t be surprised if one day, we will have a candidate who will challenge the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Sarah Duterte, and Tito Sotto for president.

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We congratulate SK chair Leila Luntao of Barangay Our Lourdes in Jaro district, Iloilo City for her election as SK Federation president on May 29.
There were allegations that her candidacy was backed by powerful politicians led by Rep. Jerry Trenas, according to Councilor Plaridel Nava.
The responsibility to disabuse the minds of the Doubting Thomases now falls on her shoulder.
In fairness to her, Luntao, who has impressive credentials, claimed she won through her own efforts and diligence; she reportedly launched a stellar and no non-sense campaign from one district to another to earn 93 votes and out-slick her rivals, Antoinette Gallos of Barangay Ingore (75 votes), and Niel Omisol of Barangay Bantud (six votes).

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Duterte isn’t LeBron James

“I never imagined myself doing a one-man show. If I'm going to do one, I'd rather do one that breaks all the rules.”
-- Steffan Rhodri

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- We don’t expect President Rodrigo Duterte to single-handedly solve the myriad of problems we are facing today in the Philippines.
He isn’t superman who can put all the bad guys inside the calaboose (although he was the one who promised to get rid of the criminals in six months) in a specific period.
He isn’t LeBron James, 33, who can carry the Cleveland Cavaliers to a scintillating victory in any NBA finals even if he will use only one arm.
When we think that our president is like LeBron James, we lose psychologically or we end up frustrated.
When we think the president can succeed if key agencies and other branches of government will chip in and function effectively and efficiently, President Duterte’s work rate produces magical results.
How the LeBron James-inspired Cavaliers turned the tide and won the Eastern Conference championship after a dismal 0-2 start in the the best of seven series, should serve as a lesson to any leadership in and outside the hard court.

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Before clinching the Eastern Conference championship in Game 7 for the Cavs’ eight straight trip to NBA finals on May 27, their Game 5 debacle against Boston Celtics was blamed heavily on their reliance on LeBron James, who played all 48 minutes, had the monster game the Cavs needed from him: 35 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in Game 7 played in Boston.
Game 7 was won in the enemy court mainly because the Cavs realized the showdown against Boston Celtics shouldn’t be a one-man show.
I won’t pretend to be an expert NBA analyst, but here’s what happened, according to USA Today:
1. James had just enough help. George Hill and J.R. Smith were scoreless in the first quarter. Kyle Korver missed his first four three-pointers. Larry Nance Jr. collected three fouls and attempted an ill-advised three-pointer in his first four minutes on the court. It was an ugly start for the Cavs, who missed 13 of their first 14 three-point attempts, and trailed 35-23 with 8:52 left in the first quarter.
Cleveland looked exhausted and ill-suited to take Game 7 on the road. But the Cavs hung in there, cut Boston’s lead to 43-39 at halftime and had a 69-66 lead with 8:53 left in the fourth quarter.
Smith finished with 12 points, and Korver hit a necessary three-pointer. Tristan Thompson added 10 points and nine rebounds
2. Cavs go Green without Love. Cleveland All-Star forward-center Kevin Love missed Game 7 with concussion-like symptoms. He sustained the injury in the first quarter of Game 6 when he collided head to head with Boston’s Jayson Tatum.
His absence was felt. Though Love didn’t have a great series against the Celtics, he provided a scoring threat for which Boston had to account.
However, Jeff Green started in place of Love and delivered with 19 points and eight rebounds.
3. The old man and the rook. Rookie Jayson Tatum, who passed Elgin Baylor for third place on the rookie playoff scoring list, is a special player in the making.
He scored 13 of his team-high 24 points in the second half. Tatum had a dunk on LeBron James and followed it with a three-pointer giving Boston a 72-71 lead midway through the fourth quarter. He lived up to the moment.
Emblematic of this series, Al Horford played well at home and poorly on the road. He had 17 points.
However, Boston shot just 34.1 percent from the field and 17.9% on three-pointers.
4. Cavs three-point shooting. When Cleveland makes threes, it has a chance. When the Cavs don’t make threes, they’re in trouble, and that was the case in the first half of Game 7. Cleveland made just 2-for-17 three-pointers, including several open looks in the first two quarters.
But the Cavs made just enough threes-- two more than Boston--despite shooting 25.7 percent from that distance.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Dinagyang’s New York trip on despite visa problems

“Outstanding people have one thing in common: An absolute sense of mission.”
-- Zig Ziglar

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- The participation of a tribe from Iloilo City’s Dinagyang Festival in the 120th Philippine Independence Day parade here on June 3 was nearly canceled after tribe members encountered visa problems in the US Embassy in Manila.
This was revealed by Joji Juele-Jalandoni, former president of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI), who called up this writer morning May 26 to convey the message that “everything is set and ready after the problem has been resolved.”
Jalandoni, from Victorias Milling Company in Negros Occidental, said if the problem was not fixed on time, only the nine-day “Iloilo City Trade Mission and Investment Forum” from June 1 to June 9 would be held without the Dinagyang tribe in the parade to be represented by 2018 grand champion, Tribu Panayanon, of the Iloilo City National High School.

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Jalandoni said another tribe from Guimaras’ Mangghan Festival, Hubon Manguguma, will represent the Philippines together with Tribu Panayanon in the biggest Filipino-American Independence Day parade in the East Coast that is expected to attract some 100,000 audience on Madison Avenue.
“They (Dinagyang and Manggahan contingent) will arrive on May 31 (US time),” confirmed Jalandoni, a registered nurse in New Jersey, who is responsible for bringing the two festivals from Iloilo City and Guimaras here.
Problems hounded Tribu Panayanon after only 11 members were given travel visa by the US Embassy, Jalandoni said.
“They have to recruit warriors from Tribu Salognon who already have the visa in order to complete the team, thus the problem was resolved,” she explained. “It’s not nice to see only 11 warriors dancing during the parade.”
Tribu Salognon is the 2016 grand champion and represented the country in the New York parade’s 118th edition.
The first-ever trade mission, to be led by Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III and Mrs. Gina Sarabia-Espinosa, will fly to New York via Hong Kong on May 29 (Philippine time) and will arrive in the US on board Cathay Pacific on May 29 (US time).

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The Espinosa couple, accompanied by Iloilo City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia, Executive Assistant Enrique “Rex” Aguado and Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO) chief Ariel “Aye” Castaneda, fashion designers Jackie Penalosa and Bo Parcon, journalists Florence Hibionada (The Daily Guardian), Tara Yap (Manila Bulletin), and Herbert Vego (Panay News), West Visayas State University (WVSU) College of Mass Communications dean, Dr. Carmencita “Menchie” Robles, among others, will grace the opening of Ilonggo fashion and jewelry exhibit at the Philippine Center Gallery on 556 Fifth Avenue on June 1.
The Ilonggo trade missionaries are tasked to “introduce” Iloilo City to New York City, Washington DC and Fairfax, Virginia through roadshows showcasing the creations of Ilonggo jewellers, fashion designers and property developers.
Espinosa will host a UP Alumni event on June 2.
The annual parade, spearheaded by PIDCI, will blast off at 12 noon on June 3, followed by cultural presentations.
The city mayor and several representatives from the private sector will hold the Trade and Investment Forum at the Philippine Center.

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Famed NY-based Ilonggo entertainment producer Jhett Tolentino will spearhead the group in a Broadway tour at seven o’clock in the evening on June 5.
An investment forum at University of North America, Fairfax, Virginia will be held on June 6.
This will be followed by a Childhood Education Study in Washington D.C. in the morning and Investment Forum in the evening at the Philippine Embassy on June 7.
The Iloilo contingent will tour Washington D.C. on June 8.
The will cap their US visit with a Philippine Independence Day Ball in the evening at Hilton, East Rutherford, New Jersey on June 9.
Members of the Iloilo Trade Mission depart to the Philippines on June 10.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Ilonggos in New York show big heart for ‘Dinagyang, 'Manggahan'

“A Christian reveals true humility by showing the gentleness of Christ, by being always ready to help others, by speaking kind words and performing unselfish acts, which elevate and ennoble the most sacred message that has come to our world.” 
--Ellen G. White

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- It is their “pag-malasakit” (compassion) and “pag-ulikid” (concern) for fellow Ilonggos who will arrive here for the 120th Philippine Independence Day 28th Annual Parade on June 3, 2018 that prompted Boy Dinzon and his fellow Ilonggos based in New Jersey and New York to launch the “Dinagyang and Manggahan sa NYC Fundraising Dinner” on June 1 at the Draesel Hall of the Church of the Holy Trinity on 88th Street in Yorkville, Manhattan.
“As much as possible we want to remain anonymous; we only want to help. That’s all,” sighed Dinzon, former staff of the Philippine Airlines (PAL) Iloilo ticketing office, who now resides in New Jersey. “Sin o pa abi ang mag binuligay kundi kita man nga mga Ilonggo (As Ilonggos, we all need to help each other).”
Dizon’s group include Grace Uybico, Camille Dabao, Agnes Jamora, Agnes Montelibano, Vincent Dabao, Tonette Dabao, Frankie Uy Bico, Shirley Cordova, and Joe Nick “Nonot” Dinzon, who are mostly from the Iloilo Assumption Group.

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Dinzon added: “We are aware that they always encounter problems on funds. They definitely need financial support and we are doing our part to at least contribute something. By all means we need to help them because they are representing and promoting our culture and heritage as Ilonggos.”
Dinzon is referring to the big contingent from Iloilo City and Guimaras led by officials and “warriors” from the Dinagyang Festival and Manggahan Festival, which will join the parade’s anniversary commemoration with a theme, “Pagbubunyi Sa Ating Mga Bayani-Ang Hangarin ay Pagkakaisa” or “Honoring Our Heroes-Inspiring Solidarity among us all” on Madison Avenue.
With the support of the Philippine Consulate General in New York, the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) led by president Antenor “Ner” Martinez, is the parade organizer.
Joji Juele-Jalandoni, a New Jersey-based registered nurse, personally went to Iloilo City and Guimaras in January this year to invite the two festival groups.
She is PIDCI past president and a native of Victorias City, Negros Occidental.

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Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III and the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation, Inc. led by Ramon Cua Locsin, Mrs. Gina Sarabia-Espinosa, Iloilo City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia, Iloilo Provincial Tourism Officer Bombette Golez Marin, Guimaras Provincial Tourism Officer Liberty Ferrer and 10 Guimaras officials, will also join the Iloilo City Trade Mission sponsored by the PHILCOMAN in partnership with the Asian American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) and the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce Washington DC (PACC DC).
Mrs. Sarabia-Espinosa will be joined by a group of Iloilo City’s top fashion designers and artists led by highly-regarded Bo Parcon, according to Dinzon.
Sarabia-Espinosa’s group will hold an exhibit to showcase Iloilo City’s potentials on June 4 at the Philippine Consulate General on Fifth Avenue.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Stop the shame vs ‘narco’ village execs

“Slander is worse than cannibalism.” --John Chrysostom

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Now that they have been elected or reelected, the so-called “narco” village officials in the Philippines should be spared from further insult and humiliation from authorities, especially from the Police Regional Office-6 (PRO-6) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
Having secured a fresh mandate means they have the full trust and confidence from their constituents; the shame season is over.
PDEA and other law enforcement agencies should now leave them alone and give them a space while they perform their duties and obligations to their constituents.
Authorities may continue to monitor the activities of barangay officials they suspect of engaging in illegal drugs directly (actual trafficking) or indirectly (like protection racket), but they can’t stop or interrupt them now from enforcing their jobs as punong barangay or council members.
They can now fight back under the mantle of being “honorable” public officials, especially if their accusers can’t present a corpus delicti other than slanderous allegations.

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PDEA’s golden moments against them were before the May 14, 2018 elections--years or months away, not weeks.
Those moments have melted away like the iceberg.
Walang forever.
The atmosphere before and after the elections is totally different.
If PDEA and other law enforcement agencies didn’t want these “narco” village officials elected and reelected, they should have doggedly pursued the cases against them and/or file appropriate charges in proper forum to disqualify them.
After the elections, it’s now water under the bridge.
As duly elected officials, they are back or now holding titles as “persons in authority” and may not just be easily harassed by any civilian or police authority.
These “narco” village officials may look like devils to our police authorities, but for their constituents they are heroes and “role models”; and they now possess awesome power and authority under the forceful local government code.

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When a person is from Iloilo he is called an “Ilonggo” and he speaks “Hiligaynon”, the dialect of Ilonggos.
Some people from other regions, especially from Metro Manila, were always confused and would misuse the word Hiligaynon, the dialect, and the word Ilonggo, the person or resident of Iloilo and other Ilonggo-speaking cities and provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Even the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) got confused when it nearly included the ballot boxes from Iloilo City in the ballot boxes from Iloilo Province, which were part of those covered by the electoral protest of Bongbong Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo.
In Marcos’ electoral protest, only the ballot boxes from Iloilo Province were under protest, not the ballot boxes from Iloilo City, which the Robredo camp insisted to be “separate and independent from the province of Iloilo.”

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TREATING EMOTIONAL PAIN
. Let us think of physical and emotional pain as two sides of the same coin. "MRI scans reveal that the brain regions that light up when you stub your toe are the same ones activated when you feel socially rejected," says Nathan DeWall, Ph.D., who conducted a study on treating emotional pain…NO HEALTH RISK in full-body scans at the airport. It would take 100 scans over the course of a year for us to receive what's considered a "negligible individual dose," the American College of Radiology reports. In fact, we're exposed to more naturally occurring radiation when flying cross-country, thanks to our proximity to outer space.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Age)

Live your life and forget your age.
-- NORMAN VINCENT PEALE :

Some of us can not anymore fully appreciate and enjoy the beauty and thrill of life because our thoughts are always incarcerated in sorrows and grief every time we face the mirror and are horrified and tormented by reality that age has vandalized our faces.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Joshua Alim might steal the show

“With but few exceptions, it is always the underdog who wins through sheer willpower.”
--Johnny Weissmuller

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- With 12 months to go before the 2019 congressional elections in the Philippines, Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III and brother-in-law, Iloilo City Rep. Jerry P. Treñas, are still adamant to disclose their complete line-up.
Their alleged “quarrel” has already bordered on soap opera.
Others swallow the “feud” hook, line and sinker; but some astute analysts think they’re just rerouting the procession which will eventually end up in the church anyway.
Aside from confirming that “I am definitely running in 2019”, Mayor Joe III has continued to keep his followers and critics in suspended terror; the mayor and the congressman have continued to cultivate an air of unpredictability (Law 17 of the 48 Laws of Power).
Although mayoralty aspirant Treñas has revealed his running mate would be Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon, he hasn’t announced his candidate for congressman, a crux that has raised some eyebrows.
Egged by some confused supporters to “stay put” and run for city mayor versus Treñas, Mayor Joe III himself has refused to reveal his political cards for 2019, thus deepening the mystery further.
The million dollar question for Joe III is still: to run for mayor or to run for congressman alongside Treñas and Ganzon?
Their supporters in Iloilo City and abroad want to know.
Impatient and excited Ilonggos are hankering for an honest-to-goodness answer; they want it now, and they want it quick.
But even if we can bring the horses to water, still we can’t force them to drink.


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This will give trail horse Councilor Joshua Alim, the most senior among the incumbent oppositions in the city council, the opportunity to woo the Ilonggos and unveil his intention to run for the position to be vacated by Treñas.
Now that Alim has secured the support of businessman and former mayoral candidate Rommel Ynion and probably the Gonzalez political clan, led by matriarch Dr. Pacita Trinidad Gonzalez, he can be a sentimental favorite if he announces his bid soon.
While the Joe III-Treñas-Ganzon camp dilly-dallies on the disclosure of its ticket in the major positions, Alim may start barnstorming the metropolis’ 180 barangays where some of the newly elected officials are fresh faces and incorruptible.
In terms of political upset, Alim may use 1992 political neophyte Rafael “Paeng” Lopez-Vito as a model and rallying point.
Even before then semi-retired former senator Rodolfo “Roding” Ganzon announced his intention to run for congressman in the city’s lone district, Lopez-Vito, a lawyer and a political nobody, was already literally painting the town red, announcing to all and sundry he was running for congressman even months before the start of election season.
Nobody gave the “elite” Lopez-Vito a slim chance to bring down the vastly mighty Ganzon, but the shocking defeat of formerly one of the country’s much-heralded lawmakers in the class of Ferdinand Marcos, Jovito Salonga and Ninoy Aquino to a “wet-behind-the-ears” Lopez-Vito became a hot and serious topic in political science classes for more than two decades.

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Alim, 53, is one of the only few Iloilo City officials--past and incumbent--who is consistent in his crusade against Panay Electric Company’s (PECO) alleged inefficiency, overcharging, among other “abuses.”
Even before he became a city councilor, Alim was already in the forefront of the battle against PECO’s “astronomical” distribution and generation fees along with feisty lawyer Romeo Gerochi, father of Councilor R Leone "Boots" Gerochi, and the late former city councilor German T. Gonzales in early 1990s.
Although some “ingrate” Ilonggo consumers did not go all out for Alim in his losing bid for city mayor against Treñas in 2004, the pride of Koronadal, South Cotabato continued to score high in public approval ratings these past years.
Former media colleague Florence Hibionada described Alim as “a very sincere public servant who visits a vigil for the dead even without the elections.”
He has friends and admirers in all sectors, especially the urban poor, the youth and the senior citizens.

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Alim, my former media colleague and kumpare (we are godfathers to the twins, Raymond and Rainier, sons of Iloilo community affairs chief Nereo Lujan), has carved a niche in public service during his days as a Bombo Radyo Iloilo reporter in the late 80’s until he passed the bar in 1991.
As a newly minted lawyer, he agreed to face his former law professor in the Central Philippine University (CPU), now Judge Nery Duremdes, in a media labor case, the first controversial case he handled as associate of Bedona and Bedona Law Offices in 1992, and won.
When I volunteered to enter the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) jail (I was ordered by then ICPO chief Dionisio Duco) for “fighting” in 1993, then Atty. Alim, clad in Barong Tagalog, arrived and chided me, “Pre, naga ano ka da sa sulod man? Indi ka da angayan gua da (Buddy, what are you doing inside? You don’t belong there. Get out!).”
If the mayoral contest will be crowded, Alim, who has never been tainted as a public servant, may be ripe to shoot for the congressional seat.
Some of his peers in the law profession in Mindanao and other parts of the country may be waiting for him in Congress.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

PDEA is not blameless

“If you support the war on drugs in its present form, then you're only paying lip-service to the defense of freedom, and you don't really grasp the concept of the sovereign individual human being.”
--Neal Boortz

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-6) is reportedly not happy that some of those linked in illegal drugs in Western Visayas won either as councilors or punong barangay (village chief) in the May 14, 2018 Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) and barangay elections.
PDEA-6 Regional Director Wardley Getalla, in fact, called the victory of narco-barangay officials as an “insult” to their agency saying they didn’t deserve to be elected in public office.
Getalla is correct that these narco-barangay officials are not supposed to hold an elective position.
They should be in jail, not in the barangay halls funded by the taxpayers.
But PDEA is not blameless.
PDEA and other agencies tasked to neutralize the spread of illegal drugs slept on their job, to say the least.
They had ample time to prevent evil with an ounce; they will now have to deal evil with a pound of cure.
Some of those narco-village rulers would not have participated in the elections if the the agency, tasked to implement or cause the efficient and effective implementation of the national drug control strategy formulated by the Dangerous Drugs Board, did its job.


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If PDEA was able to identify them as narcotics personalities months or years back, it should have filed cases against them before or even without the elections.
PDEA only disclosed their names (not all of the 200 names were really engaged in illegal drugs) on April 30, 2018, or two weeks before the elections.
By that time, most people have already made up their minds.
In fact, PDEA’s so-called “witch hunting” did not scare some people.
It even benefited some of the those on PDEA’s shame list as they ended up as underdogs; some of them managed to use the controversy to gain sympathy and appeal to people’s emotion claiming they were victims of black propaganda and persecution.
Thus many of those on PDEA’s pre-election anti-illegal drugs radar won handily, which is tantamount to a slap on the faces of our authorities, especially the PDEA.
PDEA failed to beat to the draw these newly-elected narc-village officials, who should have been apprehended as well as searched, as provided by law, for being law violators and the proceeds or effects of their crimes be seized.

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SURFING THE WEB ISN'T A WASTE OF TIME, AFTER ALL. According to new research from the University of California, Los Angeles, people who searched the Internet for an hour a day experienced a jump in brain activity. "The act of clicking through links and new information may build neutral connections and gray matter," says study author Gary Small, M.D. "Over time that might help protect against dementia."…GARLIC GOODNESS. Adding garlic to our next meal may protect our health. The more of the pungent herb that we consume, the lower the amount of a carcinogen in our bodies, research shows. Garlic appears to block nitrates, found in foods like processed meats, from turning toxic. Source: Analytical Biochemistry…RISE IN THE NAME OF GOOD HEALTH. Every hour women spend sitting during the day increases the likelihood of metabolic syndrome, which is a series of risk factors including hypertension, high cholesterol and abdominal obesity, reports the British Journal of Sports Medicine…FATS AS ASSETS. Fats in the hips, thighs and butt can be an asset, according to a new review of studies. "Unlike belly fat, which is linked to chronic disease, fat in your lover body appears to absorb excess fatty acids, preventing them from traveling to organs, such as the liver, where they could put you at risk for diabetes," says Konstantinos Manolopoulos, M.D.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Welcome to New York, Manggahan and Dinagyang Festivals

“If you're not in the parade, you watch the parade. That's life.” -- Mike Ditka

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- There will be two Ilonggo festivals that will join the 120th Philippine Independence Day Parade in Madison Avenue on June 3.
For the first time in the parade’s history, the Manggahan Festival of Guimaras Province and Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo City will join the colorful parade to be hosted by the biggest city in the United States’ east coast.
Manggahan Festival, to be represented by Hubon Manguguma, and Dinagyang Festival, to be represented by 2018 champion Tribu Panayanon of the Iloilo City National High School will help create awareness of Filipino culture and to raise funds for charity projects in the Philippines and the United States.
They are all expected to arrive in the JFK Airport on May 31.
Their trip will be part of the Iloilo City trade mission sponsored by the PHILCOMAN in partnership with the Asian American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) and the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce Washington DC (PACC DC), journalist Herbert Vego, who is joining the entourage, confirmed.
They will also perform in Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
“I found out that while the PIDCI has indeed invited the city government for the June 3 affair, the sponsor of the US tour is the Philippine Research Institute in cooperation with the Asian American Chamber of Commerce (Virginia) and the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce (Washington DC),” Vego said.
“There will be activities sa NYC from June 1 upon arrival until June 4 p.m., all aimed at promoting Iloilo to American and Filipino investors. I hope maka-attend ka. Mayor Espinosa will surely be around, kasama si Misis.”

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Their participation in this years’s parade that is expected to attract over 100,000 people, was made possible through Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) past president Joji Juele-Jalandoni who watched the Dinagyang Festival’s farewell performance at the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand in Iloilo City in January 2018 together with Ilonggo factotum and media liaison Jay Balnig.
New Jersey-based Ilonggo community leader Boy Dinzon said the Ilonggo community in New York City and New Jersey will hold a “Dinagyang and Manggahan sa NYC Fundraising Dinner on June 1 at six o’clock until 10 o’clock in the evening.
“We need to unite and help them because they are in the forefront in helping promote our culture, tourism and pride as Ilonggos,” Dinzon said.
Iloilo City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia, Iloilo Provincial Tourism Officer Bombette Golez Marin, and Guimaras Provincial Tourism Officer Liberty Ferrer will accompany the two festival tribes in a trade mission spearheaded by the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation led by Ramon Cua Locsin, Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III and wife Gina Sarabia-Espinosa, and several Guimaras provincial officials.

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The US Philippine Independence Day celebration in the northeastern also includes the 12 states under the jurisdiction of the Philippine Consulate General in New York, namely, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Other areas can be invited to participate in PIDC's many activities by the overall chairperson, depending on the theme each year, according to former New York Philippine Consul General Mario Lopez de Leon Jr.
Guests in this year’s parade will be hosted by Consul General Ma. Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega in the Philippine Consulate on Fifth Avenue.
Traditionally held along Madison Avenue from 37th to 25th Streets in Manhattan, the climax of the preparation, the Philippine Independence Day Parade, Street Fair and Cultural Show, held on the first Sunday in June each year is the biggest celebration of Philippine Independence outside the Philippines. The Street Fair and Cultural Show take place on the east side of Madison Square Park.
Iloilo City Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO) chief Ariel Castañeda, meanwhile, has called on all West Visayas State University (WVSU) alumni in New York City, Virginia and Washington DC and nearby please join the Iloilo City trade mission team and Dinagyang tribe in the Phil Independence Day parade on June 3.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Let’s move on to the next agenda

“Every day is a new day, and you'll never be able to find happiness if you don't move on.”
--Carrie Underwood

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- If both the winning and losing candidates in the recently held Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) and barangay elections in the Philippines can immediately bury their hatchet and move on to the next phase of their life, progress and development in the countryside won’t be hampered.
There is no other direction but to tackle next the other major national agenda in the lineup.
Filipinos don’t live and survive by politics alone.
We also have economic, cultural, and environmental concerns; foreign affairs, infrastructure, unemployment, oil and energy price hike, the dilemma of our OFWs especially in the Middle East.
The myriad of problems we face everyday is so thick and loaded we can’t afford to be stuck in one undertaking.
If winning bets can be sworn into office soon, the better for the local government in particular and the country in general.
An essential event involving the right to suffrage in a politically fragmented country like the Philippines isn’t supposed to drag on; it’s not supposed to linger in the Agora after it has reached the pinnacle.

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I beg to disagree with some pro and anti Ma. Lourdes Sereno lawyers that because we are not lawyers, our views and observations about Sereno’s ouster don’t matter anymore.
We don’t necessarily need to be lawyers to understand what is going on in the Supreme Court, and what is happening in our country.
While non-lawyers are not supposed to interpret the now popular quo warranto (the petition used as the basis by the Solicitor General to seek the removal of the lady chief justice), they can still air their opinions independently without prejudice to the 8-6 verdict of SC justices and make a stand on the subject matter’s political component.
Once the SC has spoken, the issue has become a national interest, not just an internal debate of the case’s merits among our brilliant court justices that should not be discussed by other parties outside the court for risk of sub judice.
Airing an opinion about the issue for non-lawyers is different from joining the mind-boggling and confusing interpretations by those in the legal profession of the legal claptrap.

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BEWARE THE DEADLIEST NATURAL TOXIN. Botulinal toxin, produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, is the most potent poison for humans. It has an estimated lethal dose in the bloodstream of 10-9 milligrams per kilogram. Death occurs when the respiratory muscles are paralyzed…TO ALL LOVERS OF CIGARETTE. Cigarette smoke contains about 4,000 chemicals. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, and nicotine are some of the major components, with lesser amounts of acetone, acetylene, formaldehyde, propane, hydrogine cyanide, toluene, and many others…WOMEN DRIVERS ARE MORE CAUTIOUS. Women drive and cross the street more safely than men. Men account for 70% of pedestrian fatalities since 1980. Between the ages 18 and 45, males outnumber females as fatal crash victims by almost three to one according to the Nat'l Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Emotional

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”
--Buddha

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. exhorted candidates in the Sangguniang Kabataan and barangay elections on May 14, 2018 to control their emotions.
Even if they want to, most of them can’t control their emotions.
Even if they need to, many of them won’t control their emotions.
Elections are an emotional event; candidates always fear defeat and everyone wants to win.
For the reelectionists, there is no substitute for victory; there’s no room for defeat.
For their challengers, victory is right around the corner; as harbingers of change, they aren’t supposed to give up.
When candidates, especially those vying for position of punong barangay or village chief, are running against a friend, a kumpare/kumare or a relative, emotions are at all time high.
The restlessness and bitter feelings are shared by their relatives, as well.
Emotions are at fever pitch especially during the campaign period when mudslinging and accusations fly thick and fast, and after the election results have been known when egos and pride are totally wrecked.


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Because of the size of a barangay, candidates find it hard to avoid each other physically after the elections’ final reckoning.
Some of the candidates are, in fact, neighbors if not colleagues in a religious organization.
Unlike in the elections for mayor, governor and congressman where the protagonists don’t meet face to face immediately for a long while in time for the wounds of campaign bickering to heal, candidates in a barangay election can sometimes rekindle their fresh political rivalry when they bump each other in coffee shops, barbershops, bakeshops and nearby alleys the morning after the tough and excruciating electoral slugfest.
"An emotion is a complex psychological state that involves three distinct components: a subjective experience, a physiological response, and a behavioral or expressive response," according to the book, Discovering Psychology.
This probably explains why it’s so impossible not to get emotional if you are involved in the elections as a candidate on Monday, May 14.

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As a journalist, I go with the Tulfo brothers in their feud with politicians like Senators Bam Aquino, Antonio Trillanes IV, Nancy Binay, and Kiko Pangilinan who sought for a senate probe on the scandalous P60-million Department of Tourism (DoT) advertisement to PTV-4 that ended in the block time program of Ben Tulfo, brother of resigned (or dismissed) DoT secretary Wanda Teo.
While it is their duty to call for an investigation, many of them are probably only trying to get even with the embattled Tulfo brothers after they have been criticized in the radio and TV programs of the hard-hitting brothers in the past.
But on the question of propriety or delicadeza, I disagree with the Tulfo brothers and former Sec. Teo that there was no conflict of interest in the doomed deal.
Based on the paper trail of how the P60 million was released (three trances), the transaction reeks not only with fish, it was done in bad faith from the very start no matter how they tried to sugar coat it.
Teo was right to resign, err President Duterte was right to sack her.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Wanda Teo ‘loses’ to Cesar Montano

“Look around. There are no enemies here. There's just good, old-fashioned rivalry.”
--Bob Wells

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- It’s not a secret in the Department of Tourism (DoT) that resigned secretary Wanda Corazon Teo and Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) chief operating officer Cesar Montano were not in good terms.
For instance, when Teo learned that the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) had invited Montano to grace the 119th Philippine Independence Day Parade here on June 4, 2017, she reportedly threatened to cancel DoT’s financial pledge of $100,000 for the festival.
When her alleged threat to cancel the financial windfall leaked to the press, Teo changed mind.
Parade organizers reportedly got the amount but Teo decided to cancel her trip to New York City for the parade.
Dr. Prospero Lim, 2017 president of the New York-based PIDCI, confirmed to this writer in an exclusive interview on May 28, 2017 that Teo “decided to withdraw” from the parade but he did not specify why.
It was Montano who showed up officially to represent the DoT. He joined singers Martin Nievera, Asia’s Nightingale Lani Misalucha, American Idol’s 11th Season 1st runner-up winner Jessica Sanchez, then New York-based Ms World-Philippines 2014 Valerie Weigman, former Grand Champion Global Pinoy Singing Idol, Shane Ericks, and comedian Mikey Bustos in the biggest parade of Filipino community in the United States.

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In many tourism-related festivals and activities in the Philippines and abroad, Teo and Montano reportedly made sure their paths wouldn’t cross.
If both Teo and Montano were invited, one of them would show up and the other wouldn’t.
Although Montano’s office is DoT’s attached agency, the actor would get the same attention as Teo in as far as official invitations were concerned in various tourism-related events in the Philippines and abroad.
The genesis of the purported feud between Teo and Montano could be traced back during the time when Teo’s younger brother, Erwin Tulfo, was a newscaster in the ABS-CBN in 2004.
Montano, who was involved in a spat with several showbiz actresses and martial arts icons, was always the subject of Erwin’s critical commentaries.
Because of Erwin’s tirades, Montano reportedly once challenged Erwin to a fistfight.

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When Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016, he gifted Montano, a native of Bohol, with the coveted TPB post for helping him during the campaign period.
TPB is tasked with domestic and international promotions for the DoT.
Duterte gave the top DoT post to Teo, biological sister of hard-hitting media men--Ramon, Ben, Raffy, and Erwin--who also campaigned for Duterte.
Before Teo was in trouble for the P60 million DoT advertising contract placed in her brother’s block time TV program aired over PTV-4, it was Montano who was first hit by controversy over alleged corruption and nepotism.

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TPB employees have filed a complaint against Montano, for entering into alleged questionable contracts and nepotism.
Submitted to the Presidential Action Center, the complaint listed 30 several alleged misdeeds of Montano such as appointing his relatives into positions whose functions are similar to those of incumbent employees, as well as unprofessional behavior.
Among the actor’s alleged malfeasance was the approval of a P11.2-million contract with a production company that had tapped him and his as guest performers.
The complainants said Montano also paid the same production firm P16.5 million in connection to a rally of President Duterte's supporters at Luneta park in Manila on February 25, 2017 where Montano has also performed.
The board also complained of paying for Montano's trips, which they say were not related to his work as chief operating officer.
The actor denied all the charges against him.
While Duterte refused to fire Montano, a protege of Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr., the president did not hesitate to sack Teo, whose husband Robert, served as assistant Davao city administrator when Duterte was mayor.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Mabilog, Joe III to meet in New York?

“I'm still passionately interested in what my fellow humans are up to. For me, a day spent monitoring the passing parade is a day well-spent.”
--Garry Trudeau

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- An Ilonggo community leader in New Jersey has disclosed to this writer recently that Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III and his wife, Gina Sarabia-Espinosa, are among the VIPs scheduled to grace the 120th Philippine Independence Day parade in Madison Avenue on June 3, 2018.
The couple will accompany Dinagyang 2018 champion, Tribu Panyanon, and Guimaras’ Manggahan Festival tribe, which were officially invited by the Philippine Independence Day Council Inc. (PIDCI) through past president Joji Juele-Jalandoni, according to the community leader who requested anonymity “because I haven’t yet asked permission from authorized parade officials to reveal the official list of people coming for the event pending their application for visa (in the US Embassy in Manila).”
Another source said former Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog was also expected to arrive for the parade and to meet with some Iloilo City officials he hasn’t seen since he went on a sick leave that expired on September 30, 2017 and since his dismissal as city mayor the following month.
The former Iloilo City mayor is believed to be currently staying in Canada "for security reasons."

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The Ombudsman ordered Mabilog’s dismissal on October 6, 2017.
He has been out of the Philippines since last year and was believed to have proceeded to Canada together with his family after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to kill him.
Nobody from Mabilog’s camp or family has confirmed that he was planning to fly to New York for the parade or to have a private meeting with any Iloilo City official.
It was Mabilog who first brought the then 2013 Dinagyang champion, Tribu Panayanon, during the 115th Philippine Independence Day parade in New York City.
During the 2015 RP Independence Day parade, Philippine Consulate officials in New York City invited Mabilog as among the few VIPs together with then senator and now foreign affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano to join the flag-raising ceremonies in the RP Consulate on Fifth Avenue but he didn’t arrive.
No Dinagyang tribe participated in the 119th Parade in 2017.
Before his dismissal, Mabilog, who was on his third and last term, was reportedly being endorsed by his supporters to seek a congressional seat in the lone district of Iloilo City currently held by Rep. Jerry Treñas.

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Sources said Mabilog “might use the occasion to meet with Mayor Joe III Espinosa and Mabilog’s other former allies in city hall who will be part of the parade entourage.”
Among those coming are Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation chair Ramon Cua Locsin and Iloilo City tourism officer Junel Ann Divinagracia.
Espinosa III served as vice mayor during Mabilog’s term as city mayor.
Espinosa III, Treñas, and majority of the members of the Iloilo City Council are now with the PDP-Laban, the political party of Mabilog’s tormentor, President Duterte.
It was not immediately known whether Mabilog, who still has plenty of followers in Iloilo City, would endorse Treñas’ bid for city mayor in 2019 and Espinosa, who is rumored to be running for congressman but hasn’t revealed anything in public other than confirming that he is “definitely running in 2019.”
Mabilog, Treñas, and Espinosa III composed the so-called “dreaded political triumvirate” that ruled Iloilo City politics in the early 2000 since the departure from politics of the late former Senator Rodolfo Ganzon and the late justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez Sr.
They have been tagged as “unbeatable and unbreakable” until Duterte won as president in 2016 and booted Mabilog out from Iloilo city hall in 2017.
They were all backed by Liberal Party (LP) bigwig, Senator Frank Drilon, Mabilog’s second cousin and No. 1 endorser of defeated presidential aspirant Mar Roxas.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Did ‘Ate Glo’ help Treñas?

“Once you embrace the absolute truth that every leader needs a mentor, you can begin to achieve the massive growth and success that you seek.”
--Clay Clark

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Just in case some Ilonggos have forgotten, one of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s most favorite city mayors from 2004 until 2010 was Atty. Jerry P. Treñas, now the congressman of the lone district of Iloilo City.
The Ilonggo solon holds a special place in 71-year-old Ate Glo’s heart until now.
Not everyone knows that Ate Glo was Treñas’ former mentor in college.
It was during Ate Glo’s term in Malacanang when Treñas was elected as chairman of the influential and powerful League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP).
When Ate Glo was under siege from the “Hyatt 10” (composed of her cabinet officials who resigned and demanded for her ouster) at the height of the “Hello Garci” controversy in 2008, Treñas, now 61, mobilized the LCP, which came up with a strong manifesto of support signed by 77 of 119 city mayors in the Philippines on March 4, 2008.

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"The political noise which is mainly in Metro Manila does not represent the true sentiments of the people of the Philippines. While some people are out in the streets to rouse mass fervor, a greater number are bound to respect the proper Constitutional means of ferreting out the truth. And the League of Cities of the Philippines belongs to the greater number – with sobriety and unity," read part of their statement.
Treñas and his ilk emphasized that they issued the manifesto because “the people were tired of politicking and did not want disruptions especially with the Philippines already on the road to progress due to the President's skillful handling of the economy.”
The Hyatt 10 failed to oust Ate Glo, who managed to withstand her political detractors’ terrifying assaults and finish her term.
That was one “utang na loob” or debt of gratitude Ate Glo owed Treñas that she probably would never forget for the rest of her life.

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When President Rodrigo R. Duterte ascended into power in 2016, Ate Glo, who was ordered detained for plunder during the term of her successor, President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III, was released and became Duterte’s chief ally in the House of Representatives after she was elected as congresswoman.
Treñas, who became one of the top honcos of Liberal Party (LP) in Western Visayas during President Aquino’s term owing to his close association with Ilonggo Senator Franklin Drilon, jumped to the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan’s (PDP-Laban), President Duterte’s party, in April 2017.
He brought along then vice mayor and now Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III and majority of the members of the city council.
Treñas' presence in the administration party was met with suspicions and derision by his political enemies who blasted him for being a “turncoat”.
The situation became complicated when the PDP-Laban hierarchy installed Dr. Pacita Trinidad-Gonzalez, mother of Treñas’ political rival, Raul Jr., as Iloilo City district chair on top of the reported appointment of Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon, Gonzalez’s Nacionalista Party (NP) partymate, as President Duterte’s “point man” for Iloilo.

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After every mud, sling and arrow has been thrown, however, Treñas and Ganzon have combined forces and will be running mates for mayor and vice mayor in the 2019 elections.
As if the guessing game, thrill, shock and explosion were not enough, Treñas disclosed most recently that he was actually appointed as PDP-Laban “council president” in Iloilo City effective April 25, 2018 by no less than PDP-Laban national president Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, national secretary general House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, and vice chairman Energy secretary Alfonso Cusi.
All of a sudden, the Iloilo City solon “eclipsed” Dr. Gonzalez and Vice Mayor Ganzon in as far as power shift and preferential recognition in the PDP-Laban is concerned.
Treñas’ sudden and big leap from a “transferee” to “council president” left all his enemies startled and dumbfounded.
His rise to the PDP-Laban top echelon was meteoric and head-turning.
Did Ate Glo play an important role?

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

I saw Sarah as a ‘prisoner’ in another world

“A big part of depression is feeling really lonely, even if you're in a room full of a million people.”
--Lilly Singh

By Alex P. Vidal



NEW YORK CITY -- When I was requested to help in the publicity of Sarah Geronimo’s concert tour in Vancouver, Canada in 2012, I saw a 22-year-old lady who looked like a “prisoner” in another world.
Even if she was accompanied by her “stage parents” Divina and Delfin wherever she went, I had a hunch she wasn’t happy.
Showbiz is not my forte, thus I stayed away (I was requested to tag along the group) when Sarah and her entourage--including her parents, of course--shopped around glitzy Robson Street in downtown Vancouver days before the concert held at the Queen Elizabeth Theater.
I noticed that her parents, especially Delfin, would always look at people who shook Sarah’s hands like members of Pope Francis' Swiss guards.
The parents and some of their companions seemed like human walls taller than the Great Wall of China and more sophisticated than the border walls in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
They were like guarding the North Korean president while shopping in the Bronx.

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It was like they were hell-bent to shield Sarah even from the mosquitoes and butterflies.
I noticed, too, that Sarah seemed uncomfortable and visibly edgy but was adamant to complain; she appeared to be “not in the position” to protest, but was fretful as if she was in another world.
Either she wanted to shout “leave me alone, please, for just a moment” but could not, or she wanted to run away (if only to gain a total freedom and independence) but did not.
I told my Filipino-Canadian friend Ale Sevillo, who was part of the host staff, that if this was how they treated the young celebrity from Sta. Cruz, Manila, time will come she would suffer from a breakdown if not commit suicide if she feels a tremendous pressure and is “suffocated” by her companions' (especially the parents) over-acting. God forbid.
When it was reported that Sarah turned emotional in her recent Las Vegas concert for her 15th anniversary “This 15 Me” tour where she was seen crying in the videos uploaded by fans, I remembered this observation I had with her in 2012 in Vancouver.
Sarah must be suffering from a silent depression, whatever inner sadness she can't fully express.
Recent scientific evidence suggested that the mixed-depressive form of bipolar disorder for celebrities with similar symptoms like Sarah’s can be a particularly dangerous time that can often go undetected or masquerade as general depression and irritability.
Depression, which affects about 16 million people in the U.S. according to the National Institutes of Mental Health, and more than 350 million globally according to the World Health Organization, is thought to be the result of interacting social, biological and environmental factors.

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The word “depression” is tossed around casually, but in reality the condition can be quite debilitating, according to the Scientific American, which analyzed the case of celebrity suicide victim Robin Williams.
People with major depressive disorder (also known as clinical, major or unipolar depression) exist beyond the realm of sadness.
“In fact, they can feel numb to the world and often become lethargic and lose interest in people and activities that formerly brought them joy. When the disorder is at its most severe, people with depression may even experience psychosis--seeing or hearing things that aren’t there,” according to the Scientific American.
Let’s hope Sarah, now 29, can still recover. Let’s hope also that her parents will finally give her the space she badly needs--before it’s too late.