Saturday, June 30, 2018

Is ‘Bugok’ mad at Gonzales pa and son beyond politics?

“I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.”
--Booker T. Washington

By Alex P. Vidal

-- Does the bad blood between former mayor Vicente “Bugok” Ramirez of Lambunao, Iloilo and the Gonzales father and son--former mayor Reynor and incumbent mayor Jayson--transcend beyond politics?
The question surfaced because hardly had the disqualification case 74-year-old Ramirez filed against Mayor Jayson Gonzales simmered down (the mayor has appealed the decision of the Commission on Elections in February this year which disqualified him for lack of residency), Ramirez came out swinging anew with another hatchet.
He wanted the Office of the Ombudsman to throw the books at the Gonzaleses for "unliquidated" cash advances, the latest of which was in 2016 totaling P8.983 million in a complaint he filed on June 26, 2018.
Ramirez had also filed a similar complaint against Mayor Jason’s dad in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, according to reports.
Ramirez’s problem is that no matter how he wanted to paint the Gonzaleses as bad guys, majority of the people in Lambunao believe otherwise.
I have yet to meet a Lambunao resident who will say (even in strict confidentiality) that Mayor Jason Gonzales is corrupt and inept.


We have nothing against Ramirez’s latest fusillade against Mayor Gonzales, but some observers, especially the people of Lambunao, might suspect he is “politicking” since all the cases that were thrown against the Gonzaleses father and son, so far, came only from one person: Bugok Ramirez.
Although there is no law that prohibits the likes of Ramirez from peppering certain public officials with Ombudsman cases, the fact that Bugok Ramirez has been identified as the Gonzaleses’ veritable political “whipping boy” in Lambunao makes the entire brouhaha look like a charade.
If political enemies of the Gonzaleses think they have the “smoking gun” and want the people to believe them lock, stock, and barrel, they shouldn’t focus on Ramirez as the lone “gunner” when emptying their bullets.
To make their cases more sound and credible, they should let other personalities “who can go to court with clean hands” file them, not the recycled, overused and tainted Ramirez.


Ramirez wanted the younger Gonzales criminally and administratively charged respectively for alleged violation of Article 218 and Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code and for dishonesty, gross misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and grave abuse of authority.
Also included in Ramirez’s charge sheets were the town’s municipal accountant; municipal treasurer; individual officials and/or employees granted with the unliquidated cash advance; signatory to the obligation request (ObR); and other public officials and employees who signed the disbursement vouchers and other supporting documents of the subject transactions.
Mayor Jason Gonzales was prepared to face Ramirez’s accusations, according to some reports.


Like many Ilonggo soccer fans, we will continue to follow the nerve-tingling 2018 FIFA World Cup matches until the semifinals and the finals.
These are the remaining matches entering the round of 16 as of this writing: Brazil versus Mexico; Spain versus Russia; Croatia versus Denmark; Colombia versus England; Sweden versus Switzerland; Japan versus Belgium.
All matches are getting exciting and thrilling now that Argentina and Germany have been given the doors.
My eyes are always on Croatia, Spain, Belgium.
I hope to see one of the three in the finals.

2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: Uruguay ousts Portugal and Ronaldo

A brace from Edinson Cavani saw Uruguay edge out Portugal 2-1 on Saturday at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi to secure a quarter-final place at the 2018 World Cup.
Cavani applied a fine finish to Rodrigo Bentancur's pass in the second half to seal the win. He had earlier linked up expertly with Luis Suarez to head La Celeste in front after seven minutes, only for Pepe to head home a corner after the break to level proceedings.
Uruguay will be sweating on Cavani's fitness for the next round after he left the match midway through the second half with an injury, though.

Even before the tournament began, Suarez and Cavani stood out as one of the World Cup's deadliest duos; they scored a combined 71 goals last season for Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, respectively.


What makes them even more effective for Uruguay is their chemistry, which they showcased by linking up superbly for Cavani to hand their side the lead just seven minutes in.
Suarez and Cavani have both found the net in three consecutive World Cups, and they have five goals between them here in Russia.
After Cavani limped out of the match in the 73rd minute—having been helped from the field by Cristiano Ronaldo—all eyes will be on his fitness for the quarter-final against France.
Suarez is still a threat on his own, but the understanding up front between he and Cavani makes a world of difference to Uruguay in the final third.
It's fair to say Ronaldo did not have his best game on Saturday. Against Uruguay's organisation and tenacity, the forward cut a frustrated figure, per ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan.
There was little to no improvement in the second half, in which he also picked up a yellow card that would have seen him suspended for the next round.
His missed penalty against Iran now looks even more costly, as it would have set up a last-16 tie with Russia instead of Uruguay.
The Selecao talisman will be two months shy of his 38th birthday come the next World Cup, so this may be his last appearance at one, but his legacy for Portugal is already secured.


His hat-trick against Spain and decisive goal against Morocco played a key role in their progression to the knockout phase, and the strikes also left him on 85 goals for Portugal, making him the second-highest international goalscorer of all time.
Along with his indisputable record, he also helped the Selecao win their first major international trophy at UEFA Euro 2016. Despite suffering an injury early on in the final, Ronaldo remained on the sidelines alongside manager Fernando Santos to motivate the team.
His failure to take Portugal further at the World Cup will hurt, but he's had a significant impact on their fortunes in his career.
Mooted as dark horses before the tournament began, Uruguay did little to live up to that tag as they scraped through their first two matches against Egypt and Saudi Arabia, respectively, with unconvincing 1-0 wins.
However, after dispatching hosts Russia 3-0 in the final group game to become one of just three sides to take a maximum nine points and their resolute performance here, no one will want to play them.
Quarter-final opponents France scored some superb goals in their 4-3 win over Argentina earlier in the day, but Uruguay are capable of going all the way, particularly if they get Cavani back. (Christopher Simpson)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Senior Supt. Tayaba and Iloilo’s war vs illegal drugs

“Being a good police officer is one of the most difficult, dangerous, idealistic jobs in the world.”
--Thomas Hauser

By Alex P. Vidal

-- When he was the chief of the Iloilo City Mobile Group (ICMG) in the late 1990s, Senior Superintendent Marlon Tayaba, now Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) director, was one of the police officials in Western Visayas close to Iloilo reporters, especially the ladies.
Our Sun Star Iloilo reporters, Ednalyn Belonio-Diamante and Ruby Silbubrico, always had good police stories to write each time they interviewed Tayaba.
Tayaba, a member of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) Class 1993, endeared himself to the press for being approachable and always available when sought for interview.
The popular police official from Pangasinan had served as the director of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Region 6 before being assigned as the commander of the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on January 2017.


As the IPPO chief who led an operation that killed alleged Western Visayas drug lord Richard Prevendido at Landheights Subdivision in Balabago village in Jaro District on September 1, 2017, Tayaba’s name vaulted up as the “conqueror.”
When Prevendido’s sister, Brgy. Bakhaw, Mandurriao, Iloilo City Brgy. Captain Remia Prevendido-Gregori and her personal assistant, Analee Antapatria, were killed in a family-owned beach resort in San Joaquin, Iloilo on June 24, 2018, Tayaba told reporters the slain village chief was a “high-value target” for her alleged involvement in illegal drugs.
Tayaba claimed at least six unidentified armed men in red car assaulted the victims at around 4:30 o’clock in the afternoon.
As of this writing the culprits remained unidentified.


Minutes after the foiled assassination of Police Officer 1 (PO1) Dorben Acap of the PNP Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit (RPHAU) in Sitio Pajo in Barangay Dulonan, Arevalo in Iloilo City on June 26, 2018, PO2 Melvin Mocorro, who reportedly worked under Tayaba, was rushed to a hospital with gunshot wounds.
Mocorro was being suspected as one of those who ambushed Acap, who managed to fire back.
Acap has survived and vowed to reveal more details about the botched assassination once doctors clear him.
There was no immediate confirmation from probers about Mocorro’s involvement in the ambush, as of this writing.
We expect Tayaba to be the “man-of-the-hour” in the next several weeks and months when the IPPO and the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) led by Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao step up their campaign against “persons of authority” (including cops, town and barangay officials) involved in illegal drug trafficking.
Tayaba and his team’s remarkable operations against dangerous personalities in illegal drugs trade have gained national attention.
Their blitzkrieg occurred days after President Rodrigo R. Duterte told Philippine councilors in a national convention in Iloilo City he wanted more traffickers of illegal drugs killed, including the “narco cops.”

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Why can’t they condemn Gregori’s murder?

“It is from the Bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine, and murder; for the belief of a cruel God makes a cruel man.”
― Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

By Alex P. Vidal

-- We have long been in the Age of Reason.
And so it saddened us that authorities have not condemned or are adamant to condemn the cold-blooded murder of Bakhaw, Mandurriao, Iloilo City Barangay Captain Remia Prevendido Gregori.
Even the Liga ng mga Barangay Iloilo City chapter headed by our friend, Councilor Reyland Hervias, did not immediately release an official statement to express alarm and condemn Gregori’s grisly killing.
We also haven’t heard any angry words from the feuding Rep. Jerry Treñas (PDP-Laban, Iloilo City) and Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III.
Weren’t they once Gregori’s political patrons?
Even the police investigators sounded like a broken musical instrument.
Residents of Brgy. Bakhaw and the entire Western Visayas familiar with Gregori’s case before and after her cruel death have been waiting with bated breath for the words of our leading authorities in the Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and City Hall as of this writing.

But all they could hear, so far, were ugly stories about Gregori’s background and alleged involvement in deplorable “activities.”


Instead of denouncing the violent attack on Gregori ( which also killed her personal assistant, Analee Anipatia, and wounded her husband, Bonifacio Gregori Sr., when unidentified gunmen peppered them with bullets while they were inside the family-owned Crystal Beach Resort at Barangay Igcadlum, San Joaquin on June 24, 2018), police blamed the murdered village chief for being “uncooperative” in their investigations on allegations she was engaged in illegal drug trafficking.
Instead of providing the public with fresh and satisfying leads in their initial investigations, all the people could hear were slanderous and unsavory statements that added insult to Gregori’s brutal death.


Even if Gregori was “evil” as what her critics were trying to portray her (although her constituents who recently gave her a fresh mandate will disagree), no one has the right to kill her.
We have laws that would deal with her alleged transgressions.
The Philippines is a country of laws, not of brute force.
It’s a country that adheres to the principles of due process and presumption of an accused’s innocence, not lex taliones or law of the jungle.
The fact that she was a person in authority and a woman to boot made her violent killing more repugnant and reprehensible.
Murder is a murder and must be condemned in a society regardless of the victims’ character and personality.
Victims of crimes should get justice by all means; and authorities are obliged to pull all strings for solution of any crime committed against any member of society.
Justice must be given to the Gregoris and Anipatia.
We don’t agree with the manner she and her assistant were terminated.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Speaker Alvarez is a bad influence to Ilonggos

“One of the most deadly causes of destruction of divine destinies is when a leader is failing, but he or she does not know it. Ignorance about your role is a death plot against people's successes.”
Israelmore Ayivor

By Alex P. Vidal

-- If I were a politician in the Philippines seeking reelection or higher elective position on May 14, 2019, I would avoid national leaders like House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez.
The likes of Alvarez are morally unfit to lead the Filipinos; they are a bad influence and aren’t good role models for the youth.
Alvarez, 60, who is married to Emelita Apostol Alvarez, the current head of the Congressional Spouses Foundation, did not only defend his extramarital affair with one Jennifer Maliwanag Vicencio, he also “justified” it in public as if it’s a badge of honor.
Ilonggos and their leaders may not be perfect and immaculate, but they know the bounds of decency and indecency; they are cultured and educated in the best universities; and they venerate women as symbols of virtue and epitomes of chastity and courtesy.


The representative from Davao del Norte, one of the big bosses of the ruling PDP-Laban party, also slut-shamed detained Sen. Leila de Lima for her romance with her driver during a House hearing in November 2017.
He is the same political leader being adored by traditional politicians in many parts of the Philippines who want to remain in power beyond 2019.
He is the same “Speaker Alvarez” being glorified by power-seekers and applicants for higher government positions owing to his closeness to President Rodrigo R. Duterte (although the president has been asserting he will never tolerate this) and for his lofty position in the PDP-Laban.
Every time he was in Iloilo or in Western Visayas, city and provincial incumbent and aspiring officials were in mad scramble to get his attention; they wanted to woo his blessings to anoint certain candidates for the next elections.


In other words, these Ilonggo politicians are “worshiping” a false political god; they are barking--for “blessings” and campaign moola--at the poisonous and sinful tree.
Ilonggos, who are educated and decent, should reject politicians who glorify Alvarez, et al like they are demigods.
Alvarez and other hackneyed and dirty politicians are not the prototypical answers to the Filipino people’s most fundamental problems.
The Ilonggos, or the Filipinos for that matter, don’t need politicians as bond aides to solve their immediate needs, but leaders with economic and spiritual visions who can truly lead with dignity and inspiration.
We should eschew politicians who are vexatious to the nation’s soul and those with a convoluted sense of machismo and misplaced braggadocio.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Quo vadis, Iloilo politicians?

“Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.”
--Will Rogers

By Alex P. Vidal

-- If self-confessed womanizer Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez is ousted as House speaker before the 2019 congressional elections, many Ilonggo politicians who have entrusted to him their political future will be in real big trouble.
There are strong whispers spreading around that majority of the Philippine congressmen/women want either Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco, 40, or Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, 71, to replace the loud-mouthed Alvarez, one of the big bosses of the ruling PDP-Laban.
Things aren’t anymore normal in the House leadership ever since Alvarez engaged Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte in an ugly word war early this year, the grapevine says.
Many Ilonggo politicians who kowtow to Alvarez thought the 60-year-old Davao del Norte representative was untouchable and unshakable being one of the closest allies of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
For some of them, Alvarez is the modern Marcus Aurelius, a stoic and leading icon of Pax Romana.


Like vermin, some of these Ilonggo politicians turned their backs from their former benefactors and political parties and embraced Alvarez like a king of Persia.
They formed a beeline and praised Alvarez to high heavens, looked up to him like a demigod and sought his blessings for anointment of their local bets for the May 14, 2019 elections.
They had no idea that Alvarez was also facing a king-sized insurrection right in his own turf.
Unknown to most of them, the playboy House boss was already a ticking bomb and could explode anytime; his invincibility will soon come to a screeching halt if he can’t dodge the deadly wallops of the Cassiuses and Brutuses in the Philippine House of Representatives.
If Alvarez capitulates, quo vadis, Iloilo politicians?


While having my usual mid-afternoon smoothie (a thick, cold beverage made from pureed raw fruit and sometimes vegetables blended with ice cream or frozen yogurt) session inside a Colombian resto on corner 82nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Queens Sunday, a group of revelers wearing yellow shirts and caps exploded in the intersection.
Suddenly flag-waving fans riding in cars honking loudly joined the festivity that started past three o’clock in the afternoon and ended at around past seven o’clock in the evening.
They were Colombians living in New York City celebrating Colombia’s triple hammer blow that dumped out Poland in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Colombia’s sensational win kept its hopes alive of barging in the Last 16.
Some of those in the crowd proudly chanting and cheering were a mixture of old, young, men and women soccer fans pouring out their joy and happiness like they won the Olympic Games.
Others brought along their dogs strapped with the Colombian national flag.
New York City cops passing the intersection just watched as they continued to patrol the predominantly Latino community.
I wished we Filipinos could also celebrate like them.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Let no priest carry a gun

“If you want to lose your faith, make friends with a priest.”
--George Gurdjieff

By Alex P. Vidal

-- More residents in Iloilo City in the Philippines will now be forced to walk if they are traveling only within the City Proper and will no longer commute in the public utility jeepneys (PUJ) as what they used to do.
Before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) national office approved the P2.50 hike on minimum fares of PUJ in the city and province, many Ilonggos would choose to ride rather than walk when they traveled to the Calle Real from the Hall of Justice on Bonifacio Drive vice versa, or from the Plaza Libertad to the Calle Real (Iloilo Ampitheater) vice versa.
The current minimum fare is P6.50. If the fare hike will take effect, a commuter will have to shell out P9 per ride.
Except if they come from the “faraway” districts of La Paz, Jaro, Bo. Oberero, Lapuz, Arevalo, Molo going to Calle Real in the City Proper, many commuters who travel only within the Calle Real belts from the nearby City Proper villages, offices and stores, commercial establishments vice versa, will now find it more practical to walk rather than spend P9--except, of course, if the weather isn’t good.


Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) director, Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, should be more surprised if there are priests who will apply for a permit to carry firearms outside of residence (PTCFOR), not if nobody has applied, as of this writing.
In the first place, no priest should carry a gun or any deadly weapon for that matter.
Even if they are now being targeted for assassination, the priests, as preachers of non-violent Biblical doctrines, are aware they can’t return a violence however strong the provocation; they can’t use a violence or engage an attacker in a gun battle to prevent evil.
As “servants of God”, the priests should be willing to sacrifice their lives, if necessary, like the Christian martyrs fed to the lions and burned at stake during Nero’s atrocious rule in the Roman Empire.


They are mandated by their calling to preach the gospel of God, inculcate and spread love and peace to mankind, not to kill criminals with a licensed revolver.
Even if they will be allowed by police authorities, priests should decline any license or authority to carry any hardware that terminates a human life.
If they truly adhere to the solid principles of the Roman Catholic Church on forbearance, non-violence and clemency, they wouldn’t even think of owning a toy gun.
Like journalists, priests are non-combatants; they are purveyors of peace and spiritual enlightenment.
Persecution and death are part of the hazards of being on the side of truth, justice and enlightenment.
Alejandro Jodorowsky once exhorted us to “Let the inner god that is in each one of us speak. The temple is your body, and the priest is your heart: it is from here that every awareness must begin.”

Thursday, June 21, 2018

I’m a Viber FIFA 'chatbot' participant

“FIFA stands for discipline, respect, fair-play, not just on the field of play, but in our society as well.”
-- Sepp Blatter

By Alex P. Vidal

-- The Philippine National Police (PNP) in Western Visayas has set up two hotlines where Ilonggos can use directly to call and report abuses committed by organic PNP members, especially those involved in illegal drugs.
Because some lawmen are still in cahoots if not directly involved in criminal activities, the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6), headed by Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, has to belabor creating the hotlines for the organization’s bad eggs instead of using the hotlines directly for Ilonggos to report certain criminal activities unfolding or about to unfold in the communities.


If only all the Filipino cops are honest and well-disciplined, the two PRO-6 hotline numbers 09989673651 and 09985629523 would be used to accommodate only calls or text messages from Good Samaritans or “concerned citizens” to track down the real lawbreakers wearing civilian cloths, not a police uniform.
The fact that the hotlines were established purposely for the rogue cops means the PNP has acknowledged that the serpents in paradise and the snakes in the forest have not been totally stamped out within the ranks.


I have accepted the invitation of Viber to participate in its World Football Chatbot.
As a “participant”, I get daily match reminders, predict results, collect points and challenge my friends during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia from June 14 to July 15.
And if “I want to make it interesting”, I can take part in the global competition and win daily prizes for spot-on predictions.
If I am lucky to earn most points I can win the grand prize: VIP tickets and trip to see FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid in Spain. Wow.
Because I was interested, I agreed to tap “Yes, I agree” to accept terms and enter the prize winning competition.


For a start, in the matches scheduled on June 22, I picked Brazil over Costa Rica with a score of 1-0 in Group E; Nigeria over Iceland with a score of 1-0 in Group D; Serbia over Switzerland with a score of 2-0 also in Group E.
Also, in the matches scheduled on June 23, I picked Belgium over Tunisia (1-0) in Group G; Korea Republic and Mexico a draw (0-0) in Group F; Germany over Sweden (1-0) also in Group F.
I am not a Nostradamus of soccer, but I hope I’ll win. Good luck to me.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Trust, God)

Never trust anyone completely but God. Love people, but put your full trust only in God.

Some people betray us and bring us down even if we love and trust them wholeheartedly. With God, we are safe; we are protected and we shall enjoy the gift of life.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A waste of time to run after ‘playboy cops’

“I think I'm a natural-born leader. I know how to bow down to authority if it's authority that I respect.”
--Tupac Shakur

By Alex P. Vidal

-- When President Rodrigo R. Duterte arrived at the Iloilo International Convention Center for the Philippine Councilors League (PCL) 2nd Quarterly National Executive Officers and National Board Meeting on June 20, he was met outside by Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III, who bowed before the Philippines’ highest official like a Japanese after holding and shaking the president’s right hand with his two hands.
Mayor Joe III’s gesture was normally a form of greeting, probably a sign of respect performed by other leaders almost everywhere in Korea, Japan, Vietnam and China.
Aside from using it to welcome VIPs (very important persons), head bowing is also done before and after martial arts practice and competition, at tea ceremonies and at religious shrines.
Bowing of the head is quite complex and may be used to express deference, sincerity, humility and remorse, although it may look simple like what Mayor Joe III did.


Mayor Joe III’s critics, however, have their own interpretations of that extra body language.

They thought there’s more than meets the eye in the city mayor’s “over reaction.”
They theorized Mayor Joe III had been “starstrucked” or “only intimidated.” Or both.
A handshake would have been enough, they said, since lowering ourselves make us look smaller and less threatening in the concept rooted in animalistic tendencies especially when we come face-to-face with a bear.
Since head bowing is a normal practice in Asia, it’s fine for Mayor Joe III to do it in front of a visiting president, a person in authority whose reputation is worse than a bear especially when dealing with criminals.


Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, the new Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) director, said the Philippine National Police (PNP) will not condone married cops maintaining illicit affairs or having mistresses.
They give the PNP a bad name, Chief Supt. Bulalacao lamented.
He pointed to the PNP’s Chiefs of Police Manual lists the ethical standards for policemen: Morality, judicious use of authority, justice, humility, orderliness, and perseverance, according to reports.
The police general bewailed that womanizers in the police organization are “answerable to God and to the laws of the land.”
Chief Supt. Bulalacao is correct.


But the PNP will waste precious time if they will run after organic members engaging in sexual peccadilloes. In the Philippines, some of those who have more than one wives are cops and military men.
Next are politicians and media personalities.
It’s in our culture which is patriarchal by nature.
Some Filipino women are suckers to a “false sense of authority” and a “false sense of security.”
If the male perpetrator has a gun or position, he is being looked up to as a “savior” and “powerful”, thus even if he isn’t handsome-or even if he isn’t rich-a woman will easily fall for him.

Will a Rosalie Treñas-Joe III tandem solve the skirmish?

“The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency.”
 --Theodore Roosevelt

 By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III has refused to blink in the mind game versus his brother-in-law, Iloilo City lone district Rep. Jerry P. Treñas (PDP-Laban), and has finally let the cat out of the bag: Joe III is running for mayor on May 14, 2019.
This will pit Mayor Joe III against Treñas, reputed to be the new de facto political king of Iloilo City, the tag previously held by the late former Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr.
Mayor Joe III’s decision has dashed to pieces all hopes of a potent Treñas-Espinosa family express train versus “the rest of the world”--meaning all the combined and throbbing political forces in Iloilo City wishing to eviscerate the “elite” political Treñas and Espinosa clans from the metropolis’ political map.
But wait a minute.


Except for a “Divine intervention” as we mentioned here in the previous columns that includes an attempt to tap Mrs. Rosalie Treñas as candidate for congresswoman in a line-up with Mayor Joe III and Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon.
This would mean Rep. Treñas “sacrificing” for his wife and canceling his bid to run for mayor if only to preserve their political family and wrest total control of Iloilo City’s political supremacy for the two hugely politically superior clans.
If Madame Rosalie, sister of Mayor Joe III’s wife, First Lady Gina, won’t run, there is no other “Divine intervention” that can be bruited about to salvage the irritating and frustrating falling-out of the two clans which developed when there was no clear and present threat from other political forces.
Rep. Treñas himself was still hoping that Mayor Joe III would change his heart and mind and run for congressman in order not to divide their formidable slate.
But recent developments showd Mayor Joe III was now willing to crosss the Rubicon river and risk being “eliminated” from the political landscape in the event he loses against Treñas in the battle for City Hall in 2019.


Mayor Joe III believes he has gained the momentum by virtue of his having governed as city mayor without any hitch and obstacle, so far, since October 2017 when the Ombudsman ousted Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.
In Mayor Joe III’s mind, there is no heavy negative issue to be thrown his way in the event his feud with Treñas goes full blast especially during the chaotic campaign period.
Only the entry of Madame Rosalie will change the entire picture for the time being.
As the saying goes, in every problem there is a solution.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Imagine if Filipinos were the ones who upset Germany

“The first World Cup I remember was in the 1950 when I was 9 or 10 years old. My father was a soccer player, and there was a big party, and when Brazil lost to Uruguay, I saw my father crying.”

By Alex P. Vidal

-- Imagine if it were the Filipino soccer players who pulled the rug from under the 2018 FIFA World Cup defending champion Germany in the group stage opener on Saturday morning (June 17) in Moscow, Russia.
"Dutertards" and "Yellowtards" would have instantly halted their mudslinging activity; Filipino Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages would have been inundated with soccer melodrama; and delirious Filipino fans would have caused not only a minor but major “earthquake” simultaneously in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao like what happened in Mexico when the underdog Mexicans upset the mighty Germans, 1-0, courtesy of Hirving Lozano.
Some of the heroic Pinoy soccer players would easily be clinching elective positions in the next elections.
A soccer player would likely be the next Senate President or House Speaker. Only in the Philippines.
Any win registered by any country in a World Cup match actually becomes a national festival even if it isn’t a championship; the booters are considered as real celebrities and heroes.
Soccer itself is a mystical sport. 

FIFA World Cup is the biggest and most popular outdoor sporting event known in the universe.


If the Philippines did it, offices and classes would be suspended; traffic would be halted; politics would be thrown in the backseat; stock exchange trading would be held in abeyance, crimes would deteriorate; malls would be abandoned as the entire nation celebrated the World Cup stunner.
The Filipinos would have rejoiced like they won their first Olympic gold.
But I’m sorry to cut short this fantasy and vainglory.
Winning against a powerhouse team like Germany is like bordering on megalomania.
In the first place, the Philippines can’t play against any soccer superpower in America and Europe in a World Cup match for the simple reason that the national team has never been qualified for FIFA World Cup despite its reputation as one of the oldest national teams in Asia.
The Philippines has been playing at the international level since 1913, but the farthest that it has achieved, so far, was having been qualified in the AFC Asian Cup in 2019.


The Filipinos’ best finish in a major tournament was second place to Palestine at the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup.
We can only share the great moments with the Mexicans who resemble like Filipinos in height, talent and other physical features.
It was only Mexico’s second win against Germany in 12 World Cup matches since 1968.
The Germans bundled them out six times and drawn their matches four times.
It’s a long way to go and Germany can either bounce back and win its second title or Mexico will continue its giant killing spree or even pocket its first World Cup crown.
Or both of them will be eliminated.
Let’s continue to enjoy watching more explosive World Cup matches.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Ilonggos in trade delegation who worked ‘silently’

“Work hard in silence, let your success be your noise.”
--Frank Ocean

By Alex P. Vidal

-- When I had a chance to engage Iloilo City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia in a long tete-a-tete at the Madison Square Park after the 120th Philippine Independence Day parade here organized by the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) on June 3, the first thing I asked was “Where is Department of Tourism (DoT) Regional Director Helen Camarista-Catalbas?”
Since two flashy regional festivals--Iloilo City’s Dinagyang and Guimaras’ Manggahan--and one trade mission were involved in the sizzling East Coast event, Atty. Catalbas should have been in the entourage, Divinagracia explained.
But because the new DoT secretary, Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, has just assumed and has been constantly communicating with all regional directors in the country, Atty. Catalbas probably needed to stay behind, she surmised.
Divinagracia pointed out that Atty. Catalbas "has been very supportive" of all their programs, including both in their tourism and business-related activities, especially when Iloilo City hosted the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministeral meeting in 2015.


I also missed Divinagracia’s predecessor, city tourism consultant Ben Jimena, who first accompanied the Tribu Panayanon during the 2013 Philippine Independence Day parade here in a delegation led by Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.
As I have asserted several times, City Hall should bring one representative from the Public Information Office (PIO) in the next trade mission and investment forum.
PIO Chief Lucy Montealto-Sinay or her representative would be able to greatly help sustain the publicity of the day to day week-long activities.
Mayor Jose Espinosa III talked lengthily and enormously about Iloilo City’s peace and order during the open fora.
It won’t hurt if in the next trade mission, they tag along the chief or a representive from the Iloilo City Police Office (IPPO) to speak about peace and order and assure potential investors of their security.
There were other Ilonggos in the delegation who worked silently and were sparingly mentioned in the media but who, in one way or the other, have made gigantic contributions in the success of the first-ever private-initiated Iloilo City Trade Mission and Investment Forum Ilonggo Fashion and Jewelry Show in the East Coast on June 4-10, 2018.


I didn’t have the exact list of all Iloilo delegation members, but I spotted Iloilo City Councilor Plaridel Nava, who came with his family. Nava talked about the Iloilo City Ordinance on Noise Pollution in the EduCare for Early Childhood Education talk in Fairfax, Virginia.
His wife helped model for hablon cloths in the Virginia leg fashion show.
Alma May Tayo, chair of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Iloilo Chapter Exhibitors’ Committee, also actively joined the trade mission in New York, Virginia and Washington D.C. and the New York City Independence Day parade.
City Tourism Operations Officer Florence King Haro Erlano and Iloilo City Tourism and Development Office staff Sheena Julienne Galon did amazing reinforcement tasks during the parade and the trade mission and investment forum.
Executive Assistant Jojo Castro, “Iloilo City’s Bong Go”, was with City Engineer Bobby Divinagracia, Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation boss Ramon Cua Locsin, and Iloilo City National High School principal and Tribu Panayanon tribe manager, Dr. Blesilda V. Floro.


City Mayor’s Office staff Rosita Celiz did a factotum for Iloilo City First Lady Gina Sarabia-Espinosa and Secretariat Chief Florence Hibionada.
The rest of the team, led by Dr. Emily Noserale Hagad, president and project coordinator of Philcoman Research Institute, Inc. in the private sector, were Commercial Diplomat for Trade Relations of the City Rex Aguado, City Local Economic Enterprise Officer Jose Ariel Castañeda, City Planning Coordinator Jose Roni Peñalosa, Western Visayas State University College of Communication Dean, Dr. Carmencita "Menchie" Robles, University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV) Vice Chancellor Mary Ann Gumban, Iloilo Business Park-Megaworld Sales Director Carla Margarita Perez, Eon Group of Companies founder and CEO Felicito Tiu, StackTreck Enterprises CEO Billy Shung Hei Yuen, and journalists Tara Yap (Manila Bulletin) and Herbert Vego (Panay News), who also did Herculean efforts to promote Iloilo City as an ideal and perfect hub for business, tourism, education and investment.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

'Kap' Ray Rico’s shocking defeat

“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.”
--Arnold H. Glasow

By Alex P. Vidal

-- The reason why I am writing about the shocking defeat of my friend, Punong Barangay Ray “Toto Ray” Gadong Rico of PHHC Block 22, Mandurriao, Iloilo City in the recent Philippine barangay elections, is because I feel what he feels.
It’s because he’s not supposed to lose, in the first place.
With his satisfying and impressive record in making his village great, Kap Ray is a big loss.
He is not a tamad (lazy) or a pabaya (negligent) leader who deserves the boot.
Kap Ray’s heart has always been for the barangay; he has always been a proud servant to residents of a peaceful village known for their civic and religious involvement, educational attainment and high level of professionalism.
I know that Kap Ray and his younger brother, Boyet, also my dear friend and a former punong barangay (village chief) himself who once served as Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog’s executive adviser for community affairs, are not on speaking terms.
But I didn’t know that Kap Boyet reportedly “did not campaign” for Kap Ray.


Did Kap Boyet campaign for Kap Ray’s tormentor, newly elected Kap Biboy Dolar?
I am not a resident of Brgy. PHHC Block 22, Mandurriao, thus I have no business to begrudge newly elected Kap Biboy Dolar’s win.
I heard he is also a gentleman and a good leader like Kap Ray. If only that barangay can elect two chiefs.
While I feel a deep sense of empathy for Kap Ray, I respect Kap Boyet’s choice and decision.
Also well-loved in their barangay and one of the most trusted advisers of Rep. Jerry P. Treñas, Kap Boyet may have his own reason for “not supporting” Kap Ray.
Kap Ray has been arguably one of the most diligent and productive village chiefs in Iloilo City; he is, in fact, a potential ex-officio member of the city council representing the Liga ng mga Barangay (with due respect to Councilor Kap Reyland Hervias).
Since day one of his ascension as punong barangay, Kap Ray has literally placed Brgy. PHHC Block 22 on the map with his incredible projects that include road widening, beautification and sports programs, community library, among other head-turning infrastructure projects.


Kap Ray’s unwavering love for the youth is manifested by the consistent mushrooming of reading materials, toys, appliances and other useful items in their day care center, parroting the famous adage of his late father, the great Ilonggo leader, Atty. Kiddy Rico: “Buas damlang sang pamatan-on, aton talupangdon” (We must recognize and prioritize what is good and essential for the future of the young generation).
Under his leadership, Brgy. PHHC Block 22 became known as among those with most active and relentless Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC).
Kap Ray gave priority to sports program and development “because that is the easiest way to save the youths from illegal drugs,” he once sighed.
I would like to share to Kap Ray one of the most popular quotes from Winston Churchill about success and failure: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
For sure, Kap Ray’s recent election debacle did not snatch away the enthusiasm and spirit to serve, which he has been cultivating deep in his heart. After one failure, Kap Ray will surely bounce back.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

'Only a Divine intervention can save Joe III-Treñas relationship’

“Activity in politics also produces eager competition and sharp rivalry.”
--John George Nicolay

By Alex P. Vidal

-- At this stage of their alleged altercation, there is still a chance to save the relationship between Iloilo City Rep. Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas and Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III, “but it will need a Divine intervention.”
This was the assessment given by a high-ranking City Hall executive, who confirmed to this writer recently “the feud between the two is real.”
“It’s not a drama as what their critics have been trying to spread and what they wanted the people to believe,” the high-ranking City Hall executive asserted.
“In fact, some members of their families are already affected (by the alleged cold war). Some of them went as far as unfriending each other on Facebook.”
Treñas’ wife, Rosalie, is the sister of Espinosa’s wife, Gina.
Gina and Rosalie come from the affluent Sarabia clan.
They also reportedly tried to avoid each other in some public gatherings “so as not to piss off their husbands.”
Neither Rosalie nor Gina has confirmed they, too, were not on speaking terms.


“Sang nag ligad nga PBA game (between All-Star Visayas and Gilas Pilipinas at the University of San Agustin Gym on May 27, 2018), wala sila nga duwa (Joe III and Treñas) nagsapakanay (They snubbed each other during the recent PBA game),” disclosed a former city councilor, who was in New York City for the 120th Philippine Independence Day parade on June 3.
He added: “Sadtong una OK pa sila sang nag hambal si Jerry nga ma retire na sia sa politika. Pitik sentas kibot kami mapadalagan sia kuno meyor. Pati si Joe kibot man eh. Kibot kami tanan (At first they were still OK when Jerry announced he would retire from politics. But, all of a sudden, he announced he would run for mayor. We were all shocked, including Joe).”
The mass resignation of City Hall executive assistants Melchor Tan, Abel Alejano, Boyet Rico, Irene Ong, Mitch Antiqueña and Roy Firmeza in March this year triggered the snafu, it was learned.
They were reportedly Treñas’ loyal supporters asked by Mayor Joe III’s right hand, Executive Assistant Jojo Castro, to tender their resignation if they couldn’t prioritize their City Hall tasks over their “other concerns” outside City Hall.
Among the purported “other concerns” were reportedly their attendance in the meetings called by Treñas which happened to be during office hours.


The “sacked” executive assistants reportedly brought the matter to media, thus triggering a rancor between Treñas and his bilas (brother-in-law) when the issue became known in public.
Their supporters and some “independent” family members reportedly wanted to patch up the feud so that Joe III and Treñas can still join together in one ticket during the May 14, 2019 elections.
Treñas has announced he would run for mayor under Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and his running mate would be Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon.
The slot for congressman remains open but if Joe III will decide to run for city mayor, Team Treñas will reportedly tap former National Youth Commission (NYC) Executive Director Nielex “Lex” Tupas.
If the “Divine intervention” beckons and the Treñas-Joe III fracas has been resolved, Joe III might run for congressman alongside Treñas and Ganzon.


If things develop from bad to worse and the two political Goliaths decide to paddle their canoes on separate rivers, mayoral candidate Joe III might reportedly take in either “graduating” Councilor Joshua Alim or former Councilor Julienne “Jamjam” Baronda as candidate for House of Representatives.
“Time is not yet running out. Anything can still happen between now and during the deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy (for the 2019 elections). We are still hoping that Congressman Jerry and Mayor Joe III will finally set aside their animosity with the help of their families and closed friends; and sit down to discuss the future of Iloilo City,” the high-ranking City Hall executive pointed out.
“With their combined resources, organizations and political party, they are strong and unbeatable. If they fight, they have everything to lose and nothing to gain."

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Possible Jamjam Baronda vs Lex Tupas House duel ‘disheartening’

“Youth has no age.”
-Pablo Picasso

By Alex P. Vidal

-- I am one of those who expressed “sadness” when I heard from the grapevine recently that if the “rift” between Iloilo City Rep. Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas and Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III is not settled amicably, two of the most dynamic and young leaders of Iloilo City will be heading for a clash in the city’s lone congressional district in the May 14, 2019 Philippine elections.
“This is disheartening,” bemoaned a prominent member of the Iloilo City Trade Mission, who refused to be named “because both the young leaders are dear to me and I don’t want to preempt any ongoing political negotiations (among Iloilo City’s political leaders).”
She was referring to former Iloilo City councilors, Dr. Nielex “Lex” Tupas and Julienne “Jamjam” Baronda.


Both are good friends and maintain cordial relationships off and on the political arena.
They also have lots of common supporters and admirers who consider them as Iloilo City’s Foghorn Leghorn and Chicken Hawk or Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo, brimming with charisma and intelligence.
The grapevine added that if Treñas and Joe III won’t smoke the proverbial peace pipe soon, “Tupas might run for congressman under mayoral bet Treñas and Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon, while Baronda might run for congressman under Mayor Joe III and possibly, Councilor R Leone Gerochi, for vice mayor.”
If Baronda decides to pave the way for “graduating” Councilor Joshua Alim, the grapevine said it would be a battle between “three lawyers against a doctor, a lawyer, and a pastor.”
The three lawyers are Alim, Joe III, Gerochi while the doctor is Tupas, the lawyer is Treñas, and the pastor is Ganzon.
Alim’s possible inclusion in the Team Joe III will depend though on the results of “negotiations” and whether the powerhouse Gonzalez faction (composed of Dr. Pacita Trinidad-Gonzalez, Dr. Marigold “Gold” Gonzalez, and former Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr.) will intermingle with the Team Joe III.


One of the Gonzalezes’ favorite incumbent city officials, Councilor Plaridel Nava, is already “in” and was part of the Iloilo City Trade Mission here.
Nava, the only city councilor in the entourage, confirmed he won’t be seeking a higher elective office when his term expires in 2019.
Meanwhile, a Baronda versus Tupas clash for the city’s lone congressional district would be a real blockbuster, predicted a City Hall bigwig who was also in the trade mission.
“While Lex Tupas is extremely popular among the hoi polloi, Jamjam Baronda is also a darling of the young voters in the barangay,” the City Hall bigwig explained.
The City Hall bigwig, however, said “money will play a major factor between two extremely strong candidates for congressman.”
The City Hall bigwig said although Baronda, daughter of retired city health officer Dr. Nick Baronda and former city councilor, Dr. Julie Baronda, has been away from politics for quite a while after a May 2010 debacle when she lost to Joe III for vice mayor, “she has successfully linked with some influential incumbent senators in Metro Manila and other well-oiled patrons in Mindanao.”


Baronda’s “loyal” youth brigades are still intact in the metropolis’ 180 barangays and have been “maintained” by her younger sister, Councilor Julie Grace “Love-Love” Baronda, the City Hall bigwig stressed.
Tupas, on the other hand, has been in the limelight when he became executive director of the National Youth Commission (NYC) from November 11, 2015 until May 5, 2017.
Tupas’ base in the grassroots is also solid and “growing” after being buttressed by his wife, Dr. Candice Alumisin-Tupas, who replaced him in the city council.
We expect all the comets and meteors to scoot and realign if Jamjam Baronda and Lex Tupas, both untarnished and very qualified, will collide.
Members of young and intelligent electorate, which comprise the “thinking” voters in 2019, will definitely have a hard time to choose between two pristine and promising national figures.
It’s like being made to choose between Joan of Arc and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, both legends and highly regarded in their own right.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Iloilo City sweeps New York, Virginia, Washington D.C. by storm

“Your mindset matters. It affects everything - from the business and investment decisions you make, to the way you raise your children, to your stress levels and overall well-being.”
--Peter Diamandis

By Alex P. Vidal

-- The biggest winner in the just concluded private-initiated Iloilo City Trade Mission and Investment Forum Ilonggo Fashion Show and Jewelry Show in the East Coast on June 4-10, 2018 was Iloilo City itself.
Through its “missionaries” led by Mayor Jose Espinosa III in the government and Philippine Council of Management (Philcoman) Research Initiative, Inc. president and project coordinator, Dr. Emily Noserale Hagad, Iloilo City swept New York City, Virginia, Washington D.C. and their environs by the storm.
It has been proven once again that private and government partnership in trade missions worked wonders to some extent.
The active participation of US-based Ilonggos and their big communities in the East Coast was, in fact, one of the main reasons why the mission became a grand success.


Let’s hear it from some executives who mattered most:
Fraulen Chrubner, Executive Director of LLG Pixar Mayers, Inc.: “They (Iloilo City trade mission panelists) came well-prepared and the discussions were trenchant and easy to decipher especially for serious business globetrotters.”
Vance Hum, President and CEO of I.M. Systems Group: “It was an excellent event. I was impressed by the very informative multi-panel discussion on business possibilities, economic progress and fashion, springing out of Iloilo, Philippines. And the ensuing outdoor fashion show and Philippine fare at the reception topped off the perfect evening weather.”
Hank Hendrickson, US-Philippines Society, executive director: “The presentations and the visual demonstrations of state-of-the-art design from Iloilo illustrate just how far the Philippines has advanced in developing vibrant regional centers beyond the national capital region. The city’s delegation made a persuasive case for Americans to consider the advantages of looking toward Iloilo as a site for investments in technology and business process operations, and for the region’s improved services and high quality of life.”
Segmund JB Hollerman, Senior Executive Progamme Director, Woodland Ricks and Associates: “Iloilo City’s 364-hectare mixed used development reclamation project contained in the brochure has the potential to become a world-class economic development and industrial zone. It’s amazing that they have that detailed conceptual land use plan similar to Singapore and other industrialized investment meccas in Asia.”


The week-long event that kicked off in New York City and wound up in Washington D.C. event was an economic and cultural diplomacy initiative of the Philippine Embassy, in cooperation with the Local Government of Iloilo City, the US-Philippines Society, and the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Washington D.C.
Aside from Mayor Espinosa and Mrs. Gina Sarabia Espinosa, other heroes of the hectic trade mission who also acted as panelists in the business sessions were Rex Aguado, Commercial Diplomat for Trade Relations of the City; Jose Ariel Castañeda, Head of the City Local Economic Enterprise Office; Jose Roni Peñalosa, City Planning Coordinator; Junel Anne Divinagracia, City Tourism Officer; Dr. Carmencita "Menchie" Robles, Dean at the Western Visayas State University; Carla Perez, Sales Director of the Iloilo Business Park-Megaworld; and Billy Shung Hei Yuen, CEO of StackTreck Enterprises, and Secretariat Chief Florence Hibionada.
A private sector contingent, including the fashion and jewelry designers, led by the first lady of the city, also added luster and prestige to the business and exhibit expeditions.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Trade mission promotes Ilonggos’ ‘quality’ education to Americans

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”
--John Dewey

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Iloilo City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia assured the Filipino-American community as well as businessmen, students, and potential investors here that Iloilo City has some of the best colleges and universities in the Philippines even as she joined University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV) Vice Chancellor Mary Ann Gumban and West Visayas State University (WVSU) College of Communications dean, Dr. Carmencita Robles, in the panel to convince the audience that Iloilo City’s school system offers quality learning, exhorting them to “study” in Iloilo City.
Promoting Iloilo City’s schools is part of the main agenda in the trade mission spearheded by the Philippine Council of Management (Philcoman) Research Institute, Inc with a theme, “Invest, Work, Create, Study, Retire, Live, and Grow” in Iloilo City.
“Ilonggo students are always among the top examinees in national board examinations these past years,” Divinagracia said during the panel discussion on Iloilo City’ premier schools in the New York leg of the Iloilo Trade Mission and Investment Forum June 4-10, 2018.


This can be attributed, she said, in the quality of programs and education being offered by Iloilo City schools.
Iloilo City is considered as the educational hub in Western Visayas, with potential for growth and home to 28 public and private colleges and universities.
Robles, for her part, reiterated that WVSU, formerly known as Iloilo Normal School, is a center of excellence in teacher education and center of development in nursing.
The Diamond Jubilee in 1999, she said, was ushered in by the offering of more academic programs: the Bachelor in Cooperatives Management in 1997 and the Bachelor of Science in Information Management and Bachelor of Science in In formation Technology in 1998.
She explained that the Higher Education Modernization Act (1997) integrated into the University four CHED supervised schools in Calinog, Janiuay, Lambunao, and Pototan in 2000.
Some of the best Filipino nurses in the United States today are graduates of the WVSU College of Nursing, Robles said.
Gumban said UPV offers Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate programs.
She identified the College of Management, and the CAS Division of Professional Education as the two degree-granting units that remain in Iloilo City Campus.
The U.P. High School in Iloilo (formerly U.P.V. High School) is also on campus.


The High School is an experimental laboratory for innovative teaching strategies designed to provide academic training for underprivileged students in order to better prepare them for access to tertiary education in the University of the Philippines.
The panel emphasized that it is in Iloilo City where the Philippines’ topnotchers are found like the Central Philippine University (CPU), which is a Center of Excellence in Agriculture and Business Administration; and a Center of Development in Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.
The University of San Agustin has been hailed as the Center of Development in Teacher Education.
The COE/COD programs are subsidized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) with assistance given to research, faculty development, library and laboratory facilities.
Mayor Jose Espinosa III said the UPV Iloilo Campus is the only school in the country with a jail inside because the property, formerly owned by the City Government, was donated to the UP.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Ilonggo trade ‘missionaries’ work like octupus

“A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
--Colin Powell

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- We expect our private sector-inspired Ilonggo trade “missionaries” to sustain the momentum of what they have delivered, so far, in the New York leg of their week-long quest to “introduce” Iloilo City to the global market via the East Coast when they storm Fairfax, Virginia starting June 6 and conclude their mission in Washington D.C. on June 7 before flying home on June 10.
The blistering Iloilo Trade Mission and Investment Forum Ilonggo Fashion and Jewelry Show, oiled by Philippine Council of Management (Philcoman) Research Institute, Inc., is expected chalk up positive results for Iloilo City in terms of investment, tourism, education, and more profound economic opportunities.
While our world-class fashion designers from Designers Guild of Iloilo (DGI) led by Jaki Penalosa, Aisha Penalosa, D’Jhon Clement, Bo Parcon, Hector “Totong” Gellangarin, Regine Sarabia Espinosa, and exhibit director Gilbert “Bombette” Golez Marin mesmerize the American market with exhibit shows of Habol Ilonggo, a heritage of traditional weaving in one event, our very aggressive, technologically equipped, and technically competent “servants” and their staff from tourism, academe, city planning and business see to it that US-based potential investors, Infotech and property developers, students, tourists, medical and Information Technology (IT) professionals are sufficiently tipped off and shown the ropes of how great is Iloilo City and why they can “Invest, Work, Create, Study, Retire, Live and Grow” there, in another simultaneous event.


They work like an octupos with all tentacles doing a yeoman’s task and leaving no stone unturned from Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III and his wife, Gina Sarabia-Espinosa, to Secretariat chief, Florence Hibionada, and the following mission bigwigs: City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia, Executive Assistant and Commercial Diplomat Rex Aguado, Local Economic Enterprise Officer Ariel Castaneda, City Planning and Development Office Coordinator Jose Roni Penalosa, City Tourism Assistant Florence King Erlano, senior staff members Rosita Camacho and Shin Julienne Galon.
Also in the team are: Dr. Emily Hagad Noserale, Ph.D, DTM, Philcoman project coordinator; Dr. Carmencita “Menchie” Robles, dean of College of Communications, West Visayas State University (WVSU); Mary Ann Gumban, vice chancellor, University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV); Carla Margarita Perez, sales director, Iloilo Business Park-Megaworld; Felicito Tiu, founder and CEO, Eon Group of Companies; and Billy Shung Hei Yuen, founder and CEO, StackTrek Enterprises, Inc.
They have one common goal and that is to elevate Iloilo City in the totem pole of good government, trade and investment, tourism and further academic execelence.
They all deserve the support of the Ilonggos living in the Philippines and in other parts of the world beginning in the United States’ East Coast.

‘Iloilo City made the boldest gesture to invade prime US cities’

“Without investment there will not be growth, and without growth there will not be employment.”
-- Muhtar Kent

By Alex P. Vidal

-- The Philippine Council Management (Philcoman) has hailed the Iloilo City Government in the Philippines for making “the boldest gesture to invade the prime cities of America” saying “this is the great moment of bringing in the Iloilo Trade Mission here in New York.”
Speaking before US-based businessmen, investors, and Filipino-American entrepreneurs, fashion enthusiasts, and students during the Iloilo City Trade Mission and Investment Forum at the Kalayaan Hall in the Philippine Center June 4, Dr. Emily Noserale, president and project coordinator of Philcoman Research Institute, Inc., emphasized that under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte, “all the bright and good things (are) happening.” 

She considered as “very timely today” their presence in big cities of the United States to showcase their latest development efforts to present to American people where Iloilo City now, in terms of political, economic, social aspects as well as the status of the “flourishing and expanding business activities that are now producing great results in the social and economic lives of the Ilonggos.” 

Noserale disclosed to the US audience the business opportunities being offered by Iloilo City especially in four areas, namely: agri-business and acquaculture; infrastructure; tourism and academe.


She described Iloilo as “the food basket and grice granary of Western Visayas” where high value crops, livestocks and sea products are in Iloilo City.
“Hence there is a great potential by capitalizing on connectivity and networks to companies for food processing and agricultural trans-shipment,” she explained in underscoring agri-business and acquaculture.
Noserale said logistics and transportations are important pillars that will support the food and agriculture businesses in highlighting infrastructure.
“As Iloilo has restructured its economy by enhancing innovation and moving up the value chain, we could also explore opportunities in info-communication technologies,” she stressed. “Explore on how data and analytics could be used to create smart solutions that can improve the lives of its citizens.”
Noserale emphasized tourism “an area which holds significant opportunity.”
“Visitor arrivals continued to grow as the famous Dinagyang Festival is held yearly with so much fun and frolic. Visitors almost flocked to the city not to miss this vibrant and diverse festival culture,” she explained.
“Hotels, inns and transient houses are almost fully booked. To meet this growing demand from tourist, infrastructure in the hospitality industry will be important.”
She said Iloilo’s century-old churches that are well-maintained, which proudly stand ans signify the deep faith of the Ilonggos, are another attractions.


In academe, Noserale said Iloilo has lists of universities, colleges, state universities and vocational schools that “generate economic development to play an integral role in furthering economic growth and thereby pursuing socio-economic goals by transferring knowledge to society.”
She said: “They share a role in securing the future labor force by fostering knowledge, analytical thinking, broad capabilities and technical skills on our young people.”
“In addition,” she pointed out, “the ingenuity of the Ilonggos adds more color in creating beauty to the native products of Iloilo City like hablon and making jewelries with sculptured design.”
Some of Noserale’s discussions centered on recent developments in Iloilo.
These were:
-The River Esplanade, a 1.2-kilometer park, which forms as heritage zone; Gothic-Renaissance Molo church built in 1831; and American Governor Carpenter bridge, which connects Molo and Mandurriao districts;
-The Iloilo Business Park, a 72-hectare area managed by Megaworld, which hosts BPO office towers, a mall, Richmonde Hotel, The Courtyard by Marriott, and Iloilo Convention Center;
-Atria Park District, a 21-hectare area by Ayala Land with Ayala Technohub. Underdevelopment are Seda Hotel and Avida Towers;
-The Gaisano City Center, a 16-hectare are which will include a 40-storey Gaisano Tower;
-The Jalaur River Multipurpose Project, a mega project worth P11.2 billion funded by Korea and the biggest project outside of Luzon targeted for completion this year. It will provide irrigation to 31,849 hectares of farmland, delivers 86,000 cubic meters of bulk water a day to water-scarce Iloilo City, mitigates flooding as well as foster eco-tourism.
Iloilo has several major industrial plants: Two sugar mills, one flour mill, and at least four feedmills. Future developments in agriculture could spur agri-manufacturing industries.


There are flights to Singapore and to Hongkong via Cebu Pacific; there are five flights daily to Manila via Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines (PAL).
There are also scheduled flights from Iloilo to different places in the Philippines as Iloilo is one of the busiest airports in the Visayas and Mindanao, after Cebu.
Iloilo ranked number eight as the Most Competitive Highly Urbanized City; it is ranked number 98 in the Global Top 100 Outsourcing cities and has made it to the list of 50 Aspiring Cities around the globe for its high potential to become ideal hub for BPO investments.
Iloilo also ranked number 12 in Asia’s Best Airport.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Iloilo New York trade mission off to a roaring start

“Fashion is part of the daily air and it changes all the time, with all the events. You can even see the approaching of a revolution in clothes. You can see and feel everything in clothes.” -- Diana Vreeland

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- The top guns of the fabled Designers Guild of Iloilo (DGI) took center stage June 1 during the opening day of the Ilonggo Fashion and Jewelry Show, an exhibit and co-event of the week-long Iloilo City Trade Mission and Investment Forum, at the Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue.
When the visiting fashion designers displayed dresses made out of hablon, a native fabric woven in Iloilo and certain parts of Panay Island, among the first top officials to recognize the artisitc works by Ilonggo designers was Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr. who was awed by the locally hand-woven fabric and other indigenous materials used by the artists. 

Other dignitaries impressed by the designs during the exhibit were Philippine Consul General Ma. Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega and former Consul General Mario Lopez De Leon Jr.
Filipino-American fashion design enthusiasts and other nationals started to frequent the exhibit being spearhead by Gina Sarabia-Espinosa, wife of Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III, and directed by Gilbert “Bombette” Marin, Iloilo provincial tourism officer.  
Fashion mogul Jaki Penalosa, which incorporates, hablon, pina, and silk fibers into her design, led the Ilonggo fashion juggernaut.
Penalosa is a veteran of 25 years whose creations embody the fusion of modern novelty with earthly elegance.
She is known for utilizing Filipino indeginous fabrics to create wearable and timeless pieces encompassed in modern influence.
She was joined in the New York exhibit by Djohn Clement, grand winner in the 2009 Robinsons Iloilo Design Lab competition for aspiring fashion designers; Aisha Penalosa, a fiber artist who creates designs with Hablon. She is Jaki’s daughter.
In her first fashion show in 2009 entitled “Cultural Revolution”, Aisha used hablon to create a showpiece of street giam fashion.
Also in the team were Bo Parcon, dubbed as “Iloilo’s Bad Boy of Fashion” and is one of Metropolitan Museum’s Terno Design awardees and a finalist in the Project Runaway Philippines Season 1.
Parcon’s collections have been frequently featured at and he never ceases to amaze everyone as he conceives well-crafted collections with the elements of technicals, visuals, forecasts and statements in place.
They were joined by Hector “Totong” Gellangarin, a bold visionary with a flair for combining classic pieces with the iconic hablon fabric.
Totong has three decades of experience in the fashion industry and embraces his Ilonggo heritage and culture as he incorporates native textiles and culture-inspired designs in his collections.

‘Dinagyang and Manggahan fund raising successful’

“There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.”
Idowu Koyenikan, Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- In a forceful and passionate show of Ilonggo spirit of volunteerism and bayanihan, members of the Ilonggo community in New York and New Jersey led by the Iloilo Assumption Group successfully launched the “Dinagyang and Manggahan sa NYC Fundraising Dinner” at the Draesel Hall of the Church of the Holy Trinity on 88th Street.
“Warriors” from the two festivals, major winners in the 2018 Metro Manila Aliwan Festival, entertained the guests with cultural dances for their first-ever performance before the 120th Philippine Independence Day parade in Madison Avenue on June 3.
Ilonggos from as far as Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. also showed up to air their support for the two festival groups from Iloilo City and Guimaras Province. 
“This event was organized primarily to help our fellow Ilonggos who are here to showcase our culture and promote investment and tourism. Most of all, they are here to make us all proud,” an emotional Boy Dinzon, event’s prime mover, stressed.
Dinzon’s group composed of Grace Uybico, Camille Dabao, Agnes Jamora, Agnes Montelibano, Vincent Dabao, Tonette Dabao, Frankie Uy Bico, Shirley Cordova, Joe Nick “Nonot” Dinzon, Beverly Rosales, Joy Jacqui Jaji, Tess Salvador, Gigi Gumban, and Ilonggo Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) officials led by past president Joji Juele-Jalandoni and board member Jocelyn Sanches Aligarbes, among other affair convenors, joined with former Consul General Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr., Guimaras Governor Samuel Gumarin, Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III, among other VIPs and Philippine Consulate General New York officials.
“Thank you so much to all our friends in the tri state area for the overwhelming support for our fund-raising event for Dinagyang and Manggahan,” announced Dinzon, former staff of Philippine Airlines (PAL) Iloilo.
“Without you lovable people this affair wouldn’t be a success. My sincerest, heartfelt thanks to each and everyone of you. Thank you, Lord, for a very successful outcome. I love you all from the bottom of my heart.”
Dinzon requested the audience to “witness them again (Dinagyang and Manggahan cultural dancers) on June 3 at 23rd St and Madison.”