Thursday, September 27, 2018

Fil-Can leader Narima dela Cruz running for councilor in Canada

“I think there's no higher calling in terms of a career than public service, which is a chance to make a difference in people's lives and improve the world.”
-- Jack Lew

By Alex P. Vidal

-- Members of the Filipino Canadian community in Surrey, British Columbia are agog over the candidacy of outstanding Fil-Can community leader Narima dela Cruz, handpicked by the #SurreyFirstforCouncil to run for member of the Surrey City Council.
“I believe that Surrey residents are looking for individuals who have the experience building community, and who have become engaged volunteer community leaders simply because they want to further improve this great city,” declared Dela Cruz, one of the most active and multi-awarded community leaders in the British Columbia.

Dela Cruz, founding director and president of the Surrey Philippine Independence Society (SPIDS), is being backed by the popular NDP MLA Mable Elmore of Vancouver, Kensington, the first Filipino to be elected in British Columbia legislative assembly.
She is running under the banner of mayoral candidate Tom Gill, who is being supported by former city mayor Dianne Watts.
“Our team, Surrey First is a thoughtful reflection of our community, with an incredible diversity of ideas, culture, and experiences to work with people and get things done,” she added.
A political science advocate and a licensed realtor, Dela Cruz and husband, Joel, a licensed engineer, and son, Daryl, arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1998 as immigrants from Quezon Province. Their youngest daughter, Glisha, was born in Manitoba.
Before founding the massively expanding SPIDS, Dela Cruz became an active community servant and once worked as an administrative assistant utilizing her education and professional background in the Philippines where she worked around tourism, education, office administration, and law.


Dela Cruz won as Canada’s top 25 immigrants in 2012 and was presented the Realtors Care Award from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver in 2011 for her volunteer activity.
She enjoys the support of the cross section of the City of Surrey, the second largest city in British Columbia, with a population of over 500,000.
The city’s population continues to grow and by 2041 is estimated to surpass Vancouver as the largest city in BC.
MetroVan Independent News Team reported on September 6, 2018 that “Narima’s fondness and passion for public service and people-oriented activities had her initiate The Surrey Philippine Independence Day Society (SPIDS).”
It added: “Narima is also a court and medical interpreter, and long-time community advocate and volunteer. In addition to being a past chair of the Parent Advisory Council at Johnston Heights Secondary, she volunteers with the Canadian Cancer Society, Surrey Food Bank and BC Transplant Society.”
Dela Cruz is a community leader who received the following numerous awards and recognition:
-2018 Nominee Community Champion Category YWCA Women of Distinction Awards
-2017 Canada 150 Community Awards for Excellence in Volunteerism
-2017 Leadership Excellence Award, FilCan Network for Truth & Justice
-2017 First Surrey Cares Serving with Distinction Awards Nominee for Leadership
-2016 1st National Canadian Realtors Care Award, 1 of 4 BC Nominees
-2016 Global Exemplar Escolarian Award, CEU Outstanding Alumni
-2014 Most Outstanding Filipinos in North America, Bb. Pilipinas of the World
-2012 Top 25 Canadian Immigrants Award
-2012 Most Beautiful Filipinos in Canada Award
-2009 Sutton Group Director Award for Sales Excellence
-2011 Sutton Group Director Award for Sales Excellence
-Finalist, 2011 Surrey Women In Business Award, Surrey Board of Trade
-Recipient, Honourable Mention, 2011 Community Leader Award, 9th CLA Surrey-North Delta Leader
-2011 Surrey-North Delta Leader 1st Reader’s Choice Awards: #1 Realtor,
-2011 Surrey-North Delta Leader 1st Reader’s Choice Awards: #1 Business Person
-2011 Surrey-North Delta Leader 1st Reader’s Choice Awards: #1 Social Activist
Dela Cruz fellow candidates in the Surrey First are: Raminder Thomas, Upkar Tatlay, Mike Starchuk, Vera LeFranc, Paul Hillsdon, Trevor Halford, and Linda Annis Surrey.
The Fil-Can leader has been introduced in the campaign as “an active volunteer and voice for marginalized people, working to ensure immigrant communities feel included.”
Another Fil-Can, Jojo Quimpo, is running under the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) for the City of Vancouver.
Elections day is on October 20, 2018. There will be “Advance Voting Opportunities” on October 6, 10, 11 and 13, 2018

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

‘Where were you when I needed you most?’

“Choose to focus your time, energy and conversation around people who inspire you, support you and help you to grow you into your happiest, strongest, wisest self.”
-- Karen Salmansohn

By Alex P. Vidal

-- I have misgivings with reports that former Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog will endorse local candidates in the top positions in the May 2019 elections.
Since he is not running for any elective position (his dismissal is under appeal in the Supreme Court, according to his wife, Marivic) next year, it’s doubtful if he will issue an official statement endorsing certain candidates.
Why risk antagonizing one group for endearment of another if you can maintain a peace of mind and a stress-free life while watching the political cockfighting in the safe confines of the splendid Canadian territory and far away from the wreckage and bloodbath?
Why stir the hornet’s nest and end up exposing yourself to be stung by the “unforgiving” and “ungrateful” bees?


Some Mabilog supporters who are still undecided have been anxiously waiting for his go signal.
Many of them still conjure up a bedazzling scenario of their idol staging a “surprise” comeback any moment during the election season.
There are village officials, youth leaders, and city hall officials and rank-and-file workers loyal to Mabilog who are smiling at Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III and Rep. Jerry Treñas like bosom friends, but, deep inside, their hearts are still for the self-exiled enemy of President Duterte.
If Mabilog won’t endorse anyone in Iloilo City, no one can blame him.
In fact, he isn’t morally and politically obliged to raise some hands in the coming elections.
He isn’t beholden politically to any Tom, Dick, and Harry.
And besides, where were they when he needed them most?


Malversation of public funds has many forms, stripes, and faces.
There is actually another source of graft and corruption in the Philippine government: cash advance.
Corrupt government officials always find the calamities, other natural disasters, hosting of events, and out-of-town or foreign trips as the perfect opportunities to enrich themselves.
When there is no limit for these rascals to ask for cash advance, it is easy to fill their pockets.
Others become instant millionaires by indulging in indiscriminate cash advances.
Although they are required by the law to liquidate their “expenses”, many dishonest government officials submit liquidation papers that have been “doctored” or supporting documents with tampered or bogus receipts and signatures.
Many of them intentionally delay their liquidation report; sometimes it takes years before their shenanigan is uncovered, when another administration has taken over.
Other thieves in government with unique talent and guts steal the salaries and allowances of job hires or casual workers through cash advances.


That’s why we need a no non-sense Commission on Audit (COA) officials who will never succumb to pressures, coercion, and back-door manipulations.
COA auditors must be independent, fearless, and committed to safeguard the taxpayers’ money.
COA auditors must have strong moral and family values in order to dodge temptations.
They must reject gifts, freebies and expensive goodies, and other material favors from incumbent officials with direct access to the cookie jars.
COA auditors who waltz with corrupt government officials are coddling graft and corruption and should be booted out from office before they could play footsie and resurrect more Frankensteins in the civil service.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Silence)

Much silence makes a powerful noise.

Silence shouldn’t be used as a permanent tool to psychologically disarm an adversary. Much silence can be an effective weapon for a specific period. Too much silence can be catastrophic for it is tantamount to altogether dismantling the supreme art of dialogue and conversation.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

'Humanity cries for justice'

“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.”
--Yehuda Berg

NEW YORK CITY -- Amidst a flurry of high-level events at United Nations Headquarters in New York on September 24, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, President of the International Criminal Court (ICC) underscored in an interview with UN News that “humanity cries for justice,” and that “no country can do it alone.”
He pointed out that there are more conflicts in the world today than in 1998, when the Rome Statute established the Court to address genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
Judge Eboe-Osuji deflected the significance of remarks reportedly made by the US national security advisor earlier this month, that the ICC was an “illegitimate court,” urging countries to focus on why the Rome Statue was adopted.
In response to the advisor John Bolton’s reported remarks indicating that the US would be prepared to ban ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the country, should a proposed investigation into alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan go ahead, the Judge calmly responded that it was “unfortunate that that kind of threat was made,” but again stressed the importance of focusing on “why we have the Rome Statute.”
“The world needs the United States in the ICC…(especially) because they have a long history and experience of supporting these sorts of efforts to address violations,” he said, noting the Nuremburg trials after the Second World War, in which the American judicial system “led the way.”
Judge Eboe-Osuji also pointed out that in response to problems in the former Yugoslavia, genocide in Rwanda and war crimes committed in the Sierra Leone civil war, “the United States played a strong role in insisting that justice must be done post-conflict, and that was done.”
“We do want them to come to the ICC and do the same thing, they know how to do it, they know how to assist.”
“That is what is more important,” he stated, “we have to keep our eyes on the ball.”
“We cannot be distracted, by whatever reasons some people feel irritated by what the Court does,” adding that it would continue to do its work.
He said it was important “for everyone to keep in mind that there are strong systems in place around the Rome Statue that ensures that there is no unfair prosecution against anyone.”  
“There is no need for anyone to get carried away at the beginning of the process, even before any preliminary examination or investigation has been begun,” he said, elaborating on the very long process of the Court.
“Humanity cries for justice,” he said, adding that “no country can do it alone…The world needs a collective effort to solve collective problems.”

Monday, September 24, 2018

Treñas places Baronda on firing line

“To err is human. To blame someone else is politics.”
-- Hubert H. Humphrey

By Alex P. Vidal

-- By naming former Iloilo City councilor Julienne “Jam-Jam” Baronda as “first congresswoman-to-be” in an event in Brgy. Cubay, Jaro district on September 22, Iloilo City lone district Rep. Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas has initiated the first move to place the head of the lady politician on the firing line.
When Baronda’s jealous critics or potential rivals--or the supporters of her rivals--begin to throw darts at her, it’s because Treñas gave them the idea on how many tanks and ammunition are they now going to assemble and prepare this early against a known enemy.
By the time the official showdown begins, Baronda’s potential adversaries may have built an enormous armory and battalions to storm and piss her off; they may have studied the right recipe to wreck her during the campaign period.
Even before the start of the campaign sortie, Baronda’s enemies are expected to start tormenting her with issues that will push her in the brink of mental and emotional anguish, and force her to rethink whether it’s worth her salt to be in the political hot seat when she could have relaxed and enjoyed her private life as an ordinary civilian if she did not throw her hat on the political ring once again.
That’s the downside of having to disclose your forces earlier.


On the other hand, Treñas’ hint of preference for Baronda will finally put to an end the guessing game and stop giving other congressional wanna-bes close to Treñas false hopes and false imaginations.
This will give former Iloilo City councilor Nielex “Lex” Tupas the leverage to assert his independence and boost his chances to be wooed and possibly endorsed by other parties.
Tupas did not announce his plans for the 2019 elections during his birthday in August as he had promised earlier, but this gave his rivals the blank wall and the jigsaw puzzle of what lies ahead in as far as his rumored candidacy for congressman is concerned.
This will also pave the way for Councilor Joshua Alim to finally consider forging an alliance officially with the groups of Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III and Dra. Pacita Trinidad-Gonzalez to complete the cast for the Armageddon.


As a “graduating” council member, Alim has been a shoo-in for the congressional contest even before Baronda’s name had surfaced; even before Tupas had made many Ilonggos think it’s about time he was elected in congress instead of “wasting” his talent in the National Youth Commission (NYC) which he had served briefly before calling it a day when the Duterte administration took over.
By revealing earlier his preference for the congressional post he would soon vacate to run for city mayor in the May 2019 local elections, Treñas was also sending a curt message to his brother-in-law, Espinosa III, that “your time is up.”
Once Treñas will officially endorse Baronda, it will be tantamount to shutting the door with finality to the dream
Espinosa-Treñas tandem for congressman and city mayor in the May 2019 elections.
Baronda was, of course, elated with Treñas’ statement that he was “60 percent certain” of picking her to be his bet for congress.
Her sharpness and agility to surmount the major challenge in the May 2019 elections will be put to severe test in the next weeks and months once she will start to feel the heat of the dirty side of political mudslinging.
Good luck, congressional candidate-to-be, Jamjam Baronda.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Trust)

You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.

When trust has been broken, it is hard to regain it just like a glass which can never be brought back to its original appearance if hit by a stone or incurs a crack.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Stop talking; just build the bridge

“When politics is no longer a mission but a profession, politicians become more self-serving than public servants.”
-- Emmanuel Macron

By Alex P. Vidal

-- With the first “ber” month this year already about to become part of history, the much-ballyhooed construction of the P42 billion Panay-Guimaras-Negros island bridge has continued to be a wild imagination.
Not even the presence of a pile of rocks, pebbles, sand or any other concrete construction materials can be spotted anywhere near the purported construction site.
No “Men at Work” signs; no front loaders; no bulldozers; no backhoes; no dump trucks; no trenchers; no graders; no cranes; no nothing.
Yet, if we listen to politicians and top government officials in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPHW), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), “the construction fo the bridge will start before the end of the year.”
What year?


The problem in the Philippines since time immemorial is that politicians are the most talkative when it comes to the implementation of gargantuan projects.
These blabbermouths always occupy the front seats when it comes to publicity; they are always in mad scramble to grab the credit and speak in the media as if they play a Yeoman’s role in the projects; as if the projects can’t take off if they won’t waste any saliva and brag about these projects like their own.
The truth is they contribute nothing except to grandstand and use the occasion to score “pogi” points for their own selfish political agenda and, to some extent, their whims and caprices as self-centered politicians.
If the agencies concerned were headstrong and determined to implement the project on the specified timetable, there was no need for the so-called the Visayan Bloc, an organization of Visayan-speaking congressmen, to call on the government to start immediately the bridge construction.
Because nothing has happened ever since the DPWH and NEDA wisecracks loudly announced the construction of the Panay-Guimaras bridge first ”before the end of the year”, VB convenors, Reps. Alfredo ‘Albee” Benitez (PDP-Laban, Negros Occidental) and Jerry Trenas (NP, Iloilo), were obliged to issue a statement appealing to the national government to commence the ambitious project.
The Ilonggo solons claimed they were “committed to strongly support” the project that is part of the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program.


If the DPWH and NEDA were telling the truth about the date of the construction, there was no need for the VB to go as far as making an appeal to their House colleagues to back the ambitious project that will link Panay to Negros island, through Guimaras.
What can their fellow solons do to hasten the construction which is under the tutelage of the government’s executive branch?
Their job is to legislate laws, not to implement the projects.
Or the VB is urging their colleagues in a subtle manner to also tell the Duterte boys to “shut up and hit the ground running.”
It was earlier reported in the Philippine media that “there is a strong likelihood” that the Guimaras-Negros bridge, spanning 5.7 kilometers, will be started before the end of the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.
It was also reported that the 14.3-kilometer Panay-Guimaras link can be completed by 2021 if construction will begin in 2018.


Meanwhile, here’s what the VB declared in the statement:
“We believe that Region 6 has so much potential for tourism and economic opportunities that can be maximized through the creation of accessory infrastructures such as the Panay-Guimaras-Negros bridge that will enhance connectivity within the region.
“The project shall improve transportation connectivity and efficiency and promote regional economies by way of enhancing productivity, attracting investments and generating more revenues for localities in the region.”
Nice try.
Let’s hope Malacanang won’t take the “impassioned” statement for granted.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Falling, God)

If you fall seventy times a day, rise seventy times and return to God so that you will not fall too often.

As humans we are expected to fall from time to time. But we must struggle to rise each time we go down. God will wait for those who pick themselves up and return to Him even if they walk on wobbly legs. But we should not expect God to come down from heaven and pull us up using His own muscles.

Mind-boggling twin typhoons

“If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.”
--Frank Lane

By Alex P. Vidal

-- Unbelievable but it was the first time in many years that I monitored on tenterhooks over BBC News and CNN (while I was in Brooklyn) the two super typhoons simultaneously lashing at my country in the Philippines and in the United States over the weekend.
I’m referring to the super howler “Ompong” or “Mangkhut” which killed 70 Filipinos (and was on its way to China) and the hurricane “Florence”, which flooded North Carolina and drowned more than 30 residents (death toll was expected to rise) almost at the same.
We also particularly noticed these past months that the weathers in the Philippines and the United States appeared to be synchronized.
It there were heavy rains in the Philippines, other parts of the US were also raining hard.
When humidity in the tropical Philippines was at fever-pitch, Americans here also felt like they were placed literally alongside the hell.
Were they “the signs of the times”?
When referring to abnormal weather condition, scientists often use the term "climate change" instead of global warming.
They theorized that as the Earth's average temperature climbs, winds and ocean currents move heat around the globe in ways that can cool some areas, warm others, and change the amount of rain and snow falling.
As a result, the climate changes differently in different areas, it was learned.


Was the abnormal weathers recently experienced in the US and in the Philippines simultaneously what the scientists call as the global warming?
It’s when glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forests are dying, and wildlife is scrambling to keep pace.
Experts in the subject matter believe “it's becoming clear” that humans have caused most of the past century's warming by releasing heat-trapping gases as we power our modern lives.
Called greenhouse gases, their levels are higher now than in the last 650,000 years, scientists noted.
According to scientists, the "greenhouse effect" is the warming that happens when certain gases in Earth's atmosphere trap heat. These gases reportedly let in light but keep heat from escaping, like the glass walls of a greenhouse.
They added that first, sunlight shines onto the Earth's surface, where it is absorbed and then radiates back into the atmosphere as heat. In the atmosphere, “greenhouse” gases trap some of this heat, and the rest escapes into space. The more greenhouse gases are in the atmosphere, the more heat gets trapped.
It was learned further that scientists have known about the greenhouse effect since 1824, when Joseph Fourier calculated that the Earth would be much colder if it had no atmosphere.
This greenhouse effect is reportedly what keeps the Earth's climate livable. Without it, the Earth's surface would be an average of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit cooler.
It was reported that in 1895, the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius discovered that humans could enhance the greenhouse effect by making carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. He kicked off 100 years of climate research that has given us a sophisticated understanding of global warming.

‘How can I win against the media people?’

“It's not opinion polls that determine the outcome of elections, it's votes in ballot boxes.”
-- Nicola Sturgeon

By Alex P. Vidal

-- An Ilonggo architect who lost five times in as many attempts in the race for city councilor once ribbed members of the Fourth Estate in Iloilo City in the Philippines “for not doing your homework.”
Salvador “Jun” Tavarro, Jr. said if reporters were only diligent and sharp in doing investigative reporting, “there would be dozens of public officials hauled off to court for graft and corruption every week.”
He pointed to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) as “the No. 1 source of graft and corruption in the country.”
Tavarro, an urban planner, also rebuked the Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as “among the most corrupt agencies”.
A part-time instructor in the University of San Agustin, Tavarro exhorted members of the press to study engineering and law.
“Even if you are the best investigative reporter (he was referring to a radio anchorman who blasted him for being a “nuisance” candidate) in your station, you are useless if all you can do is go to the DPWH and interview contractors with ax to grind against the regional director and other department heads.”


Tavarro lamented that many reporters “missed” the opportunity to “hit it big” (expose) because “they don’t understand the engineering terminologies and how the road and infrastructure projects are manipulated by corrupt DPWH officials.”
Millions of taxpayers’ money are being wasted and pocketed by grafters in government because they know how to manipulate public works projects and the public bidding; they know the language in the system; they are familiar and experts in the technicalities and the ins and outs of certain projects, thus they find it easy to confuse the public “while the so-called investigative reporters only interview employees and disgruntled bidders, review and xerox bundles of documents that mostly they don’t understand,” bemoaned the Ilonggo architect.
Graft and corruption in the DPWH, among other agencies, starts in the public bidding process, he said.
The words “ten percent” or sometimes “fifteen percent” are reportedly “normal bywords” and are part of the SOP (standard operating procedure) in graft-ridden government agencies.


“It’s impossible to curb graft and corruption with the kind of system we have. Many grafters in government are getting rich while some infrastructure projects suffer from sub-standard materials and sub-standard implementation,” said Tavarro.
“That’s why members of the press must walk an extra mile by studying the technical terms in every government agency that they cover so they can easily spot the anomalies.”
If a reporter is assigned by his editor or station manager to cover the Hall of Justice beat, for instance, Tavarro stressed, “it is imperative that he knows some legal terms and how the cases are filed in court; and why the accused sometimes face the People of the Philippines in a criminal case.”
Had Tavarro won in all his failed struggles to be elected in the local elections, he would pass a resolution, he said, asking government agencies to explain in simple terms--or in words to be understood by ordinary taxpayers--how government projects are undertaken from start to finish.
Anyone in the hearing distance could understand Tavarro’s sentiments, but they also noticed strikingly that he was apparently concealing a “hard feeling” toward some “more popular” radiomen who ran and won for the same position in every election, thus preventing him from landing in the “Magic 12.”
“I am probably the most qualified candidate in Iloilo City. No one can question my competence and educational background. But, how can I win against (the more popular) the media people?” Tavarro, who always ran as independent, sobbed.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Kindness)

Choose being kind over being right, and you'll be right every time.

If we can't win them by being right, let's capture their hearts with kindness. By being kind to them with all candor and sincerity, they won't give a damn if what we are doing is right or wrong.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Alvarez beats Golovkin by controversial majority decision

By Alex P. Vidal

-- It was a rematch more controversial than the first bout.
But this time, Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) took away the WBA and WBC middleweight belts of champion Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) with a controversial majority decision after 12 rounds on Saturday night (September 15) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The judges' scorecards said it all:114-114, 115-113, 115-113 for Canelo, who went toe-to-toe from the opening bell with the dangerous Golovkin.
Both Canelo and Golovkin felt each other out as they jabbed in the opening round although they were tentative from the start.
As Golovkin stalked behind the jab, the Mexican allowed his hands to go off the counters in round two as things started to pick up after a slow start.
Alvarez continued to counter and was the busier in round three.
An uppercut snapped Golovkin’s head.
Golovkin connected with a solid right that caught Canelo’s attention in round four.
Golovkin’s momentum was halted by an overhand right by Canelo in round five.
At this juncture, the Mexican started to focus downstairs and follow as Golovkin was in his back foot.
Golovkin continued to use the stiff jab as Canelo stalked past the half way point in the 7th stanza. 

The two fighters also clashed heads, adding to the drama of the fight Canelo started to bleed above the cut as Golovkin began to close the gap in in the 8th.
The jab stuck to the plan working the but Alvarez continued to throw combinations late in the fight.
In the 10th, Golovkin backed Canelo shortly after, briefly stopping his momentum but Canelo stood his ground.
The championship rounds was full of drama with the fight close Golovkin took it to Canelo landing wild punches but Alvarez quickly responded with combinations going after the champ.
The 12th and final round with the fight hanging close Canelo went after Golovkin but slipped.
Everyone was on their feet when referee Benji Estevez quickly ruled it a slip.
Canelo and Golovkin traded away to the final bell as the fans went wild.
Fans demanded for a third fight.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Life)

As I grow to understand life less and less, I learn to love it more and more.

As we add years to our age and age to our years, we become more inclined to love than hate. This can be best explained by the fact we were created from the image of God; and God sums up the meaning of love. If we love one another, we can rescue those who are emotionally wrecked and spiritually broken.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Iloilo Press Club loses ‘Pericles’

“A great man is one who leaves others at a loss after he is gone.”
--Paul Valery

By Alex P. Vidal

- It’s good that the erstwhile fractious Iloilo Press Club (IPC), now under the leadership of Rommel Ynion, is united and not anymore bedeviled by discord and identity crisis.
IPC, the oldest press club in Asia, was ushered into the Golden Age during the leadership of its main pillar, Daniel “Danny" or "DF” Fajardo, just like the Golden Age of Athens during the Age of Pericles (494-429 B.C.).
The IPC election in 1996, one of the most well-attended elections in the club’s history, catapulted Fajardo, founder and publisher of Panay News, into the presidency where he beat Daily Informer publisher Bernie Miaque and GMA-7 manager Joey (Lopez) Melliza.
It also signaled the club’s Renaissance; from then on, IPC never turned its back.
It was during Fajardo’s presidency that IPC acquired the lot in Molo district, where the three-storey building was built later and financed by Ynion, a journalist and philanthropist, who became Fajardo’s friend.
I vividly recalled that fleeting moment in 1996 when Iloilo Governor Art Defensor, Iloilo City Mayor Mansueto Malabor, among other city and provincial officials, attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the building construction, which was delayed by politics and vacillations of City Hall politicians after Malabor.


Fajardo led the IPC at the time when journalism was reduced to a simple tautology: It was whatever Ilonggo journalists said it was. “We let our work speak for itself,” Maxwell King, the former editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, has said.
Or, when pressed, we take it as a given that we work in the public interest.
As Fajardo’s vice president for two consecutive years (1996-1997), I witnessed how the flamboyant publisher helped restore the respect and admiration of national leaders to members of the Fourth Estate in Western Visayas.
The late Senator Blas Ople and former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad, both intellectual behemoths way back during the Marcos years, were among those who were tantalized by the talents of Iloilo journalists.
If they did not come to Iloilo City to grace some important media events as guest speakers, Ople and Tatad, et al hosted the enterprising Team Fajardo in Manila and provided them with adequate “atay and batikolon” (liver and intestines) Fajardo’s most favorite semantics.


Former Senators Nikki Coseteng, Joey Lina, Tito Guingona, Raul Roco, Leticia Ramos Shahani, former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former Presidents Fidel V. Ramos and Joseph Estrada, now Manila mayor, among other national figures, were so impressed by the way Iloilo journalists led by the late Teddy Sumaray (who spoke like Anaxagoras), and Herbert Vego, both former IPC presidents; and Atty. Ernie Dayot, known as “Iloilo’s Socrates”, delivered their questions.
The glory that was Greece, the grandeur that was Rome; the magnificence that was IPC under DF, himself a master orator like Pericles, whose speeches and elegies, recorded and possibly interpreted by Thucydides, celebrated the greatness of a democratic Athens at its peak.
I was with DF when we attended a big party in a Manila hotel many years ago where he was asked at random to deliver an impromtu speech.
Although unprepared, DF rose to the challenge and belted the following line by Pericles:
“In doing good, again, we are unlike others; we make our friends by conferring, not by receiving favors. Now he who confers a favor is the firmer friend, because he would rather by kindness keep alive the memory of an obligation; but the recipient is colder in his feelings, because he knows that in requiting another's generosity he will not be winning gratitude but only paying a debt. We alone do good to our neighbors not upon a calculation of interest, but in the confidence of freedom and in a frank and fearless spirit.”
University of the East (UE) College of Law Dean Amado Valdez, who was seated with us in one table, was among those who stood up and shook DF’s hand with a jarring astonishment.
Fajardo, who passed away on September 10, 2018 at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Alabang, Muntinlupa City in the Philippines at 72, hosted the radio program “Reklamo Publiko” aired “live” simultaneously over Aksyon Radyo and Cable Star at the Hotel Del Rio for several years.
We will surely miss the one and only Pericles and father of the Iloilo Press Club in our generation, President DF!
Rest in Peace and ‘til we meet again, Praeses Dominus.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Human evolution and societal development

“Come, let’s kill him.” -- MATTHEW 21:38

By Alex P. Vidal

-- If Ferdinand Magellan and his men used the same biological and weapons technology the Spanish invaders of Peru led by Francisco Pizzaro had used to defeat the Incas in the Battle of Cajamarca in 1532, would Lapu-Lapu and his fellow Cebuano natives perish in a massacre in the Battle of Mactan?
Instead of Lapu-Lapu emerging as Magellan’s conqueror, would history be different or would Magellan be the one slaughtering Lapu-Lapu?
Guns, Germs and Steel author Jared Diamond tells us that in the first 10 minutes in the Battle of Cajamarca (in what is now Peru), there were 7,000 Incas dead.
“When the dust settled, not a single Spaniard was dead. (Spanish conquistador) Francisco Pizarro got a slight wound. That's because the Spaniards have the steel sword and the Incas have wooden clubs. It really showed the power of military technology,” Diamond explains.
Magellan probably underestimated Lapu-Lapu and the capacity of the natives to withstand the Spaniards’ assaults using superior combat weapons thinking their bolos and spears were no match against the invaders’ guns and cannons.
They forgot to unleash the biological weapon which eviscerated the Incas.


We will also learn and understand from anthropologist Diamond’s book that geography isn’t environmental determinism, and that poor countries are not doomed to be poor thus they should not just shut up and lie down and play dead.
Once we know what it is that's making us poor, the author believes we can use the knowledge to make us rich reiterating the famous phrase of Sir Francis Bacon that “knowledge is power.”
“I recognize that there are people who will say geography deals out these immutable cards and there's nothing we can do about it,” Diamond stresses when interviewed by the National Geographic.
“But one can show the evidence and say there is something we can do about it. Look at Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan. They recognized that their biggest disadvantage was public health. They didn't say, We got these tropical diseases--it's inevitable. Instead they said, We have these tropical diseases and they are curable and all it takes is money so let's invest in curing the diseases. Today they are rich, virtually First World countries. That shows that poverty is something you can do something about.”


Diamond believes that some societies are more materially successful than others, attributing societal success to geography, immunity to germs, food production, the domestication of animals, and use of steel.
Some of the book’s keypoints are:
--Farming and domesticating animals provide social stability that is lacking in hunter-gatherer societies. Labor specialization enables certain groups to develop weapons.
--Major portions of Eurasia had a natural advantage in developing agriculture and domesticating animals because of geography and the presence of plants and animals that could be easily domesticated.
--The landmass of Eurasia, laid out on an east-west axis, allowed for the sharing of crops, animals, and ideas. The Americas, stretched out on a north-south axis, traverse various climate zones and geographic boundaries that discourage trade.
--The diversity and density of Eurasian populations created an immunity to germs that would later wipe out the more isolated populations of the Americas.
Diamond emphasizes the effects of food production, writing, technology, government, and religion in defining the differences between developing cultures.
In Diamond’s opinion, he then demonstrates why the differences among various cultures occurred. More important (and one of the reasons for some of the controversy surrounding this book), Diamond concludes that “it is ultimately geography, not biology or race as some other studies have tried to prove, that produced the cultural disparities his friend Yali had pointed out.”

Thursday, September 6, 2018

A child molester running for congressman

“Defense lawyers are key in promoting the idea that many convicted of child abuse are innocent”
-- Bethany L. Brand

By Alex P. Vidal

-- ATB alyas “Frank Sinatra” wants to run for congressman in the May 2019 Philippine elections.
The problem is neither his lousy voice in the videoke nor his favorite Barong Tagalog (probably the same “uniform” used by the grandfather of his grandfather when the Gomburza Catholic priests were executed in 1872).
It’s his bad reputation as a corrupt fixer and a child molester.
As a fixer of public bidding involving state projects, he escaped unscathed from the long arms of the law because of his connections and “talent” in hiding his shenanigans.
But his child molestation case continues to dangle above his head like a Sword of Damocles even if he allegedly managed to “silence” the victim’s family with cash.
Not only that.
Frank Sinatra doesn’t have respect for members of the Fourth Estate.


He once egged warlord and illiterate Asiong Salonga not just to press charges against anchorman Palito, but to send a hired triggerman in anchorman Palito’s house in Calumpang, Molo in Iloilo City to shoot the hard-hitting broadcaster.
Luckily, Asiong Salonga, who was himself facing a string of criminal cases, including a P5-million estafa from a beer company he had bilked, died of a suspected STD infection (his family swore he died of diabetes) before he could implement Frank Sinatra’s bestial suggestions.
He also sent “I love you so much” text messages and “indecent proposals” to a part-time female newscaster, who resigned and studied practical nursing to escape from his prurient sexual intent.
After a brief dalliance with Frank Sinatra, she “fled” to Saudi Arabia first before marrying a suspected sex fiend (but that’s another story).
With his oodles upon oddles of cash culled from his illegal activities, Frank Sinatra is planning to throw his hat into the political arena and will shoot for a position that has given so much shame and scandal to the Filipinos because of that position’s much-hated “pork” barrel funds, the chief sources of avarice and plunder among corrupt government officials--both elected and appointed.
We will wait until Frank Sinatra files his certificate of candidacy and unmask him more as a charlatan and a member of the underworld.
He used to sing his favorite “My Way” in a small-time eatery that became a videoke pub at night in the Diversion Road before Senator Frank Drilon implemented his multi-million road-widening and beautification project that catapulted Iloilo City into the totem pole of the newly refurbished metropolis in the Philippines.
Frank Sinatra made millions from his scandalous, immoral, illegal and shameful transactions which we will expose once he has become an official candidate “so the public may know.”
Yes, he did it his way.

Once there was a 'theory of the four humors'

“Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” -- Hippocrates

By Alex P. Vidal

-- There was a time in our history when the celebrated Greek doctor Hippocrates postulated that all human emotions flowed from four bodily fluids, or humors:
-blood (which makes us cheerful and passionate);
-yellow bile (which makes us hot-tempered);
-black bile (which makes us depressed); and
-phlegm (which makes us sluggish or stoic).
Though the good doctors’ humors have given behavioral scientists a nice structure for examining personality types such as sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic, the idea that our bodily fluids make us angry, depressed, or elated died out in 1800s.


The ancient Greeks believed that the Four Humors were responsible for the nutrition, growth and metabolism of the organism.
They originate in the digestive process. In Greek Medicine, digestion happens in four stages:
-The First Digestion happens in the gastrointestinal tract, and produces chyle; its waste product is the feces, or stool.
-The Second Digestion happens in the liver, and produces the Four Humors. Its wastes are eliminated via the bile, urine and sweat.
-The Third Digestion happens in the blood vessels, and feeds the principal organs of the body. Its wastes are eliminated via the urine and sweat.
-The Fourth Digestion happens in the tissues, and is the final congellation of the Four Humors into living tissue. Its wastes are eliminated similarly to the Third Digestion.
-The Four Humors originate in the liver in the Second Digestion as follows:
Blood, or the Sanguine humor, is the first to arise, and receives the richest, choicest share of nutrients. It is the most plentiful humor, and enters the general circulation.
Phlegm, as Plasma or the Phlegmatic humor, is the second to arise and receives the next richest share of nutrients.
It is also very plentiful, and enters the general circulation.
Yellow Bile, or the Choleric humor, is the third to arise and receives a rather coarse, meager share of nutrients. It is not so plentiful.
Only a slight residue enters the general circulation; the rest is stored in the gall bladder, its receptacle, to be used as needed.
Black Bile, or the Melancholic humor, is the last to arise, and receives the coarsest, most meager share of nutrients. It is the least plentiful. Only a slight residue enters the general circulation; the rest is stored in the spleen, its receptacle, to be used as needed.


The first two humors, blood and phlegm, are moist and flourishing, and are the metabolic agents of the Wet elements - Air and Water, respectively. Most of the nutrition, growth and metabolism of the organism depends on them.
The last two humors, yellow bile and black bile, are dry and effete, and only needed by the organism in small amounts. They are the metabolic agents of the Dry elements - Fire and Earth, respectively. Although only needed in small amounts, they are potent and essential catalysts where needed.
The withering of the Hippocratic belief in humors proved to be good news for patients who were not thrilled with the practice of bloodletting, a process of opening a patient’s veins to lower blood levels in an attempt to bring the humors into balance and cure all manner of mental and physical ills.
Bloodletting, with a knife or with leeches, was an accepted medical practice from the time of the Greeks, Mayans, and Mesopotamians; and it was going strong at the end of the 18th century, when George Washington had almost two liters of blood let out to cure a throat infection. He died shortly afterward.

Monday, September 3, 2018

'God is dead' (we have 'killed' Him?)

"You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself."
--Swami Vivekananda

By Alex P. Vidal

-- To begin with, do you trust atheist Friedrich Nietzsche?
If yes, let's continue. If no, stop reading this. If in doubt you may ignore this article or just shrug it off.
This controversial German philosopher who reportedly went insane the years before he died (that's according to some book authors), wrote The Gay Science, which was brilliantly translated by Walter Kaufmann.
A collection and poems of 383 aphorisms in five sections that interrogates the origins of the history of knowledge. it's a book that celebrates philosophy as a medicine capable of renewing the intellect, and perceives of philosophy as inspiration for individual freedom, and thereby capable of renewing culture. Nietzsche added a “Book Fifth” to The Gay Science five years later after it was published in 1882.
Nietzsche declares God is dead in this book; and in a hope to shake European thinking from the cloak of religion, he proposes arrests intellectual development and weighs the individual mind down with received knowledge that in part incorrectly describes man as flawed while presenting false virtues that only deepen human suffering.


Calling The Gay Science as “the most personal of all my books”, it was here that Nietzsche first proclaimed the death of God--to which a large part of the book is devoted--and his doctrine of the eternal recurrence.
Kaufmann’s commentary brings to life Nietzsche as a human being and illuminates his philosophy with its many quotations from previously untranslated letters.
The book contains some of Nietzsche’s most sustained discussions of art and morality, knowledge and truth, the intellectual conscience and the origin of logic.
Most of the book was reportedly written just before Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the last part five years later, after Beyond Good and Evil.
We encounter Zarathustra in these pages as well as many of Nietzsche’s most interesting philosophical ideas and the largest collection of his own poetry that he himself ever published.
Kaufmann’s English versions of Nietzsche represent one of the major translation enterprises of our time.
Interestingly, he is the first philosopher to have translated Nietzsche’s major works, and never before has a single translator given us so much of Nietzsche.
In this sensational book, Nietzsche adopts the provincial, plainspoken voice of a medieval poet.
After opening the book with a prelude in verse that alludes to the artful, playful, brief episodes to come, Nietzsche proposes that "human knowledge still suffers from the millennium-old herd instinct of preserving the species." 


This need for survival gave rise to the human invention of gods, as evidenced by the Greeks.
Centuries of Christian indoctrination and rule reportedly lead to a corrupt, vulgar church and community in the Middle Ages. Nietzsche writes into this history and against it.
This is why Nietzsche declares God is dead, just before halfway through the book. The question of how to go on, and interrogations deconstructing various European developments (the Lutheran Reformation, science, Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer) culminate in Nietzsche’s ideal of a Dionysian pessimist, the character of Zarathustra, an argonaut of knowledge. This interrogation occupies the second half of The Gay Science.