Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Secure Jaro Cathedral but don’t shut off mobile lines

“There is no priority higher than the prevention of terrorism.”
--John Ashcroft

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- It’s normal for the Philippine National Police (PNP) to be jittery and panicky these days after the Jolo Cathedral bombing that killed 27 churchgoers, but let’s hope the PNP won’t ask anew the telecommunication companies to suspend the mobile phone lines during the Feast of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria de Jaro in Jaro district, Iloilo City in the Philippines on February 1-2, 2019.
The Candelaria de Jaro fiesta is one of the most attended and vastly prominent religious gatherings in Asia.
Suspending a vital communication network during this mammoth occasion would be antithesis; it can’t prevent anarchy if it will happen.
It will only embolden troublemakers or small-time terror punks to disrupt events that don’t have direct communication access to authorities and the public.
A huge district event with a suspended communication facility is a recipe for catastrophe; it will exacerbate tension and public paranoia.

-o0o-

If the attacks are carried out by suicide bombers like what happened in Jolo, according to initial investigations, even if we suspend the Panay Electric Company (PECO) lines chaos will still occur.
Determined bombers don’t give a damn whether mobile phone lines are shut off or active.
Their minds are programmed to kill and unleash a carnage by all means.
By all means, however, the PNP must secure the Jaro Cathedral premises where a large crowd normally converges to lit candles, pay homage to the patron saint, and attend the Mass.
The procession also romps off and ends in the Jaro Cathedral.
If terrorists or any lunatic, God forbid, will use long distance or remote-controlled bombs as feared by the PNP, the terrorists will have to belabor themselves in planting or distributing the explosive gadgets first on their target areas.
It’s not difficult to spot them if they act suspiciously, especially if they carry heavy items in their backpacks, during the planning stage.

-o0o-

With the PNP’s vast intelligence machinery and the mushrooming CCTVs, these terrorists will be stopped on their tracks even before approaching their target areas.
We have abundance of watchdogs and alert residents in the different districts: barangay tanods, vendors, trisikad drivers, cabbies, among other ordinary folk, who can easily notice if someone not familiar with them behaves abnormally in their areas.
Let’s leave the mobile phone lines alone.
Instead, the PNP should buttress their monitoring network and surround vital areas that have potential attractions and interests to the terror groups.
Sometimes all of these are just figments of our imagination.
It may not happen, after all.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Debate of election candidates

"A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don't have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed."
--Nelson Mandela

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- The upcoming debates among the candidates in the May 2019 Philippine elections will finally give the voters the opportunity to carefully choose their next leaders based on the following: 1. competence and qualification; 2. sincerity; 3. mental and emotional toughness; 4. character; 5. spirituality.
There are those who are competent and qualified like Eleanor Roosevelt, Einstein and JFK, but are half-hearted, confused, and downright insincere.
There are candidates who are sincere like Mother Theresa, Thatcher, Gandhi and Marcus Aurelius, but are afflicted with poverty of reason and common sense.
There are those who have been gifted with the qualities of all the aforementioned great men and women in history, but possess bad manners and are impaired by a dysfunctional character.
In a debate, the chaffs will be separated from the grains; the deranged, the anarchists, the ruffians, the mongerers, the jokers, the magicians, and the circus players will be unmasked.

-o0o-


We are saddened to hear that Iloilo City's Hope Hervilla is no longer with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the Philippines.
With her background as educator and mass organizer, Hervilla, a mainstay of the Central Philippine University (CPU), would've been the Duterte administration's big asset in the continuing promotion of social issues and advancement of the rights and welfare of the marginalized especially in the countryside.
Hervilla and fellow undersecretaries Mae Ancheta-Templa and Maria Lourdes Turalde-Jarabe, a former Gabriel secretary general, left the DSWD in November 2018 or two months ago.
So many other Ilonggo appointees have been actively but coyly working with President Rodrigo Duterte since 2016.
Their appointments vary and the scope of their job is either "confidential" or liaison in nature.

-o0o-

Some of them work "silently" (or nobody knows they are the "eyes and ears" or "moles" of the president) and have eschewed public attention, but they know a lot of things about certain individuals who are directly and indirectly involved in politics and public service.
Compared to his predecessors, Mr. Duterte is patently unique when it comes to hiring subalterns or co-terminus minions who don't need to report physically in Malacanang.
While his predecessors like FVR, Erap, GMA, and P-noy tapped characters who have been enormously exposed to glamor of politics, Mr. Duterte chose the lesser-known henchmen and women.
These nameless factotums, so far, haven't disappointed their big boss; they have proven themselves to be worth of the president's trust and confidence.
Unlike the VIPS and the politically inclined provincial subordinates in the past administrations, most of the Ilonggo presidential appointees, because they don't have political ambitions, don't cultivate bloated egos.
Even if Mr. Duterte wasn't around during the recent Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City, some of these Iloilo underlings made sure that the president's most favorite senatorial candidate, Bong Go, was with the right local public officials, the right crowd, and given the right or proper media exposure.

-o0o-

The bombing of a Catholic Church in Jolo in Mindanao that killed 27 churchgoers was an insult to all faithful regardless of religious denomination.
Pope Francis had all the reason to get angry even as he exhorted Catholics and all over the world to pray for the victims--the dead and the survivors, their families, as well as the cuplrits.
Since Mindanao is still under martial law, we expect the government to at least identify the group responsible for the carnage and bring them behind bars without ifs and buts.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Duterte ‘ignores’ Dinagyang invitation

“The safety of the people shall be the highest law.”
-Marcus Tullius Cicero

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Ilonggos shouldn’t consider it as a big deal that President Rodrigo R. Duterte “ignored” Iloilo City Hall’s invitation to grace the just-concluded Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City in the Philippines.
The president can’t just say yes to all the invitations in all the festivals and other social, political, religious and even business gatherings anywhere in the Philippines.
If he accepts one invitation and rejects another, he will be accused of playing favorites.
January is the month of religious and cultural festivals.
Iloilo City was only one of the many cities and municipalities in the Philippines that celebrated the feast of Senior Santo Niño aside from the Sinulog Festival in Cebu City.
Either his schedule wouldn’t allow it, or President Duterte probably decided to skip the Dinagyang Festival on January 25-27, 2019 for security or even health reasons.
The safety of a sitting president is always a paramount concern over other considerations.
Many Ilonggos still couldn’t forget when he called Iloilo City as “the most shabulized” and when he threatened to kill the former mayor, Jed Patrick Mabilog, for being a “protector” of illegal drugs.
It would have been a security nightmare for the “overloaded” Regional Police Office 6 (RPO-6) led by Director John Bulalacao if the president came after being officially invited by Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III.

-o0o-

As Iloilo aims to harvest one million metric tons of rice this year, rice traders in the Philippines are reportedly set to import about 1.2 million tonnes of the staple food, as the Southeast Asian country lifts a two-decade-old cap on purchases.
This developed as the National Food Authority (NFA) has approved initial applications from 180 rice traders for permits to import a total of 1.186 million tonnes of either 5-percent or 25-percent broken white.
It was also reported that bigger rice purchases by the Philippines, already one of the world's top importers and consumers of the grain, could underpin export prices in Vietnam and Thailand, traditionally its key suppliers.
According to Reuters, prices in Vietnam fell last week ahead of the country's largest harvest this month, while the Thai market is likely to see additional supply towards the end of January from the seasonal harvest.
Dr. Sailila E. Abdula, acting executive director of Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), has rallied workers to support the upcoming Rice Tariffication Act or currently the Senate Bill 1998, which aims to replace import restrictions on rice with tariffs.
Abdula said cost-effective technologies should be further generated for the farmers to survive the possible influx of cheap rice from the international market.
Under the Senate Bill already signed by Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, PhilRice will annually receive P3 billion for six years, which will be used for “developing, propagating, and promoting inbred rice seeds to rice farmers and in organizing rice farmers into seed growers associations to be engaged in seed production and trade.”

-o0o-

The Family Planning Organization of Philippines (FPOP) Iloilo Chapter reportedly distributed thousands of condoms to revelers during the highlight days of the recent Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City.
FPOP Iloilo Chapter program manager Monalisa Diones said they have chosen the festival as a perfect venue to exhort the revelers to practice safe sex and to spread public awareness against the rising cases of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in Iloilo City.
We suggest that FPOP go directly to the barangays and educate the couples not only to practice safe sex, but also to minimize producing battalions of babies.
One major reason why many Filipinos are still wallowing in abject poverty is because of overpopulation.
For lack of proper education and training, many couples in slum areas continue to transform their households into bodegas of babies.
The number of mouths to be fed isn’t proportionate to their income, thus many of them continue to live below the poverty level despite working like dogs.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A whirlwind of pride for Ilonggos

"You don't stumble upon your heritage. It's there, just waiting to be explored and shared."
--Robbie Robertson

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- There is always an element of pride and exhilaration etched on the face of any Ilonggo anywhere in the world when random discussions take a spiral on the Dinagyang Festival.
Ilonggos are always brimming with so much excitement and enthusiasm once someone brings out the topic on Iloilo City's annual cultural and religious festivities that last for a week highlighted by a fluvial parade, colorful ati dance competitions, among other cultural, religious, sports and tourism programs and activities.
There is no other festival or event that defines the Ilonggos' heritage and culture to the level of maximum bliss and erudition.
The hysteria whipped up by all the positive energy that clustered the metropolis for one week is shared by every stakeholder and those behind the wheels that steered the festival to what it is today.
Ilonggos parlayed and talk about the Dinagyang Festival like they were promoting their own values, talents, and personal achievements in the global platform.

-o0o-

Dinagyang is Iloilo; Iloilo is Dinagyang.
There is so much goodness and substance that radiate in the horizon when an Ilonggo talks about the 51-year-old festival, which has now become the focal point when our tourism officials led by Department of Tourism-6 Director Helen Catalbas and Iloilo City Tourism Chief Junel Ann Divinagracia promote Iloilo City and Western Visayas as a whole.
Even the Iloilo Business Club (IBC) has been smitten by the Dinagyang's potentials and solid impact on business an investment opportunities over the years.
Although their hands are full owing to the stressful security preparations, members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) get a special attention, credit and commendation when the festival goes to bed with nary an anarchy and revelry-related bedlam.
Ilonggos always find the Dinagyang Festival as an occasion to refine and rebuild their spirit and character.

-o0o-

Ricardo Alonsabe, an Ilonggo Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Victoria, Seychelles, watched the Dinagyang Festival in his laptop in the lobby of a restaurant where he worked last year.
"I opened my Facebook account and was able to get access to the 'live' performances," said Alonsabe, a chef in a restaurant serving African food.
Alonsabe's co-workers and some tourists joined him and they were enthralled by the sound of drums and choreography of ati warriors.
"It's really a world class festival," he chortled.
Alonsabe and thousands of other OFWs all over the five continents were like watching the Dinagyang Festival "live" in the streets.
With the advent of technology, Dinagyang Festival could now be seen on the Internet and in any social media platform.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Cellphone signal cut off a stupid decision

"If I don't have wisdom, I can teach you only ignorance."
-- Leo Buscaglia

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Because of so much paranoia, the local Philippine National Police (PNP) leadership was able to convince the telecommunication companies to halt mobile signals in Iloilo City in the Philippines
during the highlights of the 2019 Dinagyang Festival.
While the rest of the world will be busy texting and talking over the mobile phones for the weekend chat, Ilonggos will be muzzled and pushed back inside the dark cave for several hours.
If Ilonggos within Iloilo City and abroad are unable to transmit important text messages and calls to their loved ones from six o'clock in the morning until two o'clock in the afternoon on January 26 and 27, blame the law enforcement authority's stupid edict, which will only be complied by the telecommunication companies.
If reports were true, even the Internet connections, the most vital of all forms of modern communication worldwide, would be cut off during that period.
The PNP invoked "security measures" for the doltish move.
It's better to be safe than sorry; or, as they always parroted in the security exercises, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

-o0o-

In their assessment, if telecommunications are suspended, troublemakers or terrorists with high tech gadgets and deadly weapons will be thwarted and won't be able to exploit and disrupt the City of Love's festive atmosphere.
In their thinking, clever bomb experts wont to utilize long-distance or wireless explosives, might strike at random and sabotage the world-renowned religious and cultural festival.
They have imagined the worst possible scenario, and it is part of their job--and paranoia.
If we remember it right, they have done the same display of morbid doubts and fears in the last four stagings of the Dinagyang Festival.
With more than 2,300 police officers to be deployed within the performance areas and their environs to monitor the peace and order situation on top of the PNP's vast intelligence network, it's inconceivable for any high tech amok or terrorist group to breach the police's security phalanx and create a public mayhem.
The best precautionary measures are still actually sustained sleuthing and monitoring to be done days or hours prior to the two-day highlight events.
Iloilo City is not a security nightmare geographically.
It is surrounded by rivers; and the only way for any determined terrorist or bomb wacko to sneak in is via the parachute.
It appears, however, that the possibility of Extra Terrestrials (E.T.) entering Iloilo City and mixing with the crowd to join the revelry is more possible than the suicide bombers or jihadists succeeding to detonate an explosive device while the Ilonggos are shouting "Hala Bira!"

-o0o-


Let's review the history. Long ago--more than 3,000 years--a band of Greek princes and heroes made a war on the city of Troy, in Asia Minor.
They laid siege to the city, but the Trojans were not easily beaten and the war went on for 10 years.
It might not have ended even then had not Odysseus, the cleverest of the Greeks, devised a scheme to overthrow the city.
The Greeks pretended that they were giving up the siege and began making preparations to leave.
One of the things that they did was to build a gigantic wooden horse.
They left this on the shore, and then went on board their ships and sailed away.
When the Trojans saw the Greek warriors depart, there was great rejoicing.
Believing the horse to be a luck offering to the gods, they opened their gates and hauled the horse inside as a prize of victory.
During the night, however, when the feasting was over and the Trojans were asleep, a door was opened in the side of the hollow wooden animal and out crept a band of Greeks who had been concealed inside.
These men opened the gates of the city and let in the main army of the Greeks, who had sailed back again as soon as darkness had fallen.
Thus Troy was captured and destroyed.
Long ago the blind poet of ancient Greece, Homer, told about the Trojan horse in his Odyssey.
Even today the name is applied to a person or persons who get inside enemy territory and help outside forces to get in and conquer it

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Mayor Joe III should prove Alim wrong

“God as my witness, may He strike me down if this allegation is true.”
--Paul Crouc

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- We suspect that Bacolod City Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia wasn’t happy that the honor of holding Manny Pacquiao’s WBA 147-lb belt when the senator defended his crown against Adrien Broner in Las Vegas on January 19, 2019 went to senatorial candidate Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
The role of holding Pacquiao’s championship belt during the introduction inside the ring has been Leonardia’s exclusive franchise since Pacquiao became a WBO kingpin 10 years ago.
In fact, the chief reason why Leonardia flew to Las Vegas despite his busy schedule in Bacolod City, was “to fulfill that obligation.”
There were many attempts in the past from eager-beaver Pacquiao friends and subalterns to dislodge Leonardia from that lofty honor but they all failed.
I am a living witness to some of these foiled heists.

-o0o-

In fact, I know personally some of the purported VIPs who tried but failed to trick Leonardia.
In one of Pacquiao’s fights at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino many years back, Leonardia had to grip the belt tightly like Conan the Barbarian and defend it like his honor was at stake when a physician friend attempted to grab it from his hands.
If coolers heads did not interfere, the Ilonggo mayor was prepared to square off with the intruder in what could have been the undercard’s preliminary bout right there in the dressing room.
If these charlatans weren’t jealous with Leonardia, they wanted to become instant celebrity by being seen instantly by millions of boxing fans from all over the world monitoring the event “live” on a pay-per-view.
This time, one of them succeeded.
Bato, of course, had a sinister intention.
As a senatorial candidate, the retired police director general knew his presence would generate a lot of attention from the voters.

-o0o-

The first-ever serious allegation of a possible graft and corruption “committed” in the infant administration of Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III has been fired by Councilor Joshua Alim.
The eye of the storm is the controversial P45-million newly-built grandstand in the Muelle Loney, City Proper, which Espinosa III had temporarily named as the Iloilo Dinagyang Grandstand.
Alim, a candidate in Iloilo City’s lone congressional district in the May 2019 elections, said he wasn’t convinced that the recently-inaugurated main venue of this year’s Dinagyang Festival was worth that amount.
The opposition councilor wasn’t impressed by the grandstand’s design even as he declared he would call for a committee investigation in the Sangguniang Panlungsod to shed light on the issue.
The grandstand, originally known as the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand when it was still standing in front of the Customs house in corner Mapa-J.M. Basa Streets, City Proper, was built under the Espinosa III’s administration.

-o0o-

Once Alim starts to seriously pursue the investigation, it will give Mayor Joe III, a rich man who does not need to steal and has no bad record in public service, a terrible inconvenience as he, too, is running for city mayor against Rep. Jerry Trenas in the May 2019 elections.
Alim’s recent saber-rattling, of course, was a music to Trenas’ ears.
Although Alim and Trenas do not belong in one political bandwagon, the councilor’s offensive move against Mayor Joe III is expected to be welcomed by Trenas’ group as a shibboleth of conquest.
Ilonggos who don’t believe that Mayor Joe III is a thief, meanwhile, will now start to suspect that he tolerated graft and corruption when he employed grafters in his administration.
Of course we are not saying that Alim is right.
In fairness to the mayor, everything is a mere suspicion and allegation; no formal complaint has been lodged yet against any Espinosa III minion in relation to the construction of the controversial grandstand.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, Mayor Joe III can’t just shrug off Alim’s fusillade as a mere powder puff.
He must prove that the councilor is wrong by facing the issue squarely and grabbing the bull by the horns.


Monday, January 21, 2019

Ilonggos owe Henry Sy Sr a debt of gratitude

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” 
-- William Arthur Ward

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- I can’t wait to see Mayor Jose "Joe III" Espinosa III and the members of the Iloilo City Council in the Philippines honor the late SM Supermalls godfather, Henry Sy Sr, for his big contribution in the metropolis’ economic growth and expansion for over 40 years now.
Ditto for the Iloilo Business Club (IBC).
Ilonggos owe Mr. Sy a debt of gratitude for choosing Iloilo City where to build the first branch of SM Department Store outside Metro Manila in 1979.
The Iloilo City branch was the 4th SM Department Store built by Mr. Sy.
Even as a not-so-expansive department store in the early 1980s, SM Delgado infused tremendous economic gains for Iloilo City in terms of taxes generated for the city government and employment opportunities for the Ilonggos.
SM Delgado’s arrival created a big stir in the Ilonggos’ malling life, and a paradigm shift in the local consumers attitude.
Weeks before the SM Shoe Mart Delgado opened on May 15, 1979, I used to peek inside the glass from outside and saw a lot of shoes being displayed.

-o0o-


We were told it would be the biggest “shoes mall” to open in Iloilo City, which did not have a big department store at that time other than the chain of traditional wholesale and retail stores in the Calle Real.
When SM Supermarket was conceptualized, SM Prime Holdings opened its store at SM Delgado in 1985 and relaunched the mall in 2004.
It sparked further economic growth for Iloilo City.
SM Delgado was originally known as SM Iloilo prior to the opening of SM City Iloilo on June 11, 1999.
For his 8th of the 72 chain of SM Supermalls built across the Philippines , Mr. Sy picked Iloilo City anew.
The four-level complex, featuring eight cinemas, food hall, food court and a cyberzone with a total retail floor area of 181,657 sq.m., was built and officially opened on June 11, 1999 in Mandurriao district, Iloilo City.
The presence of this mammoth mall, one of the biggest in the entire Philippines, had a domino effect: it further helped skyrocket Iloilo City’s economic development and spur investment opportunities in other areas of business.

-o0o-

Mr. Sy, who died on Saturday morning, January 19, at 94, was a frequent Iloilo City visitor.
During the inauguration of SM City in 1999, I saw Mr. Sy, moving in a wheelchair, throw coins in the crowd.
I helped myself pick up some coins on the floor together with other guests.
When the Mall of Asia, currently the fourth largest shopping mall in the Philippines and the 13th in the world, opened in Pasay City on May 21, 2006, I was one of the lucky editors officially invited and flown to the event by SM management along with a few selected public officials and business leaders from Iloilo City.
I again saw Mr. Sy throw the coins together with his children and associates.
When Forbes released a list in March 2018, Sy led Filipinos on the World's Billionaires List 2018.
He has been the richest Filipino since 2005 with a net worth of $19 billion, it was reported.
For his gargantuan contribution in the economic life in Iloilo City in particular, and in the entire Western Visayas in general, we salute the Mall King of Asia. Rest in peace.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

‘Sorry, no more Mayweather vs Pacquiao rematch’

"Enough is enough. What good is it to earn that money if you aren't around to spend it?”
--Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather's promoter

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- While every pundit dished reports about the possible rematch between WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and retired pound-for-pound superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. immediately after Pacquiao’s conquest of Adrien Broner, Andreas Hale of Sporting News broke the hearts of the Mayweather vs Pacquiao II proponents with this report:

JOHN LOCHER AP PHOTO
Immediately after Manny Pacquiao's hand was raised in victory against Adrien Broner, the boxing world's attention turned to a potential rematch between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Pacquiao dominated Broner en route to a unanimous decision in front of a sold-out crowd of 13,025 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and a Showtime PPV audience, with the retired Mayweather seated ringside. Pacquiao called out the undefeated fighter, who beat him by unanimous decision in the 2015 megafight that shattered PPV records, but Mayweather refused to take the bait.
For now, at least.
According to Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather has absolutely "no interest" in coming out of retirement to face Pacquiao.
"No," Ellerbe said when asked if Mayweather was looking at a blockbuster return bout with the Filipino senator. "He has nothing else to prove. I’m very happy for him. He’s retired. He has no interest in doing that. It's not always about the money ... what more can the man do?"
Mayweather was recently in the ring, albeit in an exhibition bout against kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa on Dec. 31 in Japan. Mayweather routed Nasukawa with a first-round stoppage after knocking him down three times in the first round. Mayweather affirmed that he was happily retired and was only interested in exhibition bouts if the money was right.
Pacquiao sent a clear message that he would happily face Mayweather if he decided to come out of retirement, but Ellerbe made it clear that remaining retired was exactly what the soon-to-be 42-year-old was interested in doing.
"He doesn’t have the motivation or the desire," Ellerbe said. "He’s living his best life, traveling, running his multiple businesses, spending his hard-earned winnings. He'll be 42 come Feb. 24. Enough is enough. What good is it to earn that money if you aren't around to spend it?”
Mayweather has often teased a return to boxing if the money is right, and a bout with the 40-year-old Pacquiao could generate a significant chunk of change, especially after how Pacquiao performed against Broner. 
It may not get the 4.6 million PPV buys the highly anticipated first bout generated because of how easily Mayweather cruised to victory, but with Pacquiao looking extraordinarily sharp and possessing a newfound desire to be on top of the sport, there certainly is enough interest.
Money talks, but will it speak loudly enough to get Mayweather's attention?

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Pacquiao’s legitimate title war in an illegitimate body

“Boxing is the only sport you can get your brain shook, your money took and your name in the undertaker book.”
--Joe Frazier

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- At 40, Manny Pacquiao is one of the only few world boxing champions in history to fight a younger opponent as a defending champion.
He is about to eclipse the record of Jimmy McLarnin, the Irish-Canadian world welterweight champion who sent the first Filipino world flyweight champion, Pancho Villa, to cemetery when he beat on points the Ilonggo boxer in San Francisco on July 4, 1925.
McLarnin was below 30 when he engaged the talented Barney Ross in an epic three-fight world welterweight series.
Those who fought for world titles in the past who were already considered as “over-the-hill” were mostly the challengers.
And most of these grandfather challengers were sent to retirement after their failure to regain their lost glory or win world crowns.
Sugar Ray Leonard, Hector Camacho, Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, Roberto Duran, to name only a few marquee names.
And, luckily, Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) will defend a legitimate 147-lb belt sanctioned by the World Boxing Association (WBA) against naughty 29-year-old former four-division champion Adrien Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) in Las Vegas on January 19, 2019.
In the age of alphabet world boxing bodies, only the WBA, World Boxing Council (WBC), and International Boxing Federation (IBF) are considered as the legitimate world boxing authorities.

CROWNS

Pacquiao mostly won his previous crowns in the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and one time in the dubious International Boxing Organization (IBO) when he flattened Ricky Hatton in two rounds to snatch the Briton’s super lightweight bauble at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on February 5, 2009.
For 10 years since grabbing Miguel Angel Cotto’s WBO welterweight title on November 14, 2009, the Filipino buzzsaw cemented his reputation as a world champion fighting under the WBO, which charged lesser sanction fees.
Team Pacquiao, which was then under the tutelage of astute lawyer Bob Arum and his Top Rank, avoided the “more expensive” WBC like a plague.
Interestingly, it was the WBC which gave the Filipino senator his first legitimate world crown: the WBC flyweight tiara he wrested from Chatchai Sasakul with a brutal knockout in Thailand on December 4, 1998.
Pacquiao earned millions of dollars to become one of the richest prizefighters in the world fighting the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez, Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, Shane Mosley, Brandon, Rios, Timothy Bradley Jr., Jessie Vargas, and Chris Algieri under the WBO.
Jeff Horn outpointed Pacquiao in another violent WBO 12-round welterweight title fight in Brisbane on July 2, 2017, his lone fight in that year.

LAST

Pacquiao’s last WBC appearance was on May 2, 2015 when he lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr on points in the most expensive bout in history.
Mayweather Jr. risked his three titles: WBA super welterweight, WBC welterweight, and WBO welterweight and earned more than $100 million.
But who cares if Pacquiao fights under shady sanctioning boxing bodies?
Fans pay to see him destroy opponents regardless of world boxing authority.
Every time Pacquiao fights, fans don’t question anymore whether it is a legitimate title bout or a duel sanctioned only by a banana peel or a piece of paper.
If he roll past the foul-mouthed black American challenger, Pacquiao will earn another special place in history: a welterweight champion at 40 who successfully keeps his title in the first defense.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Mayor Joe III changes his mind

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.”
--James Humes

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Because most of them were preoccupied and concerned more with their reelection and political ambitions in the May 2019 elections, some Iloilo City aldermen opted to play deaf and blind when the raging furor over the unpopular renaming by Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III of the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand to “Iloilo Dinagyang Grandstand” hogged headlines since last week.
When they could not perform their role as members of the local legislature to scrutinize and help correct certain misdemeanors in the executive branch, we, in the mass media, filled the vacuum of check and balance.
We were the ones who consistently and passionately pressed the wake up call that the act of renaming the historic grandstand wasn’t only unpopular but downright unpalatable if not smeared with moral and legal issues.
For being reluctant to chide the mayor--or at least tell him he was wrong--the city aldermen probably did not want to look like villains in the mayor’s eyes especially that there is a strong indication Joe III will remain as city mayor for the next four years.
Their implied recalcitrance on the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand brouhaha gave Ilonggos the uncanny impression that as long as they are in power, Mayor Joe III will get what he wants and they won’t stand his way to disappoint him.

-o0o-

We are glad though that Mayor Joe III responded to the media criticism positively.
He immediately doused cold water to the conflagration by announcing that the name “Dinagyang Grandstand” wasn’t for keeps, acknowledging that the decision to rename any public structure needs the imprimatur of the local legislative body as a co-equal branch in government.
Contrary to what his political enemies have been trying to portray him, Mayor Joe III wasn’t insensitive afterall.
After all is said and done, we are confident Mayor Joe III will no longer pursue that loathed edict on the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand.
Councilor Joshua Alim has hinted that he would push for the retention of the word “freedom” even as the Iloilo City Council has yet to formally tackle the issue and help assuage the frazzled emotions of members of the so-called Timawa party or the Ganzon loyalists (Ganzonistas), who vowed to campaign against Mayor Joe III if he did not change his mind.
The Iloilo Freedom Grandstand, built in the 1950s to commemorate Republic Act 1209 or the “Iloilo City Freedom Law” authored and sponsored by the late former senator and mayor Rodolfo “Roding” Ganzon, was the Ganzon loyalists’ only living legacy and memory of their beloved hero, Roding Ganzon.

-o0o-
Like in the cases of other policemen linked in illegal drugs, President Duterte offered no solid evidence when he shamed and fired last Saturday Bacolod City police chief, Senior Supt. Francisco Ebreo, and four others: Supt. Nasruddin Tayuan, Supt. Richie Makilan Yatar, Senior Insp. Victor Paulino and Senior Supt. Allan Rubi Macapagal.
Even after meeting the embattled police officials in Malacanang last Tuesday, the President reiterated his displeasure and disgust and lambasted them anew for being allegedly protectors of illegal drugs or personalities engaged in illegal drugs directly and indirectly.
Some of them could be innocent -- unless their accusers can produce solid evidence and file formal charges against them in court.
No less than Chief Supt. John Bulalaco, Regional Police Office 6 (RPO-6) director, has confirmed Ebreo was not on the watch list of those linked in illegal drugs.
We can’t question the President’s intelligence network; he must have the valid reason when he went ballistic against the Bacolod cops.
We learned, however, that the other reason why cops earned Mr. Duterte’s ire after some incumbent elected officials in Bacolod City had alleged that the cops escorted Councilor Ricardo “Cano” Tan and his wife who were ambushed by unknown assailants in December 13, 2018 in Talisay City.
The Tan couple just came from their property in Talisay City, the Campuestohan Highland Resort, when they were waylaid on their way to Bacolod City.
They survived.
Tan has been named by Duterte as alleged drug trafficker.
Tan, a sportsman, is also at odds with Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia politically.
Leonardia is an ally of Mr. Duterte.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

How about the murdered cops, Congressman Bataoil?

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
--Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Was it a populist rant?
Or a brotherly malasakit (deep concern) from a retired police official turned lawmaker tormented by the humiliation suffered by a “promdi” cop?
Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil earned pogi points from his former colleagues in the Philippine National Police (PNP) when he lambasted in the Philippines’ House of Representatives the Garin father and son, Guimbal Mayor Oscar “Oca” Sr. and Iloilo 1st District Rep. Oscar “Richard” Jr., in a privilege speech January 14.
The two top male members of the feared but fizzy Garin political dynasty in Iloilo have been slapped with criminal charges by Guimbal, Iloilo’s Police Officer 3 Federico Macaya Jr. for allegedly mauling the cop in Guimbal town in December 2018.
The incident scandalized the entire PNP hierarchy that it immediately moved to strip the Garins of their police escorts.
No less than President Duterte has called for the filing of necessary cases against the Garins.
The Garins surrendered their firearms in Iloilo through Vice Governor Christine Garin, Oca’s daughter and Richard’s sister.

-o0o-

The mauling incident instantly spread in the national media and the internet.
It became the talk of the town.
About three weeks after the incident, Bataoil, who once served as chief of the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) regional operations and plans division of the Police Regional Office 6 in the early 2000, was in the rostrum unloading a Philippic:
“My heart bleeds for PO3 Macaya and many others who, like him, are all but nameless men and women in uniform quietly serving, and even dying, albeit some of them being subjected as well to assault, disrespect and abuse by persons in high elective office–the so-called mighty and powerful,“ he bewailed.
“I condemn in the strongest terms the fate that befell Police Officer 3 Federico Macaya Jr. of Guimbal police station when he was subjected to kicks, slaps and fist blows while the hapless policeman was handcuffed, unable to defend himself, and held at gunpoint.”
Bataoil fired the cylinders as a lawmaker to mollify the offended Guimbal cop and lift the spirit of the PNP.
He also wanted “to remind” the likes of Garins and other elected public officials “that we are not high and mighty.”
Good to the ears and excellent display of courage and grit for Bataoil, picking up the cudgels for an abused policeman.
PNP personnel invited to be present inside the House of Representatives applauded and gave Bataoil a standing ovation.
Before Macaya’s case acquired a colossal media attention, news about police personnel as victims of violence and even murder have already hogged prime time news headlines.

-o0o-

Since Macaya comes from Iloilo, we will cite only a few cases familiar with the Ilonggos: the murders of former Negros police chief, Supt. Santiago Rapiz in Dipolog City; SP01 Ronaldo Alag in Iloilo City, and Senior Insp. Porferio Gabuya Jr. in Negros.
Like Macaya’s case, the brutal killings of the aforementioned cops happened only in November and December 2018.
Rapiz was killed in an “encounter” with fellow cops in an anti-drug operation, while Alag and Gabuya were mowed down by bullets fired by the notorious riding-in-tandem assailants.
They were tagged as alleged coddlers of illegal drugs even before they were formally charged in the proper court and killed violently
They were murdered without due process and forever silenced and shamed without any chance to clear their names.
Because they were linked in ugly activities, they were portrayed unjustly and appallingly in the media and died like movie villains--unlike Macaya who easily earned public sympathy after being allegedly kicked, slapped, and spat at on the face while his hands were cuffed.
Did Bataoil’s heart not bleed when these police officers were assaulted worse than Macaya?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Silence)



When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.
— YEVGENY YEVTUSHENKO :

In times of moral crisis, making a sound to defend the truth isn't only an extreme necessity, it is a must so that those who choose the convenience of neutral grounds can't seek sanctuary in silence.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Ilonggos will survive despite WB’s bleak report

“Economy, prudence, and a simple life are the sure masters of need, and will often accomplish that which, their opposites, with a fortune at hand, will fail to do.”
--Clara Barton

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Ilonggos are known for their resilience, thus we expect Western Visayas to move upward this year from the fourth fastest growing regional economy in the Philippines in 2017 despite the projection made by the World Bank (WB) January 8 that global economic growth will soften from a downwardly revised three percent in 2018 to 2.9 percent in 2019 amid rising downside risks to the outlook.
Western Visayas was next to Cordillera Administrative Region, and Northern Mindanao nad Central Luzon after posting an economic growth of 8.4 percent in 2017, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
This was attributed mainly to the recovery of the agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing (AHFF) sector, and better performance of the service sector, it was reported.
The agriculture sector rebounded from negative 1.8 percent in 2016 to positive 8.8 percent growth in 2017 while the service sector grew from 6.7 percent in 2016 to 8.2 percent in 2017 based on reports.
It was further reported that industry sector slowed down to 8.8 percent in 2017 from its previous recorded growth of 10.6 percent in 2016 while the service sector continued to account for the largest share of the region’s economy at 57.3 percent, followed by industry with 24.1 percent, and AHFF sector with 18.6 percent share.

-o0o-

As this developed, WB has reported the “darkening prospects” for growth among advanced countries in 2019.
In a statement, WB said international trade and manufacturing activity have softened, trade tensions remain elevated, and some large emerging markets have experienced substantial financial market pressures.
Growth among advanced economies is forecast to drop to two percent this year, the January 2019 Global Economic Prospects says.
Slowing external demand, rising borrowing costs, and persistent policy uncertainties are expected to weigh on the outlook for emerging market and developing economies.
Growth for this group is anticipated to hold steady at a weaker-than-expected 4.2 percent this year.
“At the beginning of 2018 the global economy was firing on all cylinders, but it lost speed during the year and the ride could get even bumpier in the year ahead”, said WB chief executive officer Kristalina Georgieva. “As economic and financial headwinds intensify for emerging and developing countries, the world’s progress in reducing extreme poverty could be jeopardized. To keep the momentum, countries need to invest in people, foster inclusive growth, and build resilient societies.”
The upswing in commodity exporters has stagnated, while activity in commodity importers is decelerating.
Per capita growth will be insufficient to narrow the income gap with advanced economies in about 35 percent of emerging market and developing economies in 2019, with the share increasing to 60 percent in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence.

-o0o-

A number of developments could act as a further brake on activity. A sharper tightening in borrowing costs could depress capital inflows and lead to slower growth in many emerging market and developing economies.
Past increases in public and private debt could heighten vulnerability to swings in financing conditions and market sentiment.
Intensifying trade tensions could result in weaker global growth and disrupt globally interconnected value chains.
“Robust economic growth is essential to reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity,” said World Bank Group vice president for equitable growth, finance and institutions, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu. “As the outlook for the global economy has darkened, strengthening contingency planning, facilitating trade, and improving access to finance will be crucial to navigate current uncertainties and invigorate growth.”
The informal sector accounts for about 70 percent of employment and 30 percent of GDP in emerging market and developing economies.
Since it is associated with lower productivity and tax revenues and greater poverty and inequality, this is symptomatic of opportunities lost.
Reducing tax and regulatory burdens, improving access to finance, offering better education and public services, and strengthening public revenue frameworks could level the playing field between formal and informal sectors.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Don’t add insult to Iloilo Freedom Grandstand’s injury

“Never insult an alligator until after you have crossed the river.”
--Cordell Hull

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- I hope it is not true that Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III will rename the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand to “Dinagyang Grandstand,” which has been transferred to the Muelle Loney Street fronting the Iloilo River.
It will add insult to injury of those behind the construction of the original grandstand, built in the 1950s to commemorate Republic Act 1209 or the “Iloilo City Freedom Law” authored and sponsored by the late former senator and mayor Rodolfo “Roding” Ganzon.
The law restored to the residents of Iloilo City their constitutional right to elect their own mayor, vice mayor, and councilors.
In the first place, the decision last year to transfer the grandstand from the Sunburst Park in front of the Customs house or Aduana to its present location, was bitterly met by derision and opposition from Ilonggos who wanted to preserve local history and heritage; Ilonggo old timers and millennials who wanted to retain Iloilo City’s spirit, aesthetic and ingenuity.

-o0o-

But Mayor Espinosa III and other proponents insisted the transfer was “necessary” to pave the way for the revival and redevelopment of the slumbering Sunburst Park
Ergo, Espinosa III, et al won; the protesters lost.
Tuloy ang ligaya.
But, wait a minute.
The mayor is already thinking of changing the name of the P45-million project even before its completion?
We thought the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand “will only be PHYSICALLY transferred to a new location for purposes of development?”
Demolished, transferred, and now permanently erased from memories?
Reports said the project will be completed “before” the highlights of the 2019 Dinagyang Festival on January 25-27.
Mayor Espinosa III announced the decision to change its name on January 8 or two weeks earlier.
That’s pushing the cart ahead of the horse.

-o0o-

The mayor is also expected to issue an executive order to officially rename the grandstand before the Dinagyang Festival highlights.
When visitors and local folk occupy the new grandstand during the week-long religious and cultural festivities, the name Iloilo Freedom Grandstand, as well as all our glorious recollection and imagination about the iconic structure, are already a ghost?
Is the new grandstand to be used exclusively only for Dinagyang, or in honor, benefit, and spirit solely of Dinagyang Festival?
How about the other mammoth educational, medical, cultural, political, spiritual, business, and civic activities held prominently in the grandstand since time immemorial?
Iloilo Freedom Grandstand became a household name, famous from all over the world from people with great experiences and evocations of the structure, even before Dinagyang Festival was born.
We expect Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon, son of the illustrious the late former senator, and those who care for Iloilo City’s history and heritage to ask Mayor Espinosa III to reconsider his decision of permanently putting away all the memories and glories attached to the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand.
As an Ilonggo who was born and raised in Iloilo City, I mourn Mayor Joe III’s latest boondoggle.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Election tip: ‘Flatter voters shamelessly’

“One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician's objective. Election and power are.”
--Cal Thomas

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -
- This article may interest some of those aspiring for public office in the coming May elections in the Philippines.
Before Marcus Cicero, Rome’s greatest orator, won as consul, the highest office in the Roman Republic, in an election in the summer of 64 B.C., the then 42-year-old son of a wealthy businessman from the small town of Arpinum received an advice from his younger brother, Quintus, on how to win the election.
The short pamphlet written by Quintus on electioneering in the form of a letter was called in Latin the Commentariolum Petitionis, which survived the centuries and was included in the book How To Win An Election written by Philip Freedman.
Like Machiavelli’s Prince, this short treatise provides timeless and no-nonsense counsel to those who aspire to power.
Idealism and naivete are left by the wayside as Quintus tells his brother--and all of us--how the down-and-dirty business of successful campaigning really workks.

-o0o-

The letter is full of priceless advice for modern candidates, but some of the choicest gems are:
1. Make sure you have the backing of your family and friends. Loyalty begins at home. If your spouse and children aren’t behind you, not only will you have a hard time winning but it will look bad to voters. And as Quintus warns Marcus, the most destructive rumors about a candidate begin among closest to him.
2. Surround yourself with the right people. Build a talented staff you can trust. You can’t be everywhere at once, so find those who will represent you as if they were trying to be elected themselves.
3. Call in all favors. It’s time to gently (or not so gently) remind everyone you have ever helped that that they owe you. If someone isn’t under obligation to you, let them know that their support now will put you in their debt in the future. And as an elected official, you will be well placed to help them in their time of need.
4. Build a wide base of support. For Marcus Cicero this meant appealing primarily to the traditional power brokers both in the Roman Senate and the wealthy business community–no easy task since groups were often at odds with each other. But Quintus urges his brother as an outsider in the political game to go further and win over the various special interest groups, local organizations, and rural populations ignored by other candidates. Young voters should be courted as well, along with anyone else who might be of use. As Quintus notes, even people no decent person would associate with in normal life should become the closest of friends during a campaign if they can help get you elected. Restricting yourself to a narrow base of support guarantees failure.
5. Promise everything to everybody. Except in the most extreme cases, candidates should say whatever the particular crowd of the day wants to hear. Tell traditionalists you have consistently supported conservative values. Tell progressives you have always been on their side. After the election you can explain to everyone that you would love to help them, but unfortunately circumstances beyond your control have intervened. Quintus assures his brother that voters will be much angrier if he refuses to promise them their hearts’ desire than he backs out later.
6. Communication skills are key. In ancient Rome the art of public speaking was studied diligently by all men who aspired to political careers. In spite of the new and varied forms of media today, a poor communicator is still unlikely to win an election.
7. Don’t leave town. In Marcus Cicero’s day this meant sticking close to Rome. For modern politicians it means being on the ground pressing the flesh wherever the key voters are at a particular moment. There is no such thing as a day off for a serious candidate. You can take a vacation after you win.
8. Know the weakness of your opponents–and exploit them. Just as Quintus takes a hard look at those running against his brother, all candidates should do an honest inventory of both the vulnerabilities and strengths of their rivals. Winning candidates do their best to distract voters from any positive aspects of their opponents possess by emphasizing the negatives. Rumors of corruption are prime fodder. Sex scandals are even better.
9. Flatter voters shamelessly. Marcus Cicero was always courteous, but he could be formal and distant. Quintus warns him that he needs to warm up to voters. Look them in the eye, pat them on the back, and tell them they matter. Make voters believe you genuinely care about them.
10. Give people hope. Even the most cynical voters want to believe in someone. Give the people a sense that you can make their world better and they will become your most devoted followers–at least until after the election, when you will inevitably let them down. But by then it won’t matter because you will have already won.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Is Western Visayas now RP's biggest cemetery?

“Never use a cannon to kill a fly.”
--Confucius

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- The list of people murdered by the notorious riding-in-tandem killers in Western Visayas, particularly in Iloilo and Negros, and those massacred in “encounters” and police raids is getting thicker; and it appears that Western Visayas has now become the biggest cemetery in the Philippines.
The latest victims, Mercedes Nava, 66, and Erwin Fontillas, 45, mowed down in broad daylight by unidentified killers riding in motorcycle in Brgy. Calajunan, Mandurriao in Iloilo City in the Philippines on January 4, 2019, were another unarmed civilians.
The unprovoked double murder perpetrated in the first week of New Year could mean only one thing: a culture of impunity has now beclouded the “City of Love.”
The killing spree that included the massacres last year of seven suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Antique in August and the nine farmers in Sagay, Negros Occidental in October; the unsolved murders also last year of Small Town Lottery (STL) operator Samuel Aguilar in March, village chief Remia Gregori in June, and ex-cop Apple Alag in November and Bacolod lawyers and Rafael Atotubo and Ben Ramos, to name only a few, means nobody is safe anymore--not even lawyers, priests, cops, journalists, students, farmers, vendors, and drug addicts.

-o0o-


Every now and then there is violence and bloodshed; and dead bodies are piling up.
If the killings won’t stop, we will soon have to put all the cadavers together in one extended cemetery for all the victims of violence and atrocities.
The reputation of the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) headed by Chief Supt. John Bulalacao is at stake here.
The people are pinning their hopes on the police authority for the progress and quick resolution of the aforementioned sensational crimes.
Ilonggos are anxiously waiting for the immediate arrest and the filing of necessary cases in court against the culprits.
As the people’s demand for justice accelerates, the authorities can’t afford to let those cases slumber or be buried in the police files and be subsequently forgotten and become part of statistics.

-o0o-

Some of these murders aren’t really difficult to crack.
The pieces of evidence and major leads in some of these cases are just waiting to be dug up and unsnarled by determined investigators.
There are many available sources and resources to tap and where to start untangling the ropes of puzzlement: social and mainstream media, community assets, history or background of the involved parties--their affiliations and activities.
If we believe some of the tipsters and sources, most of the hired killers haven’t really left the region and are just waiting for their next lucrative “assignment.”
The motives behind some of these murders can be obtained in the script of soap opera films--jealousy, vengeance, double cross, hatred, envy, avarice, rivalry, politics.
With its vast intelligence resources, there is no way the police can’t put all the dots in their proper holes and solve the puzzles one after another.
We have full trust and confidence on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to finish the job.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Gingging Nava's murder an extreme act of irrationality

“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

NEW YORK CITY
-- Businessman and Iloilo Press Club president Rommel Ynion has offered a reward of P100,000 to anyone who can help police investigators identify the gunmen and the mastermind in the girsly murder of Iloilo City socialiate, Mercedes “Gingging” Nava, and her companion, Erwin Fontillas, in Brgy. Calajunan, Mandurriao in Iloilo City in the Philippines on January 4, 2019.
“Beating up a minor like Joaquin Montes who is a Taekwondo black belt and an emergent psycopath is more acceptable than shooting in broad daylight with .45 caliber handgun 65-year-old Mercedes "Gingging" Nava, who was unarmed and helpless at the time of her murder. This is cowardice at its worst. I am offering Php 100,000 to whoever can lead authorities to the gunmen and mastermind of this horrific crime,” Ynion wrote in his Facebook account.
“The bounty should be higher. But, that is all I can afford for now. I would like to urge moneyed Ilonggos to help me raise the reward to Php 5 million. We need to stop these criminals dead in their tracks. This is not a laughing matter, folks. If this continues unabated, the next victim could be any of you. Lets stand up and fight this menace to our society. Please share this post. Make it viral if you can until it reaches a crescendo to awaken authorities to the urgency of this matter. Cowardice is a weakness we cannot allow to consume us. Let us fight!”

-o0o-

We don’t need to be guided by any moral code to know that murder is wrong.
And the fact that the victim in the Iloilo murder was a woman supports the male warrior hypothesis, the patriarchal dominance.
Men perpetrate about 90 percent of the world’s homicides and start all of the wars because evolution has shaped men to become warriors.
We have been programmed to attack, destroy, and conquer.
We always fight to keep power once we hold it, and when we find ourselves without economic resources, we feel entitled to acquire things by force if we see no other way.
Once we have acquired absolute power, we become reluctant to give it up.
It took two world wars and a post-industrial economy for women to obtain basic rights and opportunities.
Aristotle once said actions themselves are not the source of immorality, but the character that commits those actions is.
Thus, an action is not judged good or bad based on the action itself, but rather its relation to the virtue of the person committing it.
Aristotle would give two primary reasons why the act of murder is wrong: first, it is an act of bad character, and so certainly the action is performed by a person with bad character, thus the action is not bad but it illustrates the actor’s lack of virtue, which is what we are really punishing; second, regardless of how much virtue or vice a person has, an act of murder is an act of vice, and since virtue is a habit (as is vice) committing murder brings a person’s character closer to committing murder again, since vice, like virtue, is a habit.
Thus murder is only wrong in that it shows the immorality of the character of the person murdering, and in that it increases the vice of the person murdering (since it gets them out of the habit of not murdering, and increases habit towards murdering).

-o0o-


We can never think of murdering others if we only respect our fellow human beings.
Immanuel Kant said we must treat others as an “ends in themselves”, and not merely as a means.
What Kant meant was if we treat someone as a means, we are using him or her to benefit ourselves to achieve a final goal.
However, when we treat someone as an “end in himself or herself” we are giving them value for the simple fact that they are human.
Kantians believe that humans should respect other humans just on the idea of humanity as an end.
“I cannot, therefore, dispose in any way of a man in my own person so as to mutilate him, to damage or kill him” (Kant). One situation I would allow for someone to hurt or kill someone would be in the protection of oneself. If your family, friend, or even yourself is threatened by someone that you feel is going to kill you or severely hurt you if you do not act against him or her, then yeah I support the idea of using force.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A strong man’s weakness

“Try to look at your weakness and convert it into your strength. That's success.”
--Zig Ziglar

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- The hero in Greek mythology who fought in the Trojan War was invincible in the battle except for one little tiny spot, way down near his foot.
Achilles’ heel was the only vulnerable part of his body, and of course, that was the very spot that his enemies exploited to kill him.
Saints and Scoundrels of the Bible narrates that Samson was a hero in ancient Hebrew history, who learned too late that he had a Achilles’ heel.
Samson was set apart by God at birth.
His mother had been unable to conceive for many years.
One day an angel appeared to her and told her she would have a son who would be a Nazirite, which meant taking a vow that included no wine and no haircutting .
Samson would be one of a long line of handpicked deliverers known as judges who fought against Israel’s enemies.
Like Achilles, he would be tested in battle.
But he would have strength to match of another fabled hero, Hercules.

CONVICTIONS

“Sadly, Samson was not strong in his convictions. Sure, he could tear apart a lion with his bare hands, but he always picked women who were wrong for him, and he attempted to play mind games with the Philistines--the enemies of Israel and the people he was charged to defeat,” Saints and Scoundrels of the Bible explains.
Having selected a Philistine wife, against the parents’ wishes, Samson decided to make sport of his wife’s townpeople with a riddle related to the lion he killed.
If they could guess the riddle, he would give them 30 new outfits, including 30 items made of linen--undoubtedly a wardrobe to die for.
If they couldn’t guess it, they would have to give the items to Samson.
When they couldn’t guess the riddle, the Philistines threatened to kill Samson’s wife and her family.
Obviously there were some sore losers in town. The woman begged Samson to tell her the riddle, which she then explained to her people.
Samson lost his temper and killed 30 Philistines to gain their clothing in payment.
He also gave away his wife, Samson’s experience with his Philistine wife foreshadowed a relationship that would lead to his doom---his relationship with Delilah.

OFFER

The Philistine leaders approached Delilah with an offer she couldn’t refuse: find out what made Samson strong. A handsome reward would be hers. Delilah agreed.
So much for standing by your man.
When Samson finally gave away his secret, Delilah called in a man to give Samson his first and only haircut.
When Samson woke up, he didn’t realize that the spirit of the Lord had departed.
He was quickly taken into captivity by the Philistines. They decided to make an example of him by depriving him of his eyesight and forcing him to grind grain in the prison.
But God had mercy on his wayward deliverer.
One of the most promising verses in this said account is 16:22: “Before long, his hair began to grow back.”
Obviously firm believers in the “kick a man when he’s down” school of thought, the Philistines decided to have a laugh at Samson’s expense.
Samson was taken to the temple where all could see and mock the fallen hero.
But God had the last laugh.
After Samson requested that he be placed by the pillars of the temple, God brought the house down and a display of strength--the final act of Samson’s life.
This hero was no longer a zero.



Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Proud to witness ‘press freedom’ soar

“A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.”
--Albert Camus

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- As a journalist, being in the right place at the right time is different from just watching from a far place or country a historic event about press freedom unfold, thus I counted it as one of the many “blessings” that I became part of history in the recent New Year’s Eve Ball Countdown after making that “live” report hours before the big celebration.
For the first time since the New Year's Eve Ball made its maiden descent from the flagpole atop One Times Square, the recent New Year’s Eve ball drop was dedicated to “press freedom.”
It is but fitting that this year’s celebration was dedicated to journalism and journalists as a whole to help make people understand the role we are playing in shaping of public opinion and of disseminating solid and truthful facts through the news we dish through our respective media outlets on a regular basis.
Journalism has been largely misunderstood even in advanced countries; journalists were among the professionals who faced tremendous crisis these past years all over the world.

-o0o-

The 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles are illuminated by 32,256 Philips Luxeon LEDs. This Big Times Square New Year's Eve Ball is now a year-round attraction sparkling above Times Square in full public view January through December.
“On New Year’s Eve we look back and reflect on the major events of the past year, we look forward with a sense of hope, and we celebrate the people and things we value most,” Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, said in a statement. “This year, we’re celebrating the free press and journalism and those who work to protect, preserve and practice it.”
The Times Square Alliance--which named the Committee to Protect Journalists as its “charity honoree” for the evening--got its inspiration for the theme from TIME magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2018, which honored persecuted journalists like slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
It made me even prouder when it was known that one of the 11 journalists listed by the organization who took part in the button-pushing ceremony when the clock hit midnight was a Filipino, Maria Ressa, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Editor, Rappler, who is having troubles with the Duterte Regime in the Philippines.

-o0o-
The other journalists invited in the big event witnessed by millions of people from around the world, were: Karen Attiah, Global Opinions Editor, The Washington Post; Rebecca Blumenstein, Deputy Managing Editor, The New York Times; Alisyn Camerota, Co-Anchor, CNN New Day’
Vladimir Duthiers, Correspondent, CBS News and Anchor, CBSN; Edward Felsenthal, Editor-in-Chief, TIME; Lester Holt, Anchor, NBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC; Matt Murray, Editor-in-Chief, The Wall Street Journal; Martha Raddatz, Chief Global Affairs Correspondent and “This Week” Co-Anchor, ABC News; Jon Scott, Anchor, Fox Report Weekend on Fox News Channel; and Karen Toulon, Senior Editor, Bloomberg.
Tzipi Livni once said, “In a democracy, you need to have a strong judicial system. You need freedom of speech, you need art, and you need a free press.”
Also, Alexis de Tocqueville once said, “Grant me thirty years of equal division of inheritances and a free press, and I will provide you with a republic.”

All for one and one for all

“There's a constant tension between the excitement of new people and security with one person. If you go with excitement, you create chaos; you hurt people. There's jealousy, and it gets very messy. If you have security, it can be boring, and you die inside because of all the opportunities missed.”
--Alain de Botton

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Who do two bricks in a building and one Oreo cookie in common?
They’re held together by the stuff between.
In the case of bricks, we find the mortar that bonds one brick to another.
The Oreo cookie has the all-important white filling.
Because they just weren’t getting along the apostle Paul once asked a friend to be the mortar of filling between two women.
Paul’s job as an apostle was to “plant” churches. He later “watered” them through the spiritual teaching in his letters, which served as Paul’s voice when he couldn’t visit in person.
In fact, he wrote to the church in the Roman colony of Philippi while he was in prison.
In the midst of this letter about joy, Paul sadly had to address the disharmony between two women, Euodia and Syntyche. According to Saints and Scoundrels in the Bible, Paul enlisted the help of a third party “fearing that these women would not work out the problem on their own.”
Not much is known about this man except that he was a “loyal yokefellow” (Philippians 4:3).

BURDER

“This image brings to mind two beasts of burden linked together under a common yoke,” explains Saints and Scoundrels in the Bible. “He was someone who worked closely with Paul, and perhaps was a leader in the church in Philippi. This man would now be an important part of this mission to patch up the disagreement.”
When tension happens within a church body, everybody is affected,
Imagine being the one charged with the task of bringing two angry women face-to-face.
With a sticky problem like this, some people might have hesitated to get involved out of fear of being caught in the cross fire. So Paul had to call for a volunteer.
This may have been an assignment for which Paul’s friend was perfectly suited, or it may have been a dreaded chore.
Nevertheless, Paul felt that he was the one who could help these two irate women patch up their differences.
The text never reveals the outcome of the intervention of Paul’s yokefellow.
But this story illustrates the truth that in the church, like Alexander Dumas’ Three Musketeers, it’s “all for one, and one for all.”