Sunday, March 31, 2019

Iloilo City from ‘most shabulized’ to ‘like Singapore’

“Never forget that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression - with investors, with customers, with PR, and with marketing.”
--Natalie Massenet

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- WHILE President Rodrigo R. Duterte called Iloilo City as “the most shabulized”, Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin was all praises for the City of Love, calling it as “like Singapore.”
The President based his statement on “intelligence report” while the Chief Justice based his on what he and his wife, who accompanied him during the 17th National Convention of Lawyers held at the Iloilo Convention Center from March 28-31, 2019, saw with their own eyes.
While intelligence reports can mislead us, our eyes can not.
Chief Justice Bersamin and his wife were simply amazed by Iloilo City’s cleanliness, especially the highly regarded Iloilo River, one of the best rivers in the world.

-o0o-

When important and credible people say nice things about Iloilo City based on their personal experiences and independent scrutiny, those who say negative and spread derogatory words about Iloilo City based on hearsay and muckraking, will sound and look like fools, especially if they have ill-motives.
When the Bersamin couple and the 3,000 lawyers who attended the recent convention went back to their respective cities and provinces, they would surely spread the good impression they have gathered about Iloilo City.
No amount of brainwashing and twisting of facts and reality from people with ax to grind against Iloilo City and its leaders can change or influence the favorable and truthful impressions.


-o0o-

Now that the heads of the two branches of government--the executive and the judiciary-- have expressed their contrasting views about Yrong-Yrong, Ilonggos will be waiting for the honest-to-goodness opinions of the Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo about the erstwhile “Queen City of the South” (the title the Ilonggos allegedly “lost” to Cebu City) to complete the tango.
Having been in Iloilo City more than a dozen times in the past, both leaders of Congress’ upper and lower chambers would never lie if asked about their own impression of Iloilo City under the new local administration and the administrations to come.
Other recent convention attendees, including foreigners, businessmen and dignitaries, must have seen what the Bersamin couple have seen in Iloilo City.
Or more than the cleanliness and orderliness in the metropolis, if they stayed longer.

-o0o-

Candidates for the May elections who will “win” in surveys--bogus or genuine--to be conducted anytime this month should not react as if they hit a lotto jackpot.
As much as possible, they should refrain from “thanking the people for their trust and confidence; for their unwavering or continuing support, etcetera.”
The more they react this way, the more will people suspect the surveys where they “win” are rigged or staged as part of mind-conditioning.
If the surveys are legitimate, the outfits that commissioned the surveys will be the ones to report them to the media.
Let them convey the message to the public.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Secrets)

The biggest guru-mantra is: never share your secrets with anybody. It will destroy you.
-- CHANAKAYA :

Secrets can be either toxic or essential. If they leak, toxic secrets can wreck us emotionally and mentally. Essential secrets will promote normal growth and development because it is part of psychotherapy that can lead us to living a more rich, meaningful, creative, and balanced life.

-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Friends, Friendship)

Friendship is essentially a partnership.
-- ARISTOTLE :


Friends don't abuse and take advantage of each other's generosity and weaknesses; they advocate fair play and don't shortchange each other.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Jay Razon's respect

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”
--Bryant H. McGill

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY 
-- JAY Atienza Razon, 64, was not in the group of my Filipino-Canadian friends who hosted a despedida party for me the night before I left Vancouver to Blaine, Washington on April 8, 2012, but he became one of my regular callers from Canada when I was already in the United States.
In my brief visits in Vancouver in 2008, 2009, 2010, I heard and read a lot about Jay Razon--both positive and negative--but we didn’t know each other yet.
I was the editor of the Surrey-based Philippine Asian News Today (PNT) published by 1976 Montreal Olympian Reynaldo “Rey” Fortaleza when I first met Jay Razon, who came to our editorial office to submit a basketball story to sports editor Alex Mino.
Our second meeting was on December 21, 2011 during Jay Razon’s 56th birthday, which he celebrated on crutches, 12 days after undergoing a surgery for Achilles Tendon.
I got several calls from Jay Razon in August 2018, where he relayed an information that he was “unfairly targeted and singled out without any due process.”
He was referring to the advisory posted by the Consulate General of the Philippines in Vancouver, Canada on its website on July 30, 2018 which screamed, “The Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in Vancouver advises the general public about the unauthorized and unlicensed recruitment of Filipino workers being conducted by ‘Harvard Immigration.’”

-o0o-

Jay Razon, who owns the Harvard Immigration, protested the advisory and sought my help to clarify certain information which he claimed weren’t true. He said he had documents to back his story.
He remembered me “because I believe in you, Alex. I know that you have many readers; I know that you are fair and balance and willing to air both sides of the coin. I respect you as a journalist.”
Jay Razon admitted the issue faced by his immigration agency was “against all odds because of some false information fed to the RP consulate” but he “was only asking to be given the opportunity to air my side.”
I gave him the benefit of the doubt and lent him my ears.
In the spirit of fair play and balance reporting, I gave forlorn Jay Razon a space in my blogs and newspaper column. No strings attached.

-o0o-

I advised him to focus on news websites and not to respond to attacks by anyone in the social media because the slanderous comments have no substance and are only temporary; they don’t have the depth and permanence--unlike the articles that appear in the news websites that surface online anytime when Googled and stay there permanently.
Jay Razon was the founder and president of the Filipino Plaza Society of British Columbia in Canada.
He was then advocating for the restoration of the Filipino Plaza, a landscaped park located in Vanness Avenue, west of SkyTrain's Nanaimo Station in the city of Vancouver.
I heard a lot of opposition from other factions in the Filipino-Canadian community; there were those who believed in his leadership, while others doubted Jay Razon’s capability to pursue and finish the project, which needed a gargantuan budget.
Jay Razon, a retired nurse and civil engineer by profession, told me he was determined to prove his critics wrong despite the brickbats.

-o0o-

I learned from our common friend, Tom Choy, that Jay Razon died on March 28.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported on that day the following:
“This afternoon at 2:15 p.m., Burnaby RCMP and a number of other agencies including the Coast Guard, BC Emergency Health Services, Burnaby Fire Department, Coquitlam RCMP and the Vancouver Police Marine Unit responded to a report of an adult male kayaker who had capsized in the water at Barnet Marine Park and not resurfaced. At 3:20 p.m., the adult male kayaker was located deceased.”
Jay Atienza Razon left too soon without any warning.
His demise came about 24 hours after he wrote “Good reporting, Alex”, his last comment on the “live” report I made in the Times Square in New York City posted on my Facebook account. 

Rest in peace, Jay.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Important warning to all feeble candidates 


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Don’t call me ‘doctor’; don’t call me ‘doc’

“Finish last in your league and they call you idiot. Finish last in medical school and they call you doctor.” 
--Abe Lemons

NEW YORK CITY
-- Doctor Oscar London continues to defend his claim to be the World’s Best Doctor by explaining the 57 rules he follows.
His Rule No. 4 is: Don’t call me “doctor”; don’t call me “doc.’
London admits he becomes “apoplectic” when a new receptionist refers to him as “Doctor” instead of “Doctor London.”
“Doctor is tied up at the hospital and will be a little late.”
“Doctor will see you now.”
“Doctor wants you to make another appointment in June.”
In his own explanation, Dr. London thinks this reverential use of “Doctor” is a throwback to an age when physicians had little more to offer patients than a mega-dose of holiness--when an ethereal stench of sanctimony pervaded their office.
“Doctor will be with you in time.”
“As far as I’m concerned, “ he explains, “the high and mighty “Doctor” has no place in an up-to-date, down-to-earth medical office.
“At the risk of being stuffy, I must confess to being less than overjoyed when a patient calls me ‘Doc.’ I realize that ‘Doc’ is often used as a term of endearment. But to me, ‘Doc’ is what you call an excellent poker player who never went to medical school and what you call the town drunk who did.”
Dr. London says “Doc” is what Bugs Bunny calls Elmer Fudd.
“Doc” also sounds too much like “duck,” a species of fowl that goes, “quack-quack.”
To sum up, “Doctor” is not pleased to be called “Doc.”
He continues: “While we’re on the subject, I make a point of addressing Ph.D.’s as “Doctor” unless instructed not to. They earned their doctorate; I earned mine. In my neck of the medical woods, there are so many Ph.D.’s and physicians per capita that everyone seems to be calling each other “Doctor.”
“I few years ago, I hired a receptionist who had earned a Ph.D. in botany,” he narrates. “She once informed me, ‘Doctor London, doctor Shapiro’s wife, Doctor Gottlieb-Shapiro, is calling you from Doctor Mishkin’s office.’ ‘Thank you, Doctor Oglethorpe,’ I replied to the receptionist.”
“I had to let her go. She may have had a Ph.D. in botany, but she let all the plants in my office die,” Dr. London adds. “Besides, we were doctoring each other to death.”

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)


Monday, March 25, 2019

Kill as Few Patients as Possible

“Whatever you do, do with determination. You have one life to live; do your work with passion and give your best. Whether you want to be a chef, doctor, actor, or a mother, be passionate to get the best result.”
--Alia Bhatt

NEW YORK CITY -
- In Kill as Few Patients as Possible, Dr. Oscar London warns that if our physician aspires to be the World’s Best Doctor, “he or she will have to wait until I die.”
London describes himself as “sixty-one, don’t smoke, and always wears my seat belt.”
Let’s listen to what London has to say more about himself: I have taken the precaution of descending from ancestors who lived well into their nineties. I have no immediate plans to retire, run amok, or ride off into the sunset on my Schwinn exercycle.
I have taken time from my busy--but not killing--practice of internal medicine to pass along some hard-won strategies that, at best, will save your life. Or, at least, will permit your own physician to become the world’s second best doctor.
Then, when Hippocrates and Aesculapius summon me to join their Group Practice in the Sky, your healer will be in the catbird seat.
Your shaman will be poised to assume my current role of Mother Earth’s Favorite Son--the Doctor. Or Daughter, as the case may be.
How did I get to be Top Doc? How come heads of state phone me long distance, at odd hours, to say they took the two aspirin and now what?
Why does my appointment book read like a compendium of Who’s Who, Burke’s Peerage, and People magazine?
What is the key to my success? Is it my uncommon good looks?
My uncanny diagnostic skills? My charisma? My modesty? Yes, all of those, but more important: my strict adherence to the rules.
Daily Planet correspondent Sari Friedman called Dr. London as “a pseudonymous Berkeley internist who practices out of a two-story sole proprietorship on Webster Street”.
Friedman wrote: “From Voodoo to Viagra” vents on such topics as: “The 7 Habits of Highly Obnoxious Patients” and “How to Cut Your Doctor’s Bill in Half.” (For his next collection, maybe Dr. London will cover “How not to complain after spending long lonely hours in pain in a doctor’s waiting room, only to become the target of a sarcastic essay.”)
But I quibble, for the writing in “From Voodoo to Viagra” is witty and tart, informative on a array of issues and surprisingly fun, despite the acerbic point of view piercing as one of those long -- loooong -- needles about to give you a shot.
Dr. London does have his not-so-secret lusts: for Krispy Kreme donuts from Union City; for dissing alternative medical modalities such as the use of St. John’s Wort in treating depression and the use of magnets in reducing pain; and methinks Dr. London moans a bit much over the trials and travails of having the occasional celebrity patient.
Many of Dr. London’s ideas are original and even impressive, such as that “the bloated burger billionaires should direct their charitable funds to the American Heart Association, much as the tobacco execs, out of the goodness of their prosecutor’s hearts, are contributing a bundle to Lung Cancer research.” He also has fascinating things to say about testosterone.
But Dr. London’s voice soars to its most inspiring heights when he recounts his happy experience of making an apt and unusual double diagnosis (in non-English speaking cousins) of Mitral Stenosis – a rare, life-threatening, but potentially quite curable condition. Dr. London loves the practice of medicine: “trading in arthritic broken-down joints for shiny, metallic models that run like brand-new Audi TT coupes” and hitting upon the perfect drug or combination of drugs to effect a cure on even the most bedraggled and hopeless of patients.
While laughter is, indeed, strong medicine, these memoirs primarily show how humor can motivate and soothe the physician.
Nothing wrong with that.
When all’s said and done, Dr. London comes across as sweet. He greatly admires firefighters, and he attributes the fact that married men live longer than bachelors to the way most wives take such careful care of their husbands: “I’ve never seen a husband drag his wife to the doctor. I’ve seen a thousand wives drag their husbands into my office.” He adores his family and – bless him – works hard to serve the “25 patients a day” the HMOs require him to see.
As he says, “in the end, all of us will be most remembered not for what we did but for how deeply we loved.”

Don’t join the debate with a Dracula face

“Those who cannot understand how to put their thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of debate.”
--Friedrich Nietzsche

By Alex P. Vidal

WHEN
Rosa “Tita” Caram was appointed by President Cory Aquino as OIC mayor in Iloilo City after the 1986 EDSA Revolution, she became known as the “Cinderella surrounded by the seven dwarfs.”
One of the “dwarfs”, who became a village chief when Caram was no longer in city hall, had suggested to extend the route of the Dinagyang parade to the Fort San Pedro area.
Caram, wife of the late former Assemblyman Fermin “Nene” Caram nixed, the “crazy” idea.
When Mayor Caram learned that former senator Rodolfo “Roding” Ganzon, arch enemy of her husband, had been released from jail and helped campaign for the deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ reelection bid in the snap election, she was reportedly worried.
Fire-spewing Ganzon was rumored to be interested to run again for city mayor, and the news was a nightmare for Mayor Caram.
She bade goodbye to politics for good.

-o0o-

I covered the City Hall beat in 1989 when Ganzon became the city mayor.
He told reporters in jest, “Nahadlok si Tita Caram mag debate sa akon kayman gin isyuhan ako sang una ni Nene (Caram) nga putyong kuno ako. Ginpamangkot ko sia ngaa nga nabal an mo nga putyong ako? Gin pamangkot mo si Tita haw?”
Mayor Ganzon brought the house down.
One of the last remaining “dwarfs” (he really had a small frame and was already a department chief), who died during the administration of Mayor Mansueto Malabor in the 90s, told me “Mayor Caram was so nervous to debate with Mayor Ganzon (if ever they will face in the election)” thus she quit politics.

-o0o-

IT is during the political debates where the voters, especially the undecided, will have the opportunity to peruse the character, personality, and intelligence of the candidates running in the elections.
It is during the political debates where candidates with no prior or with insufficient media exposure will have the chance to prove their mettle without the assistance of any public relations (PR) expert; they will be on their own and they will advertise their own fortitude and capability as aspirants for a public office without the help of any prepared script.
A candidate participating in a public discourse can’t be rescued by the best PR consultant once he falters and scrambles with facts and figures.
Thus they need to be impressive; they need to look good physically, as well.
Even their body language and facial expressions must be guided accordingly with aplomb and collectedness.
Rule No. 1 actually is: Don’t join in the political debates if you are mad, or if your blood sugar is tottering.

-o0o-

The pre-debate checklist should include mental and emotional conditions, not just the cloths, hairstyle and make-up.
If you’re not in good mood, skip the debate immediately. No ifs. No buts. No second thoughts.
If your mood is on alert status and you engage a rival in a heated exchange of words before a huge audience that will last for an hour or two, it will have a catastrophic effect on your nerves; you will have no idea you appallingly look and act like Dracula.
Dracula has a poker face.
He owns one of the most untrustworthy faces in the known physical world.
The name evokes hostility and antagonism.
In fact, his aura has been dismissed with a dauntless disdain, fear, and scorn by any standard and imagination.
Don’t be a Darcula on stage.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Ynion to Mayor Joe III: IPC building will be our legacy

“I don't fight for the money. I fight for my legacy. I fight for history. I fight for my people.”
--Khabib Nurmagomedov

By Alex P. Vidal

LIKE
 Octavius and Mark Antony, the relationship between Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III and Iloilo Press Club (IPC) President Rommel Ynion is cool and professional.
Politics will have to take a back seat, this time.
When Antony and Octavius have a difference of opinion as to cutting Lepidus out in dividing the spoils of war, Octavius lets Antony have the last word.
Octavius (who became Emperor Octavian) raises some objections, but does not argue with the former right hand of murdered Roman Emperor Julius Caesar.
In a recent social media post, Ynion, like Octavius, asked Mayor Joe III: “Are you still serious in keeping your promise to help us secure the necessary permits to use the IPC building?”
“We have envisioned it to be a center for learning to help professionalize the media,” added Ynion.
“One of its features will be a library for students of journalism where they can deepen their knowledge on history, politics, and literature with the aid of books donated by our benefactors.”

-o0o-

Like Antony, Mayor Joe III’s word will take precedence over that of Ynion.
The city mayor will have the last word.
Everyone in the IPC will be waiting on tenterhooks for Mayor Joe III’s reply.
Ynion wrote: “I have seen you a few times on live Facebook video programs promising your audience including in one episode Manuel Mejorada that you would help us in the Iloilo Press Club (IPC) get city hall permits for our building.
“The IPC building has been the subject of many controversies over the years including the case implicating Congressman Jerry Trenas in an alleged anomaly related to the release of Php 500,000 for its construction.
“I have declared myself a friend of everyone. As such, I will not comment anymore on this issue bedeviling the congressman retired as I am from any form of political, economic and social activities.
“My hermit-like existence has defanged me. I would rather embrace peace than conflict in dealing with issues especially the one concerning the IPC bulding."

-o0o-

Unlike Romulus who killed his twin brother Remus and name Ancient Rome after himself, Ynion is inviting Mayor Joe III to “leave a legacy of our immutable values especially in the world of journalism where the highest standards of professionalism can endure with your help.”
Ynion wants to share IPC’a future glory with Mayor Joe III in exchange for his help and cooperation as the highest official of Iloilo City.
Ynion, who has pumped a personal money of P500,000 in the IPC building, appealed: “Mayor Joe, we need your help to make our dream a reality. It is a dream borne not out of personal ambition but out of our love for the journalistic profession and its practitioners.
“We will owe you a debt of gratitude which will last forever if only you can see and act on the importance of the IPC Building through the prism of our collective hopes for the future of journalism in Iloilo City. Madamo gid nga salamat.”
The ball is on your court, Mayor Joe III.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Why Sara won’t play a loaded dice in Iloilo

“I am a teacher. It's how I define myself. A good teacher isn't someone who gives the answers out to their kids but is understanding of needs and challenges and gives tools to help other people succeed. That's the way I see myself, so whatever it is that I will do eventually after politics, it'll have to do a lot with teaching.”
--Justin Trudeau

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- ALTHOUGH she has publicly raised the hand of Iloilo City mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III, presidential daughter Sara Duterte apparently is also “rooting” for Espinosa’s rival, Iloilo City lone district Rep. Geronimo “Jerry” Trenas, in the May local elections.
As a rumored presidential timber in 2022, the mayor of Davao City can’t afford to play a loaded dice in Iloilo City politics.
“Wooing” certain political characters or “showing moral support” to their candidacy is a political gambit that has been played up even by some of the famous politicians in antiquity.
Antagonizing one party and embracing another is tantamount to a political suicide for any candidate running for a national office in the future.
Thus Mayor Duterte only probably wanted to please not only both Espinosa and Trenas, but also their political supporters and sponsors, when she recently lent them her aroma.
Her gestures should not be interpreted with finality every time she is seen hobnobbing with local candidates anywhere in the Philippines.
Whoever wins between Espinosa and Trenas will definitely be an asset in her presidential campaign three years from now.
Hugpong ng Pagbabago, Mayor Duterte’s infant but fast-expanding political party, will surely invite or recruit more local chief executives -- governors and mayors -- after the May elections.
The party will go for the winners, not the losers.
Victory, after all, has many fathers; defeat is an orphan.

-o0o-

Those who don’t believe that Mayor Duterte will not run for the Philippines’ highest office should start to wake up.
Mayor Duterte did not organize the Hugpong ng Pagbabago, which made many PDP-Laban stalwarts insecure and nervous, for nothing.
Her body language, as well as the body language of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, speaks louder these past months; her regular activities and nationwide trips were loaded with interpretations that tilt on a strong possibility she will be running for president.
She probably believes she and her father can do in the Philippines what they did in Davao City: becoming the first father and daughter to reign as city mayor; this time, they might shoot to become the second father and daughter in Philippine history to occupy Malacanang’s highest seat after Presidents Diosdado Macapagal and Gloria Arroyo, who is now the House speaker.
Although President Duterte has not admitted it-- and will most likely not admit it, no father will stand in the way if he thinks there is a big chance her daughter will succeed him as president.

-o0o-

Many drug lords with links in the Filipino-Chinese community who were active in the previous elections in the Philippines either as financiers or candidates themselves are expected to either shy away or maintain a low profile role in the coming elections
They can’t afford to make a noise or display their fangs even if they claim to have solid ties with some powerful officials in government, police, and the military.
They are aware of President Duterte’s standing order for the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to “make life difficult” for these drug lords once they are spotted or arrested.
The threats of violence or even death hangs over their heads like a Sword of Damocles; and if they make one fatal false move, they will be decimated; and their cases will be buried in the statistics of those “killed for resisting police arrest.”
Haven’t we noticed that most of them have surreptitiously “disappeared” and nowhere to be found or heard these past years since President Duterte assumed power?
If they weren’t yet buried six feet below the ground or allowed to escape to China, they are just probably “on standby” for the bigger battle in 2022: the presidential derby.
Only fools can’t read between the lines.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Monday, March 18, 2019

We can help solve water shortage

"My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them."
--Mitch Hedberg

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- We should pay attention to what the authorities in charge of our water supply are saying now that El Niño phenomenon is again wreaking havoc in many areas in the Philippines.
If they are saying that water level in our dams like the Maasin Dam in Maasin, Iloilo has dipped below critical level, let's do our part as water consumers to help arrest the situation in one way or the other.
We can afford to have a rice shortage over a certain period of time, but not water; we can live for more than a week without a solid food in the body, but we can't last long if our body can't take a certain amount of water for five to seven days.
Water Use It Wisely tells us that when washing dishes by hand, "don’t let the water run." We need to fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
Dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand.

-o0o-

If our dishwasher is new, let's cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones. Let's designate one glass for our drinking water each day, or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
Let's soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean. Let's use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost vegetable food waste and save gallons every time.
Also let's wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap. We shouldn't use running water to thaw food. For water efficiency and food safety, defrost food in the refrigerator.
Let's install an instant water heater near our kitchen sink so we don’t have to run the water while it heats up. This also reduces energy costs.
Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
Let's reuse leftover water from cooked or steamed foods to start a nutritious soup, it’s one more way to get eight glasses of water a day.
Let's cook food in as little water as possible. This also helps it retain more nutrients.
Select the proper pan size for cooking. Large pans may require more cooking water than necessary. If we accidentally drop ice cubes, let's now throw them in the sink. 
Drop them in a house plant instead. Collect the water we use while rinsing fruit and vegetables. Let's use it to water house plants.

-o0o-

In the laundry room, when doing laundry, let's match the water level to the size of the load. Washing dark clothes in cold water saves water and energy, and helps our clothes retain their color.
In the bathroom, let's shorten our shower by a minute or two and we’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
Let's time our shower to keep it under five minutes. We’ll save up to 1,000 gallons per month.
Toilet leaks can be silent! Let's be sure to test our toilet for leaks at least once a year.
Let's put food coloring in our toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak. Fix it and start saving gallons.
When running a bath, plug the bathtub before turning on the water. Adjust the temperature as the tub fills.
If our toilet flapper doesn’t close properly after flushing, let's replace it.
Turn off the water while we brush your teeth and save up to four gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four.

-o0o-

We may consider buying a dual-flush toilet. It has two flush options: a half-flush for liquid waste and a full-flush for solid waste.
Let's plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse our razor and save up to 300 gallons a month.
We may turn off the water while washing our hair and save up to 150 gallons a month. When washing our hands, let's turn the water off while you lather.
Let's take five-minute showers instead of baths. A full bathtub requires up to 70 gallons of water. Let's install water-saving aerators on all of our faucets.
Drop tissues in the trash instead of flushing them and save water every time. One drip every second adds up to five gallons per day. Let's check our faucets and showerheads for leaks.
While we wait for hot water, let's collect the running water and use it to water plants. Let' also teach children to turn off faucets tightly after each use. When the kids want to cool off, let's use the sprinkler in an area where our lawn needs it most.
Let's encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults.

-o0o-

Let's monitor our water bill for unusually high use. Our bill and water meter are tools that can help us discover leaks. Let's Learn how to use our water meter to check for leaks. Reward kids for the water-saving tips they follow.
Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water and grab a wrench and fix that leaky faucet. It’s simple, inexpensive, and we can save 140 gallons a week.
Let's be leak detectives by checking all hoses, connectors, and faucets regularly for leaks.
We’re more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but let's not forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses.
See a leak we can’t fix? Let's tell a parent, teacher, employer, or property manager, or call a handyman. At home or while staying in a hotel, let's reuse our towels.
Let's make suggestions to our employer or school about ways to save water and money. Run our washer and dishwasher only when they are full. We can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
Let's see how our water use stacks up to others by calculating our daily water use.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Donde estas ahora?

“Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.” 
-- George Bernard Shaw

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
— It is believed that the best-ever Senate in the Philippines was the Sixth Congress in 1966-1969 headed by Senate President Arturo M. Tolentino.

The batch produced some of the country’s greatest statesmen and brilliant lawmakers like Alejandro D. Almendras, Gaudencio E. Antonino, Magnolia W. Antonino, Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. (President Noynoy’s father), Dominador R. Aytona, and the marvelous Jose W. Diokno
Sixth Congress also saw the rise of the “Stormy Petrel of the South”, Iloilo City’s Rodolfo T. Ganzon, idol of the timawa (poor).
There was also Eva Estrada Kalaw, Maria Kalaw Katigbak, Wenceslao R. Lagumbay, Juan R. Liwag, Genaro F. Magsaysay, Manuel P. Manahan Raul S. Manglapus, and Camilo Osias.
Cebu’s Sergio Osmeña, Jr. was a member of that illustrious batch along with Emmanuel N. Pelaez, Leonardo P. Perez, Gil J. Puyat, Francisco Soc Rodrigo, Gerardo M. Roxas (Mar’s father), the eminent Jovito R. Salonga, human rights behemoth Lorenzo M. Tañada, Lorenzo G. Teves, and Tecla San Andres Ziga.

WAVES


The Senate Seventh Congress (1970-1973) led by Senate President Gil J. Puyat was also making waves, what with the presence of comebacking Ambrosio B. Padilla, team captain of the RP basketball team that placed third in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, who first won as senator after he resigned as solicitor general under President Ramon Magsaysay in 1957.
But Martial Law cut short the senators’ tenure in 1972.
President Ferdinand Marcos subsequently phased out the Legislature as the country’s new Constitution transformed the system of government from presidential to parliamentary.
When democracy was restored after EDSA Revolution in 1986, the Senate Eight Congress (1987-1992) led by Senate President Jovito Salonga produced yet the country’s most dynamic and prolific leaders like Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Rene Saguisag, Edgardo Angara, Wigberto Tanada, Teopisto Guingona Jr., Joey Lina, Orlando Mercado, Heherson Alvarez, and the lone survivor from the opposition, Martial Law architect Juan Ponce Enrile.
Now Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. was the lone casualty from the President Cory Aquino-blessed administration senatorial ticket that nearly scored a sweep (Enrile bumped off Defensor for the 24th slot).

PRESENCE

It was in the Senate Ninth Congress (1992-1995) led by Senate President Neptali Gonzalez where film comedian and action stars like Vicente Sotto III, Ramon Revilla Sr. and Freddie Webb started to make their present felt.
PBA playing-coach Robert Jaworski and putschist Gringo Honasan followed suit in the Senate 11th Congress (1998-2001) headed by Senate President Marcelo B. Fernan.
To add insult, action stars Lito Lapid, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Jinggoy Estrada completed the Senate 13th Congress (2004-2007) led by Senate President Franklin Drilon.
Another putschist Antonio Trillanes IV made it in the Senate 14th Congress (2007-2010) led by Senate President Manuel Villar.
And finally in the Senate 16th Congress (2013-2016) currently headed anew by Senate President Franklin Drilon, Ma. Lourdes “Nancy” Binay stole the limelight.

ARRIVAL

To compound the matter, the Senate 17th Congress headed for another “disaster” with the “imminent” arrival of former bold star Alma Moreno and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.
When Pericles died in 429 BC, the Greeks mourned the loss of arguably the most prominent and influential statesman, orator and general of Athens during the Golden Age.
When Draco died in 600 BC, the Greeks wept the departure of Ancient Greece’s first recorded legislator who laid down Greece’s first constitution known as Draconion Constitution.
Donde estas ahora or where are you now, the Philippines’ Pericles and Draco?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Honor, Conscience)

Any person of honor chooses rather to lose his honor than to lose his conscience.
-- MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE :

Since honor is ego-based, losing it is not the end-all and be-all of our existence. Freedom of conscience, on the other hand, allows us to exercise our free will to choose between right and wrong. Losing our conscience is tantamount to being categorized with animals.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

Friday, March 15, 2019

A wife to die for

“I love being my husband's wife.”
--Julianna Margulies

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- I haven’t met Mrs. Victoria “Marivic” Griengo-Mabilog in person, but based on what I have heard in the news about her these past years, I think she is the kind of wife any husband will die for unconditionally.
Of all the elected public officials in the Philippines humiliated by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in his dubious “narco list”, only former Iloilo City mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog got a blistering open and all-out support from a wife, so far.
Mrs. Mabilog, who can swear to any ghost in heaven that her husband is innocent, had the guts to call the president a “liar.”
Mrs. Mabilog--or the Mabilog family--probably have had enough.
Any wife, a mother or a sister, can feel what Mrs. Mabilog felt when her husband was verbally abused repeatedly in national media, kicked while down on all four, subjected to unconscionable indignity, and treated like a worthless human being even if he wasn’t fighting back.
It seems the president was hell-bent not only to kill Mayor Mabilog’s enthusiasm for public service, but also his spirit as a human being.

-o0o-


If you are a victim of a false accusation, a slanderous and baseless imputation, a black propaganda and toxic politics, and your wife happens to be Mrs. Mabilog, who believes in your absolute innocence, you’re not doomed.
Judging from her passionate and fiery rebuttal of the president’s soliloquy linking her husband to a despicable activity based only on a fringe “intelligence report”, Mrs. Mabilog is the type of wife who will bite the bullet for her husband; a wife who’s willing to transform into a Medusa, a winged human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair, and turn into stone those who will cast aspersion on her beloved husband.
The presidential persecution actually was too much; it’s over kill and already OA (overacting).
Is Mayor Mabilog really the worst politician in the Philippines?
What will President Duterte feel if one day, a political enemy will become president, by a stoke of luck, and also humiliate his son, Paolo; or daughter, Sara, and insist without any shred of evidence that they are members of international drug syndicate?
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:2)

-o0o-

There are others in President Duterte’s incredible list who may also be innocent like Mayor Mabilog, but their family members--wives, husbands, children--aren’t that intrepid and cocksure like Mrs. Mabilog to engage the foul-mouthed president in a word war.
We suspect some of those 46 politicians in the list could be really engaged in illegal drugs trade.
They should be prosecuted and prevented from being elected into public office; it’s a mockery of the law if they are paid by the taxpayers’ money and yet they promote and benefit from the destruction of those hooked on prohibited substance.
But the innocent should be spared from blatant and perpetual humiliation.
There’s no spare parts for a damaged reputation.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Enemy)

If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near.
-- SUN TZU :

Near or far, the best option is to prepare to smoke the proverbial peace pipe. There should be no permanent enemies, only permanent desire for peace.
-- ALEX P. VIDAL

We all need a peace of mind

"Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships, or build meaning into a life that has none."
--RICHARD M. DEVOS

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Dr. Joshua Liebman, author of a great inspirational bestseller, Peace of Mind, made a list of things he would like to have when he was a young man.
The list was long and included such things as health, love, talent, power, wealth, and fame.
He showed the list around, asking others for their opinion.
A wise, old friend of the young man's family looked the list over and said, Joshua this is an excellent list. It is set down in a reasonable order. But it appears, my young man, that you have omitted the most important element of all. You have forgotten one ingredient, lacking which, each possession becomes a hideous torment, and your list as a whole an intolerable burden.
And what is that missing ingredient? Joshua asked.
The wise, old friend replied by taking a pencil and crossed out Joshua's entire list. Then he wrote down three words: Peace of Mind.
That young man, Joshua Liebman, later became the author of the inspiring book which has sold millions of copies.
Peace of Mind answers a vital need. It correlates discoveries in the science of psychology with the eternal verities which have been handed down by generations of prophets and great religious leaders.
Dr. Liebman explores the many facets of human emotions and reveals how, in the inward quest for peace of mind, the penetrating visions of psychology are an indispensable ally.

WISER

In his "word to the reader", Dr. Liebman wrote: "Many men far wiser that I are at work today planning social and economic change. For their creative labors, every thinking person must be grateful. We must join with them in the struggle to obtain a common victory for economic, industrial, and political democracy through the world. At the same time it should be recognized that the healthier society must be built by healthier human beings!
"The average person is at moments consumed with feelings of guilt about his relations to those closest to him; he wants to love people but feels withdrawn, rigid, and somehow frozen. At other moments he grows afraid without knowing exactly why he is afraid; he is particularly confused and unhappy when he faces the loss of a loved one or confronts the thought of his own death.

CONSPIRE

"Many religious books only conspire to make him feel more guilty and more sinful while many psychological books, although trying to reassure him, merely add to his inner confusion by making him feel somehow that he is a 'case history' in abnormal psychology. People keep their troubles and worries often too much to themselves because they do not know where to turn for wise guidance.
"Personal experience plus rich and varied contacts in my ministry led me to believe that a book written by a religionist explaining just what modern psychology has discovered about human beings, why we sometimes hate ourselves and hate others, why we grow afraid, why we lose faith in life and a God, might be of real help to perplexed moderns. This science also tells us what we can do to change ourselves and our mental attitudes in relation to our own personalities and in inter-relations with other human beings."



Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Dr. Pacita Gonzalez's real liabilities

"Animals have come to mean so much in our lives. We live in a fragmented and disconnected culture. Politics are ugly, religion is struggling, technology is stressful, and the economy is unfortunate. What's one thing that we have in our lives that we can depend on? A dog or a cat loving us unconditionally, every day, very faithfully."--Jon Katz

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Iloilo City mayoral candidate Pacita Gonzalez's real liabilities are not the "disloyal" barangay leaders who were willing to support her estranged partymates, Councilors Joshua Alim and Plaridel Nava, but adamant to go all out for her.
They are the members of the "hutik-hutik brigada" or "whisper brigade" who have no expertise and background in political planning and organization, but were giving her false hopes and feeding her with unrealistic expectations.
Some of these cretins probably had popped out from Dr. Pacita's social circles where she had been constantly showered with dazzling and bewitching perorations and adulation meant to massage her ego and otherwise.
As to their motives, we can only speculate.
The power of beso-beso.

-o0o-

In the first place, who convinced Dr. Gonzalez--or who gave her the silly idea she could handily beat frontrunning candidates, Mayor Jose "Joe III" Espinosa III and Rep. Geronimo "Jerry" Trenas in a three-cornered (with due respect to other candidates) fight in the May elections?
Who duped her into believing that President Rodrigo R. Duterte might endorse her candidacy over the two "former allies of (former mayor) Jed Patrick Mabilog"?
Who brainwashed Dr. Gonzalez that majority of the political leaders in the metropolis' 180 barangays who "benefited a lot" from her late husband, former justice secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr. when the latter was still the congressman in Iloilo City's lone district in the late 90's, are still intact and "will never turn their back as a token of their appreciation to the late Gonzalez patriarch's past benevolence"?

-o0o-


Who mesmerized her that because both Trenas and Espinosa are magbilas or brothers-in-law, their political feud will boomerang against them and benefit the third party candidate?
That because of the break-up, some confused and disappointed supporters of both Trenas and Espinosa III would shift to other candidates.
Who assured her that if she would tandem with the two incumbent city councilors (and form the AlGoNa triumvirate), the love affair will end up in the altar and last 'till eternity?
For sure, Dr. Pacita swallowed all the sweet talks and umbrageous warranty from the braggarts she thought were the best political salespersons and analysts in the world hook, line, and sinker.
Thus she decided to run for city mayor (against the wishes of her son, former Iloilo City Rep. Raul "Jun" Gonzalez Jr?).

-o0o-

As to the barangay political leaders, it's a waste of time and energy to impeach their characters.
Even if they used to be the late secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr's most loyal and rabid supporters, the object of their political admiration and love is no longer around, or is not anymore the candidate.
Times have changed; people--including their loyalties and alliances--change, too.
Many of them have already turned as "Judases" to the Gonzalez family as manifested by the late secretary Gonzalez's shocking defeat to Mabilog in the 2010 mayoral contest.
And once they were no longer in power (son Raul Jr. was also dethroned by Trenas for the city's lone congressional district), most of those barangay political leaders have already jumped ship and embraced the new emperor.
The Gonzalezes have lost them a long time ago--or three elections ago.
You can't kick out those who are already in the other political fence.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies)

Monday, March 11, 2019

Where the hell is Raul Jr?

"The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best."
--Epictetus

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- It looks like the widow of the late justice secretary Raul M. Gonzalez Sr. will have to comb Iloilo City's 180 barangays alone by her lonesome self to woo the Ilonggos' votes when the campaign for the local positions in the May Philippine elections officially begins.
This will only happen if Dr. Pacita Gonzalez can't iron out the kinks with her running mates, Councilors Joshua Alim and Plaridel Nava, on time with barely two weeks before the campaign sorties hit fever-pitch.
They have been known as the triumvirate of AlGoNa: Alim for congressman in the city's lone district; Gonzalez for city mayor; and Nava for vice mayor.
Eight candidates are running for city council under their opposition ticket.

-o0o-

AlGoNa reportedly suffered an ugly dent recently when Alim and Nava rejected Dr. Gonzalez's order to kick out barangay leaders who appeared to have cast their lot only for Alim and Nava but not Dr. Gonzalez.
Most of these barangay leaders apparently have already committed to support either Mayor Jose "Joe III" Espinosa III or Rep. Geronimo "Jerry" Trenas, who are both Dr. Gonzalez's rivals.
Dr. Gold, daughter of Dr. Gonzalez, probably sensed something unusual with the way the barangay leaders behaved when they faced them, and during background checks; she didn't want her mother to look like a carpetbagger and a fool.
The daughter Gonzalez was aware her mom was willing to shell out the campaign kitty's biggest chunk for the entire bets in the team, thus they wanted to make sure they were investing for the right barangay leaders, not spies and "double croppers".
In a tit for a tat, Nava also probably didn't like the way Dr. Gold's thinking was trying to influence her mom's decision-making.
Nava scored Dr. Gold's "paranoia" and "political immaturity."
He and Alim refused to abandon the barangay leaders during the "crucial" moment.

-o0o-

Dr. Gonzalez has lagged behind in the most recent "surveys" even before the purported split with Alim and Nava occurred.
But it seemed like Dr. Gonzalez's fate was sealed from the very start.
Before she announced her candidacy and agreed to tandem with the two lawyers third quarter in 2018, Espinosa and Trenas have already secured in the bag the commitment of most barangay leaders.
The tug-of-war and backdoor maneuvering started before and after the barangay elections two years earlier.
In other words, most barangay leaders may have already been "well taken care of" by both Espinosa and Trenas and, most likely, left nothing for Dr. Gonzalez but the crumbs if not the spoils.
Alim and Nava must've managed to "squeeze in" and secured the commitment of other barangay leaders because they have been in the league for quite some time; as incumbent councilors they have built-in bulwarks.

-o0o-

And the most telling, and, perhaps, the deafening hiss and gnawing bewilderment in the campaign conversation that has not been openly blurted out is, where the hell is former Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr. amid all this hullabaloo?
Their mommy Pacita's campaign management has been wounded in the capillaries, and Raul Jr. has not surfaced to help stop the hemorrhage.
Instead, it seems he allowed inexperienced and neophyte sister Gold to take the driver's seat in a rough ride he alone, based in his experience as a former congressman, has the capability and expertise to tackle.
Is it possible that before any internal wrangling had swept through the AlGoNa bandwagon, a more catastrophic internal rift was already boiling within the Gonzalez family over the matriarch's insistence to join in the May elections?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Iloilo officials should rap Año's dangerous edict

"O Lord, help me not to despise or oppose what I do not understand."
--William Penn

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- SOMEBODY from the Iloilo City Council and the Iloilo Provincial Board should stand up, deliver a speech, and oppose the unpalatable and dangerous plan of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año to release the "narco list" containing allegedly 82 names of politicians, many of them running for election in May this year.
If local legislators in other parts of the Philippines are afraid to criticize Año on this dicey subject matter for obvious reasons, Ilonggos should pick up the cudgels for those who believe in the rule of law, the presumption of innocence, the due process and fair play nationwide.
With their splendid history in opposing national policies and executive decisions that threaten the people's fundamental rights and freedom, Ilonggos can aggressively and substantially tackle the issue and make a good case in a national conversation.


-o0o-

We're sure some of the names on the watchlist are Ilonggo leaders; and the charges against them, as we very well know, have not been substantiated thoroughly and were mostly culled from Kalypso's cocoon.
Many of those on the watchlist could be innocent and may only be victims of black propaganda, political intrigues, vendetta, mudslinging, personal hatred, gossip, false identity.
The list had no legal basis in truth and in fact, and shouldn't be considered to be containing the gospel truth.
It may contain lies or fabrication and distortion of facts; and one of Moses' 10 Commandments had cautioned us "not to bear false witness against thy neighbor."
Año's move might set a very bad precedence since local government unit executives are under the agency's beck and call; the elected governors and mayors are under the mercy of a sitting DILG boss who wields awesome power and influence.


-o0o-

If the DILG secretary is incompetent, or doesn't have a solid background in local government issues that include community relations and empowerment of marginalized sectors, chances are he can be easily manipulated by a higher authority, in this case the appointing official with a vindictive character and a malevolent political agenda.
And if the DILG secretary himself has been swallowed up by the prevailing toxic political intramurals, the local government unit executives--governors, mayors, village chiefs, police officers--will be like sitting ducks and not safe from persecution and abuse.
The DILG insisted that "the voters have the right to know which politicians are involved in illegal drugs, as a guide on which candidates shouldn't get their support in the upcoming elections."
Those on the watchlist have the right to be given their due process and the opportunity to defend themselves in the proper forum.
The Philippines is a country of laws, not of powerful appointed officials passing judgment with absolute finality on elected local leaders accused of capital crimes.

 


Monday, March 4, 2019

The bridge ‘built’ on empty promises

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”
-- Robert Frost

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- BEFORE the 2016 ended, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) promised the Ilonggos that the much-advertised Guimaras-Iloilo bridge would be built “soon” or its construction would commence in 2017.
I wrote an article that it was impossible because it didn’t have yet a feasibility study.
I further stressed in an article that when DPWH Secretary Mark Villar lobbied for DPWH’s P458.61-billion budget for 2017 before the House Committee on Appropriations in August 2016, the Western Visayas bridge was not among those listed in the country’s “most ambitious infrastructure program” Villar had enumerated that would benefit from the expanded budget (the amount is P61 billion higher than last year’s P397.108 budget.).
Some of those who pinned their hopes on Villar and other politicians, especially the excited Guimarasnons and Iloilo residents who will directly benefit from the huge project in one way or the other, rejected my point of view. Fine. Understandable.

-o0o-

On March 22, 2016, I explained in an article: “The inter-island bridge project, conceptualized way back during the term of President Fidel V. Ramos, doesn’t have a detailed budget yet despite the spirited lobbying of the Regional Development Council (RDC) and almost all congressmen and women.
“There’s also a misconception that China, which maintains a shaky relationship with the Philippines owing to its repeated intrusion in the Panatag Shoal, will fund the project that could cost up to an estimated P65 billion.
“What Chinese Vice Minister Fu Ziying of the Ministry of Commerce and Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez had agreed, and which was covered by a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in their March 18, 2017 meeting, was for the Chinese government to help fund the feasibility studies of at least two of the nine Philippine projects China had pledged to support.
“A feasibility study does not commence the construction of any project. Last year during the Aquino administration, the government had also sought the help of South Korea to fund the project’s feasibility study, as revealed by Senator Franklin Drilon, to no avail.”

-o0o-

The year 2017 had passed and not a single cable wire, hardware or hallow blocks was seen being brought to the area where the bridge is being eyed.
In other words, the feasibility study, also reportedly to be financed by the Chinese Government, wasn’t yet able, or was not yet finished--or won’t even be finalized; no one knows.
In other words, it’s not true that the Guimaras-Iloilo bridge was a “priority project” that should have started in 2017.
Then came promises again from politicians that the Chinese government has given the go signal to finance the project on a “soft loan”, whatever that means, and that “nothing can stand the way now” for the construction that would finally begin in the first quarter of 2018.
Villar and some politicians with ambition for higher office had chorused anew that 2018 was the year the project would be finally implemented.
These liars parroted the false promises not only once but several times as if the Ilonggos are fools to believe in whatever they say lock, stock and barrel.
Another political wag even went to Guimaras to assure the Guimarasnons that “he would be lobbying” for the immediate construction of the multi-billion project within 2018.
Lobbying? Is that so simple?
Santa banana it’s already 2019 and the May elections are coming up.
If any of those false political prophets or their relatives are running in the elections, we know what to do.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Surveys no match vs P1,000 per vote

“A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.” 
--Theodore Roosevelt

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY
-- Most candidates in the Philippine elections share the hypocrisy of condemning the vote-buying as “evil”, but, which they actually also practice at the same time.
No candidate for a higher elective office will admit he or she is in cahoots with barangay officials (mostly the corrupt punong barangay and council members) when they buy votes done mostly on the eve before election day, or they will be disqualified if not go to jail for gross violation of fundamental election laws.
For several years now, however, Philippine elections--national and local--have been mostly decided by the amount of cash a voter will get in exchange for his precious vote.
The supposed tacit “market value”, according to sources, now ranges from P500 to P1,000 per vote.
If there are five voters in one family, that’s a cool P5,000, enough to feed five stomachs for a week in a modest household.
Times have changed and the methods being employed by corrupt candidates to hijack a fair and honest election have changed as well.

-o0o-

The gnawing reality is that candidates who “won” in surveys but don’t have enough wads of bills to be distributed during the crucial hours prior to the opening of voting centers will mostly likely find themselves in the tail end.
Being whipped in the surveys can’t be considered an end of the world for certain candidates as long as they have substantial financial preparations which is very crucial in the homestretch.
Even some candidates with name-recall edge now aren’t confident enough of bagging a sure win unless they prepare a certain amount to pay corrupt voters.
This aberration in the Philippines’ electoral system had been passed on or has been a common practice for most candidates from one administration to another since the Marcos years.
The first known and the most scandalous massive vote-buying in the Philippine election history occurred during the 1986 presidential snap elections.
Even fake P100 bills were used by administration minions to ensure that the strongman was retained in power only to be kicked out by a bloodless revolution shortly after being declared as the “winner” by a jukebox election commission.
Since then, the general electoral exercises were never the same again: the moneyed, or those with gargantuan wherewithal--political parties and individual candidates for major positions--would always dominate the elections thereafter.

-o0o-

The United Nations has spoken: Crimes against journalists and other media workers must not be tolerated.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that harassment and attacks are again on the rise even as he expressed alarm recently to the Human Rights Council there is a “shrinking civic space in every region of the globe and every corner of the internet.”
Guterres disclosed: “Activists and journalists are being targeted by surveillance, misinformation campaigns and threats of violence that too often result in actual violence. We must do more to defend defenders and end reprisals against those who share their human rights stories and we must hold accountable those who commit such acts.”
Over a thousand human rights defenders and journalists were killed in the last three years, according to the secretary-general.
Respect for human rights is just a game of words if there is no respect for people, he added.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNCHR) has also called for an independent and thorough review of all charges against Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa and other media professionals in the Philippines.
Rupert Colville, spokesman for UNCHR chief Michelle Bachelet, urged the Philippine judiciary to “safeguard their own independence by throwing out cases that are clearly politically motivated or are not in line with international human rights standards, including freedom of opinion and expression.”