Thursday, April 29, 2021

They lied, I told you so

“For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth.”

—Bo Bennett


By Alex P. Vidal


IN the past three years, I have been consistent with my point of view that the Duterte administration “was not sincere” and would never fulfill the building of the much-ballyhooed Iloilo-Guimaras-Negros-Cebu Link Bridge (the original plan, which was Iloilo-Guimaras-Negros would have cost a total of P28.5 billion).

This is not an I-told-you-so rant, but rather a reminder that it’s always an ain’t-over-till-the-fat-lady-sings scenario when you’re dealing with a populist government.

The Tagalogs have put it succinctly, “Huwag magsalita ng patapos” or don’t say it with absolute finality even if all the big mouths and “I’m the boss here” toadies in the bureaucracy would announce to high heavens that any infrastructure project as gargantuan and expensive as the Iloilo-Guimaras dream bridge was already in the bag.

A curt reminder: when politicians talk, it’s always full of crap. 

Only fools will believe the traditional politicians.

And there are plenty of them in this administration.




No less than Sen. Cynthia Villar has confirmed that even the bridge that would have linked Iloilo and Guimaras will now remain as a dream; or it will never be built at all during this administration because, in the first place and in reality, it’s not a priority.

Loud and clear: NOT A PRIORITY.

The cat is out of the bag: “Iloilo is very progressive but Guimaras is not,” said Villar, the mother of Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar.

“I think the best project (DPWH) has so far is the one connecting Bataan to Cavite. It’s important that the connecting provinces should be very progressive so that there will be economic returns for the project.”

Whoa. The senator’s revelation was like a lethal uppercut that knocked those who really swallowed the Iloilo-Guimaras bridge canard hook, line, and sinker out of their senses.

From big-mouthed politicians in the DPWH and other follow-the-leader punks in government agencies that issued mountains of make-believe promises to the people of Iloilo and Guimaras about the project over the past three years, what a shame. 

They all lied.




The latest email dated April 29 from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo which he also shared to other New Yorkers:

Dear Alex, With more than 15 million doses administered across the State, we are looking forward to accelerating the safe and responsible reopening of our state. If you haven't gotten the vaccine yet, I encourage you to do so as soon as you can—all you have to do is show up at any New York State or New York City-run vaccination center, which now accept walk-in appointments for all New Yorkers age 16 and older. If you have already gotten the vaccine, you can be of immense help by spreading the word about the increased availability of the vaccine to friends, family members or neighbors and help bring our state closer to the finish line.

Here's what else you need to know tonight:

1. COVID hospitalizations dropped to 2,934, falling below 3,000 for the first time since November 24. Of the 226,068 tests reported yesterday, 4,073, or 1.80 percent, were positive. The 7-day average positivity rate was 1.98 percent. There were 691 patients in ICU yesterday, down 21 from the previous day. Of them, 425 are intubated. Sadly, we lost 38 New Yorkers to the virus.

2. As of 11am this morning, 45.6 percent of New Yorkers have completed at least one vaccine dose. Over the past 24 hours, 250,711 total doses have been administered. To date, New York has administered 15,170,850 total doses with 33.4 percent of New Yorkers completing their vaccine series. See data by region and county on the State's Vaccine Tracker:

3. Today we announced a new pop-up site in Buffalo specifically for 16- to 25-year-olds. Younger people, including teenagers, have some of the highest COVID positivity rates of any age group. While generally less vulnerable to COVID-19 than older people, young people should still get vaccinated because they can still get seriously ill from COVID-19 and have long-term symptoms, and can also spread the virus to more vulnerable people. Over 1,000 doses will be dedicated to the pop-up site, and free bus passes will be available to help eligible residents get to the site. 

4. The Buffalo Marathon will return on June 26 and June 27. This year will be the marathon's 20th anniversary, and the race will operate at roughly 50 percent of its typical capacity. Using the Buffalo Marathon as a model, the State's sports and recreation guidance will be updated with health protocols for running races to better help localities plan these events.

Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": After almost seven decades, two women who both appear in a 1950s Norman Rockwell painting were reunited. The women, Carolyn Fabricant and Charlotte Sorenson, were both high school students in Massachusetts when they posed for the famous American illustrator and artist, for a work called "Bright Future in Banking." The two women were reconnected after Fabricant read a New York Times article about the Rockwell work that mentioned Sorenson. The writer of the article, James Barron, helped arrange a Zoom reunion and the two women—who are immortalized on the canvas—were able to meet again in real life. Ever Upward, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

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


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

We can’t force the horse to drink

“The difference between a hero and a coward is one step sideways.”

Gene Hackman


 By Alex P. Vidal


IT’S useless to blame President Rodrigo Duterte why we “lost” the West Philippine Sea.

In 13 months, he is no longer the President.

Retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio was right when he agitated on April 29 that Filipinos should demand for a leader who will defend the West Philippine Sea.

But Mr. Duterte is now like a horse being forced to go to the river. 

Once he is in the river, he will not drink anyway; and we cannot force him to drink the water.

We theorize that because of his age and he is now reportedly “sickly”, Mr. Duterte has lost the zeal to defend the Philippine territories in the sea being invaded by China.

He probably thought he couldn’t wrap up the conflict with China before his term expires if ever he decided to berate the Goliath and thus showed some spirit of patriotism—something that most Filipinos have been wanting him to do, to no avail.

The President just can’t fight China. 

Either he is “beholden” to the Chinese as many of his critics have been suspecting, or he is just simply not in the mood to act as David for the Filipinos now being bullied in their own territories.

Carpio was actually responding to President Duterte who asked him and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario why the Philippines "lost" the West Philippine Sea.

"Filipinos deserve, and should demand, a President who loves Filipinos first and foremost and who will uncompromisingly defend Philippine sovereignty and sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea," Carpio said in a statement.

Reports said the retired magistrate had stressed that he was the one who recommended to the Aquino administration to file a South China.

Sea arbitration case following the 2012 Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal standoff.




Pointing out that the Philippines won a landmark victory with the 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated China's nine-dash line claim, Carpio noted that Mr. Duterte had announced he was "setting aside" the ruling in favor of seeking loans from Beijing.

Carpio declared: “Today, less than 5 percent of those loans and investments have materialized even as President Duterte is already leaving office next year.”

Carpio also stressed that Duterte allowed China to fish in the country's exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.

"We even import galunggong now from China, the same galunggong that Chinese fishermen take in the West Philippine Sea," he added.

The retired justice also narrated how the Duterte administration remained silent when the Chinese seized Sandy Cay, a sand bar located two nautical miles from Pag-asa Island in Palawan.

If Mr. Duterte is no longer the President, maybe there’s a chance for any Philippine leader to assert our sovereignty and show to China that Filipinos will fight to protect what rightly belongs to them.




Latest email from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo which he also shared with other New Yorkers:

Dear Alex, The COVID numbers continue to point in the right direction, allowing us to increase economic activity even more. Beginning May 17, the 12am outdoor dining area curfew for bars and restaurants will be lifted. The 12am indoor dining area curfew will be lifted on May 31. We will also lift the 1am curfew for catered events where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result beginning May 17 (with the curfew for all catered events set to be lifted May 31). Lifting these restrictions will help businesses and bring us all closer to a new normal. However, we will only able to maintain this progress as more people get the COVID vaccine to protect themselves and our communities. With walk-in appointments available at all NYS mass vaccination sites beginning tomorrow—all you have to do is show up. If you've already gotten the vaccine, help us spread the word!

Here's what else you need to know tonight:

 1. COVID hospitalizations dropped to 3,117, the lowest since November 26. Of the 173,527 tests reported yesterday, 3,146, or 1.81 percent, were positive. The 7-day average positivity rate was 2.02 percent. There were 712 patients in ICU yesterday, down 16 from the previous day. Of them, 444 are intubated. Sadly, we lost 32 New Yorkers to the virus.

 2. As of 11am this morning, 45.1 percent of New Yorkers have completed at least one vaccine dose. Over the past 24 hours, 217,141 total doses have been administered. To date, New York has administered 14,920,139 total doses with 32.6 percent of New Yorkers completing their vaccine series. See data by region and county on the State's Vaccine Tracker:

 3. Starting May 3, seating will be allowed at bars in New York City. Lifting this restriction will make New York City consistent with the food services guidance currently in effect in the rest of the state. 

4. Catered events can resume at private residences beginning May 3. Events can be held above the State's residential gathering of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, as long as the events adhere to safety guidelines and they are staffed by a professional, licensed caterer and do not violate any local or municipal laws. 

5. Erie County is partnering with local breweries to help distribute the COVID-19 vaccines. As part of the "Shot and Chaser" program, participating breweries will set up pop-up vaccination clinics and adults age 21 and up can stop by for a vaccine and receive a beer on the house. The program also applies for the second shot. So far, Resurgence and Flying Bison brewing companies in South Buffalo have agreed to join the effort. 

Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": A gifted 12-year-old is receiving both a high school and college diploma in the same week. During the pandemic, Mike Wimmer from Salisbury, North Carolina, took extra dual enrollment classes and will receive an associate's degree from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College alongside his high school diploma from Concord Academy High School. Wimmer has a deep love for robotics and technology and said "[his] entrepreneurial goal is to build technology that enables people to live better lives." 

 If you were forwarded this email, you can subscribe to New York State's Coronavirus Updates here. Ever Upward, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

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

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Answer to a nagging question

“Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.”

Frank Sinatra


By Alex P. Vidal


AS of April 27, some Filipinos who have been inoculated with one dose of COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) in our community in Elmhurst, Queens, NYC continued to debate whether alcoholic drinks can hamper the effectivity of the vaccines in the body before and after the first dose.

Can alcohol interfere with our immune response?

“Puede at least after three days,” remarked Daniel, 58, who got his first dose in Woodhaven on April 15. His final dose will be on May 4.

Daniel, a regular beer drinker, skipped drinking for at least five days after April 15.

In a drinking spree with fellow Filipino-Americans in a birthday bash on April 26, Daniel, an employee at the Laguardia Airport in Queens, gobbled up seven bottles of a Mexican beer.

“Sabi ko sa iyo OK lang yan basta before the vaccination, not after,” hissed Jerome, the birthday celebrant, who didn’t drink after finishing his second dose on April 25.

“Puede ba talagang uminum or talagang bawal?” inquired Ramil, 45, the only person who has not yet taken a single dose.

Ramil, a delivery man in a balikbayan box shop on Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside, Queens, said in a jest the reason why he is still adamant to be vaccinated is because “I don’t want to miss drinking (beer).”

He consumes at least two cans of beer before he goes to sleep every night.

One thing that is clear from studies, however, is that heavy alcohol consumption impairs the immune response and increases susceptibility to bacterial and viral infections. 

As Covid-19 vaccines were rolled out across the world, misinformation was reported to be rife across social media platforms. 

In March 2021, a number of social media users claimed that they had seen online posts that claimed drinking in between COVID-19 vaccine doses will impair the efficacy of the immunization.

Health authorities said alcohol prevents immune cells from traveling to sites of infection and carrying out their duties, like destroying viruses, bacteria and infected cells; makes it easier for pathogens to invade your cells, and causes a host of other problems.



According to a research made by New York Times writer Anahad O’Connor, “there is no evidence that having a drink or two can render any of the current Covid vaccines less effective.”

“Some studies have even found that over the longer term, small or moderate amounts of alcohol might actually benefit the immune system by reducing inflammation,” explained O’Connor.

He asserted that “heavy alcohol consumption, particularly over the long term, can suppress the immune system and potentially interfere with your vaccine response, experts say.”

Since it can take weeks after a Covid shot for the body to generate protective levels of antibodies against the novel coronavirus, anything that interferes with the immune response would reportedly be cause for concern.

“If you are truly a moderate drinker, then there’s no risk of having a drink around the time of your vaccine,” said Ilhem Messaoudi, director of the Center for Virus Research at the University of California, Irvine, who has conducted research on the effects of alcohol on the immune response. 

“But be very cognizant of what moderate drinking really means. It’s dangerous to drink large amounts of alcohol because the effects on all biological systems, including the immune system, are pretty severe and they occur pretty quickly after you get out of that moderate zone.”

O’Connor defines moderate drinking as generally “no more than two drinks a day for men and a maximum of one drink a day for women, whereas heavy drinking is defined as four or more drinks on any day for men and three or more drinks for women.”

Keep in mind that one “standard” drink is considered five ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, or 12 ounces of beer, he warned.




Some of the first concerns about alcohol and Covid vaccination began circulating after a Russian health official warned in December that people should avoid alcohol for two weeks before getting vaccinated and then abstain for another 42 days afterward. 

According to a Reuters report, the official claimed that alcohol could hamper the body’s ability to develop immunity against the novel coronavirus. 

Her warning sparked a fierce backlash in Russia, which has one of the world’s highest drinking rates.

In the United States, some experts say they have heard similar concerns about whether it is safe to drink around the time of vaccination. “We’ve been getting a lot of questions from our patients about this,” said Dr. Angela Hewlett, an associate professor of infectious diseases who directs the Covid infectious diseases team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. 

“Understandably, people who are receiving these vaccines want to make sure they’re doing all the right things to maximize their immune response.”

O’Connor said clinical trials of the Covid vaccines that are currently approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration did not specifically look at whether alcohol had any impact on the effectiveness of the vaccines, Dr. Hewlett said. 

“It’s possible that there will be more information on that in the future. But for now, most of what is known comes from previous research, including studies that examined how alcohol affects the immune system in humans and whether it hinders the immune response in animals that received other vaccines,” he stressed.

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

Sunday, April 25, 2021

We aren’t being singled out

“If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey, most of us would never start out at all.”

—Dan Rather


By Alex P. Vidal


THOSE who are expecting their relatives in the United States to visit the Philippines soon shouldn’t panic after the latest “do not travel” advisory released by the U.S. Government.

Contrary to fears of some misinformed Filipinos, the Philippines is not being singled out.

“This will be the third time that our vacation will be canceled,” lamented Honrado, 58, of Hinigaran City, Negros Occidental, who was scheduled to fly to Manila on April 26 together with his wife, a nursing assistant in upstate New York, and his 23-year-old daughter but decided to cancel their flight due to the advisory.

It would have been their first visit in the Philippines since 2004 after obtaining their permanent residency in 2020, the year the pandemic hit worldwide.

The Philippines is not the only country in Asia with alarming rate of COVID-19 cases.

In fact, more than 116 countries have been added to the most recent “do not travel” advisory list now that more than three million people have died from COVID-19 worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. 

Nearly 144 million coronavirus cases have been reported globally, according to a recent data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Aside from the Philippines, the same travel advisory was slapped as well against three countries in Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar.

The U.S. also maintained its level 4 warning against the Sulu archipelago and Marawi City on threats posed by violent extremism, as well as the level 3 alert extended to Mindanao due to the incidents of crime, terrorism, civil unrest and kidnapping in the island.


Only a few foreign nationals are authorized to enter the Philippines at present.

The government has enforced a travel ban against foreigners on leisure trips and has yet to show any sign that it will lift the policy soon.




US Government issued a level 3 notice against Cambodia and Lao PDR, while a level 2 status was given to Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

It was reported that U.S. State Department has added at least 116 countries  to its “Level Four: Do Not Travel” advisory list, putting the UK, Canada, France, Israel, Mexico, Germany and others on the list, citing a “very high level of COVID-19.”

As reported by Reuters’ David Shepardson, the State Department would boost the number of countries receiving its highest advisory rating to about 80 percent of countries worldwide.

Last week, the State Department listed 34 out of about 200 countries as "Do Not Travel." 

The State Department now lists 150 countries at Level Four. It declined to say when it would complete the updates.

The State Department explained that the move did not imply a reassessment of current health situations in some countries, but rather "reflects an adjustment in the State Department's Travel Advisory system to rely more on (the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's) existing epidemiological assessments."

Reuters said “the recommendations are not mandatory and do not bar Americans from travel.”




Other countries in the "Do Not Travel" list include Finland, Egypt, Belgium, Turkey, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain. Some countries like China and Japan remain at Level 3: Reconsider Travel."

Most Americans already had been prevented from traveling to much of Europe because of COVID-19 restrictions. 

Washington has barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in most of Europe, China, Brazil, Iran and South Africa.

Also last week, the United States extended by a further 30 days restrictions in place for 13 months that bar non-essential travel at its Canadian and Mexican borders.

Nick Calio, who heads Airlines for America, a trade group representing major U.S. carriers, told a U.S. Senate panel recently that policymakers needed to find a "road map" to reopening international travel.

Earlier this month, the CDC said fully vaccinated people could safely travel within the United States at "low risk," but its director, Rochelle Walensky, discouraged Americans from doing so because of high coronavirus cases nationwide.

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



Saturday, April 24, 2021

I’ll defend to death the right to say ‘stupid’

“It is a wise man who knows where courage ends and stupidity begins.”

Jerome Cady


By Alex P. Vidal


I DON’T agree with Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr., spokesman of the National Task Force to End Communist Insurgency, when he red-tagged community pantry organizers. 

He sounded stupid.

I also don’t fully agree with him when he claimed that senators who will defund the NTF-ELCAC are “stupid”, but I will defend to death his right to say it.

Parlade’s being a military man does not exempt him from exercising his freedom of speech and expression—unless he intends to topple the “stupid” government.

I believe it’s OK to call some senators “stupid” because that’s how some Filipinos think of their senators, especially in the many issues that they have stood for and in the way they behaved when they were the ones being criticized.

Some of these “stupid” Filipino senators are onion-skinned and think they are holy cows and it’s a mortal sin to criticize them. 

Not too long ago, the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago called fellow Senator Juan Ponce Enrile “gago” (dumb) and nobody ran amuck and filed a resolution to censure the fire-spewing lady senator.

If you believe you are not stupid you have nothing to feel bad even if you are a senator, a President, or a king.

I’m not defending Parlade as he is old enough to defend himself, but senators who will pass and approve a resolution censuring Parlade for calling them “stupid” for proposing to realign the anti-insurgency fund will look and sound stupid.




Senator Franklin Drilon called Parlade’s language as "disrespectful and uncalled for” because nobody’s supposed to call the “honorable” senators that way?

Sa aking tingin, talagang dapat ipakita ng Senado ang kanilang displeasure. Hindi dapat palampasin ito. Otherwise masasanay,” Drilon hollered. "Hindi kami stupid kung sasabihin naming na i-defund ang NTF-ELCAC. Kapangyarihan ng Kongreso mag-allocate ng pera sa ilalim ng Saligang Batas.

It is “normal” for a fellow senator to show disrespect toward a fellow senator and display uncalled for behavior during a formal session and “not normal” for any Tom, Dick, and Harry to do it in exercise of their freedom of speech and expression?

What if Parlade was saying the truth?

Who will censure these panit sibuyas senators?




I didn’t set the appointment but I had to politely say no to the ShopRite Pharmacy of Avenue I in Brooklyn, NYC Saturday (April 24) when their pharmacists “confirmed” my schedule for first dose of Moderna vaccination at 2 o’clock in the afternoon on Wednesday.

So sad. While many Filipinos in the Philippines find it hard to get immediate appointments for the COVID-19 vaccines, some people in the United States get double or multiple appointments.

My decision to beg off was obvious: I already had my first dose of Pfizer vaccination at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC Health Department) COVID-19 Vaccine Hub in Citi Field, Flushing on April 19. 

“To complete your COVID-19 vaccination series, you need to receive a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said an email from the Vaccine Appointments NYC.

Why a second dose is required?

“You must receive a second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to complete vaccination. Studies show the vaccine is more effective after two doses, so it is important to receive the second dose. The second dose should be given 21 to 42 days from when you received your first dose, or as soon as possible after,” the email further explained.

Are there potential Potential Side Effects?

“You may experience side effects from the vaccine, including soreness or swelling on the arm where you got the shot, headache, body aches, tiredness, and fever. Side effects usually go away within two to three days,” the email stressed. 

“Call your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that concern you or do not go away after a few days, or if the redness or soreness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours. You can report how you are feeling after vaccination through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention V-safe smartphone application.”

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








Friday, April 23, 2021

Slow and frustrating

 “Vaccines are safe, effective, and lifesaving.”

Alex Azar


By Alex P. Vidal


IT is so depressing to know that only 43,835 Filipinos have been vaccinated in the last seven days, according to reports.

If this turtle-paced approach to fight the pandemic by health authorities in the Philippines will go on, many Filipinos won’t be vaccinated when the next President (Sara Carpio or Bongbong Marcos) prepares to move out of Malacanang in 2028.

If the United States can only extend the vaccinations in the Philippines, most Filipinos will be inoculated before the end of 2021.

Because of economic factor, there’s a whale of difference in the way the US conducts the Covid-19 vaccination compared to those from the Third World countries, especially in the Philippines. 

While the Filipinos and other Southeast Asian countries are facing a vaccine shortage, the Americans appear to have an abundance of the vaccines; the only problem is that some Americans are still hesitant to be inoculated.

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, for instance, announced April 22 that beginning Friday, April 23, 16 mass vaccination sites will accept walk-in appointments for individuals age 60 and older. 

New York State will set aside a vaccine allocation to facilitate this expanded vaccination access. 

There may be a wait for those opting to walk-in at some sites depending on demand. Additionally, all proof of identity and insurance information, if applicable, will be needed.

“Every day our state moves closer to a post-pandemic future by vaccinating more New Yorkers, and we're building on that momentum by making it easier for our residents to get vaccinated, expanding eligibility and opening new vaccination sites across the state," Cuomo said. 

"We're taking that effort a step further and making the vaccine more accessible to older New Yorkers by allowing walk-ins to get vaccinated at 16 mass vaccination sites. A robust vaccination program is vitally important to the public health, and we're working 24/7 to get shots in arms, protect New Yorkers and move the state forward."



Here’s another email from the governor dated April 22, 2021 which he also sent to other New Yorkers:

Dear Alex, The dedication and determination of New Yorkers in fighting the COVID pandemic is stronger than ever and it shows in the numbers. Yesterday the positivity rate in New York State was 2.06 percent—the lowest one-day positivity since November 5. 

Hospitalizations dropped to their lowest level since November 29. 

Still, we have a lot of work ahead to get New Yorkers vaccinated and to achieve a sufficient level of immunity to defeat this virus once and for all. 

Help us spread the word and encourage your friends and neighbors to get vaccinated!

1. COVID hospitalizations dropped to 3,567. Of the 242,432 tests reported yesterday, 4,996, or 2.06 percent, were positive. 

The 7-day average positivity rate was 2.57 percent. There were 811 patients in ICU yesterday, down six from the previous day. Of them, 499 are intubated. Sadly, we lost 45 New Yorkers to the virus.

2. As of 11am this morning, 43.0 percent of New Yorkers have completed at least one vaccine dose. Over the past 24 hours, 177,255 total doses have been administered. To date, New York has administered 13,929,970 total doses with 29.7 percent of New Yorkers completing their vaccine series. See data by region and county on the State's Vaccine Tracker: 

3. Starting tomorrow morning, New Yorkers age 60 and up are eligible for walk-in vaccine appointments. Walk-in vaccine appointments will be accommodated for these individuals at 16 mass vaccination sites across the state. See the list here.

4. Reminder that public and private employees in NY are granted time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccines. Last month, I signed legislation that grants employees up to four hours of excused leave per vaccine appointment that will not be charged against any other leave the employee has earned or accrued. 

Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": A 17-year-old boy from Geneseo, NY, has an important message for all New Yorkers: Get vaccinated. 

After getting both doses of the vaccine at the Rochester Dome Arena vaccination site, Zachary Mogavero used his talent as an illustrator to express his gratitude for the staff at the site and to encourage all New Yorkers to get vaccinated. 

His design will be displayed as flyers and given out as stickers at the Rochester vaccination site. 

Ever Upward, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

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




Wednesday, April 21, 2021

We care for one another

“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

Theodore Roosevelt


By Alex P. Vidal 


THE Elmhurst Community Fridge 2 in Queens, NYC has been providing us with free food supplies since last year during the start of pandemic-induced lockdown.

Every now and then, I still visit the place and regularly see people pick from the fridge and the shelves fresh and frozen veggies and fruits, bottled water, juices, milk, peanut butter, bread, eggs, ready-to-eat meals and noodles, pantry items (canned items, pasta, etc.), baked goods.

Although most of the food are donated by Good Samaritans, others who come to collect are also encouraged to donate what they have in the fridge.

I immediately remembered the Elmhurst Community Fridge 2 when I learned that community pantry, which bears a sign: Give what you can, take what you need, has been sprouting in the Philippines.

I am happy to know that a week after the initiative began in the Philippines as a humble cart with free vegetables and canned goods, over 300 similar donation-driven efforts have popped up across the Philippines. 

Variations such as community libraries and pantries for pets have appeared, too.

Amid the pandemic, humanity can always survive because we have the initiatives and alternatives; and because we always care for one another.




Facial droop uneven smile? Arm numbness, arm weakness? Slurred speech, difficulty speaking or understanding? It is stroke! Acting fast is key to treating stroke. May is Stroke Awareness Month.

IT'S OUR FAULT. We were created with flat teeth because we are not supposed to be carnivore; therefore, we can't eat meat but only vegetables. But when Prometheus discovered fire and handed the knowledge to mankind, we learned how to cook and thus we started to eat meat--and started to suffer heart attack due to high cholesterol.

THEY CAN BE REMOVED, AFTER ALL. Tattoos can be removed by skin grafting, by infrared coagulation treatment, or by salabrasion in which table salt is scrubbed into the anesthetized skin. The hypertonic irritant solution disperses the tattoo pigment particles. Scars will be produced.

STAND UP STRAIGHT. This sounds so ridiculously simple, but it's one of the most evidential traits of those women we so admire. Stand against a wall with head, shoulder blades, and heels touching, and buttocks pushed into the wall.

IGNORE THE EARTHQUAKE SOOTHSAYERS. The test of a hypothesis is whether it makes predictions that are borne out. Unfortunately, geologists do not yet have a clear enough understanding of earthquake phenomena to predict reliably and consistently where and when earthquakes will occur.

THE REAL McCOY.  Although frequently associated with Darwinism, the phrase "survival of the fittest" was coined by Herbert Spencer, an English sociologist. It is the process by which organisms that are less well-adapted to their environment tend to perish and better-adapted organisms tend to survive.

ACCESSORIES MAKE THE WOMAN. A well-dressed woman is someone who knows the fine art of accessorizing. Accessories are the finishing touch that gives us our individuality and shows us just how far we can go with a little imagination.




Interdependence--giving and receiving affection--is the key to happiness. It is the basic human nature or natural law.

The five biggest ideas in science are: 1. The Atom 2. The Periodic Law 3. The Big Bang 4. Plate Tectonics 5. Evolution. This is according to book authors Charles M. Wynn and Arthur W. Wiggins.

THE SUN IS OUR SKIN'S NO. 1 ENEMY. We should always make sun protection a priority. Let's use a sunscreen formulated for our skin along with our moisturizer. Much of the evidence of aging, rough skin, wrinkles, age spots, etc. are really the result of too much sun.

BEWARE THE DEADLIEST NATURAL TOXIN. Botulinal toxin, produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, is the most potent poison for humans. It has an estimated lethal dose in the bloodstream of 10-9 milligrams per kilogram. Death occurs when the respiratory muscles are paralyzed.

TO ALL LOVERS OF CIGARETTE. Cigarette smoke contains about 4,000 chemicals. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, and nicotine are some of the major components, with lesser amounts of acetone, acetylene, formaldehyde, propane, hydrogen cyanide, toluene, and many others.

Women drive and cross the street more safely than men. Men account for 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities since 1980. Between the ages 18 and 45, males outnumber females as fatal crash victims by almost three to one according to the Nat'l Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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