Stop talking; just build the bridge

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

— Emmanuel Macron

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

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


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


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


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

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Posted by on September 20, 2018 in Uncategorized


‘How can I win against the media people?’

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

— Nicola Sturgeon

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

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


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


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

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Posted by on September 19, 2018 in Uncategorized


Alvarez beats Golovkin by controversial majority decision

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

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

The two fighters also clashed heads, adding to the drama of the fight Canelo started to bleed above the cut as Golovkin began to close the gap in in the 8th.
The jab stuck to the plan working the but Alvarez continued to throw combinations late in the fight.
In the 10th, Golovkin backed Canelo shortly after, briefly stopping his momentum but Canelo stood his ground.
The championship rounds was full of drama with the fight close Golovkin took it to Canelo landing wild punches but Alvarez quickly responded with combinations going after the champ.
The 12th and final round with the fight hanging close Canelo went after Golovkin but slipped.
Everyone was on their feet when referee Benji Estevez quickly ruled it a slip.
Canelo and Golovkin traded away to the final bell as the fans went wild.
Fans demanded for a third fight.
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Posted by on September 16, 2018 in Uncategorized


Iloilo Press Club loses ‘Pericles’

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

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

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


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


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

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Posted by on September 12, 2018 in Uncategorized


Human evolution and societal development

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

By Alex P. Vidal41149296_10212431981217467_3632337787363000320_n

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

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


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

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Posted by on September 7, 2018 in Uncategorized


Child molester running for congressman

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

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — ATB alyas “Frank Sinatra” wants to run for congressman in the May 2019 Philippine elections.

The problem is neither his lousy voice in the videoke nor his favorite Barong Tagalog (probably the same “uniform” used by the grandfather of his grandfather when the Gomburza Catholic priests were executed in 1872).

It’s his bad reputation as a corrupt fixer and a child molester.

As a fixer of public biddings involving state projects, he escaped unscathed from the long arms of the law because of his connections and “talent” in hiding his shenanigans.

But his child molestation case continues to dangle above his head like a Sword of Damocles even if he allegedly managed to “silence” the victim’s family with cash.

Not only that.

Frank Sinatra doesn’t have respect for members of the Fourth Estate.




He once egged warlord and illiterate Asiong Salonga not just to press charges against anchorman Palito, but to send a hired triggerman in anchorman Palito’s house in Calumpang, Molo in Iloilo City to shoot the hard-hitting broadcaster.

Luckily, Asiong Salonga, who was himself facing a string of criminal cases, including a P5-million estafa from a beer company he had bilked, died of a suspected STD infection (his family swore he died of diabetes) before he could implement Frank Sinatra’s bestial suggestions.

He also sent “I love you so much” text messages and “indecent proposals” to a part-time female newscaster, who resigned and studied practical nursing to escape from his prurient sexual intent.

After a brief dalliance with Frank Sinatra, she “fled” to Saudi Arabia first before marrying a suspected sex fiend (but that’s another story).

With his oodles upon oddles of cash culled from his illegal activities, Frank Sinatra is planning to throw his hat into the political arena and will shoot for a position that has given so much shame and scandal to the Filipinos because of that position’s much-hated “pork” barrel funds, the chief sources of avarice and plunder among corrupt government officials–both elected and appointed.

We will wait until Frank Sinatra files his certificate of candidacy and unmask him more as a charlatan and a member of the underworld.

He used to sing his favorite “My Way” in a small-time eatery that became a videoke pub at night in the Diversion Road before Senator Frank Drilon implemented his multi-million road-widening and beautification project that catapulted Iloilo City into the totem pole of the newly refurbished metropolis in the Philippines.

Frank Sinatra made millions from his scandalous, immoral, illegal and shameful transactions which we will expose once he has become an officials candidate “so the public may know.”

Yes, he did it his way.

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Posted by on September 6, 2018 in Uncategorized


Once there was a ‘theory of the four humors’

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

By Alex P. Vidal41149296_10212431981217467_3632337787363000320_n

NEW YORK CITY –– There was a time in our history when the celebrated Greek doctor Hippocrates postulated that all human emotions flowed from four bodily fluids, or humors:

-blood (which makes us cheerful and passionate);

-yellow bile (which makes us hot-tempered);

-black bile (which makes us depressed); and

-phlegm (whick makes us sluggish or stoic).

Though the good doctors’ humors have given behavioral scientists a nice structure for examining personality types such as sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic, the idea that our bodily fluids make us angry, depressed, or elated died out in 1800s.


The ancient Greeks believed that the Four Humors were responsible for the nutrition, growth and metabolism of the organism.

They originate in the digestive process. In Greek Medicine, digestion happens in four stages:

-The First Digestion happens in the gastrointestinal tract, and produces chyle; its waste product is the feces, or stool.

-The Second Digestion happens in the liver, and produces the Four Humors.  Its wastes are eliminated via the bile, urine and sweat.

-The Third Digestion happens in the blood vessels, and feeds the principal organs of the body. Its wastes are eliminated via the urine and sweat.

-The Fourth Digestion happens in the tissues, and is the final congellation of the Four Humors into living tissue. Its wastes are eliminated similarly to the Third Digestion.

-The Four Humors originate in the liver in the Second Digestion as follows:

Blood, or the Sanguine humor, is the first to arise, and receives the richest, choicest share of nutrients. It is the most plentiful humor, and enters the general circulation.

Phlegm, as Plasma or the Phlegmatic humor, is the second to arise and receives the next richest share of nutrients.

It is also very plentiful, and enters the general circulation.

Yellow Bile, or the Choleric humor, is the third to arise and receives a rather coarse, meager share of nutrients. It is not so plentiful.

Only a slight residue enters the general circulation; the rest is stored in the gall bladder, its receptacle, to be used as needed.

Black Bile, or the Melancholic humor, is the last to arise, and receives the coarsest, most meager share of nutrients. It is the least plentiful. Only a slight residue enters the general circulation; the rest is stored in the spleen, its receptacle, to be used as needed.


The first two humors, blood and phlegm, are moist and flourishing, and are the metabolic agents of the Wet elements – Air and Water, respectively. Most of the nutrition, growth and metabolism of the organism depends on them.

The last two humors, yellow bile and black bile, are dry and effete, and only needed by the organism in small amounts. They are the metabolic agents of the Dry elements – Fire and Earth, respectively. Although only needed in small amounts, they are potent and essential catalysts where needed.

The withering of the Hippocratic belief in humors proved to be good news for patients who were not thrilled with the practice of bloodletting, a process of opening a patient’s veins to lower blood levels in an attempt to bring the humors into balance and cure all manner of mental and physical ills.

Bloodletting, with a knife or with leeches, was an accepted medical practice from the time of the Greeks, Mayans, and Mesopotamians; and it was going strong at the end of the 18th century, when George Washington had almost two liters of blood let out to cure a throat infection. He died shortly afterward.


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Posted by on September 6, 2018 in Uncategorized