Daily Archives: October 11, 2013

Food poisoning cases could damage Iloilo’s food tourism

“The symptoms of food poisoning often don’t appear for days after the contaminated meal was eaten. As a result, most cases of food poisoning are never properly diagnosed.” Eric Schlosser


By Alex P. Vidal

The twin food-poisoning cases that rocked the metropolis these past two weeks, could damage Iloilo’s food tourism industry if health authorities failed to cushion the impact of the negative incidents.
Although the two incidents appeared to be isolated and did not occur in big festivals or in food gatherings sanctioned by hotel and restaurant organizations and the Department of Tourism (DOT), the impact of their publicity in mass media, especially in internet, could wreck havoc on the food and drink industry here. The way authorities handle the situation is crucial for Iloilo’s food tourism.
Those who heard and read the stories outside Iloilo don’t really care if the poisoning happened in a milk tea restaurant or in a hotel and victimized several Korean nationals. The fact that 58 people were hospitalized in the milk tea restaurant in Smallville and 11 Korean language students were downed in Castle Hotel on Bonifacio Drive, City Proper, the stories could scare and alarm those intending to visit Iloilo especially the food and drink concessionaires intending to expand their businesses here.


A milk tea restaurant investor friend who just arrived from China, for instance, informed us recently she would not push through anymore with her expansion plan in Iloilo after she heard that several customers of Dakasai Milk Tea in Smalleville in Mandurriao landed in the hospital.
She lamented that the Dakasai Milk Tea fiasco could affect future milk tea investors. “My investment could go down the drain,” she feared. The Manila-based investor also expressed apprehensions of possible sabotage by business rivals if the restaurant is doing good.
The Department of Health (DOH), which released partial results of laboratory tests in the Dakasai Milk Tea incident, said patients may have suffered from salmonella infection. In the case of those who drank milk tea, DOH said the salmonella bacteria likely contaminated the egg pudding, one of the add-on ingredients in the concoction.


Meanwhile, authorities have not yet established officially the cause of food-poisoning that rattled the entire Korean community as of press time. No one was reported dead. The 11 patients had been released from St. Paul Hospital early morning of Oct. 9 where they were rushed several hours after the incident. They reportedly ate friend chicken for dinner on Oct. 8.
Food poisoning is caused by ingesting food or drink that has been contaminated with either: chemicals such as insecticides or food toxins including fungi (poisonous mushrooms), or gastrointestinal infections of bacteria, viruses or parasites. Most people refer to food poisoning as covering any of those possible sources.
Health experts say the use of chemicals, fertilizers, manures etc. all have the potential to contaminate food as it is being grown. We have been warned not to expect that an item is washed before it leaves the farm.
Also, handling, storing and preparing foods are the most important areas to tackle in order to reduce the possibility of food contamination. If we eat out, health experts say, let’s be sure to pay attention to the conditions of food and food service hygiene.

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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Uncategorized


Will Garin’s admission save his ass?

“Though silence is not necessarily an admission, it is not a denial, either.” MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO

By Alex P. Vidal

Lawyer Ernie Dayot said former Iloilo first district Rep. Oscar “Oca” Garin Sr. did the right thing when he recently confessed that most solons in the present and past congresses may have misused their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or “pork barrel” allocations.
Lawmakers who maliciously partook the infamous budget insertions needed extra funds to finance their poor constituents who regularly formed a queue in their district offices, said Garin. These needs include funeral, school, and hospital expenses.
If we believe Garin, no one walked a saint in congress and no legislator would admit that he is Mr. Clean.
“At least he has the guts to admit something that his peers would never admit,” quipped the 80-year-old Dayot who now resides in Brgy. Nanga, Guimbal.


Garin’s confession was a big favor for himself because no one would accuse him now of being hypocrite. It’s better than keeping his mouth shut while the whole country is up in arms against the abuse of pork barrel funds, added Dayot, who writes a regular column in the Visayan Tribune.
After serving for three terms, Garin passed the district’s congressional baton to her daughter-in-law, Janette, who also served for three terms during the Arroyo administration.
Janette, an advocate of Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, is now undersecretary of Department of Health. She was replaced in congress by her husband, Oscar “Richard” Jr., who has been mum about the PDAF brouhaha.
The Commission on Audit (COA), which uncovered an estimated loss of P10-billion from PDAF misused by some senators and congressmen through bogus NGOs run by Janet Napoles, is expected to submit a comprehensive audit report that covers 10 years of PDAF releases stretching in the past administrations.


If Garin was among those who didn’t spend their “pork barrel” funds for intended beneficiaries (except for school, funeral, and hospital expenses of his “poor” constituents in Guimbal, Igbaras, Oton, Miag-ao, San Joaquin, Tubungan and Tigbauan) in the past congresses, he, too, could be liable for graft under the law — if the COA report discovers his culpability.
Will his admission of “dishonesty” save him from the guillotine? Will that make him a lesser evil? We doubt. The mob is in lynching mood in the “pork barrel” tumult, and those who will set the guilty party free will equally feel the wrath of angry citizens.
COA has asked fake NGOs and lawmakers who abused their “pork barrel” allocations to refund the government without prejudice to the plunder cases the Department of Justice (DOJ) had filed against some of them.
We all know that the COA demand is like wishing for the stars. No erring lawmaker is dumb to shell out a gargantuan amount from his own savings just to mollify the COA.


Garin, et al are not stupid to sacrifice their own “hard-earned” money to refund the government. After all, a refund is not a modus vivendi or guarantee that those who pocketed the taxpayers’ money will be spared from prosecution.
Garin’s statement, if executed in a formal affidavit, may be used by the Office of the Ombudsman as a weighing scale to determine the degree of crime committed by the respondents against the government. It may also help strengthen the cases against the accused. Based on his confession, Garin is not just an eye witness. He is part of the main cast.
When “pork barrel” was first introduced in the budget during the time of the late President Cory Aquino, it was known then as Countrywide Development Fund (CDF). Then PDAF, and now Disbursement Allocation Program (DAP).
We are only talking about the rape of PDAF before DAP was unearthed belatedly. CDF could be the mother of all “pork barrel” scams.

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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Uncategorized


IPC and city hall

“The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” BERTRAND RUSSELL

By Alex P. Vidal

The meeting between Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog and officials of the Iloilo Press Club (IPC) led by Daily Guardian editor-in-chief Francis Allan Angelo in city hall last September 19, was symbolic. It brought back the cordial ties between Mabilog and the club after a stormy relationship during the election period ignited by the candidacy for city mayor of a rich businessman who financed the construction of the building in Brgy. San Pedro, Molo, Iloilo City.
The IPC under Angelo is on its way to renaissance after a long hiatus. Angelo vowed to prioritize the construction project saying the building can be used as training center for members.
The IPC building has not been fully constructed since the groundbreaking in 1996 attended by then Iloilo city mayor Mansueto Malabor and Iloilo governor Art Defensor during the term of Panay New publisher Danny Fajardo. It was mothballed during the term of former mayor and now Iloilo City congressman Jerry P. Trenas.


The cold war between Mabilog and IPC escalated during the election period when the donor faced Mabilog in a one-on-one slugfest for mayoral contest in the May 13 polls. Relationship between IPC and Mabilog started to roll back to normalcy when Angelo was elected as president in September.
After IPC officials presented to Mabilog the deed of donation of the building during the city hall powwow, the mayor vowed to help them settle in their own home without any legal impediment.
The lot on which the IPC building stands is covered by a “mother title” which also includes lots of the Technological Institute of Iloilo City and other organizations, Mabilog said. “We will have the lots subdivided so we can have a separate land title for the IPC building. Then we can work on an agreement to allow the press club to use the lot,” he added.


The city government has the master plan for the entire city-owned lot at San Pedro village, specifically to put up a government center and sports complex, disclosed Mabilog.
Angelo wrote the mayor’s office requesting that the city government allow the club to use the lot. For his part, Mabilog said he will also instruct pertinent agencies to assess the IPC building if it complies with basic engineering and electrical requirements then issue the needed business and occupancy permits.
The IPC plans to use the press club building as a training center and venue for press conferences. The club also aims to rent part of the building to interested businesses as a source of revenue of the oldest press organization in the country.
Meanwhile, the purported “honeymoon” between IPC and Mabilog has alarmed former club president Manuel “Boy M’ Mejorada, a city hall critic, who quipped in his Facebook comment: “That means the IPC will behave until 2016.” Members have vowed to remain vigilant and expose anomalies in the city government with or without the building project.

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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Uncategorized