Daily Archives: January 19, 2014

Foreign docs impressed by Pinoys’ resilience


“In order to succeed, people need a sense of self-efficacy, to struggle together with resilience to meet the inevitable obstacles and inequities of life.” ALBERT BANDURA



By Alex P. Vidal

Despite the devastation of typhoon and the horror they went through, they still managed to smile.
This was how Dr. Hamira Welye of Nigeria described victims of super-typhoon Yolanda he met while in the Philippines since November 10, 2013 as a medical missionary.
Welye and Dr. Vera Siesjo of Sweden are medical workers representing Zuellig Family Foundation. They witnessed the joint relief operations for typhoon victims conducted by ABS-CBN Iloilo and Iloilo Cyber Cockers Club, Inc. in Dao, Capiz last January 16.
Welye, medical doctor at Jos University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria, has gone to other cities and provinces in the country since arriving in Manila from Sydney, Australia.


He witnessed how typhoon victims suffered especially in the first two weeks when they were conducting their medical mission. Welye described Filipinos in general as “brave, friendly and always smiling.”
He and Siesjo, of School of Public Health–University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine, conducted a medical mission in Ivisan and Dao towns last November 19.
Siesjo, International Project Coordinator at Afa-Press, Project Coordinator Mental Health at HIGA Eva Peron de San Matin Education: University of Sydney, Universidad de Palermo, said they also conducted leadership training program among mayors and midwives aside from medical mission.
She revealed that the leadership training program included five different modules where the trainees are taught how to incorporate health system in their programs.


Siesjo confirmed that the Foundation’s Institute for Health and Policy Studies works in building the capacity of health leaders so they can, in turn, establish and sustain equitable health programs and services that will greatly benefit the poor, as stated in the Zuellig Family Foundation website.
“The capability-building program recognizes the important role that leadership plays in establishing and replicating best practices in local health systems,” added the Foundation.
“As an essential part of the Foundation’s agenda for action, various training and mentorship programs equip health leaders and professionals with the necessary tools to strategically address health inequities.”


It explained that “one of the key steps to strengthen local health systems is to assist in the development of the inter-governmental and inter-sectoral collaborations of different stakeholders in healthcare at the local level.”
It added: “The focus is on strengthening the primary health capacities of rural health units and partners to ensure cooperation and responsibility. Local health system reforms cannot be implemented unless there is broad participation among the different stakeholders. Major actors as well as appropriate leadership training interventions in the local health system must be identified. Shared agreements among the different players at the local level are necessary to implement innovative programs which should, in turn, result in better health outcomes for the poor.”


Meanwhile, Dao municipal health officer, Dr. Mary Humbelyn-Horneja confirmed that Zuellig Family Foundation has been assisting Dao in the health training and leadership governance.
“They have been here since last year and aside from training programs that they are giving they also provided us medicines and other supplies during their medical mission,” Humbelyn-Horneja said.
Six people died in Dao during the typhoon Yolanda, according to the municipal health officer.

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Posted by on January 19, 2014 in Uncategorized


‘Salamat sa Diyos’

“Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us.” SOCRATES



By Alex P. Vidal

Moving away languidly with the help of a bamboo cane in duck-walk, Esparanza Gardoce, 89, attributed the arrival of relief items composed of rice, canned goods, noodles and bottled water to the Divine Providence.
“Salamat sa Diyos makaka-on na ang mga apo ko (Thank God my grandchildren will have something to eat now),” hissed the diminutive Gardoce of Brgy. Duyoc, Dao, Capiz.
“Diyos namon nga makagagahum salamat gid oh Ginoo. Dali na wala taho to sa balay (Our most powerful God thank you, Lord. C’mon let’s go home now nobody’s watching our house),” gushed Lolita Capapas, 87, putting her arm on neighbor Gardoce’s shoulders.


They walked home together teeming with excitement and exuberance over the food stuffs that could last for two to three days. Dao Mayor Joselito “Bobo” Escutin personally supervised the distribution of relief goods for 631 families aided by ABS-CBN Iloilo and Iloilo Cyber Cockers Club, Inc headed by Ray Rico in a joint project dubbed “Build A Shelter Project For Typhoon Yolanda Victims.”
Twenty three other families whose houses were totally washed out when super-typhoon Yolanda struck on November 8 last year in Brgy. Duyoc were given G.I. sheets.
Myrna Venancio, 44, a single parent and a laundrywoman, who got 8 pieces of G.I. sheets, said she will start to rebuild her totally damaged house for her four children aged 18, 17, 11, and 5.
Daniel Lacheca, 46, a driver, and wife Elsa, 44, a laundrywoman, said they will rebuild their house if they have additional materials.


The team, composed of two DPWHS dump trucks, brought 200 G.I. sheets. Escutin and his father, former Mayor Ernesto, continued the distribution of relief goods in Brgy. Malonoy where 335 families were benefited.
With a population of 31,911 composed of 20 barngays, Dao, a fourth class municipality in the second district of Capiz, was among the towns in the province badly hit by Yolanda. All the 20 multi-purpose gyms in 20 barangays were totally destroyed, said Escutin.
“We are here because our group (Iloilo Cyber Cockers Club, Inc.) is not only for cockfighting but also for social service, and this project is part of our civic projects and care for those who are in need,” said Rico, village chief of Blk 22, NHA Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

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Posted by on January 19, 2014 in Uncategorized


Ex-solon wrong to bring matter of US visa cancellation to media

“If I could go, I would tell the truth to the North American people. President Reagan personally ordered my visa to be denied.” TOMAS BORGE

By Alex P. Vidal

Going to media and “blasting” the U.S. Embassy in Manila for cancelling his tourist visa, was like permanently saying goodbye to any chance to get another visa in the future for former Ifugao congressman and governor Gualberto Lumauig.
But the U.S. Embassy only cancelled Lumauig’s B1/B2 or tourist visa, it did not ban him from applying again in the future.
Criticizing the U.S. Embassy in public would not stop the embassy from its decision to cancel any visa. A visa issued by any embassy is a privilege, not a right given to any citizen in the Philippines who wishes to travel to the United States and other countries.
The U.S. Embassy appeared to have exercised fairness when it informed Lumauig that his visa had been cancelled thus, he should not make any attempt to use it if he was planning to travel to the United States before Christmas Day last December 2013. It would have been another story if Lumauig wasn’t told about the cancellation and he suffered embarrassment after being prevented from leaving the country in the immigration.


Embassy officials may have valid reasons, but they reserve the right not to reveal these reasons in public as a matter of policy and security. The fact that Lumauig immediately sent a letter to U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg to seek for answers, bringing the matter to media was not anymore necessary. The U.S. Embassy would not give back what it had revoked only because the matter was discussed in media. The U.S. Embassy may have thoroughly studied Lumauig’s case before making the decision to cancel his visa, and would not give special treatment to anybody. Any visa holder–congressman or not–would have been treated fairly.
It was reported that two days before Christmas, Lumauig received a letter from the U.S. Embassy. In part, it stated, “The U.S. Embassy hereby informs you that additional information became available after the visa was issued and your B1/B2 visa with expiration date of 03 October 2021 has been revoked.”


Furthermore the letter stated, the report said, “The U.S. Embassy requests you to present your passport with the aforementioned visa… so that we may physically cancel the visa. Your passport will be returned to you.”
ABS-CBN New reported that in the latter part of the letter, the embassy’s Nonimmigrant Unit Chief Mignon Cardentey stated that Lumauig was welcome to apply for a visa again after the cancellation.
Before receiving the letter, the report said “Lumauig was all set to travel to the United States to see his ailing son who had just undergone brain surgery, so it was a great disappointment for him when he received a call from the U.S. Embassy informing him that his B1/B2 or U.S. tourist visa was cancelled.”
“Gulat na gulat ako! On December 20 I was coming down from the province to Manila to catch a scheduled flight to the U.S. the following day, December 21. Midway en route to Manila I got a call from Ms. Laly Javier from the U.S. Embassy who identified herself as an information officer to tell me my visa was cancelled. I asked her, ‘Why? What have I done?’ She said she’s not in a position to tell me why,” Lumauig told ABS-CBN News.


“Lumauig was shocked, especially since he had already traveled to the U.S. about 50 times since the 60’s, and his 10-year visa is valid up to the year 2021,” the report added.
Report said Lumauig did not anymore attempt to proceed with his travel. “I was very much disappointed but I’m not pleading for any reconsideration. Pero yung ginawa nilang ‘yan, I think I deserve an explanation. I’ve been in government for so long with a record that’s unblemished,” said Lumauig.
ABS CBN News quoted Lumauig as saying, “I’m not anymore interested sa visa. I just want to know. It’s my right to be told.”
The TV network further reported: “Just last year, Lumauig had been to the U.S. twice. When he was still active in politics, he was sponsored by the U.S. to study at Harvard University.
“He doesn’t even look like a terrorist, he said, especially at the age of 80 and could hardly walk.


“But according to one New York licensed attorney, the embassy’s letter stated that they received additional information that led to the cancellation. But as to what the information is, no one but U.S. authorities knows.
“Atty. Howard Calleja said it is entirely up to the discretion of the U.S. whether or not to reveal the purported information.
“Calleja added a visa is not a right, but merely a privilege. This is no different when visa applications are denied and the reason is not disclosed.
“‘That, at the time you applied for the visa, you withheld something, an information, and if proven true that is a big violation,’ he said.
“ABS-CBN News tried to get a statement from the U.S. Embassy but they have yet to respond.What is clear is that all US visas can be cancelled at any given time as they continue to investigate visa holders all around the globe even if the visa has already been awarded.”


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Posted by on January 19, 2014 in Uncategorized


Adios, Don Jose Sulaiman!

“All the misery of the world is nothing next to a farewell.” DANIEL BALAVOINE



By Alex P. Vidal

When Don Jose Sulaiman ascended as president of the World Boxing Council (WBC) in 1975, the biggest and the greatest ever world heavyweight championship match in history unfolded in the Philippines known as “Thrilla in Manila” with Muhammad Ali emerging victorious after 11th round via technical knockout (TKO) over Joe Frazier.
Since then, Sulaiman never relinquished the presidency of the Mexico-based world boxing body until his death due to heart ailment last January 16 at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.
A Mexican of Lebanese descent, Sulaiman, 82, was scheduled for cremation on January 19, Sunday, and a Monday Mass was to be offered in his honor at the iconic Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City.


Before he died, Sulaiman’s wish was granted. This was to see the WBC belt once again strapped around the waste of Manny Pacquiao, whom he considered to be “the best boxer in history next to Muhammad Ali.”
This happened on November 13, 2010 in Arlington, Texas when Pacquiao annexed the WBC light middleweight title via 12-round unanimous decision over Antonio Margarito.
In my one-on-one exclusive interview with Sulaiman inside Polanco, his favorite restaurant in Mexico City shortly after Pacquiao demolished David Diaz via 9th round TKO for WBC lightweight belt in Las Vegas on June 28, 2008, Sulaiman expressed sadness that Pacquiao would leave the WBC and embrace the rival WBO.


“Pacquiao is with the WBC ever since he won his first world crown (via 8th round KO of Chatchai Sasakul in Thailand on December 4, 1998) and I want him to continue fighting with the WBC,” Sulaiman said.
After humiliating Oscar De La Hoya via 8th round TKO in Las Vegas on December 6, 2008, Pacquiao fought for rival IBO light welterweight title and obliterated Ricky Hatton in two rounds in Las Vegas on May 2, 2009.
From IBO, Pacquiao went to the WBO where he destroyed Angel Miguel Cotto (TKO 12) on Nov.14, 2009 and Joshua Clottey (UD 12) on March 13, 2010 in welterweight rumbles.
Then came Pacquaio’s comeback fight under the WBC against Margarito where Sulaiman flew all the way from Mexico to act as supervisor.


“I’m the happiest person in the world because Pacquiao is once again with the WBC,” beamed the wheelchair-bound Sulaiman, who was born on May 30, 1931 in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico to immigrant parents from Lebanon.
For unknown reason, Pacquiao, however, discarded anew the biggest and most prestigious boxing body in the world and fought his last five fights under the WBO: Shane Mosley (UD 12), Juan Manuel Marquez III (majority decision 12), Timothy Bradley (lost, split decision 12), Juan Manuel Marquez IV (lost, KO 6), and Brandon Rios (UD 12).


“Was Jose Sulaiman tenacious? You bet,” boxing analyst Bob Newman remarked. “Dedicated to the sport he loved? Without a doubt. Was he unconventional? Perhaps. Then again, what is conventional in the irregularly regulated sport of boxing? There are so many contradictory rules and disagreements in this sport, who is to say who’s right and who’s wrong? In keeping with the theme song that accompanied slideshows at the annual conventions, he did it his way. As he often did during the portion of the WBC convention where members of boxing’s fraternity were remembered, we now sound the bell for a count of ten in remembering and paying respect to him.”
Sulaiman, who was the longest president in any world sports body according to the Guinness Book of Records, is survived by his six children- Jose, Lucy, Hector, Fernando, Mauricio and Claudia and his loving wife of over 50 Martha.

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Posted by on January 19, 2014 in Uncategorized


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