Monthly Archives: June 2018

Joe III bows to Duterte

“I think I’m a natural-born leader. I know how to bow down to authority if it’s authority that I respect.”

–Tupac Shakur

By Alex P. Vidal29572442_10211417967587760_356020253209754251_n

NEW YORK CITY — When President Rodrigo R. Duterte arrived at the Iloilo International Convention Center for the Philippine Councilors League (PCL) 2nd Quarterly National Executive Officers and National Board Meeting on June 20, he was met outside by Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III, who bowed before the Philippines’ highest official like a Japanese after holding and shaking the president’s right hand with his two hands.

Mayor Joe III’s gesture was normally a form of greeting, probably a sign of respect performed by other leaders almost everywhere in Korea, Japan, Vietnam and China.

Aside from using it to welcome VIPs (very important persons), head bowing is also done before and after martial arts practice and competition, at tea ceremonies and at religious shrines.

Bowing of the head is quite complex and may be used to express deference, sincerity, humility and remorse, although it may look simple like what Mayor Joe III did.


Mayor Joe III’s critics, however, have their own interpretations of that extra body language.

They thought there’s more than meets the eye in the city mayor’s “over reaction.”

They theorized Mayor Joe III had been “starstrucked” or “only intimidated.” Or both.

A handshake would have been enough, they said, since lowering ourselves make us look smaller and less threatening in the concept rooted in animalistic tendencies especially when we come face-to-face with a bear.

Since head bowing is a normal practice in Asia, it’s fine for Mayor Joe III to do it in front of a visiting president, a person in authority whose reputation is worse than a bear especially when dealing with criminals.


Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, the new Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) director, said the Philippine National Police (PNP) will not condone married cops maintaining illicit affairs or having mistresses.

They give the PNP a bad name, Chief Supt. Bulalacao lamented.

He pointed to the PNP’s Chiefs of Police Manual lists the ethical standards for policemen: Morality, judicious use of authority, justice, humility, orderliness, and perseverance, according to reports.

The police general bewailed that womanizers in the police organization are “answerable to God and to the laws of the land.”

Chief Supt. Bulalacao is correct.


But the PNP will waste precious time if they will run after organic members engaging in sexual peccadilloes.

In the Philippines, some of those who have more than one wives are cops and military men.

Next are politicians and media personalities.

It’s in our culture which is patriarchal by nature.

Some Filipino women are suckers to a “false sense of authority” and a “false sense of security.”

If the male perpetrator has a gun or position, he is being looked up to as a “savior” and “powerful”, thus even if he isn’t handsome-or even if he isn’t rich-a woman will easily fall for him.

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Posted by on June 21, 2018 in Uncategorized


Will a Rosalie Treñas-Joe III tandem solve the skirmish?

“The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency.”

Above-the-Belt-APVidal-238x300–Theodore Roosevelt

 By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III has refused to blink in the mind game versus his brother-in-law, Iloilo City lone district Rep. Jerry P. Treñas (PDP-Laban), and has finally let the cat out of the bag: Joe III is running for mayor on May 14, 2019.

This will pit Mayor Joe III against Treñas, reputed to be the new de facto political king of Iloilo City, the tag previously held by the late former Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr.

Mayor Joe III’s decision has dashed to pieces all hopes of a potent Treñas-Espinosa family express train versus “the rest of the world”–meaning all the combined and throbbing political forces in Iloilo City wishing to eviscerate the “elite” political Treñas and Espinosa clans from the metropolis’ political map.

But wait a minute.


Except for a “Divine intervention” as we mentioned here in the previous columns that includes an attempt to tap Mrs. Rosalie Treñas as candidate for congresswoman in a line-up with Mayor Joe III and Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon.

This would mean Rep. Treñas “sacrificing” for his wife and canceling his bid to run for mayor if only to preserve their political family and wrest total control of Iloilo City’s political supremacy for the two hugely politically superior clans.

If Madame Rosalie, sister of Mayor Joe III’s wife, First Lady Gina, won’t run, there is no other “Divine intervention” that can be bruited about to salvage the irritating and frustrating falling-out of the two clans which developed when there was no clear and present threat from other political forces.

Rep. Treñas himself was still hoping that Mayor Joe III would change his heart and mind and run for congressman in order not to divide their formidable slate.

But recent developments showd Mayor Joe III was now willing to crosss the Rubicon river and risk being “eliminated” from the political landscape in the event he loses against Treñas in the battle for City Hall in 2019.


Mayor Joe III believes he has gained the momentum by virtue of his having governed as city mayor without any hitch and obstacle, so far, since October 2017 when the Ombudsman ousted Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.

In Mayor Joe III’s mind, there is no heavy negative issue to be thrown his way in the event his feud with Treñas goes full blast especially during the chaotic campaign period.

Only the entry of Madame Rosalie will change the entire picture for the time being.

As the saying goes, in every problem there is a solution.

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Posted by on June 20, 2018 in POLITICS


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Imagine if Filipinos were the ones who upset Germany

“The first World Cup I remember was in the 1950 when I was 9 or 10 years old. My father was a soccer player, and there was a big party, and when Brazil lost to Uruguay, I saw my father crying.”
By Alex P. Vidal


NEW YORK CITY — Imagine if it were the Filipino soccer players who pulled the rug from under the 2018 FIFA World Cup defending champion Germany in the group stage opener on Saturday morning (June 17) in Moscow, Russia.
“Dutertards” and “Yellowtards” would have instantly halted their mudslinging activity; Filipino Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages would have been inundated with soccer melodrama; and delirious Filipino fans would have caused not only a minor but major “earthquake” simultaneously in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao like what happened in Mexico when the underdog Mexicans upset the mighty Germans, 1-0, courtesy of Hirving Lozano.
Some of the heroic Pinoy soccer players would easily be clinching elective positions in the next elections.
A soccer player would likely be the next Senate President or House Speaker. Only in the Philippines.
Any win registered by any country in a World Cup match actually becomes a national festival even if it isn’t a championship; the booters are considered as real celebrities and heroes.
Soccer itself is a mystical sport. FIFA World Cup is the biggest and most popular outdoor sporting event known in the universe.


If the Philippines did it, offices and classes would be suspended; traffic would be halted; politics would be thrown in the backseat; stock exchange trading would be held in abeyance, crimes would deteriorate; malls would be abandoned as the entire nation celebrated the World Cup stunner.
The Filipinos would have rejoiced like they won their first Olympic gold.
But I’m sorry to cut short this fantasy and vainglory.
Winning against a powerhouse team like Germany is like bordering on megalomania.
In the first place, the Philippines can’t play against any soccer superpower in America and Europe in a World Cup match for the simple reason that the national team has never been qualified for FIFA World Cup despite its reputation as one of the oldest national teams in Asia.
The Philippines has been playing at the international level since 1913, but the farthest that it has achieved, so far, was having been qualified in the AFC Asian Cup in 2019.


The Filipinos’ best finish in a major tournament was second place to Palestine at the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup.
We can only share the great moments with the Mexicans who resemble like Filipinos in height, talent and other physical features.
It was only Mexico’s second win against Germany in 12 World Cup matches since 1968.
The Germans bundled them out six times and drawn their matches four times.
It’s a long way to go and Germany can either bounce back and win its second title or Mexico will continue its giant killing spree or even pocket its first World Cup crown.
Or both of them will be eliminated.
Let’s continue to enjoy watching more explosive World Cup matches.

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Posted by on June 19, 2018 in SPORTS


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Ilonggos in trade delegation who worked ‘silently’

“Work hard in silence, let your success be your noise.” –Frank Ocean
By Alex P. Vidal


NEW YORK CITY — When I had a chance to engage Iloilo City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia in a long tete-a-tete at the Madison Square Park after the 120th Philippine Independence Day parade here organized by the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) on June 3, the first thing I asked was “Where is Department of Tourism (DoT) Regional Director Helen Camarista-Catalbas?”
Since two flashy regional festivals–Iloilo City’s Dinagyang and Guimaras’ Manggahan–and one trade mission were involved in the sizzling East Coast event, Atty. Catalbas should have been in the entourage, Divinagracia explained.
But because the new DoT secretary, Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, has just assumed and has been constantly communicating with all regional directors in the country, Atty. Catalbas probably needed to stay behind, she surmised.
Divinagracia pointed out that Atty. Catalbas “has been very supportive” of all their programs, including both in their tourism and business-related activities, especially when Iloilo City hosted the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministeral meeting in 2015.


I also missed Divinagracia’s predecessor, city tourism consultant Ben Jimena, who first accompanied the Tribu Panayanon during the 2013 Philippine Independence Day parade here in a delegation led by Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.
As I have asserted several times, City Hall should bring one representative from the Public Information Office (PIO) in the next trade mission and investment forum.
PIO Chief Lucy Montealto-Sinay or her representative would be able to greatly help sustain the publicity of the day-to-day week-long activities.
Mayor Jose Espinosa III talked lengthily and enormously about Iloilo City’s peace and order during the open fora.
It won’t hurt, if in the next trade mission, they bring along the chief or a representative from the Iloilo City Police Office (IPPO) to speak about peace and order and assure potential investors of their security.
There were other Ilonggos in the delegation who worked silently and were sparingly mentioned in the media but who, in one way or the other, have made gigantic contributions in the success of the first-ever private-initiated Iloilo City Trade Mission and Investment Forum Ilonggo Fashion and Jewelry Show in the East Coast on June 4-10, 2018.


I didn’t have the exact list of all Iloilo delegation members, but I spotted Iloilo City Councilor Plaridel Nava, who came with his family. Nava talked about the Iloilo City Ordinance on Noise Pollution in the EduCare for Early Childhood Education talk in Fairfax, Virginia.
His wife helped model for hablon cloths in the Virginia leg fashion show.
Alma May Tayo, chair of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Iloilo Chapter Exhibitors’ Committee, also actively joined the trade mission in New York, Virginia and Washington D.C. and the New York City Independence Day parade.
City Tourism Operations Officer Florence King Haro Erlano and Iloilo City Tourism and Development Office staff Sheena Julienne Galon did amazing reinforcement tasks during the parade and the trade mission and investment forum.
Executive Assistant Jojo Castro, “Iloilo City’s Bong Go”, was with City Engineer Bobby Divinagracia, Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation boss Ramon Cua Locsin, and Iloilo City National High School principal and Tribu Panayanon tribe manager, Dr. Blesilda V. Floro.


City Mayor’s Office staff Rosita Celiz did a factotum for Iloilo City First Lady Gina Sarabia-Espinosa and Secretariat Chief Florence Hibionada.
The rest of the team, led by Dr. Emily Noserale Hagad, president and project coordinator of Philcoman Research Institute, Inc. in the private sector, were Commercial Diplomat for Trade Relations of the City Rex Aguado, City Local Economic Enterprise Officer Jose Ariel Castañeda, City Planning Coordinator Jose Roni Peñalosa, Western Visayas State University College of Communication Dean, Dr. Carmencita “Menchie” Robles, University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV) Vice Chancellor Mary Ann Gumban, Iloilo Business Park-Megaworld Sales Director Carla Margarita Perez, Eon Group of Companies founder and CEO Felicito Tiu, StackTreck Enterprises CEO Billy Shung Hei Yuen, and journalists Tara Yap (Manila Bulletin) and Herbert Vego (Panay News), who also did Herculean efforts to promote Iloilo City as an ideal and perfect hub for business, tourism, education and investment.

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Posted by on June 17, 2018 in Uncategorized


Possible Jamjam Baronda vs Lex Tupas House duel ‘disheartening’

“Youth has no age.” 
-Pablo Picasso

By Alex P. Vidal

29572442_10211417967587760_356020253209754251_nNEW YORK CITY — I am one of those who expressed “sadness” when I heard from the grapevine recently that if the “rift” between Iloilo City Rep. Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas and Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III is not settled amicably, two of the most dynamic and young leaders of Iloilo City will be heading for a clash in the city’s lone congressional district in the May 14, 2019 Philippine elections.
“This is disheartening,” bemoaned a prominent member of the Iloilo City Trade Mission, who refused to be named “because both the young leaders are dear to me and I don’t want to preempt any ongoing political negotiations (among Iloilo City’s political leaders).”
She was referring to former Iloilo City councilors, Dr. Nielex “Lex” Tupas and Julienne “Jamjam” Baronda.


Both are good friends and maintain cordial relationships off and on the political arena.
They also have lots of common supporters and admirers who consider them as Iloilo City’s Foghorn Leghorn and Chicken Hawk or Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo, brimming with charisma and intelligence.
The grapevine added that if Treñas and Joe III won’t smoke the proverbial peace pipe soon, “Tupas might run for congressman under mayoral bet Treñas and Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon, while Baronda might run for congressman under Mayor Joe III and possibly, Councilor R Leone Gerochi, for vice mayor.”
If Baronda decides to pave the way for “graduating” Councilor Joshua Alim, the grapevine said it would be a battle between “three lawyers against a doctor, a lawyer, and a pastor.”
The three lawyers are Alim, Joe III, Gerochi while the doctor is Tupas, the lawyer is Treñas, and the pastor is Ganzon.
Alim’s possible inclusion in the Team Joe III will depend though on the results of “negotiations” and whether the powerhouse Gonzalez faction (composed of Dr. Pacita Trinidad-Gonzalez, Dr. Marigold “Gold” Gonzalez, and former Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr.) will intermingle with the Team Joe III.


One of the Gonzalezes’ favorite incumbent city officials, Councilor Plaridel Nava, is already “in” and was part of the Iloilo City Trade Mission here.
Nava, the only city councilor in the entourage, confirmed he won’t be seeking a higher elective office when his term expires in 2019.
Meanwhile, a Baronda versus Tupas clash for the city’s lone congressional district would be a real blockbuster, predicted a City Hall bigwig who was also in the trade mission.
“While Lex Tupas is extremely popular among the hoi polloi, Jamjam Baronda is also a darling of the young voters in the barangay,” the City Hall bigwig explained.
The City Hall bigwig, however, said “money will play a major factor between two extremely strong candidates for congressman.”
The City Hall bigwig said although Baronda, daughter of retired city health officer Dr. Nick Baronda and former city councilor, Dr. Julie Baronda, has been away from politics for quite a while after a May 2010 debacle when she lost to Joe III for vice mayor, “she has successfully linked with some influential incumbent senators in Metro Manila and other well-oiled patrons in Mindanao.”


Baronda’s “loyal” youth brigades are still intact in the metropolis’ 180 barangays and have been “maintained” by her younger sister, Councilor Julie Grace “Love-Love” Baronda, the City Hall bigwig stressed.
Tupas, on the other hand, has been in the limelight when he became executive director of the National Youth Commission (NYC) from November 11, 2015 until May 5, 2017.
Tupas’ base in the grassroots is also solid and “growing” after being buttressed by his wife, Dr. Candice Alumisin-Tupas, who replaced him in the city council.
We expect all the comets and meteors to scoot and realign if Jamjam Baronda and Lex Tupas, both untarnished and very qualified, will collide.
Members of young and intelligent electorate, which comprise the “thinking” voters in 2019, will definitely have a hard time to choose between two pristine and promising national figures.
It’s like being made to choose between Joan of Arc and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, both legends and highly regarded in their own right.

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Posted by on June 14, 2018 in Uncategorized


Ilonggo trade ‘missionaries’ work like octopus

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”

–Colin Powell

 By Alex P. Vidal29572442_10211417967587760_356020253209754251_n

NEW YORK CITY –– We expect our private sector-inspired Ilonggo trade “missionaries” to sustain the momentum of what they have delivered, so far, in the New York leg of their week-long quest to “introduce” Iloilo City to the global market via the East Coast when they storm Fairfax, Virginia starting June 6 and conclude their mission in Washington D.C. on June 7 before flying home on June 10.

The blistering Iloilo Trade Mission and Investment Forum Ilonggo Fashion and Jewelry Show, oiled by Philippine Council of Management (Philcoman) Research Institute, Inc., is expected chalk up positive results for Iloilo City in terms of investment, tourism, education, and more profound economic opportunities.

While our world-class fashion designers from Designers Guild of Iloilo (DGI) led by Jaki Penalosa, Aisha Penalosa, D’Jhon Clement, Bo Parcon, Hector “Totong” Gellangarin, Regine Sarabia Espinosa, and exhibit director Gilbert “Bombette” Golez Marin mesmerize the American market with exhibit shows of Habol Ilonggo, a heritage of traditional weaving in one event, our very aggressive, technologically equipped, and technically competent “servants” and their staff from tourism, academe, city planning and business see to it that US-based potential investors, Infotech and property developers, students, tourists, medical and Information Technology (IT) professionals are sufficiently tipped off and shown the ropes of how great is Iloilo City and why they can “Invest, Work, Create, Study, Retire, Live and Grow” there, in another simultaneous event.


They work like an Octupos with all tentacles doing a yeoman’s task and leaving no stone unturned from Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III and his wife, Gina Sarabia-Espinosa, to Secretariat chief, Florence Hibionada, and the following mission bigwigs: City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia, Executive Assistant and Commercial Diplomat Rex Aguado, Local Economic Enterprise Officer Ariel Castaneda, City Planning and Development Office Coordinator Jose Roni Penalosa, City Tourism Assistant Florence King Erlano, senior staff members Rosita Camacho and Shin Julienne Galon.

Also in the team are: Dr. Emily Hagad Noserale, Ph.D, DTM, Philcoman project coordinator; Dr. Carmencita “Menchie” Robles, dean of College of Communications, West Visayas State University (WVSU); Mary Ann Gumban, vice chancellor, University of the Philippines in the Visayas (UPV); Carla Margarita Perez, sales director, Iloilo Business Park-Megaworld; Felicito Tiu, founder and CEO, Eon Group of Companies; and Billy Shung Hei Yuen, founder and CEO, StackTrek Enterprises, Inc.

They have one common goal and that is to elevate Iloilo City in the totem pole of good government, trade and investment, tourism and further academic execelence.

They all deserve the support of the Ilonggos living in the Philippines and in other parts of the world beginning in the United States’ East Coast.

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Posted by on June 6, 2018 in Uncategorized


Iloilo City trade mission, a brilliant idea

“From my very first day as an entrepreneur, I’ve felt the only mission worth pursuing in business is to make people’s lives better.”
–Richard Branson

By Alex P. Vidal


NEW YORK CITY — Whoever conceived the idea of holding the first-ever Iloilo City Trade Mission and Investment Forum Ilonggo Fashion and Jewelry Show in the East Coast must be a visionary.
The mission is on the right track of globalization.
Convenors of this brilliant project certainly wanted to link Iloilo City to the world in a unique fashion; they wanted foreign businessmen, investors, students, tourists, as well as Filipinos living in the United States and other parts of the world, to “invest, work, create, study, retire, live, and grow” in Iloilo City.
City hall and Iloilo City’s business sector, in fact, have assembled some of the finest, aggressive, and very talented “missionaries” with global minds and technical capabilities to promote local products and tourism as well as investment opportunities no other cities in the Philippines can offer.


The trade mission, which started on June 1 and officially introduced in a formal program on June 4 at the Kalayaan Hall and Kalayaan Annex of the Philippine Center (which also houses the Philippine Consulate General), is being headed by Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III and his wife, Mrs. Regine “Gina” Sarabia-Espinosa.
They are being backed by key advisers in local government and academe like Commercial Diplomat for Trade Relations and Executive Assistant Rex L. Aguado, City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia, City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) chief Jose Roni Peñalosa, Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO) chief Ariel “Aye” Castaneda, Dr. Carmencita “Menchie” Robles, dean of the West Visayas State Universty (WVSU) College of Mass Communications; University of the Philippines in the Visayas Vice Chancellor Mary Ann Gumban, Iloilo Business Park-Megaworld Sales Director Carla Margarita Perez, and Eon Group of Companies Founder and CEO and Iloilo Trade and Investments Board Co-chair Felicito Tiu, among others.
Among the topics to be discussed are property development, Infotech and infrastructure pipeline; Iloilo City’s premier schools, business matching and networking.


The exhibit will feature Habol Ilonggo: Fashion and Jewlery Show by Djohn Clement, Totong Gellangarin, Bo Parcon, Aisha Penalosa, Jaki Penalosa, and Edison Ruedas directed by Iloilo Provincial Tourism Officer Bombette Golez Marin.
Tess Salvador, a pioneer in the promotion of heritage Hablon fabric and the craft of Habol–the art of Ilonggo traditional weaving, and Jhett Tolentino, Tony Award-winning Filipino theatre producer of “Dungog Sang Dakbanwa Sang Iloilo 2017” awardee and dedicated son of Iloilo, will be given recognition.
Also to be recognized are: The Philippine Consulate General and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in New York as venue partner of PHILCOMAN and the Iloilo City Trade Delegation, and the 2018 Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. as organizers of the 120th Philippine Independence Anniversary Commemoration in New York City.
Other schedules outside New York City are: Investment forum at University of North America, Fairfax, Virginia on June 6; Childhood Education Study in Washington D.C. in the morning and Investment Forum in the evening at the Philippine Embassy on June 7; a tour in Washington D.C. on June 8; a Philippine Independence Day Ball in the evening at Hilton, East Rutherford, New Jersey on June 9.
Members of the Iloilo Trade Mission depart to the Philippines on June 10.

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Posted by on June 1, 2018 in Uncategorized