Monthly Archives: July 2018

Let’s harmonize our environment and economy

“Sooner or later, we will have to recognize that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.”  –Evo Morales

To harmonize the environment and economy and create a win-win solution, we must do the following: 13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

1. Review all environment laws and policies; as well as all laws pertaining to economy. Come up with laws that balance human needs and nature.
2. Environment-friendly governance is necessary; hence, education must be the priority. All schools must prioritize the study of nature and moral values.
3. An energy transition is necessary. Harness and store the world’s vast supplies of wind, biomass and other forms of solar energy which are more abundant than oil. Solar cells, wind turbines and fuel cells can power factories, homes, automobiles and aircraft. Clean energy now!
4. A shift to organic farming; a shift away from excessive consumption of chemical products; and application of the precautionary principle to the chemical industry.
5. Stabilize population by improving the economic and social status of women; design cities in ways that reduce distances traveled between home and work, shopping and school; and in urban transit systems, shift emphasis from cars to public transportation, bicycling and walking.
6. Stop the rush to use genetically-modified organisms in agriculture.
7. Reduce the use of pesticides because public health is non-negotiable.
8. Reduce the use of harmful chemicals in the production process. For example, glucose is better than benzene; paper can be bleached without use of chlorine or chlorine-based compounds.
9. Blend ecology and economy and make the universal law of: if you love nature, nature will love back work.
10. Revamp the educational system from grade one to college. Make more values the main priority and love for nature will follow. Moral decay leads to nowhere.
11. Excessive logging, mining and fishing are an assault on the soul of the environment.
12. Save water and energy. Since oil is not a forever thing, come up with other sources of energy, like the sun, water, wind, etc.
13. Reduce air, water and land pollution. Enforce the solid waste management law. Garbage in open dumpsites emit methane gas; pollute the water and land. Recycling and reuse of materials preserve natural resources.
14. Protect the forest-dwelling and indigenous people. They are the caretakers of our forests and part of nature; whether you believe it or not.
15. Protect the forest by providing livelihood for kaingeros who make a living of cutting trees.
16. Bamboo is the savior of our environment. The national and local government should cultivate bamboo. It is a substitute for timber and mild steel. It grows anywhere and fast. It provides food and shelter.
17. On a personal note, buy only what you need. Over consumption weighs on natural resources.
18. Slow down on building shopping malls. Besides increasing air pollution and consumption of energy, they displace small retailers and entrepreneurs and cause poverty (besides pollution). We already have an over-abundance of shopping malls.
19. Slow down on building of golf courses. They consume gallons of water daily and pollute the land with chemical fertilizers.
20. Destruction of corals which they use for markers.
Give nature a breather. Live a healthy, happy life by just harmonizing the environment with economy. Money is necessary. But what good is money if you are dead? That’s what Mahatma Gandhi said.

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Posted by on July 29, 2018 in Uncategorized


Can they read the congressman’s mind?

“Leadership is a choice, not a position.”
–Stephen Covey

By Alex P. Vidal13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — Some people have this naughty suspicion that because Iloilo first district Rep. Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr. has declared that the Garin clan “is still not committed” in the gubernatorial contest in May 2019, the unpredictable family is “cooking up something.”
They theorize that one of the Garins “might also be interested to run” or the family is only trying to make pakipot and will continue to keep its cards hidden in its sleeves until the eleventh hour.
They also misinterpreted Rep. Garin’s actuation after seeing him on several occasions worming his way closer to President Rodrigo R. Duterte every time there was an opportunity.
Like in the recent SONA where Rep. Garin was caught in the camera smiling from ear to ear as he slowly approached and slightly tried to touch the president as the latter was shaking the hands of legislators while moving outside the Batasang Pambansa.
These doubting Thomases have probably forgotten that Rep. Garin’s wife, former health secretary Janette, is now in trouble because of the Dengvaxia mess.
Which is more important? To secure the graces of the president in order to win an important elective post in 2019, or to see your wife completely unburdened from any criminal liability? Think.


The most senior member of the Iloilo City Council, Atty. Eduardo “Ed” Peñaredondo, should have all the right to run for city mayor in May 2019.
Peñaredondo is even more senior than the feuding Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III and lone district Rep. Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas, although they are both his long-time buddies in the City Council.
Some Ilonggos believe that if the relationship between Espinosa and Treñas will remain frosty before Christmas, it’s better to pick another guy and abscond the two leading bets.
The problem is Peñaredondo, a very credible and highly competent leader, has not shown any interest for the top city hall job.
And even if he is interested, nobody from among his peers in the City Council is apparently ready to take him seriously as a potential mayoral contender, at least not yet.


We believe though that most of his peers would be willing to endorse him if they weren’t ashamed to both Espinosa and Treñas.
And if they will rally behind Peñaredondo in unison, both Espinosa and Treñas will understand and won’t take it personally against them.
They city mayor and the congressman are not stony and insensitive.
They are aware that because of their unnecessary and useless altercation, their buddies in the City Council are awfully confused, affected and hurting.
Members of the City Council, including Peñaredondo, are actually in a quandary ever since the relationship between Espinosa and Treñas deteriorated and eventually nosedived.
They are torn between two lovers.
They have no reason to eschew neither Espinosa nor Treñas who have been and are still part of their political lives.


Both gentlemen are actually special to them as they used to belong in one political family.
Their predicament is similar to children watching their parents argue but they can’t take sides because both father and mother are dear to them.
As a result of the misunderstanding between the city’s two highest officials, the city councilors are adamant to say or do something in as far as political issues in the city are concerned for fear they will be misinterpreted by both camps.
Even the department heads and some village officials–punong barangay and their councilors–are in the same dilemma.
They both love Espinosa and Treñas (in the first place, they weren’t enemies but allies aside from being mag bilas from the start of their political careers) but they need to choose and elect only one city mayor.

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Posted by on July 26, 2018 in Uncategorized


After Iloilo’s hablon, Kalibo’s piña-seda invades New York

“Biennial culture is already almost irrelevant, because so many more people are providing so many better opportunities for artists to exhibit their work.”
–Jerry Saltz

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY –– More than a month after Iloilo exhibitors introduced hablon, the weaving of fabric using locally made fibers such as piña, abaca and cotton in an exhibit at the Philippine Center here, weavers from Kalibo, Aklan and embroiderers from Lumban Laguna introduced piña-seda (pineapple and silk cloths from the tropics) or Hibla ng Lahing Filipino Traveling Exhibition in the same venue.
The exhibition, jointly spearheaded by the National Museum of the Philippines (Pambansang Museo) and the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, started on July 24 until September 7, 2018.37869152_10212146949611855_2621790875205763072_n
Dr. Ana Maria Theresa Labrador, National Museum of the Philippines assistant director, said they launched the US exhibition in Washington D.C. from June 11 until July 16, 2018.
The piña-seda exhibition will continue at the Hamilton Library, University of Hawaii’s Manoa in Honolulu on September 17 until November 17, 2018.
“Our primary goal is to promote common fibers handwoven and turn into textiles like bark, bast, cotton, abaca, and pineapple,” Labrador explained ina speech July 24.
They are also studying looms and weaving technologies, added Labrador stressing that they do weaving demonstrations and embroidery workshops during the exhibition period at the same time.
Rose Arances, Legarda’s chief political affairs and project officer, emphasized that “traditional textiles are ties that bind. It links the past to the present and brings together cultures, which, no matter how diverse, has a commonality.”
Reading Legarda’s speech, Arances said, “traditional textiles bring together industries, communities, and people. A fabric or a garment is a synergy among workers and artisans. It is a product of diligence, hard work, and passion.”


Several hands are needed to make one fabric alone.
For piña, if the farmer is also the reaper, and the weaver is also the warper and loom dresser, it will take at least 4 people, including the designer and sewer, to bring piña to fabric, Arances stressed.
For the silk, at least 8-9 people are needed from farmer to fabric, if all are within the same general location.
For piña-seda, that would be 12 people to produce the fabric, plus 3 for embroidery including transport, and 2 for designer and sewer. This means that a handwoven piña-seda blouse with embroidery would entail at least 17 people to complete.
According to the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), there are currently 1,277 weavers in the Philippines and 494 groups involved in the handweaving sector.
Arances added: “Imagine how many more families and communities we can support if we continue to promote traditional textiles.”
Pineapple fiber is considered to be more delicate in texture than any other vegetable fiber. It is extracted from the leaves of the pineapple plant, particularly the Red Spanish variety, which has leaves that yield excellent fibers for handweaving.37852119_10212146948691832_8863112739866804224_n
The pineapple plant is not indigenous to the Philippines. It is believed that the Spaniards brought the plant to our shores. The beginning of pineapple cultivation in the Philippines also marked the start of the craft of piña cloth weaving in the country.
Handwoven piña cloth with intricate embroidery was greatly prized then. In the 1860s, many European royalties received gifts of piña cloth originating from the Philippines from loyal subjects to commemorate momentous occasions.
However, the eventual influx of cheaper and imported machine-woven fabrics and the foreign influence on Philippine fashion resulted in the decline of the piña cloth production, which is a laborious and time-consuming method.


In a bid to revive the industry, government and private sectors implemented the Pilot Production of Piña Fiber and Cloth in the Province of Aklan in 1989.
Aklan has been known as the center of piña fiber and cloth production since the Red Spanish variety is mainly found in the Panay Island. But there were also efforts to propagate piña fiber and cloth production in other provinces such as in Antique, Guimaras, Capiz, Palawan, Negros Oriental and La Union.
However, production in Capiz, Negros Oriental and La Union ceased for various reasons. But it has made considerable progress in Palawan.
In terms of decorticated piña fiber, production is mainly in Camarines Norte and very limited quantities in Cavite and Rizal.
Based on 2014 statistics, there are 2,086 hectares of pineapple farms in Camarines Norte, 67 hectares in Palawan, 21 hectares in Aklan and 3 hectares in Antique, which are sources of piña fiber. These farms employ 1,370 farmers.
When piña-seda weaving was introduced in Aklan in 1998, customers reportedly preferred this over pure piña since piña-seda is cheaper but its beauty and texture is also at par with pure piña.
The shift to piña-seda from pure piña was reportedly caused by difficulties in the supply of Red Spanish pineapple leaves, likely due to the shortage of knotters.
Piña-seda or pineapple-silk is a handwoven fabric made from hand-scraped piña fiber blended with silk to produce different texture and design.
Aside from being lightweight, the combined property of pineapple and silk makes the fabric not too stiff compared to pure pineapple, and has more body compared to pure silk. It is stronger than pure pineapple but three times cheaper; and easier to weave due to the strength of silk.


In terms of silk production, the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) spearheads the development of the silk industry, with the joint cooperation of the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), the Sericulture Research and Development Institute (SRDI) of the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU), the University of the Philippines at Los Ban~os (UPLB) and other state universities and colleges (SUCs).
The silk industry is characterized by various activities such as silkworm egg production, cocoon production, reeling operation, weaving and made-up goods manufacturing.
Mulberry farming is important to silk production because silkworms feed solely on mulberry leaves.
Majority of these farms are located in Western Visayas, particularly in Negros Occidental. Meanwhile, cocoon-producing provinces are Negros Occidental, La Union, Benguet, Ilocos Sur and Abra.
This industry could actually provide livelihood to many communities, but there has been a noted decrease in silk production in the Philippines.
Production of dried cocoons went down from 9,000 kilos in 2003 to 3,000 kilos in 2012; there were only 150 hectares of mulberry plantation areas in 2014, compared to 300 hectares in 2005; and production of raw silk went down from 1,500 kilos in 2005 to 800 kilos in 2014.
In the past decade, the Philippines has been exporting an average of 25,000 square meters of silk fabric. But the last time it exported raw silk was in 2013-10 kilograms of raw silk to Luxembourg.
There is reportedly a huge gap between demand and production of raw silk in the country. The PhilFIDA estimates about 10 metric tons demand for raw silk in the country annually against production in 2015 at 0.425 metric tons. Which is why we have to import an average of 13,227 kilograms of raw silk, 12,300 kilograms of silk yarn and 1.119 million square meters of silk fabrics annually.
Due to the limited supply of raw silk, supply of piña-seda fabric also went down in the past decade from 57,804 meters in 2007 to 17,690 meters in 2016.


Among the challenges in the production of piña-seda textiles are the limited supply of silk as well as supply or manufacturer of knotted pineapple fiber, and less number of weavers.
In particular for silk production, the PTRI notes that there is low confidence in the profitability of sericulture and the lack of integration of the supply and value chain. Another concern is the lack of water during extreme heat or periods of drought.
In terms of piña fiber, the tedious process of hand-scraping the fiber has led to limited production. The irregular demand for piña cloth products due to its being a high-priced fabric, is also a challenge in promoting its use.

Lack of capital to purchase raw materials, looms, and other tools and lack of training on weaving and product development are the other constraints.
But the local textile industry is continuously evolving and these challenges only encourage innovativeness among industry stakeholders.
The Sericulture Research and Development Institute in Bacnotan, La Union has established 44 sericulture technology-demonstration (techno-demo) farms in eight provinces-La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Abra, Rizal, Zambales, Bulacan, Tanay and Batangas. A component of the program is the Mulberry Research and Development, which has helped boost the production of heavy leaf-yielding mulberry trees.


For piña fiber, there was a decline by 27.1% in production in 2016. From 7.95 metric tons in 2015, piña fiber production in 2016 was at 5.79 metric tons.
In a bid to increase production of pineapple fiber, the Department of Agriculture (DA) through PhilFIDA has provided agricultural machineries to farmer cooperatives from different regions in the country that maintain large areas of pineapple plantation, especially in Mindanao.
The machineries include multi-fiber decorticating machines with safety mechanism which are used to extract fibers from waste pineapples leaves left in the field after harvest; mechanical drier to dry the fibers during rainy season; and baling machine to prepare clean, inspected and graded pineapple fibers ready to be traded to intended buyers.
To ensure the sustainability of the local textile industry, there is a need for convergence among the agencies of government involved-from the production of raw materials, to trainings and workshops, provision of equipment and materials, product development and promotion program, and a systematic marketing system.
The PhilFIDA has programs for the development and adoption of technologies on the utilization of plant fibers and improvement of postharvest technologies on fiber extraction. It also establishes processing facilities and conducts product development.
The PTRI provides technical training to weaving associations, particularly on basic and advanced handloom weaving, natural dyeing, provision of weave designs and response to technical services and short-term contract researches. It has also identified areas in the Philippines as natural dye production hubs and natural dye satellite centers to be able to respond to the immediate needs of the weaving communities.
The DA can help in propagating pineapple and mulberry plantations to ensure steady supply of piña and silk fibers. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and its Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) can help promote these local fabrics through trade fairs to showcase our products both locally and abroad.
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) can conduct skills training for weavers and embroiderers. Local government units must also support in creating a nurturing environment where the traditional textile industry can flourish.
As chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, which reviews the Philippine government’s proposed national budget, Legarda ensures that these programs are funded, Arances said.


The Hibla Travelling Exhibition is one way of showcasing these traditional textiles in the hope of further promoting the industry. The National Museum of the Philippines has always been a staunch partner in this endeavor, emphasized Arances.
The two main agencies that support our weavers and textile industry-PhilFIDA and PTRI have budgets worth P358.457 million and P79.820 million, respectively. For 2018, which is still under review, PhilFIDA has a proposed budget of P431.490 million; while PTRI’s proposed budget is P83.237.
Legarda plans to reassess these funds and see if there are areas that still need to be covered, such as support for the pineapple and mulberry farms, according to Arances.
Over the years, Arances said Legarda’s office has provided support for programs that will help farmers, weavers and local textile manufacturers through additional funding in the national budget-such as the development of silk at the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in Bacnotan, La Union; establishment of weaving and processing centers through PhilFIDA; provision of technical assistance for the textile industry, the establishment of natural dye centers, and the conduct of natural dye and weaving seminars and workshops; production support services including cotton development and establishment of cotton processing center, among many others.
Arances continued: “Under the PTRI, there is a Textile Science and Technology Services Program for the testing of raw materials and allied products and the provision of technical assistance to the textile, garments, and allied industries on textile processing and machinery utilization; as well as a Textile Technology Transfer Program for the dissemination of textile information and provision of documentation of services to textile millers and allied industries.”
“Under the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), we provide assistance to artisans, including weavers, through the provision of looms, threads, and other materials for weaving,” she added.
The Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law, which Legarda authored during her first term as senator, reportedly intends to promote Philippine natural fabrics through the use of such materials for the official uniforms of government officials and employees, and in the process, support the local fiber industry.
It stipulates the wearing of Philippine Tropical Fabrics with 5 percent fiber content of abaca, banana, pineapple and 15 percent silk.
Arances said, “the strengthening of the local tropical fabrics industry is attuned to our advocacy of promoting sustainable development and preserving our rich heritage. It will also provide jobs especially for those in the countryside. Furthermore, it unlocks the creativity of Filipinos, which is overflowing.”
The Philippine piña-seda textile has great potential in the world market, according to Arances saying Legarda plans to “make it prized items even here in the United States as it has been in the past centuries because the quality of our handwoven fabrics with intricate embroidery is truly world-class.”
Through the Hibla Travelling Exhibition, they reportedly aim to do just that.





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Posted by on July 26, 2018 in Uncategorized


Ilonggo politicians: Playboy Bebot who?

“People from the past, have a tendency to walk back into the present, and run over the future.”

— Anthony Liccione

By Alex P. Vidal13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — Only most recently, some Ilonggo politicians–congressmen and women, governors, mayors–elbowed each other for attention of ousted House speaker, Pantaleon “Playboy Bebot” Alvarez, who was a frequent visitor in Iloilo and Negros.
Many of these Ilonggo politicians were willing to genuflect with Alvarez as long as they got what they wanted: endorsement for certain elective positions for themselves or for their chosen bets in the May 2019 elections.
They thought Alvarez was the Philippine version of Rasputin–indispensable, someone who holds the president in the testicles, imperishable and unsinkable as the fourth highest official of the land.
They played blind, deaf and mute to Alvarez’s moral and political transgressions and tolerated his hubris.
Alvarez got a mind-boggling VIP treatment from these eager-beaver local politicians as if he could bring back to life Lazarus of Bethany.


In many “mass” oath-taking ceremonies of newly recruited PDP-Laban members, Alvarez was treated like Nebuchadnezzar, eldest son and successor of Nabopolassar, an Assyrian official who rebelled and established himself as king of Babylon in 620 BC.
When Alvarez was trounced by former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the speakership in a turbulent mutiny hours before President Rodrigo Duterte’s state of the nation address (SONA) on July 23, most of the these Ilonggo politicians who used to lionize Alvarez were now saying they junked Alvarez in favor of Arroyo.
From hallelujah to good riddance.
All of a sudden, most of these Ilonggo politicians disowned the Davao del Norte representative like a leper and are now queuing to ingratiate themselves with the controversial former president.
They gave credence to the age-old adages that “nobody loves a loser” and “victory has many fathers while defeat is an orphan.”


We thank Joji Jalandoni, former president of the New York City-based Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) for inviting us to grace the Piña-Seda (pineapple and silk cloths from the tropics) Hibla ng Lahing Filipino Traveling Exhibition lecture series, weaving demonstrations and embroidery workshops at the Philippine Consulate in Manhattan on July 24.
The exhibit featured Kalibo, Aklan Piña-Seda weavers and Lumbao, Laguna Piña-Seda embroiderers.
Piña (Spanish for pineapple) cloth is considered the finest and the queen of Philippine textiles.
Seda (Spanish for silk) cloth is undeniably the smoothest woven fabric in the world.
Combined with seda, piña exudes elegance as fined and delicate as pineapple and as smooth and luxurious as silk.
The exhibit, which started on July 24 and will be concluded on September 7, 2018, is being spearheaded by the National Museum (Pambansang Museo) and Office of Senator Loren Legarda.

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Posted by on July 25, 2018 in Uncategorized


Thank you, Father!

13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_nFather, I thank You that I have been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of Your dear Son.

I commit to live free from worry, in the name of Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ has made me free from the law of sin and death.

I humble myself under Your mighty hand, that in due time You may exalt me.

I cast the whole of my cares–all my anxities, all my worries, all my concerns, once and for all–on You.

You care for me affectionately and care about me watchfully.
You sustain me.

You will never allow the consistently righteous to be moved–made to slip, fall or fail!
Thank you, Father, I am carefree. I walk in that peace which passes all understanding, in Jesus’ name!

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Posted by on July 24, 2018 in Uncategorized


Playboy Bebot to Ate Glo: From ‘worse to bad’

“The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.”

–Henry Kissinger

By Alex P. Vidal13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — Nobody has bellyached now that Playboy Bebot was booted out in a “mutiny” in the House of Representatives.
No Mark Antony-like soliloquy.
No loyal subaltern threatening to commit a hara kiri.
No post mortem protest from PDP-Laban figureheads except for softy Koko Pimental’s tantrums.
Since the ouster supposedly had the fingerprints of the First Daughter, it had been received with a grain of salt by pro-and anti-Playboy Bebot politicians.
The message was clear: Playboy Bebot deserved to be given the door, his comeuppance for picking an unnecessary fight with the First Daughter; and for poking a nose into the latter’s infant political party.
Meanwhile, she was supposed to be in jail for plunder, but by a stroke luck, Ate Glo was released from being under house arrest when the Angry Man, her political benefactor, was catapulted into power in 2016.
Her pivotal rise from the rumps of political death signaled her stunning resurrection from the nadir.


Ate Glo had inherited her son’s position in congress, thus her political rehabilitation came to a zenith when she was installed as the new House speaker hours before the Angry Man’s state of the nation address on July 23, 2018.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, there’s no more turning back.
She could become the first prime minister if the sinister plot to hijack our constitution and shift the system of government into federal from unitary will come into fruition.
Between Playboy Bebot and Ate Glo, lawmakers opted for the lesser evil.
Thus the leadership change can be considered to be a transfer of power from “worse to bad.”
For being morally unfit and a bad influence, Playboy Bebot was a worse speaker.
For being mentally dishonest (“Hello Garci” tumult) and having been tainted with a whiff of graft and corruption, Ate Glo is a bad choice for Playboy Bebot’s replacement.


I was again misinterpreted for exhorting the relatives and friends of Monica-Blumentritt, Iloilo City Proper village chief Keith “Dabing” Espinosa and her jailed husband, Jesus “Jing-Jing” Espinosa Jr. to “pray for them” in my previous article.
It’s a common knowledge in Western Visayas or in Iloilo City, in particular, that the couple has been receiving threats owing to their alleged involvement in illegal drugs.
Although Jing-Jing is now detained at the Iloilo Provincial Jail in Barangay Nanga, Pototan, Iloilo for frustrated murder, he continued to engage in selling of illegal drugs using Dabing and his family remembers, according to Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) director, Chief Supt. John Bulalacao.

When I used “Pray for Jing-Jing and Dabing” as the title of my article, it did not mean I believed they were immaculate and shouldn’t be indicted in court.
They should be brought before the bar of justice unscathed.
As Christians, we are advocating for any suspected criminal to be given the due process and treated humanely.
This goes not only for Dabing and Jing-Jing but for all “notorious” characters out there who are still enjoying their freedom and are not yet locked behind bars.
We air this utmost concern amid the culture of impunity, the series of summary executions that pervade our society under the present administration, which apparently has showed callous disregard for the human life based on numerous anti-illegal drugs police operations.
We believe that any person, whose guilt has not yet been proven beyond reasonable doubt, should be entitled to his or her right to life.
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Posted by on July 24, 2018 in CRIME, POLITICS


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Guard my heart and mind, Lord!

I pray to Almighty Father that His peace, which transcends all understanding, will guard my heart and mind.13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

God the Father continue to guide me when I write and do a research; when I deal with complex issues in society; when I use my pen to criticize and expose bellicose and uncouth characters in government and the underworld.

I am aware, Lord, that I sometimes make people laugh; sometimes I make them cry; some are disappointed if not agitated by my dyed-in-the-wool convictions to reform the society and save it from evil through my write-ups.

I choose to think on good things because I love life and desire to see many good days.

As a community journalist, I will keep my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking lies. I will turn from evil and do good; I will seek peace and pursue it. In my heart I have planned my course, and I look to You, Lord, to determine my steps.

Lord, Your peace will act as umpire in my heart and will settle with finality all my decisions. You will keep me in perfect peace, Father, for my mind is stayed on You. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

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Posted by on July 23, 2018 in Uncategorized


Why we die early

“Man seeks to change the foods available in nature to suit his tastes, thereby putting an end to the very essence of life contained in them.” Sai Baba

By Alex P. Vidal13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — As we age we become conscious of the food that we eat primarily because of health reasons.
According to a dietician, we are the food that we eat.
A young college student once asked why people in ancient times lived longer than people in modern times.
My answer was a quick “probably because of the quality of food that they ate.”
Biblical figures lived up to 800 years.
Today, at 60, many of us are already “bog bog sarado” from different ailments and complications; and are frequent visitors in the doctor’s clinics if not confined in the hospitals.
By 70, some of us are wheelchair-bound.
Those lucky to reach 80 stay in bed until the trip to the kingdom come beckons.


Some foods give us diseases because they are contaminated by chemicals and preservatives.
To be healthy, according to health experts, our body needs fuel-foods, fats and carbohydrates (sugars starches) to provide energy; proteins, such as meat, to build new tissues for growth or to replace those worn out; calcium, in milk, for strong bones and teeth; and various minerals, including salt, that help the body to maintain its chemical balance and to carry on its functions.
We learned that vitamins are not foods, but these “food-factors,” as they are called, are essential.
They help the body to make use of the food we eat, doctors say.
Vitamins already present in food are usually enough for a normal person if his diet is otherwise well-balanced, they add.


Every day we are advised to eat some foods from each of these groups:
(1) milk or milk products, including cheese—at least a pint of milk for an adult and more for a child;
(2) citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit), tomatoes, or raw cabbage or salad greens—at least one;
(3) green or yellow vegetables, some raw, some cooked—at least one big serving;
(4) other vegetables or fruits, including potatoes;
(5) bread and cereals;
(6) meat, poultry or fish;
(7) eggs—three or four a week at least;
(8) butter or another vitamin-rich spread.
We will all die anyway, so it’s better to make an exit with grace.

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Posted by on July 23, 2018 in Uncategorized


Quo vadis, Iloilo politicians?

“Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.”

–Will Rogers

By Alex P. Vidal13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — If self-confessed womanizer Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez is ousted as House speaker before the 2019 congressional elections, many Ilonggo politicians who have entrusted to him their political future will be in real big trouble.
There are strong whispers spreading around that majority of the Philippine congressmen/women want either Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco, 40, or Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, 71, to replace the loud-mouthed Alvarez, one of the big bosses of the ruling PDP-Laban.
Things aren’t anymore normal in the House leadership ever since Alvarez engaged Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte in an ugly word war early this year, the grapevine says.
Many Ilonggo politicians who kowtow to Alvarez thought the 60-year-old Davao del Norte representative was untouchable and unshakable being one of the closest allies of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
For some of them, Alvarez is the modern Marcus Aurelius, a stoic and leading icon of Pax Romana.


Like vermin, some of these Ilonggo politicians turned their backs from their former benefactors and political parties and embraced Alvarez like a king of Persia.
They formed a beeline and praised Alvarez to high heavens, looked up to him like a demigod and sought his blessings for anointment of their local bets for the May 14, 2019 elections.
They had no idea that Alvarez was also facing a king-sized insurrection right in his own turf.
Unknown to most of them, the playboy House boss was already a ticking bomb and could explode anytime; his invincibility will soon come to a screeching halt if he can’t dodge the deadly wallops of the Cassiuses and Brutuses in the Philippine House of Representatives.
If Alvarez capitulates, quo vadis, Iloilo politicians?


While having my usual mid-afternoon smoothie (a thick, cold beverage made from pureed raw fruit and sometimes vegetables blended with ice cream or frozen yogurt) session inside a Colombian resto on corner 82nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Queens Sunday, a group of revelers wearing yellow shirts and caps exploded in the intersection.
Suddenly flag-waving fans riding in cars honking loudly joined the festivity that started past three o’clock in the afternoon and ended at around past seven o’clock in the evening.
They were Colombians living in New York City celebrating Colombia’s triple hammer blow that dumped out Poland in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Colombia’s sensational win kept its hopes alive of barging in the Last 16.
Some of those in the crowd proudly chanting and cheering were a mixture of old, young, men and women soccer fans pouring out their joy and happiness like they won the Olympic Games.
Others brought along their dogs strapped with the Colombian national flag.
New York City cops passing the intersection just watched as they continued to patrol the predominantly Latino community.
I wished we Filipinos could also celebrate like them.

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Posted by on July 23, 2018 in Uncategorized


Speaker Alvarez is a bad influence to Ilonggos

“One of the most deadly causes of destruction of divine destinies is when a leader is failing, but he or she does not know it. Ignorance about your role is a death plot against people’s successes.”

 Israelmore Ayivor

By Alex P. Vidal13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — If I were a politician in the Philippines seeking reelection or higher elective position on May 14, 2019, I would avoid national leaders like House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez.
The likes of Alvarez are morally unfit to lead the Filipinos; they are a bad influence and aren’t good role models for the youth.
Alvarez, 60, who is married to Emelita Apostol Alvarez, the current head of the Congressional Spouses Foundation, did not only defend his extramarital affair with one Jennifer Maliwanag Vicencio, he also “justified” it in public as if it’s a badge of honor.
Ilonggos and their leaders may not be perfect and immaculate, but they know the bounds of decency and indecency; they are cultured and educated in the best universities; and they venerate women as symbols of virtue and epitomes of chastity and courtesy.


The representative from Davao del Norte, one of the big bosses of the ruling PDP-Laban party, also slut-shamed detained Sen. Leila de Lima for her romance with her driver during a House hearing in November 2017.
He is the same political leader being adored by traditional politicians in many parts of the Philippines who want to remain in power beyond 2019.
He is the same “Speaker Alvarez” being glorified by power-seekers and applicants for higher government positions owing to his closeness to President Rodrigo R. Duterte (although the president has been asserting he will never tolerate this) and for his lofty position in the PDP-Laban.
Every time he was in Iloilo or in Western Visayas, city and provincial incumbent and aspiring officials were in mad scramble to get his attention; they wanted to woo his blessings to anoint certain candidates for the next elections.


In other words, these Ilonggo politicians are “worshiping” a false political god; they are barking–for “blessings” and campaign moola–at the poisonous and sinful tree.
Ilonggos, who are educated and decent, should reject politicians who glorify Alvarez, et al like they are demigods.
Alvarez and other hackneyed and dirty politicians are not the prototypical answers to the Filipino people’s most fundamental problems.
The Ilonggos, or the Filipinos for that matter, don’t need politicians as bond aides to solve their immediate needs, but leaders with economic and spiritual visions who can truly lead with dignity and inspiration.
We should eschew politicians who are vexatious to the nation’s soul and those with a convoluted sense of machismo and misplaced braggadocio.

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Posted by on July 23, 2018 in Uncategorized