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Monthly Archives: September 2018

Fil-Can leader Narima dela Cruz running for councilor in Canada

“I think there’s no higher calling in terms of a career than public service, which is a chance to make a difference in people’s lives and improve the world.” 

— Jack Lew

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Members of the Filipino Canadian community in Surrey, British Columbia are agog over the candidacy of outstanding Fil-Can community leader Narima dela Cruz, handpicked by the #SurreyFirstforCouncil to run for member of the Surrey City Council.
“I believe that Surrey residents are looking for individuals who have the experience building community, and who have become engaged volunteer community leaders simply because they want to further improve this great city,” declared Dela Cruz, one of the most active and multi-awarded community leaders in the British Columbia.

Dela Cruz, founding director and president of the Surrey Philippine Independence Society (SPIDS), is being backed by the popular NDP MLA Mable Elmore of Vancouver, Kensington, the first Filipino to be elected in British Columbia legislative assembly.
She is running under the banner of mayoral candidate Tom Gill, who is being supported by former city mayor Dianne Watts.
“Our team, Surrey First is a thoughtful reflection of our community, with an incredible diversity of ideas, culture, and experiences to work with people and get things done,” she added.
A political science advocate and a licensed realtor, Dela Cruz and husband, Joel, a licensed engineer, and son, Daryl, arrived in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1998 as immigrants from Quezon Province. Their youngest daughter, Glisha, was born in Manitoba.
Before founding the massively expanding SPIDS, Dela Cruz became an active community servant and once worked as an administrative assistant utilizing her education and professional background in the Philippines where she worked around tourism, education, office administration, and law.

TOP IMMIGRANT

Dela Cruz won as Canada’s top 25 immigrants in 2012 and was presented the Realtors Care Award from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver in 2011 for her volunteer activity.
She enjoys the support of the cross section of the City of Surrey, the second largest city in British Columbia, with a population of over 500,000.
The city’s population continues to grow and by 2041 is estimated to surpass Vancouver as the largest city in BC.
MetroVan Independent News Team reported on September 6, 2018 that “Narima’s fondness and passion for public service and people-oriented activities had her initiate The Surrey Philippine Independence Day Society (SPIDS).”
It added: “Narima is also a court and medical interpreter, and long-time community advocate and volunteer. In addition to being a past chair of the Parent Advisory Council at Johnston Heights Secondary, she volunteers with the Canadian Cancer Society, Surrey Food Bank and BC Transplant Society.”
Dela Cruz is a community leader who received the following numerous awards and recognition:
-2018 Nominee Community Champion Category YWCA Women of Distinction Awards
-2017 Canada 150 Community Awards for Excellence in Volunteerism
-2017 Leadership Excellence Award, FilCan Network for Truth & Justice
-2017 First Surrey Cares Serving with Distinction Awards Nominee for Leadership
-2016 1st National Canadian Realtors Care Award, 1 of 4 BC Nominees
-2016 Global Exemplar Escolarian Award, CEU Outstanding Alumni
-2014 Most Outstanding Filipinos in North America, Bb. Pilipinas of the World
-2012 Top 25 Canadian Immigrants Award
-2012 REALTORS CARE Award
-2012 Most Beautiful Filipinos in Canada Award
-2009 Sutton Group Director Award for Sales Excellence
-2011 Sutton Group Director Award for Sales Excellence
-Finalist, 2011 Surrey Women In Business Award, Surrey Board of Trade
-Recipient, Honourable Mention, 2011 Community Leader Award, 9th CLA Surrey-North Delta Leader
-2011 Surrey-North Delta Leader 1st Reader’s Choice Awards: #1 Realtor,
-2011 Surrey-North Delta Leader 1st Reader’s Choice Awards: #1 Business Person
-2011 Surrey-North Delta Leader 1st Reader’s Choice Awards: #1 Social Activist
Dela Cruz fellow candidates in the Surrey First are: Raminder Thomas, Upkar Tatlay, Mike Starchuk, Vera LeFranc, Paul Hillsdon, Trevor Halford, and Linda Annis Surrey.
The Fil-Can leader has been introduced in the campaign as “an active volunteer and voice for marginalized people, working to ensure immigrant communities feel included.”
Another Fil-Can, Jojo Quimpo, is running under the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) for the City of Vancouver.
Elections day is on October 20, 2018. There will be “Advance Voting Opportunities” on October 6, 10, 11 and 13, 2018
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Posted by on September 27, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

‘Where were you when I needed you most?’

“Choose to focus your time, energy and conversation around people who inspire you, support you and help you to grow you into your happiest, strongest, wisest self.”

— Karen Salmansohn

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — I have misgivings with reports that former Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog will endorse local candidates in the top positions in the May 2019 elections.
Since he is not running for any elective position (his dismissal is under appeal in the Supreme Court, according to his wife, Marivic) next year, it’s doubtful if he will issue an official statement endorsing certain candidates.
Why risk antagonizing one group for endearment of another if you can maintain a peace of mind and a stress-free life while watching the political cockfighting in the safe confines of the splendid Canadian territory and far away from the wreckage and bloodbath?
Why stir the hornet’s nest and end up exposing yourself to be stung by the “unforgiving” and “ungrateful” bees?

-o0o-

Some Mabilog supporters who are still undecided have been anxiously waiting for his go signal.
Many of them still conjure up a bedazzling scenario of their idol staging a “surprise” comeback any moment during the election season.
There are village officials, youth leaders, and city hall officials and rank-and-file workers loyal to Mabilog who are smiling at Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III and Rep. Jerry Treñas like bosom friends, but, deep inside, their hearts are still for the self-exiled enemy of President Duterte.
If Mabilog won’t endorse anyone in Iloilo City, no one can blame him.
In fact, he isn’t morally and politically obliged to raise some hands in the coming elections.
He isn’t beholden politically to any Tom, Dick, and Harry.
And besides, where were they when he needed them most?

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Malversation of public funds has many forms, stripes, and faces.
There is actually another source of graft and corruption in the Philippine government: cash advance.
Corrupt government officials always find the calamities, other natural disasters, hosting of events, and out-of-town or foreign trips as the perfect opportunities to enrich themselves.
When there is no limit for these rascals to ask for cash advance, it is easy to fill their pockets.
Others become instant millionaires by indulging in indiscriminate cash advances.
Although they are required by the law to liquidate their “expenses”, many dishonest government officials submit liquidation papers that have been “doctored” or supporting documents with tampered or bogus receipts and signatures.
Many of them intentionally delay their liquidation report; sometimes it takes years before their shenanigan is uncovered, when another administration has taken over.
Other thieves in government with unique talent and guts steal the salaries and allowances of job hires or casual workers through cash advances.

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That’s why we need a no non-sense Commission on Audit (COA) officials who will never succumb to pressures, coercion, and back-door manipulations.
COA auditors must be independent, fearless, and committed to safeguard the taxpayers’ money.
COA auditors must have strong moral and family values in order to dodge temptations.
They must reject gifts, freebies and expensive goodies, and other material favors from incumbent officials with direct access to the cookie jars.
COA auditors who waltz with corrupt government officials are coddling graft and corruption and should be booted out from office before they could play footsie and resurrect more Frankensteins in the civil service.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Treñas places Baronda on firing line

“To err is human. To blame someone else is politics.”

— Hubert H. Humphrey

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — By naming former Iloilo City councilor Julienne “Jam-Jam” Baronda as “first congresswoman-to-be” in an event in Brgy. Cubay, Jaro district on September 22, Iloilo City lone district Rep. Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas has initiated the first move to place the head of the lady politician on the firing line.
When Baronda’s jealous critics or potential rivals–or the supporters of her rivals–begin to throw darts at her, it’s because Treñas gave them the idea on how many tanks and ammunition are they now going to assemble and prepare this early against a known enemy.
By the time the official showdown begins, Baronda’s potential adversaries may have built an enormous armory and battalions to storm and piss her off; they may have studied the right recipe to wreck her during the campaign period.
Even before the start of the campaign sortie, Baronda’s enemies are expected to start tormenting her with issues that will push her in the brink of mental and emotional anguish, and force her to rethink whether it’s worth her salt to be in the political hot seat when she could have relaxed and enjoyed her private life as an ordinary civilian if she did not throw her hat on the political ring once again.
That’s the downside of having to disclose your forces earlier.

-o0o-

On the other hand, Treñas’ hint of preference for Baronda will finally put to an end the guessing game and stop giving other congressional wanna-bes close to Treñas false hopes and false imaginations.
This will give former Iloilo City councilor Nielex “Lex” Tupas the leverage to assert his independence and boost his chances to be wooed and possibly endorsed by other parties.
Tupas did not announce his plans for the 2019 elections during his birthday in August as he had promised earlier, but this gave his rivals the blank wall and the jigsaw puzzle of what lies ahead in as far as his rumored candidacy for congressman is concerned.
This will also pave the way for Councilor Joshua Alim to finally consider forging an alliance officially with the groups of Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III and Dra. Pacita Trinidad-Gonzalez to complete the cast for the Armageddon.

-o0o-

As a “graduating” council member, Alim has been a shoo-in for the congressional contest even before Baronda’s name had surfaced; even before Tupas had made many Ilonggos think it’s about time he was elected in congress instead of “wasting” his talent in the National Youth Commission (NYC) which he had served briefly before calling it a day when the Duterte administration took over.
By revealing earlier his preference for the congressional post he would soon vacate to run for city mayor in the May 2019 local elections, Treñas was also sending a curt message to his brother-in-law, Espinosa III, that “your time is up.”
Once Treñas will officially endorse Baronda, it will be tantamount to shutting the door with finality to the dream
Espinosa-Treñas tandem for congressman and city mayor in the May 2019 elections.
Baronda was, of course, elated with Treñas’ statement that he was “60 percent certain” of picking her to be his bet for congress.
Her sharpness and agility to surmount the major challenge in the May 2019 elections will be put to severe test in the next weeks and months once she will start to feel the heat of the dirty side of political mudslinging.
Good luck, congressional candidate-to-be, Jamjam Baronda.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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?

-o0o-

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.

-o0o-

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.

-o0o-

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.”

-o0o-

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.

-o0o-

“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


NEW YORK CITY 
— 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.

-o0o-

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.

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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