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Monthly Archives: October 2019

Blackouts, earthquakes jolt Ilonggos

“When you wake up each morning, you can choose to be happy or choose to be sad. Unless some terrible catastrophe has occurred the night before, it is pretty much up to you. Tomorrow morning, when the sun shines through your window, choose to make it a happy day.”

–Lynda Resnick

By Alex P. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

ILONGGOS in Panay, Negros and Guimaras in Western Visayas and Kidapawan City in Mindanao experienced massive power outages and earthquake, respectively, days before the All Saints Day.
A “grid disturbance” caused the scary twin blackouts on October 29 and October 30, according to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
Ilonggos normally don’t complain if there are power interruptions; they have been used to them.
But the recent blackouts were reportedly horrific as they affected consumers of the Panay Electric Company (PECO), Iloilo Electric Cooperatives (ILECO) I, II and III, Guimaras Electric Cooperative (GUIMELCO), Antique Electric Cooperative (ANTECO), Capiz Electric Cooperative (CAPELCO) and Aklan Electric Cooperation (AKELCO).
The earthquake, on the other hand, was reportedly recorded at Intensity VII in Tulunan, Cotabato; Kidapawan City; Bansalan, Davao del Sur and Intensity VI in Matanao, Davao del Sur.
Several people were killed in the strong Mindanao tremors.

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A strong earthquake is one that registers between 6 and 6.0 on the Richter scale.
There are about 100 of these around the world every year and they usually cause some damage, it was reported.
In populated areas, the damage may be severe.
The Richter Scale is a measurement system developed in 1935 by Charles Richter to measure the size (or “magnitude”) of an earthquake.
This is in contrast with the Mercalli scale, which is used to measure the intensity of an earthquake.
The Richter scale is logarithmic, meaning that whole-number jumps indicate a tenfold increase.
In this case, the increase is in wave amplitude.
That is, the wave amplitude in a level 6 earthquake is 10 times greater than in a level 5 earthquake, and the amplitude increases 100 times between a level 7 earthquake and a level 9 earthquake.

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The amount of energy released reportedly increases 31.7 times between whole number values.
Geography students of average intelligence or lower often get the two mixed up.
The earthquake in Kidapawan, the second in Mindanao in one week, was reportedly between 6.0 and 6.9, so the Richter scale considers it to be “strong,” as opposed to the “major” (7.0-7.9) or “great” (8.0 or higher), but “strong” is still to be feared.
Science writers Tom Harris and Patrick J. Kiger said most earthquakes are extremely small. A majority of quakes register less than 3 on the Richter scale; these tremors, called microquakes, aren’t even felt by humans.
Only a tiny portion — 15 or so of the 1.4 million quakes that register above 2.0 — register at 7 or above, which the threshold for a quake being considered major.
The biggest quake in recorded history was reportedly the 9.5 quake that struck Chile in 1960.
It reportedly killed nearly 1,900 people and caused about $4 billion in damage in 2010 dollars.
Generally, we won’t see much damage from earthquakes that register below 4 on the Richter scale, explained Harris and Kiger.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2019 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. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

As we age we become conscious of the food we eat primarily because of health reasons.
According to dieticians, we are the food that we eat.
A college student from Iloilo City 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 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 we are frequent visitors in the doctors’ clinics if we are 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.

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We have been warned that 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’ve been told 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.

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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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SAVING OUR PLANET:
 Don’t dispose. Whenever we can, let’s swap our throw-away, disposable items for reusable versions. We won’t have to pay out over and over again plus we will avoid contributing to landfill.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Duterte will never interfere in Iloilo City Hall row

“One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician’s objective. Election and power are.”

–Cal Thomas

By Alex P. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

WE sympathize with Iloilo City Hall regular employee Rosita Camacho and other alleged victims of persecution under the Treñas administration.
We don’t agree that underlings should be zeroed in and severely punished for supporting a rival candidate who has been vanquished in the recent elections.
But we also don’t agree that Camacho or any tormented city hall employees for that matter, should bring the hullabaloo to President Rodrigo R. Duterte, who is facing truckloads of domestic problems.
While it is Camacho, et al’s right to seek the help of any official in the higher ups, including Mr. Duterte, the act of seeking a presidential interference for a local issue will only do more harm than good to their case.
If Camacho, et al have referred the matter to the court, or in any quasi judicial chamber like the Office of the Ombudsman, seeking solace in the executive branch or the Office of the President could be tantamount to a forum shopping.
Or a political saber-rattling.

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Camacho had earlier sent a letter-complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman in Cebu City accusing Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas and four other City Hall officials–City Administrator Melchor Tan, Assistant Iloilo City Administrator Noel Panaguiton, Assistant Department Head II Josephine Agudo of allegedly conspiring, confederating, and aiding one another in the commission of grave coercion and violations of Section 3 (e) and (a) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) for grave misconduct, oppression, and/or conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Camacho, et al are now asking President Duterte to join the fray.
If Treñas, et al, based on Camacho’s recent appeal to President Duterte through the “Digong 8888 Hotline” TV show hosted by Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, will be rapped in the knuckles by the President through the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), what will happen if the Office of the Ombudsman exonerates them based on evidence?
Or vice versa.
Malacañang and the DILG might not jump into action haphazardly while the case is being studied and reviewed by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Whether President Duterte will dip his fingers into the row, the Office of the Ombudsman will have to go on with its independent investigation without prejudice to what the President will do.

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We doubt, however, if President Duterte, a former city mayor of Davao City himself who is familiar with the local civil service intramural, will prioritize the Iloilo City Hall case on top of the tons of other urgent cases stockpiling in the Office of the President.
President Duterte is aware of local politics.
As a former long-time Davao City mayor, he is familiar with internal wrangling in the city government involving employees caught in the quagmire of warring political parties.
Meanwhile, Panelo reportedly asked Camacho and other affected City Hall employees to write him a letter regarding the brouhaha.
The spokesperson knows his script.
Panelo’s gesture can be akin to an employer telling a job applicant after interview to “just wait for our call (if we are ready to hire you).”
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Bridge of deceit, nightmares and frustrations

“There comes a time when deceit and defiance must be seen for what they are. At that point, a gathering danger must be directly confronted. At that point, we must show that beyond our resolutions is actual resolve.”

–Dick Cheney

By Alex P. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

IF the Duterte administration will cancel the much-ballyhooed Iloilo-Guimaras-Negros Bridge Project estimated to be worth US $1 billion, it will be tantamount to canceling the dreams and aspirations of the entire Western Visayas altogether.
It will fiercely whip up mixed feelings of hatred, deceit, nightmares and frustrations for the entire Ilonggo populace.
Hatred at those who promised people in Western Visayas the moon and the stars.
Especially at politicians who used the project to prop up and deodorize their public image and candidacy in the recent elections to boot.
Nightmares and frustrations for those who had doggedly and passionately pinned their hopes on the dream bridge for a better future in terms of smooth and easy access from one island province to another, and to other regions thereafter.
The Ilonggos will never forgive the Duterte administration.

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Ilonggos will think they have been conned, deceived, and taken for a ride for more than three years since the building of the mega project was first dangled to them by this administration.
For three years now, the bridge that would help expedite travel time and solve all major issues relating to transportation of goods and passengers to and fro the aforementioned regional islands, has been in their imagination and fantasy.
For three years now, Ilonggos tolerated and allowed politicians led by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar to loudly and proudly brag about the project and bring their minds in the world of ecstasy and fantasy.
When they were now nearing the climax of their hallucinations, the project would be scrapped in a snap of a finger?
Incredible. Unimaginable. Unacceptable. Horrendous.
Sinverguenza!

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Let’s hope that when Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia announced recently they won’t push through with at least 75 major infrastructure projects “due to huge expenses and engineering issues”, the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Bridge Project was not one of them.
The mammoth bridge project had been advertised as part of the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program and the bridge network is supposed to provide increased inter-connectivity in the provinces of Western Visayas and Cebu in Central Visayas.
If realized, it can stimulate economic activity in the two regions and help, in one way or another, in the decongest of Metro Manila in the process.
Let’s hope it would not become a case of from “build, build, build” to tears, outrage and antipathy.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

The era has ended

“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”

–Bob Marley

By Alex P. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

WE don’t have anymore a Nene Pimentel in today’s age.
In fact, we haven’t produced the likes of Nene Pimentel in our government in recent memory.
What we have is a bunch of third-rate comedians and circus jokers masquerading as “nationalists” and “statesmen” who enrich themselves like they own the entire archipelago,
What we have been electing in our national offices are thieves, drug lords, illiterates, morally bankrupt punks, showbiz has-been, hooligans, ass-lickers; you name them our congress (Lower and Upper Chambers) have them.
With no more Nene Pimentel Jr. Jose Diokno, Joker Arroyo, Arturo Tolentino, Lorenzo Tanada, the era has ended.

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I remember in 1989 the first news item I wrote for News Express that “impressed” our managing editor Agnes Españo was about the eminent Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., Tita Cory’s former secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“Impressed” because that article about Senator Pimentel’s solid rebuke of the surging “lotto” landed in the front page.
Senator Pimentel was in Iloilo City holding a press conference at the Amigo Terrace Hotel while we were in the City Hall preparing to hear then Mayor Roding Ganzon’s latest tirade against “lotto” which was being “promoted” by Pimentel’s successor, Luis T. Santos, Ganzon’s fierce critic at that time.
It was the first time that I came closer to the man considered as one of the pre-martial law political icons; a native of Cagayan de Oro City who spoke fluent Hiligaynon (he answered all our questions in Hiligaynon and he preferred to be called as “Nene”).

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The second time I was on the same table with the famed former human rights lawyer and assemblyman was when he ran for reelection as senator in 1998 (he previously served in the senate under the Cory Aquino administration from 1987 until 1992).
It was a campaign period and Senator Pimentel was with his then daughter-in-law Jewel May Lobaton, the 1998 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe and Miss MassKara Queen.
Iloilo City Rep. Julienne “Jamjam” Baronda, then a city councilor, introduced me to Ms Lobaton, a Bacolodnon who came in Iloilo City to campaign for his father-in-law.
Senator Pimentel, again, spoke in Hiligaynon and made everyone comfortable with his humility and grace.
I found Senator Pimentel to be brilliant and tactful; he seemed to have a knack for saying the right thing at the right time.
He was appropriate and sensitive, never careless or rude compared to another politicians running for the same office I met at that time.
But he had to criticize what he deemed was incorrect and unpalatable, the kind of criticism that the other persons don’t get offended.
We missed quality and truly magnificent public servants like Nene Pimentel Jr. Rest in Peace, Tatay Nene.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Promotion of Ilonggo values

“With the right people, culture, and values, you can accomplish great things.”

–Tricia Griffith

By Alex P. Vidal60336807_10214018136070347_8150589498095304704_n

THERE are many ways to advertise to the world the tradition and greatness of Ilonggos.
One of them is to showcase in whatever means our culture and festivals that reveal who we are and what we are as a people.
For instance, there is a festival in Iloilo that promotes the values of Ilonggos.
Celebrated by the Municipality of San Rafael every October of the year, it is called Tawili Festival.
According to Capitol executive assistant Ruel Von D. Superio, “Tawili” is the local counterpart of Bayanihan or volunteerism, involvement, concern and sharing.
“Tawili was prominent in the way of life of the Ilonggos. In many instances, people in the neighborhood would gather to work for their neighbor,” Superio explained in his recent Facebook post.
“It could be a work in the farm or in his household. As a result, no one would be lacking of helping hands in times of need and in times of sorrow.”
Superio, who accompanied Iloilo Gov. Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr. during the festival’s opening ceremony in San Rafael October 21, said “the festival reminds everyone of the importance of unity and cooperation as an essential ingredient for peace, development and progress.”

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Iloilo Airport terminal supervisor Art Parreño should initiate a move to donate to Guimaras Province some of the more than 100 umbrellas the Iloilo Airport management seized from departing passengers in August this year.
The airport umbrellas can help the Department of Tourism in Western Visayas which will be staging for the first time the Guimaras Umbrella Festival on November 9, 2019.
It was reported that during the festival, the Department of Tourism (DOT-6) will provide 1,000 umbrellas to pumpboats ferrying passengers to and from the island province of Guimaras.

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There is good reasons for Ilonggos to continue to be supportive to our Chinese community.
The tsinoys are known to enormously help pump up the local economies of areas where they are located.
Business is always good in local communities with strong presence of Chinese economic activities.
In fact, a new report from Credit Suisse (CS) shows that wealth in China is ticking up, and the country now accounts for 100 million of the richest 10% of people in the world.
There are 99 million Americans in the same category, it was reported.
The United States still has many more millionaires–18.6 million, or 40% of the world’s total, versus 4.4 million in China, it was further learned.
It’s also adding to the millionaire count at a faster clip.
The report credits low interest rates and Republican tax cuts for the country’s 11th consecutive year of rising wealth.
The average American is also still much richer than their Chinese counterparts, with US wealth per adult at $432,365 compared with $58,544 in China.
A most recent report said China holds claim to a growing piece of the pie, replacing Europe as the principal engine of global wealth growth. That’s in spite of the trade war that’s weighing on the nation’s economy.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Don’t touch the Ilonggos with a ten-foot pole

“In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.”

–Immanuel Kant

By Alex P. Vidal442fa-13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

ILONGGOS have the right to protect themselves from law enforcers who apparently aren’t afraid to kill in the name of an “all-out campaign against illegal drugs”.
The Bill of Rights is the Bill of Life.
In case Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) deputy chief Jovie Espenido will literally implement the illegal and immoral order from the President to “kill anybody”, we must remind the Philippine National Police (PNP) the following:
-No suspected criminal should die from lawmen;
-A person accused of having committed a certain crime must be given his day in court;
-Life should be preserved.
-The State should ensure that he will undergo a fair trial, a litigation that will not last in eternity; a justice delayed is a justice denied.
Extra-Judicial Killings (EJK), therefore, have no place in a civilized society.
In the Philippine Constitution, the Bill of Rights under Article III establishes our relationship to the State and defines our rights by limiting the lawful powers of the State.
This is one of our most important political achievements.
The concept of the Bill of Rights is essentially an occidental product; there has grown the conviction that our rights must be preserved and safeguarded, not through the authority of an individual, not through membership in a particular group or party, not through reliance upon force of arms, but rather through the accepted process of declared constitutional law.

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Partners in crimes nabbed separately are mostly forced to rat against each other. This is a fundamental police technique in custodial investigation.
Self-interest can be consistent with acting cooperatively.
This can be proven in David Gauthier’s version of the Prisoner’s Dilemma.
According to the story of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, two people have been brought in for questioning, conducted separately, about a crime they are suspected to have committed.
The police have solid evidence of a lesser crime that they committed, but need confessions in order to convict them on more serious charges.
Each prisoner is told that if she cooperates with the police by informing on the other prisoner, then she will be rewarded by receiving a relatively light sentence of one year in prison, whereas her cohort will go to prison for ten years.
If they both remain silent, then there will be no such rewards, and they can each expect to receive moderate sentences of two years.

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And if they both cooperate with police by informing on each other, then the police will have enough to send each to prison for five years.
The dilemma then is this: in order to serve her own interests as well as possible, each prisoner reasons that no matter what the other does she is better off cooperating with the police by confessing.
Each reasons: “If she confesses, then I should confess, thereby being sentenced to five years instead of ten. And if she does not confess, then I should confess, thereby being sentenced to one year instead of two. So, no matter what she does, I should confess.” The problem is that when each reason this way, they each confess, and each goes to prison for five years.
However, had they each remained silent, thereby cooperating with each other rather than with the police, they would have spent only two years in prison.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2019 in Uncategorized