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Author Archives: Alex P. Vidal

About Alex P. Vidal

Alex P. Vidal is a Filipino journalist who travels to chronicle international events about sports, environment, politics, media, health, government, among other interesting subject matters.

The people who talked to God

“If you look only at Genesis as an allegory, you have a major problem, because if it’s an allegory, then tell me who our ancestor was? If Abraham was real, then from Abraham if Adam isn’t real, if it’s just an allegory, it’s just a story, then what’s the real Adam who really fell in a garden and really sinned? Where did we come from?” KEN HAM

By Alex P. Vidal

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The first people introduced in the Book of Genesis are Adam and Eve.
They live on our Earth and eventually have children.
We tend to think of Adam and Eve as people like ourselves, and as a family with children.
“Is this a valid assumption?” asked Dr. Erwin Ginsburgh in First Man. Then Adam! “Were they really people like us? How might they have differed? What were they? Let us look at the available information.”
The Legends of the Bible, a compilation of material made by Rabbi Louis Ginzberg and used by Ginsburgh as reference, claim that Adam either visited or passed six other worlds before he reached the Earth.
This is the story narrated by Ginsburg, a physicist, in the book, which he also described as “a scientific interpretation of the Book of Genesis”:
In the Book of Genesis we find Adam and Eve living in a Garden of Eden.
This garden provided anything necessary to support life for two people.
Their food came from their plant kingdom. But there were two trees which were taboo: the so-called Tree of Knowledge and the so-called Tree of Life.
The Book of Genesis (3:22) says that the fruits of the latter tree could provide immortality.
Eve breaks the taboo relating to the Tree of Knowledge. She and Adam ate the forbidden fruit from this tree (Genesis 3:6).
Because of this, and to keep them from eating of the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:23), both she and Adam are forced to leave the garden where everything was provided, and must support themselves in our world.
They have at least three male off-spring who have difficulty living with each other, and the problem reaches a climax when Cain kills Abel (Genesis 4:8).

SONS

When their two remaining sons, Cain and Seth, marry we are never told where their wives came from.
Among later descendants, the biblical record shows that there is a tendency for intermarriage within the group.
Adam and his immediate descendants, are very long-lived. Many of the first descendants have life spans greater than 900 years.
Noah is famous for having survived the biblical flood.
After Noah, the lifespan of his son, Shem, falls dramatically to about 600 years.
Then there is a second fall in life span to 438 years for Shem’s son Arpachshad.
The life span stabilizes for three generations, and then a third fall to about 200 years occurs at the time of Peleg.
By the 20th generation, Abraham, the lifespan is down to 175 years.
Ultimately, man’s life expectancy falls to approximately present day lengths.
No lifespan can be listed for Enoch, the father of Methuselah, because the Bible does not record his death.
Significantly, there is explicit mention of the death of all the others, but not Enoch.
Genesis says (5:23 & 24), “In his 365th year Enoch walked with God and was not of the Earth, for God took him.”
The Legends discuss this further in the section called the “Translation of Enoch.”
The last paragraph of this section is especially interesting to a 20th century reader: “To the right of him sparkled flames of fire, to the left of him burnt torches of fire, and on all sides he was engirdled by storm and whirlwind, hurricane and thundering.”
Noah was 500 years old when his son, Shem, was born; none of Adam’s descendants had an heir so late in life.
Shem’s birth occurred at a time when Enoch would have been 900 years old if he were alive.

COINCIDENCE

Was it coincidence that Noah waited until he thought Enoch had lived out his normal lifespan of some 900 years?
Abraham lived about 2,000 years after Adam’s birth.
The Legends discuss in detail the fact that the bodies of the first and second generation did not decay at death.
Specific mention is made that Abel’s body did not decay.
Since the second generation is directly descended from Adam and Eve, we can expect this generation to have inherited, and the bodies of the third generation decay after death.
Something must have changed between the second and third generations. In fact, very specific instructions are given for preparing the bodies of the first two generations before they are “buried” in the cave of Machpelah near Hebron.
According to the Book of Genesis some of the members of Adam’s family were the originators of metallurgy, music and domestication of animals.
Genesis (4:20-22) relates: “Jabal was the father of such as dwell in tents and have cattle. His brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and pipe. And…Tubal-Cain, the forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron.”
Why should the Bible identify the start of some of the major facets of high civilization?
In addition, the Book of Genesis says that members of Adam’s family talked to God.
It is not clear whether all the late generations were able to talk to God, but certainly Noah, the 10th generation, and Abraham, the 20th, do have this ability.
For God told Noah to build a ship to survive the flood (Genesis 6:14) and also God entered into a covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15:18).
The ability to talk to God seems to decrease from this time onward, although Moses is still able to do so much later.
There appear to be some final vestiges of this power later in the Bible when the prophets received visions and warnings from God.
Today, is extra sensory perception a remaining fragment of this ability to communicate with God?
Adam apparently had some technically advanced and highly sophisticated devices.
In addition to the well-known Thee of Knowledge and the immortality-giving Tree of Life, there was a set of God-made clothes that made the wearer invincible and irresistible.
The Legends claim that Nimrod (Noah’s great-grandson) is supposed to have worn them.

INGENIOUS

There is also a very ingenious engraving device, the “Shamir,” which reputedly was used to cut stones for Solomon’s Temple, but which has since disappeared.
The Sword of Methuselah was reportedly used by Abraham when he and his small band defeated the armies of the five kings.
Even as amazing as these people were, they still had problems living with each other.
Ultimately, immortality and evil living led to the destruction of all of Adam’s descendants except Noah and his family (Genesis 6:17).
In an attempt to improve morality, as Noachide code of seven rules was drawn up to provide guidance so the remaining people could live with each other.
In the 20th generation, a very formal relationship was established between God and Abraham; specifically, a covenant was drawn up.
Apparently, there was no earlier need for such a formal arrangement.
As the lifespan of Adam’s descendants was falling and approaching that which we today consider as normal, and as it became increasingly difficult to distinguish, Abraham’s heirs from the rest of mankind, all the males descended from Abraham were circumcised.
Before this covenant, Abraham was known by the name “Abram.” As part of God’s covenant, his name was changed to “Abraham.”
The Legends also relate that Abraham was the first of Adam’s descendants who aged as he grew older.
In addition, Jacob was the first man who declined physically before death.
Before his time, death occurred quite rapidly.

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Posted by on December 8, 2017 in HISTORY, RELIGION

 

Chocolates

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

— Charles M. Schulz

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By Alex P. Vidal

IS too much chocolate-eating dangerous to our health?
Can it cause diabetes and obesity as feared?
Over-eating of chocolate can be tantamount to slow motion suicide, although it contains health benefits if we eat moderately.
Some of the health benefits of chocolate are:
–Cacao, the source of chocolate, contains antibacterial agents that fight tooth decay. However, chocolate with high sugar content will negate this benefit, according to Cocosymposium. Dark chocolate contains significantly higher amounts of cacao and lower amounts of sugar than white chocolate, making it more healthful.
–The smell of chocolate may increase theta brain waves, resulting in relaxation.
–Chocolate contains phenyl ethylamine, a mild mood elevator.
–The cocoa butter in chocolate contains oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fat which can raise good cholesterol.
–Men who eat chocolate regularly live on average one year longer than those who don’t.
–The flavanoids in chocolate help keep blood vessels elastic.
–Chocolate increases antioxidant levels in the blood.
–The carbohydrates in chocolate raise serotonin levels in the brain, resulting in a sense of well-being.
The health risks of chocolate are:
–Chocolate may contribute to lower bone density.
–Chocolate can trigger headaches in migraine sufferers.
–Milk chocolate is high in calories, saturated fat and sugar.
–Chocolate is a danger to pets (chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine, which animals are unable to digest).

TIME

Christmas is a time for eating chocolate.
Consumption has come a long way since the first “eating” chocolate was introduced in England by the Bristol firm of Fry and Sons in 1847.
Much debate and mythology surround people’s craving for this confection, which has been blamed on depression, the menstrual cycle, sensory gratification, or some of the 300 plus chemicals that it contains.
The sensuous properties of chocolate depend on the fat it contains.
Roger Highfield explains in The Physics of Christmas that
Cocoa butter can solidify in half a dozen different forms, each of which has a different effect on “mouthfeel” and palatability.
Form V predominates in the best chocolate, making it glossy and melt in the mouth.
Unlike other plant edible fats, which are usually oils, Highfiled explains that cocoa butter is enriched in saturated fatty acids so that it is solid under normal conditions and has a sharp melting point of around 34C, just below the temperature.
Heat is absorbed when this occurs, giving a sensation of coolness on the tongue.
“Another reason we like chocolate is the stimulatory effects of caffeine and related chemicals. Every 100 grams of chocolates contain 5 milligrams of methylxanthine and 160 milligrams of theobromine (named after the cocoa tree, whose botanical name, Theobroma cocoa, means “food of the gods”). Both are caffeinelike substances,” Highfield points out.
Originally, chocolate was a stimulating drink. The name is derived from the Aztec word xocalatl, meaning “bitter water.”

PHYSICIAN

In the 17th century a physician from Peru wrote how it is “good for soldiers who are on guard.”
Highfield stresses that indeed, some people have suggested that it was Casanova’s favorite bedtime drink—to give him a boost when he needed it.
Medical textbooks do note, however, that when taken in large quantities, these stimulants can induce nausea and vomiting.
This effect can also be observed in children (and others) who of overindulge on Christmas Day.
He cites that every 100 grams of chocolate also contains 660 milligrams of phenylethylamine, a chemical relative of amphetamines, which has been shown to produce a feeling of well-being and alertness.
“This may be why some people binge on the stuff after an upsetting experience—or perhaps to cope with the stress of Christmas shopping,” Highfield theorizes.
He also observes the following:
-Phenylethylamine may trigger the release of dopamine, a messenger chemical in the brain that plays a role in the “reward pathway” that governs our urge to eat or have sex.
-Phenylethylamine raises blood pressure and heart rate, and heightens sensation and blood glucose levels, leading to the suggestion that chocoholics “self-medicate” because they have a faulty mechanism for controlling the body’s level of the substance.
However, if a person consumes too much phenylethylamine or has an inability to remove it due to the lack of a key enzyme (monoamine oxidase), blood vessels in the brain constrict, causing a migraine, according to Highfield.

CANNABIS
More recently, it has been found that chocolate also contains substances that can act like cannabis on the brain, intensifying its other pleasurable effects.
Highfield says three substances from the N-acylethanolamine group of chemicals can mimic the euphoric effects of cannabis, according to a study by Daniele Piomelli, Emmanuelle di Tomaso, and Massimiliano Beltramo of the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego.
Their works date back in 1990, when scientists found a site in the brain that responds to cannabinoids, the class of compounds that include the active ingredient in cannabis.
Recently they have discovered the specific substances in the brain that bind to this site. One is a fatty molecule dubbed anandamide after the Sanskrit word for “bliss.”
Piomelli investigated chocolate, which is rich in fat, because he correctly suspected that it might contain lipids related to anandamide.
Piomelli was first inspired to look into the mood-altering effects of chocolate when he became addicted to the stuff one gray winter in Paris.Now that he has moved to California, which is as sunny as his homeland of Italy, he is no longer a chocoholic.

 

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

If we learn we won’t forget

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” — Thomas Jefferson

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Most political and social scientists have mentioned this lengthily in classrooms and in public discussions.
The hypothesis of Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana (1863-1952) that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” has lost all its depth in becoming a cliché.
Usually heard in the form “Those who do not remember the past…,” it has been reduced to advice on a proper curriculum.
“Learn your history, boys and girls, or the next time (insert atrocity here) comes along, you won’t remember what happened the first time,” Michael Macrone wrote.
Not that this is false; it’s just not what Santayana meant. According to Macrone, Santayana chose the word cannot for a reason–namely, because he meant “are literally unable to.”
Such is the fate of infants and “savages,” for whom every day dawns anew, the experiences and lessons of yesterday having been forgotten.
It is not that such people (one could argue with the term “savages”) choose to be ignorant; it’s that they are incapable of historical thought.
In this condition of forgetfulness, a person is unable to make any informed decisions or to advance himself.
He will simply continue to act according to instinct and reflex, which are by their nature repetitive.
Every day is more or less the same day, which is what Santayana means by “repeating the past.”

LARGER

Santayana’s larger point is that progress requires a certain stability and “retentiveness” in individuals and societies.
This is the basis for human evolution, which is modeled on Charles Darwin’s evolution of species: Educated behavior, based on experience, is more likely to succeed in the face of changing conditions.
Thus is, we will get better and better at dealing with the ever-changing world if we are both “retentive” and “flexible”: conscious of the past and yet adaptable.
The larger context for Santayana’s speculations is his “naturalism,” better known as “materialism.” Man, in his view, is wholly and completely the product of nature; and the mind is nothing more than the natural activity of the brain.
Given the nature is constantly in flux, so too is what we call “human nature.”
The beliefs, values, thought processes, instincts, and desires of the ancient Greeks are very different from those of medieval Europeans or contemporary Africans.
There is no such thing, therefore, as a “universal law,” if by that we mean rules applicable across time and space.
Yet at the same time, in any particular time and place, men and women do share beliefs, values, thought-processes, and the rest.
Otherwise there could be no communication at all. And such a particular human nature has a potential “ideal state,” in which it is everything it can be: ideally suited, within its limits, to the time and the conditions.

IDEAL

Each individual has his or her own ideal, which has nothing to do with what the majority of people think, feel, or do.
In fact, Santayana believed deeply that people are unequally graced with reason and talents.
It might just be the ideal of some to work on assembly lines, while it is the ideal of others to run the state. He was not, therefore, an enthusiast of democracy.
In his view Nature herself is undemocractic; some species die off while others flourish and evolve, and this is because some species are superior to others.
In men and women, sharpness of reason and remembrance of the past are suited to progress and self-realization, to achieving one’s ideal.

 

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Did Fr. Boy Celis err?

“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.”

–Saint Augustine

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Was the move of Fr. Espiridion “Boy” Celis Jr., parish priest of Saint Anne’s Parish in Molo, Iloilo City in the Philippines, of calling for a press conference to voice out his rancor with Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, correct?
The press conference at the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) on November 28, 2017 came days after Bishop Lagdameo supposedly rejected Fr. Celis’ appeal to postpone his transfer to Saint Anthony’s Parish in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo effective December 3, 2017.
Fr. Celis lamented that his appeal during their private meeting “fell on deaf ears.”
Since the issue Fr. Celis raised against Bishop Lagdameo was intra-congregation, we suspect the move to call for a press conference was not only incorrect, but also a bad move.
We suspect Fr. Celis erred when he decided to bring the matter to the media instead of waiting for the result of his petition before the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome, Italy.
We respect though Fr. Celis’ right to seek redress of his grievances in the “proper forum.”

-o0o-

Still, media can’t coax Bishop Lagdameo to change his heart. The glitzy publicity can’t swivel the bishop’s mind.
The public can’t help either. After monitoring the press conference, it can’t hold a “people power” to compel the bishop to favor Fr. Celis.
Any press conference of that nature, in fact, could produce a surfeit of belligerence, thus it would only exacerbate Fr. Celis’ enmity with the Jaro archbishop instead of appeasing the church bigwig.
The issue was about an edict for reshuffling of priests, which falls under the Roman Catholic Church authority.
In the church’s hierarchy and in its chain of command, Bishop Lagdameo is mandated to dispense the clergy’s reassignment.
Shall a professional police officer denounce his superior officer and get sympathy from the press for transferring him from one police precinct to another? If the police officer can’t stand the heat, he can always run to the kitchen’s nearest exit.

-o0o-
Fr. Celis was quoted in the report as saying that “I presented the case as plainly, as lovingly, as quietly as possible, and it was just explaining to him (Lagdameo) why it was important to let me stay with my parishioners (in Molo) for a while. But, unfortunately, (his) ears were closed.”
Fr. Celis added that he was prompted to bring the matter to the church’s higher authorities in Rome after he was allegedly “dared” by the archbishop to do it.
He also compared his predicament to the historical Jesus Christ, maltreated by his fellow Jews despite his goodness, according to report.
From the way Fr. Celis expressed his sentiments, it appeared he was already exasperated. After being spurned by Bishop Lagdameo in what could have been his last-ditch effort to save his present post, he probably became distraught and must’ve thought that, by bringing the matter to the media, it would, at least, mollify his pain and frustration.
Our heart goes out for the good priest who is arguably one of the most respected and highly admired church authorities in Western Visayas today.
Ignosce mihi, pater, quia peccavi or forgive me Father for I have sinned.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2017 in RELIGION

 

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How I met Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”
–Lao Tzu

17155982_10208501843566482_1194099128936945_nBy Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — I first met Dr. Jed Patrick Mabilog in the early part of 2003 when he was introduced to me by Councilor Armand Parcon, my kumpare and former media colleague, in the ground floor coffee shop of Robinson’s Mall in Iloilo City.
I was standing when Parcon approached me and quipped, “Pre, I would like to introduce my friend, Jed Patrick Mabilog. He is from Molo (district). He can be a good material for city councilor. Let’s help him.”
Behind Parcon was a neatly dressed and pompadoured man with a soft voice. “Hi, kumusta? Ako gali si Jed (Hi, how are you? My name is Jed),” he enthused. We shook hands and talked briefly.
I was then active with the World Boxing Foundation (WBF) thus I wasn’t able to fulfill Councilor Parcon’s request for his friend other than asking my family to vote for Mabilog for city councilor.

FOUNDATION

It became moot and academic though as Mabilog, big boss of HALIGI Foundation, ran and won for city councilor in the general elections the following year, May 10, 2004.
From 2004 until 2007 when Mabilog completed his term in the city council, we never met again.
Our second meeting was in the candidates forum sponsored by Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo during the campaign period for the May 14, 2007 general elections.
I was one of the moderators in a “live” debate between vice mayoral candidates Jed Patrick Mabilog and Winston Porras, former chief of staff of Vice Mayor Victor Facultad.
Brilliant and quick-witted, Mabilog routed Porras, who happened to be my friend way back in the 90’s when Porras was legislative staff of then Councilor Victor Facultad and I was writing speeches for the late Councilor Eduardo Laczi and then Councilor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III (now the new Iloilo City mayor).
From 2007 until 2010 when Mabilog finished his term as vice mayor, I never met him again since that “live” radio debate.
Months before the May 10, 2010 elections, Mabilog, who became my Facebook friend, asked my opinion in a private message about his plan to run for city mayor against then Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez.

RECEIVE

I received Mabilog’s message while I was in Vancouver. I was totally unaware of what was going on in Philippine politics; I monitored only the news on the Internet.
The late Secretary Gonzalez and I never had a spat even if he sued our former colleague in Sun.Star, Nelson Robles, for “unjust vexation” over a series of blind items in 1996 when Gonzalez was congressman in the city’s lone district.
I answered Mabilog in the affirmative even if I doubted his chances against Iloilo City’s hitherto political Goliath, famous for tormenting his adversaries with the nerve-tingling “I will make life difficult for you” remark.
I missed the Mabilog-Gonzalez rivalry as a media practitioner; I missed the biggest election upset in the history of Iloilo City: underdog Mabilog clobbered the most powerful cabinet official of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo by a big margin.
Mabilog closed the Facebook account he was using before being elected as Iloilo City mayor (he opened another FB accounts thereafter), thus I couldn’t send a message to congratulate David.

YEARS

During the years that Mabilog was mayor for three consecutive terms until his “dismissal” recently, I was most of the time outside the Philippines.
I am probably the only Iloilo journalist who has never set foot in the new Iloilo City Hall until today (I was president of the Iloilo City Hall Press Corps for two terms–1998-1999 during the time of Mayor Mansueto Malabor).
I finally met Mabilog again and sat beside him in the cable TV show hosted by Vicente “Danny Baby Foz” at Buto’t Balat Restaurant in Iloilo City three days before the May 13, 2013 elections when I was in the Philippines.
It was the height of Mabilog’s quarrel with former Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada, the man who filed the case against the city mayor in the Ombudsman that resulted in his ouster.
It was only our third physical meeting since the day Councilor Parcon introduced me to the man who would become the most abused and most harassed city mayor in the world.
I will probably meet Mabilog, an innocent man and great Ilonggo leader, again when he become congressman in 2019.

 

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2017 in POLITICS

 

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I love you, New York City Marathon

“The marathon can humble you.”
–Bill Rodgers

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — My coverage of the 47th New York City Marathon on November 5 was the most thrilling.
I became a sports journalist and spectar rolled into one.
As soon as I saw Shalane Flanagan emerge in the lead pack escorted by two motorcycles and a Ford vehicle carrying a flashing time (2:20:34) in the Central Park’s Fifth Avenue, I yelled.
I itch to cheer the runners as they were about to complete the 42.195-kilometer race was irresistible for someone who witnessed the tight race as it happened.
Seeing the runners being egged and cheered by the crowd evoked past memories when I myself was running in the Nike and Milo Marathons in the Philippines in the 80’s.
I chose that area, some 800 meters away from the finish line, because it’s a picture-perfect camera ambush, and because only a handful of fans were comfortable or brave enough to wait in that isolated route.
LEAD
I was surprised to see a Caucasian leading the women’s race alone. In the past when I covered the same event on the same spot, I saw African runners dominate the distaff side.
The white lady turned out to be Flanagan, who became the first American to win the race at 2:26:53 since Miki Gorman accomplished the feat in 1977.
Flanagan bested three-time champion and recent London Marathon champion Mary Keitany of Kenya by a minute (2:27:54).
Using a Samsung Galaxy S6 edge cellphone camera, I captured Flanagan, Keitany, Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska (2:28:08) as they struggled and barreled their way to the final 800 meters of the biggest and most prestigious marathon on earth.
What made the race so special was Flanagan, who crossed the finish line crying and yelling, ended United States’ drought in the New York City Marathon.
Rounding out the women’s top 10 were: Edna Kiplagat (2:29:36), Allie Kieffer (2:29:39), Sara Dossena (2:29:39), Eva Vrabcova (2:29:41), Kellyn Taylor (2:29:56), Diane Nukuri (2:31:21) and Stephanie Bruce (2:31:44).

VICTORY

Flanagan’s victory was big. She foiled Keitany’s attempt to equal the record of Grete Waitz to become the second woman to win the New York City Marathon four times.
It came five days after the bike path terror attack in Lower Manhattan killed eight and raised questions about security for Sunday’s event.
That hit home for Flanagan, a Massachusetts native who completed the 2013 Boston Marathon shortly before a bomb went off at the finish line, killing three and wounding more than 260 others.
The men’s category also pulled a lot of drama. When the lead pack arrived on the area where I positioned myself, Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor was in front being chased by countryman Wilson Kipsang.
In a mad dash to the finish, Kamworor held off Kipsang by three seconds. He logged 2:10:53 against Kipsang’s 2:10:56. Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa finished third at 2:11:32.
Rounnding out the men’s top 10 were: Lemi Berhanu (2:11:52), Tadesse Abraham (2:12:01), Michel Butter (2:12:39), Abdi Abdirahman (2:12:48), Koen Naert (2:13:21), Fikadu Girma Teferi (2:13:58) and Shadrack Biwott (2:14:57)
It was one of the smallest margins in the New York City Marathon’s history, it was learned.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2017 in SPORTS

 

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Bravest ever city council

“Always render more and better service than is expected of you, no matter what your task may be.”
–Og Mandino
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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — The Iloilo City Council in the Philippines led by Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon will go down in history as the bravest and the most audacious of all the past city councils.
When they passed a resolution during its regular session on November 14 “vehemently opposing the renewal of Panay Electric Company’s (PECO) franchise”, members of the Iloilo City Council made history and defied tremendous odds.
Their bold move restored the Ilonggo consumers’ faith and confidence on our city officials. It largely helped assuage frazzled emotions of tormented consumers wallowing in distress brought by PECO’s appalling services and nonchalance.
It may be recalled that their counterparts in 1993, or 25 years ago, led by Vice Mayor Guillermo dela Llana, endorsed PECO’s application for a 25-year extension after a series of public hearings in the old Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) building.

SECURE

The “joy ride” in the local legislature enabled PECO to smoothly secure the extension of its franchise in the House of Representatives thereafter.
Interestingly, Councilor Eduardo Penaredondo, the only alderman who did not support the resolution penned by Councilor Joshua Alim on November 14, was part of the 1993 City Council that handed PECO the grand prize..
PECO, the sole power distributor in Iloilo City’s more than 50,000 consumers, must’ve underestimated the City Council after it secured the November 22, 2017 date for the hearing of its application for franchise extension before the House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Franchises.
PECO’s franchise will expire in 2019.
Because of the City Council’s recalcitrance, PECO is now expected to have a rough ride when the hearing in the House Representatives unfolds on November 22. It’s like going to war bringing only high powered machine guns but without bullets.
We don’t believe that Alim, Councilor R Leone Gerochi and their ilk are motivated by “political ambitions” when they spearheaded the titanic war versus the giant electric firm.

HELP

Even before Alim became a city councilor, he was already helping the late former Councilor German Gonzales and Gerochi’s father. Atty. Romeo Gerochi, in the battle to free the Ilonggo consumers from the harrowing clutches of PECO’s atrocious generation and distribution charges in the early 90s.
Alim hasn’t forgotten that the anti-PECO crusade did not, in any way, help Gonzales when he ran and lost for vice mayor in 1995.
If Alim intends to run for city mayor or congressman in 2019, he will have to think twice before using the PECO brouhaha as a stepping stone.
If Alim is in the forefront in the war against PECO’s shortcomings, it’s probably because he wants to champion the cause of the hoi polloi, not because wants their votes in the next elections.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2017 in POLITICS

 

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