‘Consult’ the Ilonggos without justifying junket

By Alex P. Vidal

“In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change.”— Thich Nhat Hanh

WE laud the efforts of Iloilo city and provincial officials led by Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas and Governor Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr., including all the Ilonggo lawmakers who helped organize the second leg of the public consultation conducted by the House of Representatives on constitutional amendments February 13 at the Iloilo Convention Center in Iloilo City.

The word “consultation” connotes democratic assemblage; it promotes goodwill and mutual respect, understanding and cooperation between the government, represented by the elected officials, and the public.

We push and encourage our public officials to always undertake this kind of dialogue where the people are given the voice and opportunity to be the vital cog in any major policy-making decision like the proposed charter amendments and the like.

Consultations or dialogues are always messy, but fruitful and favorable to all concerned. They are healthy and productive.

The pros and cons clash in open and free market of ideas, which would be lumped together as input in aid of legislation. Good luck and more power.

Since the event was part of congress’ official business, the solons must’ve brought along their staff and other personnel.

We noticed the lawmakers, mostly members of the House committee on constitutional amendments chaired by Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, arrived in full force.

Let’s hope nobody came for a junket in the name of consultation conference.


Their round-trip air fare plus hotel accommodation, not to mention out-of-town trip allowances and other travel expenses, can be justified since it was an official function.

But let’s hope they didn’t overburden the taxpayers by tagging along characters who had nothing to do with the event whatsoever and by making unnecessary expenses charged to public funds during their visit.

Junkets, the hangers-on’s favorite habit when no one was watching, had happened on countless occasions in the past; others even shot themselves on the foot by engaging in “extra-curricular activities” not related to the official meeting.

We don’t want to see or hear a repeat of what happened in the Igmaan Hall in Hotel del Rio, Iloilo City in the morning sometime in 1993 when an administration senator from Mindanao, who came for a conference, was verbally attacked by his wife who suddenly arrived from the airport unannounced.

It turned out the woman who stayed with him after the conference held in another hotel the night before wasn’t his wife.

In this age of social media where a false move in public by any Lothario will give him instant fame in viral videos, ugly incidents or “surprised invasions” like what happened in Hotel del Rio 30 years ago hopefully won’t be repeated.

The former senator, who didn’t anymore return to Iloilo City after that scandalous “surprised attack”, died in 1994 at age 66.


HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY. Do we have double standards? We certainly do, say editors of Men’s Health. The questions: “Do you feel men are naturally monogamous?” and “Do you feel women are naturally monogamous?” The variance in the responses is staggering. YES (26 percent men, 55.5 percent women) NO (65.3 percent men, 33.8 percent women) NO ANSWER (8.7 percent men, 10.7 percent women).

WORKOUT FOR THE HEART. Cardiologists rank sexual intercourse as a mild-to-moderate-intensity exercise that enhances heart health as well as brisk walking does. As with any workout, the more vigorous we are, the more our heart benefits.

THE HOUR THAT MELTS FAT FASTER. Working out an extra 60 minutes a week could help us burn 3 times more fat, finds a recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. New exercisers who did a half hour of cardio twice weekly lost 4 pounds of fat over 8 weeks, while those who did 4 sessions a week lost a whopping 13 pounds.

ADOLESCENTS AT RISK. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shown that the risk of getting meningococcal meningitis increases in adolescents. Because of this, the CDC recommends that adolescents 11-18 years of age be vaccinated against this disease.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)