A voice in the wilderness

By Alex P. Vidal

“There is nothing impossible to him who will try.”—Alexander the Great

IT is always better to try and fail than fail to try and forever suffer the thought of what might have been.

Although he knew that the chances were slim, we admire Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Treñas for his gallant effort to request the national government to push for the upgrading and development of the slumbering Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan, Iloilo—under the Marcos administration.

Treñas learned that the Iloilo airport, opened officially by then President Gloria Arroyo on June 13, 2007, had been excluded from the list of priority or key projects under the new administration.

He nevertheless continued to be oozing with confidence thinking he has now pledged support for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. after the May 9, 2022 presidential election.

Treñas had openly campaigned and declared support for former Vice President Leni Robredo, who won in Western Visayas, including in Iloilo City, but lost in the final tally.

Under any circumstances, a request for any project from the Palace by any local chief executive who backed another candidate in the previous polls is always considered to be a “voice in the wilderness.”

In the Philippines, the oft-repeated political lingo has always been “pa-weather weather lang.” After all, nobody loves a loser.

But to show his sincerity and tacit reconciliatory gesture, the city mayor invited as special guest First Lady Marie Louise “Liza Araneta-Marcos, his former schoolmate, during the 2023 Dinagyang Festival in January.

As the saying goes, in every rule there is an exemption. We hope Treñas, a chief ally of former Senator Franklin Drilon, will be an exemption in this political anagram.


He recently told the media: “We need to continue pushing for the development of our international airport since it is now overcrowded. If it is expanded, we can accommodate more flights and more visitors.”

Treñas did succeed in reaching to the ears of authorities concerned but his efforts, so far, was good only for a “referral” from one national agency to another.

He confirmed to reporters that his proposal had been forwarded or referred by National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Undersecretary for Investment Programming Group Joseph Capuno to Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Planning and Project Development Timothy John Batan.

According to local media reports quoting Capuno, airports weren’t included in the list of DOTr’s priority infrastructure projects “either in the Public Investment Program (PIP) 2023-2028 and the Three Year-Rolling Infrastructure Program (TRIP) 2024-2026.”

Capuno’s letter added: “As the primary entity in charge of planning and programming, coordinating, and implementing, among others, the promotion, development, and regulation of safe, efficient, and reliable transportation services and systems in the country, including air transport facilities, we deem that the subject request is under DOTr’s purview.”

Classified by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) as an international facility, the airport was inaugurated during the term of Governor Neil Tupas and was attended by Japanese ambassador Ryuchiro Yamazaki and then Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza, who assisted Mrs. Arroyo in leading the inaugural rites.

The facility itself was formally commissioned at five o’clock in the morning on June 14, coinciding with the simultaneous decommissioning of the old airport in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.


Fear of death is the most common fear many of us has experienced. But because of our “maturity”, some of us are not afraid to drink alcoholic beverages like there is no tomorrow; we’re not afraid to smoke 50 packs of cigarette everyday; and we don’t give a damn if we feast on fatty foods, pigs, sweets, preservatives, among other risky foods and vices. FORMULA IN LIFE: Prayers + hard work or “I’ll-do-it” attitude + positive thinking = SUCCESS!

REMINDER. What has been done cannot be undone but can only be remedied. Let’s hope for the best when tomorrow comes! Let’s adopt the power of positive thinking and work hard to achieve what we want in life! God will help only those who help themselves first.

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