Above the Belt We are all guilty

By: Alex P. Vidal

“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


TRAINER and recently elected vice mayor of Polangui, Albay, Buboy Fernandez has confirmed that Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao is eyeing the presidency of the Philippines.

Pacquiao’s presidential plans had been disclosed eight years earlier, and it was Bob Arum who floated the idea during our press conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas before Pacquiao’s TKO win over Oscar De La Hoya in December 2008.

The big boss of Top Rank would introduce the popular Filipino boxer as “the next president of the Philippines” and the crowd seemed to be taking Arum’s words seriously.

Before the 2022 presidential elections (assuming he can’t wait until 2028), Pacquiao is expected to log two more fights regardless of the result of his WBA duel versus Keith Thurman on July 20 in Las Vegas.

After Thurman, two more licensed maulers will inflict harm on 40-year-old Pacquiao’s head.

Let’s hope he is mentally intact during the presidential elections.




THE terrible dengue outbreak that prompted the Department of Health (DoH) to declare a national alert July 15 after the death of 450 people nationwide, would have been avoided if not for our apathy and negligence.

“Alert” is different from “epidemic” in as far as the national declaration is concerned.

It’s appalling that the entire nation was caught unprepared as dead bodies of dengue victims piled up.

Dengue outbreak was like a tsunami that lashed at the Philippines just when newly elected officials were starting to warm up in their seats.

Had we prioritized the steps on how to minimize if not prevent its shocking impact, lives would have been spared and logistical, as well as medical preparations, would have been assembled much earlier.




If we see the statistics, nobody can escape the blame.

Health issues are always everyone else’s issue.

From January 1 to June 29, this year, the DoH record showed 106,630 dengue cases have been reported.

There’s no room for passing the buck and finger-pointing now.

Where are we during those periods?

What were we doing?

While infants were dying from the horrific virus caused by a mosquito bite, our attention was somewhere else: in the mid-term elections.

Nobody was paying attention to the deadly virus, which causes a high fever from a mosquito-borne single positive-stranded RNA virus of the family Flaviviridae; genus Flavivirus.




During that period, we were busy watching politicians debate in the campaign for the May 13 elections; and became busier tallying the results and listening to post-election speeches and other controversies.

We didn’t notice that many regions all over the country have already exceeded the epidemic threshold.

Death toll rose in alarming and scary rate.

It took incoming administrations to take the initiative to declare a state of calamity in order to create serious public awareness and tap government resources for a full-blown battle to arrest the outbreak.

All of a sudden, dengue fever jolted the entire nation like there was a “cometary impact.”

If we did not hold the midterm elections in May, our major focus would have been on how to knock out the mosquito-borne disease in whatever means with the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO).


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