It’s still smooth sailing for Inday Sally

By Herbert Vego

IN the May 16, 2023 issue of the Philippine Star, a pictorial story on the belated birthday celebration of former Antique Governor Sally Zaldivar Perez at the Manila Polo Club called my attention.

There she was with the cream of the crop among politicians, businessmen and plain social climbers. But that was not unusual. What was impressive was her still sparkling and sprightly personality that endeared her to everybody from all walks of life.

She even had time to phone an invitation to this humble writer, proudly revealing that she had turned 86, having been born on April 21, 1937.

Most people still alive at that age, sa totoo lang, are either senile or too weak to even step out of their homes.

To me, the picture that stood out in that publicity was the time-defying close-up of a nubile beauty captioned, “Sally at 16,” which could not have been mistaken for somebody else.

Inday Sally revealed why she had retained her youthfulness and good health: “I accept people for what they are, for all their warts. I am not judgmental, pati sa kalaban ko.”

Sen. Loren Legarda, one of her party guests, said of her, “She’s a political mentor, she is not just a Tita. Tita Sally and my late mother were similar in their attitude towards life. Masayahin sa buhay. They know how to deal with life’s challenges and issues and they just know how to enjoy life. So, even if my mom passed away in 1996 and because Tita Sally has been there in my life, it’s like my mother has a replica who is alive.”

Until she ran and won for governor of Antique in 2001 (a position she held until 2010), Inday Sally had been apolitical, simply basking in the popularity of her late dad, former Supreme Court Associate Justice Calixto Zaldivar, who remains well remembered for his refusal to recognize the legitimacy of President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos’ 1973 “martial law” Constitution.

Salvacion Zaldivar-Perez, a widow, is a centenarian in the making.



THERE ought to be a law banning foreign governments from ownership or partial ownership of public utilities. This fear is not without basis in the light of power outages traced to the inefficiency of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), which is 40% owned by the government of China.

Under the law, non-Filipinos may not own more than 40%; and 60% should be owned by Filipinos, whether natural or naturalized.

As far as NGCP is concerned, 60% belongs to Filipinos, mostly of Chinese descent, such as Zhu Guangchao, chairman; Henry Sy Jr. and Roberto Coyiuto Jr., vice-chairmen.

Unfortunately, we still have legislators who want 100% foreign-ownership for huge industries doing business under the Philippine sun.

This is very dangerous when viewed against the backdrop of our conflict with China over contested territories at the West Philippine Sea. There is no doubt that the mere “40%” ownership by government of China could easily manipulate the 60% politically powerless Filipino investors.

Senator Raffy Tulfo has warned of “an intel report divulging that China has the capability to remotely access the country’s national grid and sabotage it.”

It’s funny that our puny Senate would have to wait for the go signal from President Marcos before initiating a probe to determine whether the government should take over the NGCP.

My two cents’ worth is that capable distribution utilities should be allowed by law to put up their own power plants and transmission facilities.  That way, they could rightly be blamed in case of power failures.

However, under Republic Act No. 9136, otherwise known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001, the electric power industry is shared among the supply, generation, transmission and distribution sectors.

The law should be amended so that the financially stable distribution utilities may put up their own generation plants and major transmission lines.



PAUL Soriano, the husband of actress Toni Gonzaga, certainly takes pride in having been appointed Presidential Adviser on Creative Communications. As such, he claims to have created a new ad/slogan for the Department of Tourism (DOT): “We give the world our best.”

Is it meant to replace “It’s more fun in the Philippines”?

But DOT chief Christina Garcia Frasco, as if sensing that Soriano’s “best” is not good enough, clarified that she is still open to “consultations with stakeholders.”

Soriano’s basis for his “We give the world our best” was the fact that it was Filipino-British nurse May Parsons who had administered the world’s first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Rather than focus on a slogan, DOT should take concrete steps to be more friendly to foreign tourists and homecoming Filipinos.

You see, for the first time since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, I – who had not been vaccinated — flew out of the country last May 5 and landed in Singapore unrestricted.

In Singapore, however, a niece warned that while there were no more Covid-related restrictions there, I might be required to undergo antigen test the moment I was back in Manila.

Forewarned, I had myself antigen-tested by Dr. Mohamed Khiard on my last day in Singapore on May 8 for a fee of 27 Singapore dollars (times 43 in Philippine peso). I tested negative.

True enough, a Philippine immigration official asked for it at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) before stamping my passport “arrived” at 12 midnight.