Vic writes 30

Victorio Sai, sports editor of the Mindanao Daily Mirror and president of the Davao City Sports Council, Inc., passed away yesterday morning.

He was 62.

His remains now lie in state at the Turin Room of the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes along Camus St.

All the members of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) led by Chair William “Butch” Ramirez, who were opening their Mindanao Office in Davao City yesterday, were at his wake last night.

We will miss his popular sports column “Jumpball” and his indefatigable work in organizing sports tournaments and the So Kim Cheng Sports Awards, the country’s second longest running after the Philippine Sports Awards. I was with him last week during the awarding ceremony of the Primovit Chess Championships, one of his many pet projects.

Our condolence to his family and the sports community of the Davao Region.

Incidentally, this means more work for me. I am the 1st Vice President of the Davao City Sports Council, Inc. and I would take over temporarily its leadership until our next elections in April.

(5:30 a.m.)

Malaysian MP

Congratulations to Charles Santiago for winning a parliamentary seat in the recent elections in Malaysia. He represents Klang in the state of Selangor.

Charles is an economist-activist and expert on trade and development issues.

I met him at an Asia-Pacific Conference on Debt and Development in Bangkok in 2005.

I am certain that he can contribute much to the changes sweeping our ASEAN partner.

(5:02 a.m.)

Unbelievable

The Supreme Court has started to hear oral arguments on the case filed by the League of Cities against the conversion of 16 municipalities into cities.

The lawyer of the League correctly pointed out that the creation of the new cities was “unconstitutional” because it did not meet the requirements set forth in the Constitution and the Local Government Code.

Defending the creation of the new cities, the government’s Solicitor General engaged in hyperbole. Her arguments were simply hogwash.

She was quoted to have said “The change to the Local Government Code was enacted with the understanding that the 16 municipalities and eight others will be exempt from the requirements.”

Ha, ha, ha! Unbelievable!

There has no change yet in the Local Government Code regarding the requirements since its enactment in 1991. There is, however, a pending bill in Congress exempting capital towns on the requirements.

Where the hell did the government’s top lawyer get her basis to exempt the 16 towns? What a lawyer!

(5:48 a.m.)

Heroes

I delivered a privilege speech at the City Council yesterday which created quite a stir. I got mixed reactions. I would elaborate on Saturday when I appear as guest at ABS-CBN’s noontime radio show.

I described Joey de Venecia and Jun Lozada as fake heroes and called on the nation to focus on more important issues other than the telenovela that is the NBN-ZTE scandal.

OFWs to me remain as our genuine heroes. Unfortunately, we neglect their fights and plights.

(6:26 a.m.)

Decrease?

The report of the Department of Tourism that domestic passenger volume at the Davao International Airport decreased by 1.5 percent in 2007 compared to the previous year should be checked.

I can not believe such figure. Both PAL and Cebu Pacific reported growth in this sector with the two air carriers even adding more flights and new routes to Davao in 2007.

The Air Transport Office should be the more reliable agency to dish out such air passenger stats, not DOT. In counting tourists, for instance, DOT gets its figures from hotel registry, not truly a believable source.

Davao City tourism industry leaders should get to the bottom of this report. Otherwise people could get the impression tourism is declining in the city, which is bad for its efforts to lure more visitors.

(5:33 a.m.)

Back as battleground

Top honchos of the economic team of the government are in Davao City today to present the state of the economy to local officials and business sector.

Last week, controversial Joey de Venecia was here too as guest of local lawyers campaigning for truth.

This week, Jun Lozada is expected here for his provincial campus tour.

Davao City is back as a battleground for the hearts and minds of the people.

We recall that during the late 1970s and into the 1980s, this city was the laboratory of the urban war between NPA partisans and government-backed vigilante groups fighting for the loyalty of the people. It was a nasty experience that left the city with scars.

Would I expect this new game to be any different.

Nah, the visits of Joey de Venecia, Jun Lozada and the economic team would be as unproductive.

(6:15 a.m.)

Sitting on our laurels

What seems to be the trouble in keeping our No. 1 spot?

We are the world’s top producer of seafarers but we appear to be sitting on our laurels.

Like the decline in basic education, diminishing English proficiency, etc. our maritime schools are also on the downturn.

Oh well, Pinoy nga naman. 

(5:51 a.m.)