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Showing posts from April, 2014

The list

This is my column today, April 29, 2014.


The hottest item in the country at the moment that everyone wants to acquire a copy of, or at least have definitive knowledge of, is The List.  Of course there are many things that are troubling, to say the least, about the way our leaders have been wrangling over the The List and how best to manage it, but I guess that is to be expected given the kind of irreparable damage inclusion in the list could bring to anyone’s political career.  As it is, I doubt if there is sufficient expertise in the world that can cleanse or deodorize the image of the three senators already linked to the scam.  They are already as good as retired, and that is the better scenario.  The worse scenario is jail time, not to mention lifetime stigma of being branded as thieves.  A source told me yesterday that at the birthday bash thrown for former President Joseph Estrada Saturday night, even the polite applause for the three senators was embarrassingly sparse—and to thi…

Unprepared for MERS-COV

This is my column today, April 22, 2014.


There were a number of questions that begged to be answered in the wake of the feared Middle East Respiratory Syndrome—Coronavirus epidemic that could have happened last week after a returning overseas Filipino worker tested positive - and subsequently negative-  for the virus.  First, why didn’t the Department of Health act swiftly to require all passengers to voluntarily submit to a quarantine and testing hours after Etihad Airlines Flight EY 0424 landed in Manila last April 15?  Why did it take government a full week before issuing calls through media for the other passenges of the flight to voluntarily come forward to undergo testing and quarantine?   When media announced that government had quarantined the Filipino nurse and the members of his family who met him at the airport and that there was ongoing search for 12 other passengers who were seated close to or around him inside the plane, one could already sense the utter lack of a compre…

Back to business as usual

This is my column today, April 20, 2014. 


It’s Easter Sunday today.  There will be a flurry of text messages as well as shoutouts in social networking sites proclaiming the significance of the occasion as if we all needed to be reminded that Jesus Christ was crucified last Friday and was risen from the dead today.   Passages from The Bible will be quoted and passed around.  There will be special feasts in some hotels and restaurants as well as Easter egg hunts.  Theoretically, Easter Sunday is the most important religious event in Christendom.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest story in Christianity.  But then again, most of us in this country are stuck with the rituals rather than the substance.  Holy week is a season, which means that it has a specific prescription period. So for most, today is simply the day that marks the end of a long weekend. Many will try to cram this day full of unfinished tasks and unfulfilled promises.  For the tens of thousands who will be co…

Misery

This is my column today April 15, 2014.


I attended a wedding Saturday afternoon at the Resorts World complex in Pasay City and got stuck for hours in agony as traffic at the area around the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 was awful.  Just getting through the toll gates from the Skyway was already like squeezing through a fine sieve – it seemed that the three gates were sorely inadequate to deal with the volume of vehicles trying to get into NAIA3 and Resorts World area.  Given that the Skyway has been operating for many years now, it seems inconceivable that they still haven’t been able to put in place mechanisms to deal with unusual traffic situations.  As a result, many passengers were not able to catch their flights out of NAIA Terminal 3.  Many of the guests in the wedding were also delayed. As can be expected, getting out of the NAIA Terminal 3 area and into Fort Bonifacio for the reception was also an ordeal.  It took us almost two hours to traverse a distance of b…

Not unconstitutional

This is my column today, April 13, 2014. Of course the use of the double negative had relevance in the legal context—the petitions that spurred the discussion and the subsequent decision was precisely a prayer to render the Republic Act 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 unconstitutional.  But the double negative pronouncement was a harbinger of the tortured discussions that followed it.  In fact, I received at least three emails from people who claimed that the use of the double negative was precisely indicative of just how strongly the justices found favor in their respective positions. Advocates of the Reproductive Health Bill claimed victory, with two-time senatorial aspirant Rissa Hontiveros-Baraquel gushing on public television about how sweet it was to hear those two words.  The jubilation was echoed by many others.  The irrepressible Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago proclaimed her unabashed affection for the high court telling them “I love y…

Stories from Leyte

This is my column today, April 8, 2014.


I woke up Sunday morning in Leyte to heavy downpour, the kind that makes one want to snuggle deeper in bed and not get up at all.  I would have wanted to linger in bed and enjoy the rare weather phenomenon -  just barely 24 hours ago I was on the verge of passing out due to heatstroke as I addressed a graduating class of almost 500 pupils in one of the biggest public schools in Tacloban City—but I had a catch to flight back to Manila in a few hours.  A heavy downpour in summer is unusual, at least for those of us in Metro Manila who suffer uninterrupted weeks of sweltering heat during this time of the year.  A downpour would be welcome development if only it weren’t spawned by a typhoon that was predicted to hit the southern part of the country any day now.  News of the typhoon spread very quickly and by noontime people were talking about imminent destruction that might just rival Yolanda’s.  I had to go online to search for more accurate weathe…

It's not fun getting through Terminal 3

This is my column today, April 6, 2014.
Hungry, tired, and sleep deprived, I staggered into Bay 1 of the departure area of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 at the ungodly hour of 2:15 in the morning last Friday, April 4.  My 4:55 flight to Tacloban was still almost three hours away but I was repeatedly warned by well-meaning friends to come very early lest I get caught up in the bedlam that has reportedly characterized the situation at the terminal in the last three weeks.  I’ve also read quite a number of posts in various social networking sites that expressed exasperation over the difficulties people experience at Terminal 3.  I thought coming early would save me from the aggravation.  I was wrong, very wrong. The lines going into the terminal were already very, very long at that hour and were moving at snail pace.  I stood in line at the end of one near Gate 3.  My heart sank when I realized it was the line for Gate 1, a good 30-40 meters away.  It took me 30 minutes t…

The good and the bad in government service

This is my column today, April 1, 2014. 


I celebrated my birthday recently.  I guess it must be a sign of creeping old age that I forgot what birthdays mean after reaching legal age:  Renewing one’s driver’s license.  Government has extended the expiration date of driver’s licenses to two years which means one only needs to show up at some Land Transportation Office every other year.  I’ve been going to the same LTO office for almost two decades now partly because it’s near where I live and work and partly because I’ve been told there are less people that go there.  I am not sure there is truth in the latter, but it seems true given the fact that not one of the people I know seem aware that there is an LTO office in San Andres.  I’ve been told many times that the expiration date of a license is effective until the end of one’s birth month, but I have been reluctant to push my luck on this aspect since I seem to be a magnet for traffic cops – if there’s a traffic cop that desperately n…