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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, April 14, 2018
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OPINIONS

The West Philippine Sea jungle

Ninfa Leonardia

I told you so. I did write in this column when President Duterte set off for China and that the trip could end in a “joint exploration” in the West Philippine Sea. The search will be for the precious “black gold” that is the source of great wealth for the Middle Eastern countries. Well, we may join them in also getting wealthy from any oil that may be sourced from the sea, but what about the sharing? How will the division go in case oil does spring out of the depths of the West Philippine Sea?

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One of our fears should be the fact that we may not have the equipment and the manpower for the project, and it is almost a certainty that China has them, or can easily manufacture or procure them. I hope this will not turn out to be like that old fable about the lion who went hunting with the other animals, on condition that they will share the prey. So they all went to work until the group cornered a big stag and killed it. There were four groups involved, so the lion presided over them.

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The beasts tore the stag into four pieces and while each was waiting to get a share, the lion declared. “This is how we divide this. The first portion is for me as the king of the jungle. The second is also for me as the leader of this group. The third is my share as one of the hunters. And you can all divide the fourth share among yourselves.” I admit it is not a perfect analogy, but that was what came to my mind when I learned about the joint exploration scheme. Let’s cross our fingers.

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It was good to know that there is now a strict prohibition for relatives of elected officials to run for barangay or sangguniang kabataan positions. That would be clear examples of “dynasties”, which the proposed amended Constitution is said to be prohibiting. So any mayors, and other local government officials who have children or close kin they might be planning to field, should think twice before putting such relations and themselves at risk.

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By the way, is it only now that our drafters of the Constitution have remembered to include a provision requiring college degrees for those aspiring to run for such positions as president, vice president, senators and congressmen? Is it possible that we have now among our senators and congressmen members who have not gone through a college education? That might have been all right in the earliest days of our republic, but in latter years, when the country has been producing college graduates of different courses by the thousands every year, it is about time to set the requirement.

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So it’s almost a done deal, I mean, the National Identification System that some citizens are still objecting to. The latest on it is that it may come any time, maybe next month. Seems both Houses and Congress have already passed it and P2 billion has already been allocated for it in this year’s budget. The way it is described, it is the ID to end all IDs because it will replace all other IDS, especially those of state workers. Imagine, these have to tote around with them Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, PhilHealth cards, Pag-Ibig cards, and so forth and so on.

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The National ID will take on the function of all these, and it will be available to all residents and citizens of the Philippines. Some people may not like the idea of being “card-carrying” characters, but if such card will facilitate a lot of one’s transactions and identification wherever you are, I for one, am all for it. What the ID will contain are one’s full name, date of birth, address, and fingerprint information of an individual. Now, those are not so hard to produce, are they? And I suppose it will be what we can call an “omnibus ID” because it will serve every purpose of identification anywhere.

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Will it cause an international furor? While the world is talking about the coming wedding of Prince Harry of Britain to an actress, speculations are out about who are being invited to the May 19 ceremony at Westminster Abbey, but some reports say that two of those who are not on the list are the United States’ Donald Trump and Britain’s Theresa May. We understand if our Digong was not asked, but why Madame May? Something is fishy somewhere.*

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