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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, February 20, 2018
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

The Mexican and
British editions

Ninfa Leonardia Name it and it's yours? That seems to be the policy being adopted by China as far as a Philippine Territory, one called Benham Rise, and now Philippine Rise, is concerned. Our officials are discovering that, at least, five undersea areas in the Philippine Rise have been “baptized” by China with other names. And these are areas very near the Philippines. This, despite the fact that it has already been ruled by the United Nations Commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf as part of the Philippines.

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One can only wonder why our officials are not protesting more strongly against this outright seizure of our territory. Have they been blinded to it by the promises of aid and infrastructure assistance? Not only the UNCLCS has declared so, its ruling had been confirmed by the guidelines of the International Hydrographic Commission that states that it is the Philippines that has the right to name such undersea features. It is like they are our own babies, so we have the right to choose their names, Pinoy names, and not Chinese names like “Jinghao, Tiambao, Haidonquing, Juju and Cuiguiao. Why haven't our officials thought of giving them Filipino names before?

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Now, it isn't as if the erstwhile Benham, now Philippine Rise, is a barren tract of land, or even a desert, that cannot provide livable areas, or any benefit to its lawful owners. This is the place where the indications of the presence of gas, oil and other mineral resources have been confirmed. So, are we ceding those potentials to another country to explore and take advantage of? There used to be an old joke, said to have originated from Chinese people in their early arrivals in the Philippines when they were looked down on, and made the subject of insulting remarks. They were said to swallow everything humbly, but murmuring “In the long run, China will win”. Is this it?

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Meanwhile, more and more Overseas Filipino workers, or OFWs, have been making an exodus from that country where about a hundred of them were reported to have died, or been killed in the past year. The government is now trying to find jobs for them so they can still be able to help their families, the reason why they went over in the first place. The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, or TESDA, is promising to help, but this is to be through trainings in preparation for better paying jobs, which could take some time. Meanwhile, what about the families dependent on them for support? By the way, what really caused the death of the girl in the freezer? No autopsy yet?

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What an irony it was, indeed. Last week, the shocking news from Mexico was about the occurrence of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that sent people fleeing from their homes in Oaxaca that was close to the epicenter of the temblor. One can just imagine how strongly the tremors were felt! We even panic when we experience one of magnitude 3, how much stronger must a 7.2 one could be. And yet there were no fatalities, the people were able to save themselves by leaving their homes for calmer areas.

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But then came a helicopter carrying officials on a mission to assess the damage caused by the quake that had, so far, no reported casualties among the residents. On the chopper were top officials like the Secretary of Interior, the governor of Oaxaca State, and, of course, the ubiquitous news reporter. But the helicopter flipped as it was about to land, and fell on the people who had survived the earthquake, and 13 of them were killed, and 16 injured!

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But Great Britain also had an earthquake and although it was only of Magnitude 4.4, much lighter than Mexico's, it was quite a big deal for the country that very seldom experiences tremors. The last one they had was in 2008 yet, and that one was even stronger, at Magnitude 5.2. But the one last Saturday (it was also Saturday when Mexico was hit), was felt in a much larger area. The people gathered at the campus of Swansea University that held an open day. With typical wry British humor, the university later announced its thanks to those who came to their celebration, adding, “We hope you had a surprisingly ‘earth-moving' experience!”

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On to more serious matters, athletes participating in a meet in Davao City were stricken by food poisoning when they reportedly got served spoiled food. No, of course, no one would suspect sabotage of some teams, but this is not the first time during those public schools meets where participants experienced a similar incident. There should be better control and monitoring of the food suppliers for the athletes. How could they perform well, if they have been suffering from food poisoning effects? Today we will also know the results of the crucial meeting of the Philippine Sports Commission. Will it have a change of leaders, or will the four-termer one succeed in getting his fifth? Much of our Olympics participation will depend on this.*

 

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