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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, January 12, 2018
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Stronger and stronger

Ninfa Leonardia Now they tell them. After raising the hopes of teachers that their salaries will be hiked, even doubled, comes now the announcement that no such increase is going to happen. The Department of Budget and Management now says such hike is not a priority, even if the Duterte Administration had promised to do so. Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno has firmly stated that it is not possible because of the Salary Standardization Law.

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Didn't the President himself not know about the SSL before making such promises? I suspect a lot of professionals who were considering going into other occupations had decided to go into teaching after hearing of that promise. But, instead, the government prioritized the increases for soldiers and the police. What must rankle is that they had all been hoping for the increase, believing that the President would keep his word. Well, our island also has an ax to grind with Diokno. Wasn't he the one who influenced the President to “disband” the already functioning famously Negros Island Region, or NIR? Teachers must remember him in case he decides to run for an elective position.

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Speaking of elections, while a lot of officials from various agencies are said to be honing themselves for a try at the Senate, or for reelection, the dictator's son and namesake, better known as Bongbong, claims he is not running for that office because he is already vice president. That, according to his illusions of having been beaten Leni Robredo in the last election. How self-assured can a man be? He sounds now as if he is going to be worse than his patriarch. He scoffs at the 200,000-plus votes Robredo got over him, but isn't one vote enough for a winner to be declared? Well, let him dream, until he comes down to earth.

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It is reassuring to know that the United States stands ready to defend our country against outside “provocations”, like the recent discovery that China is building an airbase on land that is supposed to belong to us, but what is our President's view of the matter? A report quoted him as saying that the bond between the Philippines and China is improving. What can he mean by that? Is he referring to a bond, or a chain? Many Filipinos do not understand.

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It is indeed very pleasurable to see the Capitol Lagoon regaining its previous come-on to city residents who include both children and adults, especially the joggers and hikers who have returned there for their morning strolls. However, I wish those in charge, or, perhaps any civic club with concerned members, will think of putting up those play sets for children: the swings, see-saws, slides and other items we used to enjoy as children. We then lived very near the capitol and so it was easy for us, coming from school, to proceed there for a few minutes of swinging or whooping down the slides. For that matter, do any of our subdivisions have provisions for parks where children can run around and play?

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An interesting piece of news recently was that gambling entities like casinos will soon impose entrance fees to would-be gamblers of P3,500. Now, any interested party who has only that amount in his pocket and hopes of doubling it, will think several times before proceeding. This must have been triggered by that incident last year about an addictive gambler who set fire to the Resorts World Casino and eventually killed himself in one of the hotel rooms. Several players were killed, and also some casino staff, making that one of the worst tragedies in Manila.

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The incident was brought back by an international report that the other day the World Health Organization disclosed findings that gambling addiction is a disease and must be managed as such. The website of the Philippine Psychiatric Association, Inc. had also disclosed a similar finding, and, in fact, gave the addiction a name: “Ludomania”. For those who may be facing such problems in their families, or even personally, the association suggested a visit to ( www.philpsych.ph ) that gives a list of psychiatrists capable of treating such addicts.

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They're getting stronger and stronger! It was frightening to hear and read the news that an earthquake at 7.6 magnitude had struck at the Caribbean islands Tuesday, and was so powerful that a tsunami alert was sounded. And the warning covered distant Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. But, miraculously, no heavy drama has been reported up to the time of reporting which was yesterday. That must have been the strongest quake to hit anywhere in the world in the past few years, and let us pray it will be the last.*

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