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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, January 22, 2018
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Another Kris Aquino?

Ninfa Leonardia

What a fuss they are making over the coming out party of the young lady who happens to be the granddaughter of the president. The grand event, held at the Manila Peninsula's Rigodon Ballroom, was described in superlatives by the media, who even listed down the items in the menu. Remember Ms. Isabelle Duterte, who got into the news when she had pictorials of her debut taken at Malacañang Palace, and in Australia as well?

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But very noticeably absent were her famous grandfather and her former vice mayor father who is believed to have resigned his post as a result of his tiff with her over this debut affair in a very well publicized spat that went viral. We don't know, but could it be that father and daughter are still not on speaking terms? Only the debutant's mother, and an uncle were present, no Duterte was mentioned in the report. It is no secret, though, that the debuting lady had her eye on a showbiz career, so this grand coming out must be the introduction. After all, if presidential daughter Kris Aquino could do it, why not Isabelle Duterte? This we've got to see.

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Meanwhile, it seems a strange coincidence that on the day the debut story of Isabelle came out, a news item, illustrated with photos also showed Kris Aquino on its front page among the People of the Year honored by PeopleAsia, who included such personalities as the late columnist Max Soliven, former President Fidel Ramos, Ateneo de Manila president Fr. Jett Villarin. Kris Aquino, as one of the honorees, was given the title of “Queen of All Media”. Let's see Isabelle D. match that.

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I wonder what exactly was meant by the report that the “US gov't had shut down”? The accompanying story said the Democrats and the Republicans had failed to reach a deal on funds because of a dispute over such issues as immigration and border security. Because of that, the U.S. government had no more money by midnight on Friday! And it was the first anniversary of the Trump administration, too. And this also means some 850,000 workers cannot be paid, until Congress reaches an agreement. I hope our Constitution does not have any provision that could bring our country to a similar impasse.

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Are you among those wondering, or cursing over the horrible traffic jams, especially in the bigger and more advanced cities in the country? After learning about the “miracles” in the automobile industry, I wonder no more. The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines and the Truck Manufacturers Association have released the figures pertaining to the sales of vehicles in the country for the year 2017, and they showed a very big increase over those in previous years. It said there were 425,673 units sold by the various car manufacturing companies in the country in 2017!

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The report also said that the manufacturers' target was to produce only 400,500 in 2017, but apparently, there were more buyers than they had reckoned with. Add that figure to the 339,572 sold in 2016, and the thousands already on the streets in previous years, and, would you still be wondering why there are all those traffic jams in the streets? Of course the car members and dealers are ecstatic, they never had it so good. But drivers and workers are gritting their teeth everytime they leave their homes with the thousands of other vehicles on the road.

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What could be the reason why people are so eager to buy vehicles now? For one, there are the generous offers from dealers, who appear to have arrangements with banks for financing their purchase, with very reasonable down-payments that any worker earning a bit more than minimum wages can afford. Some, naturally, end up in the parking lots of the banks, but that's no longer the dealer's worry, is it? With the onset of 2018, try to take note of the rush in purchases of new cars, especially in Bacolod. And watch also for a further increase in traffic – and road rage incidents!

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But the coming out of new models should make the atmosphere more healthful because they exude less fumes, if not for the inconvenience of all drivers and passengers who get late for appointments, students who don't get to school on time, and the rise of tempers from the impatient ones. Speaking of fumes, a drive is on in Metro Manila called “Anti usok-anti bulok (Anti smoke-anti dilapidated ones)” that, I guess, is targeted at the aging jeepneys whose days are being numbered while their owners and operators are struggling in protest. What can solve this problem?*

 

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