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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, January 27, 2018
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Who will blink first?

Ninfa Leonardia Is this an answer to the world's prayers? A most gratifying news item yesterday was about the call from North Korea supposedly addressed to “Koreans”, to unite and make a breakthrough for unification. Even if the call also stressed that this should be accomplished “without the help of other countries”, it should be enough for those other countries to relax over their fears of a nuclear contest that the North used to hint it is ready to wage.

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I could be wrong, of course, but it seems from the reports coming from two of the top international news agencies, Reuters and the Associated Press, that North Korea had come to this conciliatory move because of perceived developments among the “other countries” that they, too, are ready with their own responses to whatever NOKOR will start. So, even if the call for unity is supposedly addressed only to Koreans, let us take it as sign that NOKOR has realized that it is true, indeed, that no man is island, and no ruler can do it alone. But let us not stop praying that all attempts or dreams of world control through nuclear power fizzle out as well.

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Note, though, that this seeming breakthrough had started with sports when athletes and musicians from North Korea were welcomed to the South to perform and broke the ice at last. Perhaps the thought that an all-Korean contingent, composed of North and South athletes could have a better chance of winning trophies, if not the championship itself in the coming Olympics with a joint North and South membership, had opened the eyes of the warlike NOKOR leader.

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While we welcome with hope the possible merging of the two Koreas we also have a problem with our own Mayon Volcano that appears to be serious about disgorging its innards so the people living within the area its ejaculations could reach, have to be forced to leave even if they do not want to, thinking about their crops and their animals that would be destroyed if the eruptions continue. It is very ironical, however, that while residents are running away, tourists, especially from non-Asian countries continue to flock to Albay to see the spectacle that is an active volcano in eruption! Tourism people must be happy, but obviously, Health officials and the police are not.

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It did not get into the front pages of the national dailies yesterday because she was only first runner-up. This was in the Miss Intercontinental contest where our entry, Katarina Rodrigues, got the first runner-up prize. Seems we have not done so well in the recent Miss This-or-That contests, with more such titles expected to come out later. Seems, however, that our luck ran out after Pia Wurtzbach, and we only got first, second, third and even 10 th runners-up lately. In other words, always a bridesmaid, never a bride.

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So Tacloban has beaten even Metro Manila to it! Tacloban now has the record of being the first in the country to have modern public utility vehicles (PUV) running on its streets. It was in Tacloban where the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program was launched on Tuesday. These are the so-called e-jeepneys that have a lot of modern trappings that will put the old former GI vehicles to shame. The new contraption is said to have such amenities as an automatic fare collection system, and CCTV cameras, among others. Woe unto the pickpockets and holduppers who will dare to ply their trade in them.

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But what will the old jeepney owners, operators and drivers have to say? Will they welcome this new-fangled entry into their bosoms, or will they resort to more protests against this modernization program? Me, I hope that the government will provide opportunities for the old timers to get into the swing, by providing them the means to acquire them, too. Say, by putting up financing programs at low interest rates through our local banks, to encourage everyone to join the act. This will mean not only comfortable and safe trips, but also less harmful pollution in our streets and highways.

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It looks as if the Lower House and the Senate have decided to stop acting like the two Koreas and have come to a compromise on the touchy subject of cha-cha. Not the dance, but the charter change proposal where they have been at loggerheads for weeks now. But they only agreed on taking up amendments, the issue on how they will vote is still unsolved. Well, the people are watching. And waiting. Who will blink first?*

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