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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, January 19, 2019
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with Ninfa Leonardia
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Vamos a ver, Broner!

Ninfa Leonardia

A survey by the Social Weather Station said that the hunger rate among Filipinos in the year 2018 was the lowest in 15 years. It said only 10.5 percent of Filipinos were hungry in the period between October and December last year. I hope that does not mean that all those who were hungry before that period had already died, hence the reduction in number.

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Joking aside, we all hope that such reports are true and that less Pinoys are dying of hunger or suffering serious malnutrition from lack of proper food and not eating three meals a day. Of course we exclude people we know who have been ordered by their doctors to go on intense diet programs to avoid shortening their lives. Sadly, a lot of such people fail to go through such diet restrictions and end up even gaining more weight by the occasional cheating!

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Shouldn’t they be ashamed? Senator, and former military general Panfilo “Ping” Lacson has advised members of the House of Representatives not to pursue their plan of sneaking in a lot of money in the proposed 2019 budget, that would benefit some favored officers and members of the House. So the government is making do with the old budget that will not cover new projects programmed for this new year. The main killjoy to the naughty plans of some congressmen is the eagle-eye of Senator Ping, who, in effect, was telling them not to be “greedy”.

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Meanwhile, I regret missing the visit to Bacolod the other day of now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who was President of the country when we first met. We had interviewed her several times then, and she even visited in our firetrap of an office at the old and now demolished Paglaum building, where she patiently posed with members of the staff, and even our driver then, who claimed he never thought he could meet a President, much less pose for a photo with her!

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Anyway, I was naturally delighted when our Carla Gomez reported later that when they met in Bacolod Thursday, GMA immediately asked her “How is Ninfa?” The lady surely has the memory of an elephant, despite her very petite size! Who can help being flattered, being remembered by someone who was prominent, and unbeatable as that? I wonder, though, if she is still seeking any government office, since she apparently has not filed a certificate of candidacy. Well, she can always serve in any appointive position, her experience and savvy will still be needed by the country.

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Where did you ever hear of a government that shut itself down and refuses to see the plight of its workers who have not been paid, and government machinery at a stand-still? Well, that is what is happening in, of all places, the United States of America. It has been more than three weeks already since everything stopped, because the President and Congress could not see eye to eye on his plan to build a wall to shut out immigrants from neighboring Mexico. Meanwhile, federal employees are unpaid, and projects have stopped. Is President Donald Trump playing a fiddle while this is going on?

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An offshoot of this shutdown is that Trump himself may have to “shut up” with his scheduled State of the Union Address, the equivalent of our own presidents’ State of the Nation Address, or SONA. The SUNA is scheduled on January 29, but he is being asked to either postpone it, or do it in writing! Naturally, Trump, who loves to hear himself talk, is not likely to agree to that, but who will be there to listen to him if he insists on going on with it?

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Oh, let the Americans worry over their predicament. For us, especially today, our attention is focused on Las Vegas, where our Pambansang Kamao (National Fist), is going to meet in the ring in Las Vegas, one of the worst braggarts he has ever encountered. This Adrien Broner, who speaks like a slum dweller, or worse, has been saying a lot of dirty things about our country and people in the most despicable language. Could he be whistling in the dark, and trying to hide with swear words and bluster his fear of losing to Manny Pacquiao? Well, today (in the U.S., tomorrow here) we will know if his fist is as wicked as his tongue. As the Spaniards would say, “Vamos a ver!” Let us see.*

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