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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, November 16, 2019
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Only God can make a tree

Ninfa Leonardia

In our towns and barrios such incidents may be considered like “chismis” or gossip, but this time the characters involved, and the issue as well is of world importance and the persons are topmen of their countries. Those who have been following the reports of the impending move to impeach the President of the United States, are surely aware of its major causes. Initially, I, too, wondered how the country called Ukraine came into the picture, but now that more revelations are coming out, it is clear that it is still politics behind it all.

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In simple terms, U.S. President Donald Trump is reported to have been working on Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, his mostly likely opponent in the next presidential election. And it is not only Joe Biden he wants investigated, but also the latter’s son who is a member of the board of Ukrainian company. But the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine (I suppose he is Republican, too?) does not also seem to be ready to tell untruths for him, and, unlikely as it may seem, Trump was allegedly heard over the phone following up the status of the investigation! Surely the White House telephones do not have party lines?

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Well that’s their problem, we are only interested in the gossipy nature of it all. What makes us happier and more relaxed now is that our top guns, our President and Vice President, seem to be getting along better, and if I may say so, even working together. Perhaps now President Duterte has realized that he could have eased his problems earlier, by passing on some of the work to his vice. Anyway VP Robredo does not sound like a super-ambitious person who would plot and scheme to oust him. But I still cross my fingers about their getting along till the next election.

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But already, there have been reports about threats being made to the lady drugbuster-to-be, which is not surprising because of the hazards of the job. But at the moment she does seem unfazed, and continues to plan out ways of solving the problem. They say a survey has shown that 82 percent of those polled approve what is happening in the fight against illegal drugs. Who knows? There is also a saying, not popular with men, that goes: “If a task is too hard for a man, give it to a woman”. No hard feelings, Boys! He! He!

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A four-day week? Now my reaction to that is, What a crazy idea! Workers will have three free days, but will struggle through 12 hours everyday at their workplace? Will it mean that one goes to work at, say, 8 in the morning, and leaves at 7 p.m.? Yes, they will have a long weekends, but what about those with children going to school they have to fetch, cook meals for, and help with their assignments? Will they not be too fagged out after the long day in the office?

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The proponent of the measure may call it a win-win situation, for both workers and employers, but has he asked them? Will employers not be annoyed, even feel shortchanged, when their employees become restless because they have children to think of and household tasks to perform that could mean being enable to sleep early and therefore be bright and ready for the next day? But then, perhaps, if both employers and workers like the idea, they could try it, but I do hope this does not become obligatory as in a law.

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There may not be too many prisoners on Death Row at the National Bilibid Prison but it does look as if everyone there is threatened with death. This is because the latest reports from there say that every day one inmate dies, and these are no death termers. This was disclosed by the chief of the hospital at the NBP to reporters during the Asian and Pacific Conference on Prison Health Wednesday. The chief himself says this is due to the poorly equipped hospital that has only 13 doctors for more than 47,000 prisoners in the seven colonies maintained by the Bureau of Corrections. Is it a wonder that getting sick there could be tantamount to a death sentence?

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By the way, I passed through the road (an extension of Lopez Jaena Street, I think) that has this long island in the middle with all those trees lined up on them. Is it true that some vandals are proposing to chop them down to “widen the road”, kuno? For shame! That is one of the most attractive streets in the city and one can just imagine how much they contribute to helping the environment in the area. I noted also yesterday that the grass in some parts of the island, especially around the trees, have been dug out. Oh no! Have the anti-tree officials never heard of the Joyce Kilmer poem on Trees that begins with “I think that I shall never see/ A poem lovely as a tree” and ends with “Poems are made by fools like me/ But only God can make a tree”. Calling those not in favor: Shout “NO!”*

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