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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, November 30, 2019
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OPINIONS

We need more heroes

Ninfa Leonardia

Now we know who is the fair-haired boy of the President. Note that he did not blow his top as everybody must have expected with the awful snafus that marred the start of the Southeast Asian Games, or SEAG, that others have blamed on the bumbles of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano. What President Duterte could say was that Cayetano was not corrupt. He did not say at all that he was only inefficient.

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As for Cayetano, he must be so sure of the President’s tolerance for what some dailies called the “mess”. He has dared his critics to hold him accountable only after the games. Will anybody dare to probe him, knowing that he has virtually been exonerated already by the statements of the President? For us ordinary citizens, it is not only corruption we are thinking about, it is more of the shame that we should feel at the snafus that have hounded the start of the SEAG. It is not every year that we have the privilege, or responsibility, or sponsoring it, and every care should have been taken that we do not blow it.

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What about Storm or Typhoon Kammuri, or Tisoy? Now that is something neither Cayetano or even the President himself can control it. In fact, if all the misgivings about the success of the games are considered, the coming of “Tisoy” will give us an excuse for the failure of our preparations or readiness. Who knows? A lot of Filipinos must be singing “Rain, rain, go away…” today. Anyway, let us all hope and pray that our athletes are ready and able to ensure that we will not be flops in the games held in our own country.

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But I like very much the photo showing Manny Pacquiao holding the torch during the dry run for today’s opening rites. No other Pinoy can symbolize sportsmanship like Manny, who has gained world fame for his victories in the ring, and has millions of fans worldwide. I am sure he will draw more attention from both the athletes and the crowds who will come to watch the ceremonies. By the way, there is a proposal to make entrance to the games free. That should be considered, to enable people from all walks of life to watch. All right, charge those who can afford and give them good seats, but let the general public come for free.

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“Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink”. I can no longer recall where I first read or heard that, but it seems to be coming true today. A Canadian professor who gave a lecture in Iloilo recently was reported as warning Filipinos that while we are anticipating global warming, there will also be floods, but at the same time less water. I understand that he was referring to potable water or water we use for our daily needs.

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He also told his audience that the great flood that Venice suffered recently is likely to happen in our country too! Well, I guess we have all been hearing about this thing called “global warming”, but maybe, like me, others also thought it will just mean that our atmosphere will get warmer, necessitating more air conditioners and electric fans. For that, at least, we can prepare, but there are more horrors that scientists are predicting that make us sorry for the next generation.

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Of course we have heard about melting glaciers, but had not quite realized that it could mean adding more water to our oceans. The organization called Climate Central warns that several countries could be submerged by year 2050 because the sea levels will rise, naturally, due to the melting of those gigantic ice glaciers. In the Visayas, the professor reportedly claimed, cities like Iloilo, Roxas and parts of Antique and Aklan will be below flood level by 2050!

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Today is Bonifacio Day, the holiday named after one of our country’s heroes who, many Filipinos believe is more deserving of the title of National Hero because he really gave his life fighting for his country. Well, we might say that while Jose Rizal, through his writings and condemnations of the Spanish rule, also sacrificed his life, Bonifacio, a poor man, showed his heroism and leadership in a more physical way. For my family, this day is special, not only because of the hero, but because it is also the birthday of my late brother, Andres, or Andy to his friends, but “Nihan” to us, because he was born just when the parade in honor of Andres Bonifacio was passing the hospital.*

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