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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, June 22, 2020
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Honor thy Father

Ninfa Leonardia

Some of us may not think of President Duterte as the best president we ever had, but at this time, I am sure many will agree that we are better off than the Americans with the kind of leader they have. In the midst of a deadly virus attacking humanity all over the world, what the leader of the United States has on his mind seems to be only his reelection. Is he sure that Americans will vote for him again? From a distance here in our country, that doesn’t seem likely, and no wonder.

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At least President Duterte has a very down-to-earth approach to the pandemic and the problems his people are facing. He has not been sparing of the Republic’s funds and has initiated the Social Amelioration Program, or SAP, that has probably kept thousands, nay, even millions, of Filipinos alive! Even here in Bacolod, a city that is not known for extreme poverty, many were starving, and would have perished had the SAP not been introduced. So the country has funds for it! It was the most practical, immediate response to the poverty and starvation looming over the country, had such project not been introduced.

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Before the SAP was introduced, I personally knew, and even had to extend help to a lot of people who no longer had jobs and were going hungry. One of them even told me he was about to commit suicide already! It was a very frightening situation, but thank God, it seems to be passing away already. Now we can already go to church, hear mass and even if there are strict rules to be observed, people are cooperating. If there is any good this pandemic has brought, it is the fact that people more compliant with rules, and nobody is complaining!

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But some countries in Europe seem to be too eager to declare themselves open to visitors, and one of them is Spain that was supposed to end the state of emergency it had declared, yesterday. That, despite the records stating that 28,000 have died of the virus there. This is one time when we Filipinos should be thankful that we live in a string of islands not connected to a mass, like the other countries in Asia, Europe and the rest. Note that even the transmission of the COVID-19 has not been as vicious as it had been in other countries. For that we should be grateful I forgot the name of the island, but we have one that the virus has not penetrated, and let us hope it never does.

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But what about the opening of classes in our country? Is the August 24 schedule approved already? I hear, though, that a lot of teachers are not happy with the idea of online teaching because they will have to go through the expense of acquiring the mechanism for it. Yes, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is reported to be ready to grant them loans to purchase such equipment, laptops and other gadgets, for use in online teaching, but the mentors have reportedly junked the idea. That will mean, of course, a big cut in their own income, and how can their families survive?

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I wonder, though, what is happening in Tulsa, where President Trump insists on holding his grand reelection rally? That is, despite the fact the Oklahoma, the state, is said to have rising cases of the COVID-19. Doctors and health officials in Tulsa say the virus is still raging, but DOCTOR Trump says otherwise. I hear that the White House will not take any responsibility for any infections that may occur during that rally. So, if you catch the virus, you’re on your own. I can’t wait to see photos or TV coverages of that rally.

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Of course we all know it already. “Coronavirus has changed the world”, that is what CNN keeps repeating. While some countries and states try to assure themselves that the virus is getting less vicious, they may just be trying to justify it. But reports from all over still emphasize that those most likely to be infected are people who are black, obese, and elderly, i.e. senior citizens. Indeed, we don’t hear news of little children affected, have we? They must have a natural immunity to it. Oh, to be little kids again!

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Yesterday was Fathers’ Day and how I envy those who still have their fathers around to greet and maybe treat on this special day. My own beloved father passed away a long time ago, but not before all of us his nine children had completed college. For that we are very grateful because he sent us to school on his own, even if his parents were quite well-off and only helped with school entrance expenses – if we spend the summer vacation with them!

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My father, their only son, finished law when we were already in high school, and that gave us a very good example in perseverance and going after your dream, no matter what the obstacles. Now we miss him on this special day, but I am sure he is already enjoying the company of my late mother, sister, and his six other children who have joined them already. May they all rest in the peace of our Lord and Savior! Amen.*

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