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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, September 1, 2020
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OPINIONS

Who are in the firing line?

Ninfa Leonardia

BOOM! That will not be the sound of thunder or of drums, but an undetermined increase in the population of our country in the last months of 2020 and the early ones of 2021. Why? Well, you won’t be wrong if you blame the COVIC pandemic, as it could be said to be responsible in some way. I don’t think we need details on how that will happen, but some wags blame our Health authorities for insisting on the “Stay Home” program that must have led to it. And don’t ask me for further information about it, I have absolutely nothing credible to contribute.

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Are they joking? I am referring to the oil producing companies and their distributors locally who have recently announced decreases in the prices of their products, but what discounts? Ever since I started driving and having my own vehicles, and now a driver because of my physical condition, I have never, or, at least I don’t remember decreases in fuel prices by the centavos, like five or ten per liter! But when prices are raised, Wow! One could only gasp at the amount added, practically overnight. And I thought oil producing countries were getting more from their wells than they could dispense with!

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When, Oh when can vehicles be invented that can run on coconut oil, or even just petroleum? Don’t laugh and call that wishful thinking, but why not? Stranger things have come out from the minds of gifted people who burned the midnight oil, figuratively, to discover things that could make life easier for the human race. Look at the advances in medicine and surgery. Now even kidneys and hearts can be transplanted, even cancer is no longer the certain cause of death for sufferers. Science, and that includes medical techniques, continue to march on.

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And now this COVID thing that China has very generously shared with the entire world. As of yesterday, reports came out about various attempts to produce a vaccine against it that have been considered promising. Meanwhile, there were also reports that in Great Britain, the pandemic has not affected young people as much as those in the United States. The TV host who reported that opined that it could be because the British youngsters are more observant of the do’s and don’ts, while the Americans, well, not all of them, of course, still continue with their partying and hardly observe such measures as mask-wearing and physical distancing.

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I can just imagine the tensions now in the U.S. with their elections coming up in less than three months. I guess that COVID or no COVID, they will go on with it and the ones with sleepless nights are not only the candidates, but also their campaign managers. The incumbent Donald Trump seems to put on a show of confidence, but why is he always acowling? Come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever seen a picture of him smiling, much less laughing! No wonder even his own sister does not like him. To be fair, I have not seen Joe Biden smiling, either, but his expression seems more benign.

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We sympathize with the people of India that has now gone up as the country with the third highest number of COVID victims. The latest figures show 64,000 victims, and it has surpassed even the United States. Brazil is also among those badly hit. Even Australia, which seems to be distant from any neighbors, has also been stricken with the reported 41 fatalities, from Victoria. Even sports activities are affected, and I hear there is still some doubt if the popular NBA games in the U.S. will be postponed. How disappointed basketball fans worldwide will be!

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Late last week, 71 bodies of Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia were scheduled to arrive in Manila. It was not noted where those bodies will be transported as they must be natives of various provinces. One can just imagine 71 more families in our country losing their breadwinners, and mourning the loss of a loved one. I hope our agencies abroad are taking care that those victims receive what compensations are due them from their employers as a consolation to their bereft families.

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I am sure all media practitioners, whatever their medium, are commiserating not only with the network management, but with the people who have worked with it, drew out all their talents and abilities to make it the huge success and popularity it had gained. I had hoped and prayed for them, because I know how much the network had contributed not only to the education and information of our people, it also provided relief and entertainment during their times of sorrows and disappointments. Was that franchise problem truly unsolvable? Ah, all of us in the media should be very careful, nowadays. It look as if we are all vulnerable. Who else are in the firing line?*

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