© Copyright, 2015 (PHNO) http://newsflash.org  | NOVEMBER 18 -19, 2015


EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)

FROM INQUIRER

EDITORIAL: 2 YEARS AFTER YOLANDA


POSTED 2 YEARS AGO: 'May the storm reform politics'. Editorial cartoon from the Cebu Daily News. November 13th, 2013. It’s been two years since Supertyphoon “Yolanda” smashed into the Visayas and changed not only the landscape but also life as the people there once knew it. Wasn’t it only yesterday when the survivors of the most destructive typhoon to hit land were dazedly surveying what had remained of their homes, searching for their loved ones, and wondering how to bury their dead? The world, through the international media, saw the devastation and gasped. It was not too long before help in cash and in kind poured in from all parts of the globe, and the Philippines was firmly made to understand that it was not alone. But how has it been since? The government has poured resources into the massive task of rebuilding, but for many of those directly affected by Yolanda, tremendous problems remain. The devastated areas, such as Tacloban City, no longer bear the superficial marks of disaster; buildings have risen again, and business has been recovering. It is clear that a certain progress has been made, but authorities admit that only 51 percent of the rehabilitation and reconstruction projects were completed two years after the fact. In Barangay Cabalawan in Tacloban, for example, 115 displaced families still await the permanent housing they were promised. “It’s not safe here,” Rhea Alaga, a mother of two, said of the temporary shelter in which they live. “Every time it rains, my son would cling to me and say, ‘there’s a storm, there’s a storm.’” The National Housing Authority had promised that new homes for Alaga and others would be completed by Oct. 15. Housing officials testified at a Senate hearing that less than one-tenth of the housing required for the survivors of Yolanda have been built. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma was quick to explain why: “Let’s understand that the devastation done by Yolanda was so extensive. By other countries’ experience, two years is not enough to deal with all the needs of the affected families.” But according to Chaloka Bayani, the United Nations rapporteur on human rights of internally displaced people, the Philippine government has simply not done enough: “While [it] is to be commended in terms of its immediate responses, its attention for ensuring sustainable durable solutions for internally displaced [people] remains inadequate to date,” Bayani said in a website post. Imagine if foreign governments, nongovernment organizations, big business, and private citizens had not pitched in. Virtually all of the Philippines’ big companies gave much. READ MORE...

ALSO: Editorial - Growing up global


INQUIRER EDITORIAL ON NOVEMBER 11, 2015

One of the more striking theses that the three Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation business leaders made in Monday’s Meet Inquirer Multimedia forum was the argument from, or rather for, maturity. Asked specifically what was “in it” for the Philippines to host the biggest annual gathering of heads of government outside the United Nations system, businessman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala offered three answers, two of which were related to a different definition of growth. Aside from exposure—that is, the opportunity to showcase the Philippines to thousands of visiting decision-makers, including but not limited to the delegates who attended the 40-plus ministerial or subministerial meetings that the country has already hosted—the chair and CEO of Ayala Corp. also spoke about engagement and leadership. Why should we put up with the disruption of our regular schedules when we host a high-profile gathering like next week’s Apec Summit of 21 “economic leaders”? Because we must engage. “I think we have to learn as a country to host big events. The world is increasingly interconnected. It’s global. Exchange of information, and movement of people, and convening, are part and parcel of a mature, growing economy. This has forced us, as other gatherings have done, to just host. And hosting should be a natural strength of our country. We’re very service-oriented, we’re a welcoming people, we all speak to a certain extent a great deal of English in the country. It should be a natural.” And because we must seize the chance to exercise leadership. “Just the chance to provide leadership in a global setting—our minister level, our President, our business community—to lead the discussions, lead the CEO conference. This is part of becoming a grownup in a global economy. They are things we should get used to.” In other words: It’s time for the Philippines to level up. As hosts, the Philippines has designed the Apec process so that discussions will focus on inclusive growth—that is, how to bring the benefits of open markets to ordinary citizens, to expand the middle class. “Our theme was really premised on where we conceive the biggest potential for growth,” Doris Magsaysay Ho, this year’s chair of the Apec Business Advisory Council, told the forum. “This regional integration has really brought in huge growth in the middle class. What we want to see is where we could find different areas of growth through regional integration.” Bill Luz of the National Competitiveness Council sharpened the focus on inclusive growth: “Curing poverty is much more complex than any of us have ever imagined. The key is job generation,” he said. But Zobel de Ayala’s remarks—and those of Ho and Luz—suggest that another kind of growth is also in focus here. Ho called it “a new mindset,” a better understanding of the opportunities and responsibilities open to Filipinos in a world where they can set the pace, where they have the power to lead and persuade and convene. READ MORE...

ALSO: Editorial - Clueless


INQUIRER EDITORIAL ON NOVEMBER 14, 2015

Can the commuting masses who demand better public transportation services be deemed unreasonable? Are they being petulant when, in exchange for their money, they expect the MRT/LRT rush-hour queues, though frighteningly long, to at least lumber along smoothly, and the trains to be sufficient for their great numbers, not to conk out on dangerously defective rails or to overshoot metal barriers, not to leak when it rains, and to hum efficiently and quickly overhead, bearing them to the workplaces that galvanize commerce and industry? The way it looks, the way transportation officials headed by Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya behave, the teeming masses forced to put up with all manner of glitches almost daily in their commute are being a spoiled bunch in their expectations. Up to this late date, Abaya seems to have no idea of the agony that accompanies commuting in the metropolis; if he does, he would be behaving differently and wouldn’t dream of adding any more to President Aquino’s plate of embarrassments. Wouldn’t he? Apparently not. At the Senate hearing last Monday, the dismal state of MRT3 and the unsatisfactory moves of the Department of Transportation and Communications under Abaya’s leadership—for example, Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. had been allowed to deliver the urgently-needed new trains without the engines, thus precluding their immediate testing, and at any rate 7,000 meters of defective rails still have to be replaced before train testing—were formally disclosed to the public under the questioning of Sen. Grace Poe. The long and short of it was that a day after the hearing, in which the most annoying delays (in the rehabilitation of elevators and escalators, in the procurement of components for women’s toilets, etc.) were disclosed, Poe was moved to comment that the nation needed a better DOTC chief. She is too kind in her formulation. That Abaya is unfit for the DOTC portfolio has been made clear early on, not only in the dismal state of the MRT/LRT but also in sundry other matters such as long-delayed vehicle license plates and even poor interconnections. By his words he has displayed a particular contempt for the commuting public, cavalierly dismissing its complaints about the state of the MRT/LRT and generally opening his mouth to put his foot in: For example, last August, responding to complaints about the road congestion resulting from the construction of the LRT Line 2 extension, he imperiously said the heavy traffic was “not fatal” (“hindi nakakamatay” was what he reportedly said; the nuance is lost in translation) and not a “burden” to the people’s daily lives. Later, taking a beating in the traditional and social media, he apologized for what he said. But the exchange underscored a combative, trigger-happy nature hardly suitable for a Cabinet official in the service of the people. READ MORE...

ALSO By Rina Jimenez-David: Leni Robredo, as herself


A tantalizing thought to many women (or at least the women I encounter on Facebook) is that, for what seems like the first time, the Philippines faces the possibility of having a woman president and vice president serving at the same time. Two women—Sen. Grace Poe and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago—are contesting the presidency; one woman, Rep. Leni Robredo of Camarines Sur, is running for vice president alongside Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas. Isn’t she at least tickled at the thought? I asked Robredo during a late-evening chat last Thursday with reporters and editors of this paper. “Sana hindi (I hope it doesn’t happen),” she replied. While she knows both women senators, although not all that well, Robredo said her and Roxas’ “strengths complement each other’s.” “It also matters where we both came from, our shared orientation toward public service,” she added. Previously, Robredo had been quoted as saying that “anyone who once gave up her citizenship to become a citizen of another country has lost the right to later run for president of her native land.” Of course Robredo meant Poe, who says she regained her Filipino citizenship when she came home to bury her father and brought her family here. But Robredo said she was speaking as a matter of principle. There is also the matter of Robredo’s own lack of “exposure” beyond her home district and beyond the circle of the Liberal Party and her supporters among civil society. “I am not well known,” she conceded, even if, as the widow of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, she had her own time in the limelight in the immediate aftermath of the plane crash that killed him. But she is an “easy sell,” she said, quoting Sen. Serge Osmeña who has volunteered to assist in her campaign (but not, intriguingly, in Roxas’). “He (Osmeña) said that while I have low awareness ratings among the public, I enjoy a very high conversion rate.” Meaning, once people get to know her and listen to her, they are easily convinced to vote for her. “He said that is better than if it were the other way around.” READ MORE...

ALSO France terror attacks:  Editorial - Savage night


A sold-out stadium hosting a live soccer match was among the sites targeted in Friday night’s attacks in Paris. Witnesses reported hearing two explosions at the Stade de France, or in its immediate vicinity, in the first half of an exhibition game between the French national soccer team and Germany. CHRISTOPHE ENA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
There is yet nothing definite in the motives and identities of those behind the savage attacks on soccer fans, concert goers and restaurant diners in Paris on Friday night, although suspicion among authorities in France and elsewhere in the world is falling on extremists who have launched earlier attacks there and who have shown the capability and determination to launch such murderous operations. The shooting and bombing attacks on six different sites have claimed the lives of at least 153 civilians—indeed an “abomination,” as French President François Hollande said. The nature of the killings, as well as the suicide explosions that snuffed out the lives of the attackers, is simply unprecedented, and it is yet unknown if there are others among the killers who have escaped the police dragnet or slipped away through France’s borders. The bloodbath in Paris—which only in January reeled from the attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that resulted in the killing of 10 including the editor, cartoonists and other members of the staff—represents a new and frightening level of terrorism with which not only France but also every other nation that values liberty, equality and fraternity has to come to grips. This bloodbath drives home the point that now, not only specific groups are vulnerable, and that now, everyone can conceivably be a target. This bloodbath deserves the strongest condemnation and the firmest resolve to stand fast and never to bow to terrorism. THE FULL EDITORIAL.


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

EDITORIAL: 2 years after ‘Yolanda’
[“Disaster preparedness” remains a hot catchphrase among local government units, but the question has to be asked: Are we really ready? The government has done much to help those whose world was upended by Yolanda, but the truth is that its task remains incomplete. So long as displaced families still sleep in makeshift shelters and their children panic at every roll of thunder, much remains to be done.]


POSTED 2 YEARS AGO: 'May the storm reform politics'. Editorial cartoon from the Cebu Daily News. November 13th, 2013.

MANILA, NOVEMBER 16, 2015 (
INQUIRER)
@inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:47 AM November 8th, 2015 -It’s been two years since Supertyphoon “Yolanda” smashed into the Visayas and changed not only the landscape but also life as the people there once knew it. Wasn’t it only yesterday when the survivors of the most destructive typhoon to hit land were dazedly surveying what had remained of their homes, searching for their loved ones, and wondering how to bury their dead?

The world, through the international media, saw the devastation and gasped. It was not too long before help in cash and in kind poured in from all parts of the globe, and the Philippines was firmly made to understand that it was not alone. But how has it been since?

The government has poured resources into the massive task of rebuilding, but for many of those directly affected by Yolanda, tremendous problems remain. The devastated areas, such as Tacloban City, no longer bear the superficial marks of disaster; buildings have risen again, and business has been recovering. It is clear that a certain progress has been made, but authorities admit that only 51 percent of the rehabilitation and reconstruction projects were completed two years after the fact.

In Barangay Cabalawan in Tacloban, for example, 115 displaced families still await the permanent housing they were promised. “It’s not safe here,” Rhea Alaga, a mother of two, said of the temporary shelter in which they live. “Every time it rains, my son would cling to me and say, ‘there’s a storm, there’s a storm.’” The National Housing Authority had promised that new homes for Alaga and others would be completed by Oct. 15.

Housing officials testified at a Senate hearing that less than one-tenth of the housing required for the survivors of Yolanda have been built. Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma was quick to explain why: “Let’s understand that the devastation done by Yolanda was so extensive. By other countries’ experience, two years is not enough to deal with all the needs of the affected families.”

But according to Chaloka Bayani, the United Nations rapporteur on human rights of internally displaced people, the Philippine government has simply not done enough: “While [it] is to be commended in terms of its immediate responses, its attention for ensuring sustainable durable solutions for internally displaced [people] remains inadequate to date,” Bayani said in a website post.

Imagine if foreign governments, nongovernment organizations, big business, and private citizens had not pitched in. Virtually all of the Philippines’ big companies gave much.

READ MORE...

The Red Cross and Unicef were on the ground at the earliest time possible. Volunteers of the Tzu Chi Foundation, founded in Taiwan and now with 10-million membership through branches in 47 countries, quickly arrived at the disaster area, paying their own way to do grunt work as well as donate over P1 billion in aid.

They innovated with a 19-day cash-for-work program in which some 34,000 survivors helped clean up their villages and received cash with which to buy provisions and help restart their local economy. The Urban Poor Associates is still continuing to assist displaced families in Tacloban. That’s just naming a few.

There is a renewed effort to not merely provide food and shelter but also to refocus on the bigger picture. Last March, the Philippine delegation to the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, pushed for a greater awareness of how to manage the effects of calamities of the likes of Yolanda. “The new priority action framework for disaster risk reduction must address the growing risks present in countries, especially in vulnerable communities,” said Sen. Loren Legarda, one of the delegation heads. After all, what could be more important than learning how to be ready when something like Yolanda strikes again?

“Disaster preparedness” remains a hot catchphrase among local government units, but the question has to be asked: Are we really ready? The government has done much to help those whose world was upended by Yolanda, but the truth is that its task remains incomplete.

So long as displaced families still sleep in makeshift shelters and their children panic at every roll of thunder, much remains to be done.


Growing up global SHARES: 33 VIEW COMMENTS @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 01:28 AM November 11th, 2015

One of the more striking theses that the three Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation business leaders made in Monday’s Meet Inquirer Multimedia forum was the argument from, or rather for, maturity. Asked specifically what was “in it” for the Philippines to host the biggest annual gathering of heads of government outside the United Nations system, businessman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala offered three answers, two of which were related to a different definition of growth.

Aside from exposure—that is, the opportunity to showcase the Philippines to thousands of visiting decision-makers, including but not limited to the delegates who attended the 40-plus ministerial or subministerial meetings that the country has already hosted—the chair and CEO of Ayala Corp. also spoke about engagement and leadership.

Why should we put up with the disruption of our regular schedules when we host a high-profile gathering like next week’s Apec Summit of 21 “economic leaders”?

ADVERTISEMENT Advertisement Because we must engage. “I think we have to learn as a country to host big events. The world is increasingly interconnected. It’s global. Exchange of information, and movement of people, and convening, are part and parcel of a mature, growing economy. This has forced us, as other gatherings have done, to just host. And hosting should be a natural strength of our country. We’re very service-oriented, we’re a welcoming people, we all speak to a certain extent a great deal of English in the country. It should be a natural.”

And because we must seize the chance to exercise leadership. “Just the chance to provide leadership in a global setting—our minister level, our President, our business community—to lead the discussions, lead the CEO conference. This is part of becoming a grownup in a global economy. They are things we should get used to.”

In other words: It’s time for the Philippines to level up.

As hosts, the Philippines has designed the Apec process so that discussions will focus on inclusive growth—that is, how to bring the benefits of open markets to ordinary citizens, to expand the middle class. “Our theme was really premised on where we conceive the biggest potential for growth,” Doris Magsaysay Ho, this year’s chair of the Apec Business Advisory Council, told the forum. “This regional integration has really brought in huge growth in the middle class. What we want to see is where we could find different areas of growth through regional integration.” Bill Luz of the National Competitiveness Council sharpened the focus on inclusive growth: “Curing poverty is much more complex than any of us have ever imagined. The key is job generation,” he said.

But Zobel de Ayala’s remarks—and those of Ho and Luz—suggest that another kind of growth is also in focus here. Ho called it “a new mindset,” a better understanding of the opportunities and responsibilities open to Filipinos in a world where they can set the pace, where they have the power to lead and persuade and convene.

READ MORE...

Beyond the practical challenge of surmounting the logistical nightmare of the coming week, then, is something less material: an attitude change, a reorientation that places the greater burdens imposed on a rising star of the regional economy in clearer perspective.

This may come across as impertinence to motorists and commuters who may get stuck in rerouted traffic in the capital region next week, or as an irrelevance to those students and employees vacationing during the extra holidays.

But it might be worth thinking about: What does it matter to the Philippines to host the leaders and other officials of the world’s biggest economies (and, no coincidence, some of the world’s strongest militaries), if it were simply an event, something filed in the memory as soon as Barack Obama and Xi Jinping and other leaders shed their barong?

It has to be seen as a test of our capacities, indeed a rite of passage. Only in that way will the strain on the country’s fabled reputation for hospitality be seen for what it can be: growing pains.


Clueless @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:35 AM November 12th, 2015


INQUIRER EDITORIAL ON NOVEMBER 14, 2015

Can the commuting masses who demand better public transportation services be deemed unreasonable? Are they being petulant when, in exchange for their money, they expect the MRT/LRT rush-hour queues, though frighteningly long, to at least lumber along smoothly, and the trains to be sufficient for their great numbers, not to conk out on dangerously defective rails or to overshoot metal barriers, not to leak when it rains, and to hum efficiently and quickly overhead, bearing them to the workplaces that galvanize commerce and industry?

The way it looks, the way transportation officials headed by Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya behave, the teeming masses forced to put up with all manner of glitches almost daily in their commute are being a spoiled bunch in their expectations. Up to this late date, Abaya seems to have no idea of the agony that accompanies commuting in the metropolis; if he does, he would be behaving differently and wouldn’t dream of adding any more to President Aquino’s plate of embarrassments. Wouldn’t he?

Apparently not. At the Senate hearing last Monday, the dismal state of MRT3 and the unsatisfactory moves of the Department of Transportation and Communications under Abaya’s leadership—for example, Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. had been allowed to deliver the urgently-needed new trains without the engines, thus precluding their immediate testing, and at any rate 7,000 meters of defective rails still have to be replaced before train testing—were formally disclosed to the public under the questioning of Sen. Grace Poe. The long and short of it was that a day after the hearing, in which the most annoying delays (in the rehabilitation of elevators and escalators, in the procurement of components for women’s toilets, etc.) were disclosed, Poe was moved to comment that the nation needed a better DOTC chief.

She is too kind in her formulation. That Abaya is unfit for the DOTC portfolio has been made clear early on, not only in the dismal state of the MRT/LRT but also in sundry other matters such as long-delayed vehicle license plates and even poor interconnections. By his words he has displayed a particular contempt for the commuting public, cavalierly dismissing its complaints about the state of the MRT/LRT and generally opening his mouth to put his foot in: For example, last August, responding to complaints about the road congestion resulting from the construction of the LRT Line 2 extension, he imperiously said the heavy traffic was “not fatal” (“hindi nakakamatay” was what he reportedly said; the nuance is lost in translation) and not a “burden” to the people’s daily lives. Later, taking a beating in the traditional and social media, he apologized for what he said. But the exchange underscored a combative, trigger-happy nature hardly suitable for a Cabinet official in the service of the people.

READ MORE...

And then there was the time in August 2014 when he deigned to get on the MRT3, ostensibly to look into commuters’ complaints. He sallied forth at the relatively less stressful hour of 1 p.m. in the company of other DOTC officials, a gaggle of media persons, and, by certain accounts, an umbrella man. (What is it about umbrella men and people in power?) The DOTC chief took an uneventful ride from Ortigas to North Avenue—and wondered what everyone had been complaining about. He didn’t—doesn’t—have a clue.

Now he has been tasked to look into the rash of “laglag-bala” incidents at the airport involving an apparent scam to fleece travelers “found” with a bullet or two in their luggage. He said the investigation would take a month but that the numbers—“only three cases,” and “we can’t necessarily deduce that these three cases are of ‘laglag-bala’”—don’t appear to indicate a syndicate at work. Halfway attentive observers can hardly be expected to hold their breath.

Abaya, a known friend of the President, calls his being in office a “mere privilege.” It’s not too late to give up that privilege. Back in the day when knights stood for honor and fidelity, they did not hesitate to fall on their sword in defense of their king.


Leni Robredo, as herself SHARES: 27 VIEW COMMENTS By: Rina Jimenez-David @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 01:30 AM November 15th, 2015

A tantalizing thought to many women (or at least the women I encounter on Facebook) is that, for what seems like the first time, the Philippines faces the possibility of having a woman president and vice president serving at the same time.

Two women—Sen. Grace Poe and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago—are contesting the presidency; one woman, Rep. Leni Robredo of Camarines Sur, is running for vice president alongside Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas.

Isn’t she at least tickled at the thought? I asked Robredo during a late-evening chat last Thursday with reporters and editors of this paper. “Sana hindi (I hope it doesn’t happen),” she replied. While she knows both women senators, although not all that well, Robredo said her and Roxas’ “strengths complement each other’s.”

“It also matters where we both came from, our shared orientation toward public service,” she added.

Previously, Robredo had been quoted as saying that “anyone who once gave up her citizenship to become a citizen of another country has lost the right to later run for president of her native land.” Of course Robredo meant Poe, who says she regained her Filipino citizenship when she came home to bury her father and brought her family here. But Robredo said she was speaking as a matter of principle.

There is also the matter of Robredo’s own lack of “exposure” beyond her home district and beyond the circle of the Liberal Party and her supporters among civil society. “I am not well known,” she conceded, even if, as the widow of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, she had her own time in the limelight in the immediate aftermath of the plane crash that killed him.

But she is an “easy sell,” she said, quoting Sen. Serge Osmeña who has volunteered to assist in her campaign (but not, intriguingly, in Roxas’). “He (Osmeña) said that while I have low awareness ratings among the public, I enjoy a very high conversion rate.” Meaning, once people get to know her and listen to her, they are easily convinced to vote for her. “He said that is better than if it were the other way around.”

READ MORE...

* * *

Many were surprised when Leni Robredo finally agreed to be Roxas’ running mate.

“It was one of the hardest, most difficult decisions I had to make,” she admitted, adding that everyone in her circle of family, friends and constituents were against her jumping into the fray of a national campaign. Most crucial was the support of her three daughters, the youngest just 15. She spoke of coming home from Bicol on the day before she made her announcement and being met by all three girls, who had been adamantly against her candidacy, but who then told her: “We have talked about it and we decided this is something Dad would want you to do.”

She has always been, Robredo said, an “underdog” in the course of her life in politics. She first bumped heads with a powerful political clan whose members were itching to return to power after Jesse’s untimely departure. Now she faces a formidable field where she is once again the least known of the contenders, trailing behind vice presidential contenders Chiz Escudero and Bongbong Marcos, the leaders of the pack.

* * *

To his credit, Roxas takes great pains to introduce her to audiences whenever they are together in sorties, Robredo said. “He always and quickly introduces me to people.”

She wondered why Roxas should be burdened with the perception of being aloof, an elitist who doesn’t understand the problems of the “little people.”

“I have seen him among crowds and people just flock to him,” she pointed out. “In person, he is very warm.”

She best knows Roxas through the lens of her memories of her husband. “He was not mabarkada (gregarious),” she recalled of Jesse, but for some reason he and Roxas formed a bond. For many years, they would have breakfast together once a week or whenever Jesse was in Manila. And when Roxas was with her and the girls, he and his wife, broadcaster Korina Sanchez, were both “very kind and warm.”

She expressed admiration for Roxas’ performance in office, having been tested in many crises and disasters. “Kahit mahirap, hindi umaatras (Even when the going is tough, he never backs down),” she said of her running mate.

* * *


Senator Grace Poe (left) and Congresswoman Leni Robredo. ROBREDO ON POE:  It’s more of a moral issue than a legal one, Camarines Sur representative and vice presidential contender Leni Robredo said of the citizenship controversy hounding Sen. Grace Poe’s presidential run. She also described questions about Poe’s citizenship as a “major issue,” and one that should not be compared to the situation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and other migrants who have decided to settle in foreign lands.  INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

For sure, while she declared that she is “no Jesse Robredo,” admitting that “I learned my politics from him,” neither is she, nor does she aspire to be, another Mar Roxas.

For one, she has her own opinion on hot-button topics like the “tanim/laglag-bala” scandal at the airport, about which she thinks the law needs to be amended to “decriminalize the offense” of carrying a mere two or three bullets and thus disincentivize the bullet scammers. Roxas, on the other hand, thinks the coverage of the scam has simply gotten out of hand.

She backs the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, even if her support for the measure has earned her scathing, personally hurting comments from Facebook trolls. She likewise believes that while the K-to-12 program will go through many hiccups in the first few years of implementation, “we’re getting there, because we hurdled the first and most difficult step—that of creating the policy despite the many criticisms.”

“All I need to do is be myself,” Robredo responded when asked what she plans to do to hurdle the perceived lack of public recognition. She laughed when asked if she should not undergo a makeover (“Everyone who knows me knows my hair has always been a mess”), and said that while she can dance the cha-cha “on the streets of Naga during fiestas,” she draws the line at singing in public “because I just might lose more votes!”


EDITORIAL: Savage night @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer
01:36 AM November 15th, 2015


A sold-out stadium hosting a live soccer match was among the sites targeted in Friday night’s attacks in Paris. Witnesses reported hearing two explosions at the Stade de France, or in its immediate vicinity, in the first half of an exhibition game between the French national soccer team and Germany. CHRISTOPHE ENA/ASSOCIATED PRESS

There is yet nothing definite in the motives and identities of those behind the savage attacks on soccer fans, concert goers and restaurant diners in Paris on Friday night, although suspicion among authorities in France and elsewhere in the world is falling on extremists who have launched earlier attacks there and who have shown the capability and determination to launch such murderous operations.

The shooting and bombing attacks on six different sites have claimed the lives of at least 153 civilians—indeed an “abomination,” as French President François Hollande said. The nature of the killings, as well as the suicide explosions that snuffed out the lives of the attackers, is simply unprecedented, and it is yet unknown if there are others among the killers who have escaped the police dragnet or slipped away through France’s borders.

The bloodbath in Paris—which only in January reeled from the attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that resulted in the killing of 10 including the editor, cartoonists and other members of the staff—represents a new and frightening level of terrorism with which not only France but also every other nation that values liberty, equality and fraternity has to come to grips. This bloodbath drives home the point that now, not only specific groups are vulnerable, and that now, everyone can conceivably be a target. This bloodbath deserves the strongest condemnation and the firmest resolve to stand fast and never to bow to terrorism.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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