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

FROM MALAYA

By Rey Arcilla: DIGONG


DECEMBER 15 -DUTERTE: THE latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey gave presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte a very impressive and formidable lead over his opponents, to wit: Nationwide: Duterte, 38; Binay, 21; Poe, 21; Roxas, 14; Santiago, 4. Metro Manila: Duterte, 48; Binay 18; Poe, 22; Roxas, 7; Santiago, 3. Rest of Luzon: Duterte, 26; Binay, 27; Poe, 28; Roxas, 14; Santiago 5. Visayas: Duterte, 44; Binay, 14; Poe, 16; Roxas, 20; Santiago, 5. Mindanao: Duterte, 50; Binay, 18; Poe, 13; Roxas, 16; Santiago, 2. But what is really interesting about the SWS survey are the preferences of the various socio-economic classes, to wit: ABC Class: Duterte, 62; Binay, 16; Poe, 13; Roxas, 6; Santiago, 1. D Class: Duterte, 37; Binay, 21; Poe, 22; Roxas, 15; Santiago, 4. E Class: Duterte, 32; Binay, 26; Poe, 20; Roxas, 17; Santiago, 5. The 62 in the ABC class is the most striking. We know that those who belong to ABC are the upper class members of society who are educated and well off. (Noynoy, Roxas, Poe, Binay and Santiago belong to it.) Yet they overwhelmingly chose Duterte, the supposed candidate of the “masa”, the great unwashed, and who is perceived to be uncouth, foul-mouthed, unsophisticated, womanizer and a violator of human rights. Why? They have come to realize that what this country needs now is a gutsy leader who is truly determined to fight criminality, the drug menace and corruption. This is their number one priority. And rightly so. And I don’t think they will change their minds six months from now. As expected, Duterte’s opponents dismissed the SWS survey as flawed. Which one isn’t? Every survey is flawed, depending on who says it is. But one thing is for sure… the above figures speak for themselves. The only way Roxas can possibly beat Duterte is to resort to the so-called hocus-PCOS. The speculation comes to the fore because of the rather strange and mysterious fact that Smartmatic has always come out the winner in all Comelec biddings. But Noynoy and Roxas would be well-advised not to even think about it, much less try it. The people will no longer tolerate having their will thwarted. *** For someone who is irreverent, uses colorful language, has no compunction talking about sending criminals to their final destination, Duterte is the only candidate who has been invoking God’s will. READ MORE...

ALSO Bernard Karganilla: HUMAN QUALITY


DECEMBER 17 -By Bernard Karganilla
DR. Roberto L. Mayorga’s passionate search for the positive in the Filipino character was boosted last December 2 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines with the launch of his book (“Calidad Humana: Sharing the Filipino Spirit”). Mayorga (former Chilean Ambassador to the Philippines) collected the following gems: (1) “In a world dominated by speed, scarce personal relationships, an individual sense of success, and painfully endless wars, the Philippines’ initiative of valuing...overrides religious and ideological differences with a humanist approach.” [former Chilean Education Secretary Sergio Bitar, p. 51]  (2) “The Filipino spirit has constantly been exemplified by the traits of bayanihan or cooperative camaraderie...and a smile that reflects both contentment and pain.” [CCP President Raul M. Sunico, p. 87] (3) “Catastrophes make us remember that we are weak and need a father to protect us...Maybe frequent catastrophes are the reason for the strong faith of Filipinos.” [Dr. Felix Fuders, Universidad Austral de Chile, p. 107] (4) “In history, calidad humana is usually lost by traditional society as it reached the threshold of industrialization in a materialist society...We have calidad humana even before Spain and America had colonized us.” [Dr. Ernesto Gonzales, UP Manila, pp. 146, 148] (5) “I think being cordial is not to be confounded with resignation, particularly in a poor country that was able to liberate itself from dictatorship, recover from the devastation of World War II and also from colonialism.” [Juan Ignacio Rodriguez, El Mercurio, Santiago de Chile, p. 161] Mayorga, in his search for our Human Quality, ought to be escorted into our time-scape of the past (both recent and distant), particularly its hairy moments. READ MORE...

ALSO By Nestor Mata:  WHAT DOES THE PARIS CLIMATE CHANGE PACT REALLY MEAN FOR THE WORLD?


DECEMBER 17 -negotiations will, if faithfully carried out, reduce, without eliminating, the risk that runaway climate change might render parts of the planet Earth uninhabitable. This is the view of climatologists and other keen climate observers who closely monitored the Paris talks. They said it was not the agreement that humanity really needed, and, by itself it will not save the planet, which has long been under threat from human emissions. “The Paris climate deal is, at best a first step, toward fixing the problem of global warming,” as one of the scientists said, as quoted by the International New York Times. “The great ice sheets are starting to melt, coastlines are flooding from rising seas, and some types of extreme weather are growing worse. Yet some of the consequences of an overheated planet might be avoided, or at least slowed, if the climate succeeds in reducing emissions. At least, by requiring regular reviews, the deal lays a foundation for stronger action in the future.” The deal, in short, begins to move the countries of the world in a shared direction that is potentially compatible with maintaining a livable planet over the long term. It will lessen somewhat the possibility of the collapse of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, which would cause a rise in the sea of 20 feet or more. Perhaps the most important part of the deal is that it explicitly recognizes that countries were not ambitious enough in the emissions cuts they pledged ahead of the Paris talks, pledges that were incorporated into the document. To compensate, the deal sets up a schedule of a regular review that will encourage countries to raise their goals over time. It envisions a tighter system to monitor whether the nations are keeping their promises, though how tough that will really be put off to future debates. Scientists with long experience studying climate change were heartened by the Paris agreement, but for it to mean anything, they emphatically said, it must give way immediately to an era in which intensive efforts are made to squeeze emissions out of the world economy. This task will fall largely to businesses and investors, operating under emissions-reduction policies that countries have pledged to put into effect by 2020. The climatologists noted out that emissions of greenhouse gases – primarily carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests – have been rising for decades, interrupted only by economic downturns. They stalled this year, projected to fall 0.6 percent in part because of the softness of the Chinese economy, in what is hoped an early sign of things to come. Yet, 2015 will nonetheless be the hottest in recorded history, breaking a mark set only one year earlier. All 10 of the hottest years in a global record stretching to 1880 have occurred since 1998. No one under 30 has ever lived through a month of global temperatures below the 20th century average. READ MORE...

ALSO By Jose B. Baylon: ‘A’ IS FOR AUTHENTICITY


DECEMBER 16 -By Jose Bayani Baylon IF there is one negative that is hounding the campaign of LP presidential bet Mar Roxas, it is the fact that ordinary people cannot seem to connect with him --with him as he is being portrayed to the public. I had to add the last ten words to the paragraph above because anyone who gets to meet Mar, and gets to engage with him, even if for a short time only, will get to feel who he is and connect with him. But, absent that personal, face-to-face engagement, the Mar who is being marketed like a product to the public is one who is given a once over and then passed over for the next one available. I know this for a fact, because I’ve had the opportunity of engaging with Mar Roxas a few times, beginning with the time when he was first elected to Congress following the death of his brother and he called for a meeting in Diliman of mainly UP types to engage us (I was there!) in a discussion of his thoughts. I remember at that time how he was focused on anti-trust, perhaps a result of his stint as an investment banker in New York with Allen and Associates. (You can check that out and slap me if it doesn’t prove true, hehe). The next time I had a more private opportunity to engage with him was when he was convening this small group at the Cubao White House in 2008 or maybe that was 2009, as he was contemplating a presidential bid. If I remember right I had two opportunities to join that group for breakfast. But there would be no third invite when I opened my mouth, not to put food in but to express a thought that was stupid to express there but that was so me. You see I suggested that for 2010 the ideal pair would be a Grand Coalition between the Nacionalista Party and the Liberal Party, the likes of which has not been seen here since maybe right after World War II. But here was the catch: because of their different ages and experience, my suggestion was that NP’s Villar be the Presidential candidate and Mar of the LP run as Vice President, in my mind an ideal pro-business and pro-masa combination. My breakfasts after that would have to be at Jollibee Cubao. Anyway with about a month to go before the 2010 elections I connected again with then-VP candidate Mar, who was way up in the polls, and suggested that as soon as he became Vice President he should visit the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta where I would be his guide (I was still with Coca-Cola then). He said he would like that because the only time he ever got to visit Atlanta was as an investment banker of Allen since his principal was one of the members of the Coke Board of Directors (and one of the most influential one, too!). He didn’t make it, and two years later I left Coke. As you will see, I cannot and do not claim to “know” Mar Roxas inside and out because except for a handful of engagements with him I was just as distanced from him as Juan dela Cruz. Yet those few engagements have left me an impression about him – his capabilities, his personality, the way his mind works – that I can connect with. Why can’t I now connect with Mar the candidate that the public sees?  READ MORE...

ALSO By Dahli Aspillera:  EPICENTER


BDECEMBER 18 -y Dahli Aspillera
THE epicenter is the point closer to the surface of the earth, directly above the hypocenter. The hypocenter is the core, where an earthquake movement, explosion is first manifested.. The word derives from the New Latin noun epicentrum, the latinisation of the ancient Greek adjective ἐepikentros, “occupying a cardinal point.” In seismology, the epicenter is directly above the point where the fault begins to rupture, and in most cases, the epicenter is the area of greatest damage. Epicenter is frequently misused in the context of seismology. It is often used as an alternative to ‘center’. For example, “Travel is restricted in the Chinese province thought to be the epicenter of the SARS outbreak.” Joan Salcedo of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-Philvolcs) explained this error during a forum on disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) at the DOST Executive Lounge early this month. Epicenter is frequently used to mean ‘center’, such that ‘center’ is now one dictionary definition of epicenter. For example, Wiki tells us that in the 2002 magnitude 7.9 Denali earthquake in Alaska, the epicenter was at the western end of the rupture, but the greatest damage occurred at the opposite, 330 km at the eastern end, the rupture zone, being the epicenter. Once epicentral distances have been calculated from at least three seismographic measuring stations, it is a simple matter to find out where the epicenter was located using trilateration. The forum was organized by the DOST-NCR office as part of the Department’s recently concluded “Science Festival.” According to Salcedo, there are other factors that determine whether hazards from earthquakes are set to occur aside from distance from the epicenter. These factors are the local soil conditions, intensity of ground shaking, and the structural integrity of houses, buildings, and other infrastructures. To illustrate her point, Salcedo, with the help of some forum participants, recounted earthquake incidents in the country that brought considerable damage to communities kilometers away from the epicenter. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

DIGONG

MANILA, DECEMBER 21, 2015 (MALAYA) By Rey O. Arcilla December 15, 2015 - THE latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey gave presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte a very impressive and formidable lead over his opponents, to wit:


By Rey Arcilla

Nationwide: Duterte, 38; Binay, 21; Poe, 21; Roxas, 14; Santiago, 4.

Metro Manila: Duterte, 48; Binay 18; Poe, 22; Roxas, 7; Santiago, 3.

Rest of Luzon: Duterte, 26; Binay, 27; Poe, 28; Roxas, 14; Santiago 5.

Visayas: Duterte, 44; Binay, 14; Poe, 16; Roxas, 20; Santiago, 5.

Mindanao: Duterte, 50; Binay, 18; Poe, 13; Roxas, 16; Santiago, 2.

But what is really interesting about the SWS survey are the preferences of the various socio-economic classes, to wit:

ABC Class: Duterte, 62; Binay, 16; Poe, 13; Roxas, 6; Santiago, 1.

D Class: Duterte, 37; Binay, 21; Poe, 22; Roxas, 15; Santiago, 4.

E Class: Duterte, 32; Binay, 26; Poe, 20; Roxas, 17; Santiago, 5.

The 62 in the ABC class is the most striking. We know that those who belong to ABC are the upper class members of society who are educated and well off. (Noynoy, Roxas, Poe, Binay and Santiago belong to it.) Yet they overwhelmingly chose Duterte, the supposed candidate of the “masa”, the great unwashed, and who is perceived to be uncouth, foul-mouthed, unsophisticated, womanizer and a violator of human rights.

Why? They have come to realize that what this country needs now is a gutsy leader who is truly determined to fight criminality, the drug menace and corruption. This is their number one priority. And rightly so.

And I don’t think they will change their minds six months from now.

As expected, Duterte’s opponents dismissed the SWS survey as flawed.

Which one isn’t? Every survey is flawed, depending on who says it is.

But one thing is for sure… the above figures speak for themselves.

The only way Roxas can possibly beat Duterte is to resort to the so-called hocus-PCOS. The speculation comes to the fore because of the rather strange and mysterious fact that Smartmatic has always come out the winner in all Comelec biddings.

But Noynoy and Roxas would be well-advised not to even think about it, much less try it. The people will no longer tolerate having their will thwarted.

***

For someone who is irreverent, uses colorful language, has no compunction talking about sending criminals to their final destination, Duterte is the only candidate who has been invoking God’s will.

READ MORE...

“If God wants me there (as President), I will be there,” he says. He says he won’t lose sleep even if he is disqualified from running.

None of the other candidates has said anything of the sort. I get the impression all they care about is winning by hook or by crook.

***

Aside from his peace and order, anti-drug and anti-corruption platform, I also like Duterte’s position on our territorial dispute with China.


FROM MANILA LIVEWIRE: "I'll talk to them. Huwag na tayong magdrama".APPENDED BY PHNO

He said he would “start negotiating with China and conduct bilateral talks with them because the problem is like a sore thumb sticking out every morning. I will not wait for the Americans, Japan and others when nothing moves.”

Right on, Sir. Exactly what I have been advocating all along.

***

Malacañang spokesman Edwin Lacierda aka Boy Pickup of pork barrel queen Janet Napoles, said President Noynoy Aquino can’t wait to leave office.

Hindi siya nag-iisa. His bosses too, including some who have reportedly been preparing cases to be filed against him in court the minute he steps down midnight of 30 June 2016 when he loses his immunity from law suits. The Mamasapano Massacre and the unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) are on top of their list.

Noynoy may not even have the chance to spend time in Boracay where he said he would like to go the minute he retires.

***

When asked what his most trying challenges were in the five and a half years he has been in office, Noynoy cited five, namely, typhoons Yolanda, Pablo, Sendong, the Bohol earthquake and the Zamboanga siege.

As everyone knows, his administration fell terribly short in meeting these challenges. The victims of these tragedies are still suffering due to his government’s shortcomings. His candidate for the presidential election next year, erstwhile DILG secretary Mar Roxas, his loathesome DSWD secretary Dinky Soliman and his corruption-tainted DND secretary Voltaire Gazmin who is supposed to be overall in charge of disaster operations, all failed miserably in their jobs.

Too, Noynoy obviously does not consider as challenges the Mamasapano Massacre of 44 SAF commandos, the reported corruption in the DOTC and its affiliate agencies, Agriculture Department, Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Corrections, National Food Authority, among others.

He has also turned a blind eye towards the rampant criminality, the ever-worsening drug problem and the unhampered jueteng operations in the country whose winning numbers are even announced daily over the radio.

He also chose not to include his malevolent obsession to have the unconstitutional Bangsamoro Basic Law passed as one of his challenges.

It is also due to his and his Super Amboy of a foreign secretary Albert “Giant Smiley” del Rosario’s inept and clumsy handling that we have lost Bajo de Masinloc, otherwise known as Scarborough Shoal, to China as well as other isles and atolls in the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea.

***

Interestingly, for one who claims he does not give unsolicited advice, Noynoy has this one to the next president: “Do not lose the ability to listen.”

I find that laughable, given his well-known character of being pigheaded. When one is pigheaded, that means he does not have the ability to listen.

***

Towards the end of his presidency, it appears Noynoy is also becoming delusional or, worse, schizophrenic. (The dictionary defines schizophrenia, thus: a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.)

To be clear, I am not saying he is delusional or schizophrenic. He appears to be is what I’m saying.

For instance, he claims he has “surpassed his supporters’ expectations” and that he has gained even more supporters than when he was a candidate in 2010.

The problem is he bases his claim on statistics supplied by his minions. He should instead come down from his ivory tower and mix with his bosses and personally ask them. I have yet to meet one who will agree with his claim, what with the rampant criminality, corruption and drug problem in our midst and his refusal to fire inept and corrupt members of his official and unofficial (the KKKKKKKs) families, among others.

He also could not accept the fact that his endorsement (kiss of death?) has not had a positive effect on the candidacy of Roxas who continues to languish in survey after survey in the second to the last spot in a field of five.

He also says a small part of him wants to continue as president. He should perish the thought. It ain’t gonna happen. The people will not allow it.

***

Tropical storm Nonoy was re-named Nona for fear of possible ridicule that will come Noynoy’s way.

But the name change doesn’t really matter. Noynoy will always be associated with, among others, Yolanda not because it was the strongest ever typhoon in history. It is the fact that he and his administration failed to properly address and handle the havoc and destruction wreaked by the weather monster. Two years later, hundreds of thousands are still suffering from its disastrous effects, coupled with reports that money intended for its victims and rehabilitation of areas destroyed has been squandered or stolen.

***

The Reminders (for Noynoy) portion of this column will be published next week.

***

Today is the 225th day of the ninth year of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance.

I dread to think of how many more years it will take before Jonas’ disappearance is finally resolved. It is beginning to look more and more like the next administration will have to be reminded of it too. In the meantime, it would be interesting to know what our Commission on Human Rights and the Department of Justice are doing about it.

***

From an internet friend:

She’s single... She lives right across the street. I can see her place from my kitchen window. I watched as she got home from work this evening. I was surprised when she walked across the street, up my driveway and knocked on the door.

I opened the door, she looked at me and said, “I just got home, and I have this strong urge to have a good time, dance, get drunk, and get laid tonight. Are you doing anything?” I quickly replied, “Nope, I’m free!”

“Great,” she said. “Can you watch my dog?”

Being a senior citizen really sucks!


HUMAN QUALITY By Bernard Karganilla December 17, 2015


By Bernard Karganilla

DR. Roberto L. Mayorga’s passionate search for the positive in the Filipino character was boosted last December 2 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines with the launch of his book (“Calidad Humana:

Sharing the Filipino Spirit”). Mayorga (former Chilean Ambassador to the Philippines) collected the following gems:

(1) “In a world dominated by speed, scarce personal relationships, an individual sense of success, and painfully endless wars, the Philippines’ initiative of valuing...overrides religious and ideological differences with a humanist approach.” [former Chilean Education Secretary Sergio Bitar, p. 51]

(2) “The Filipino spirit has constantly been exemplified by the traits of bayanihan or cooperative camaraderie...and a smile that reflects both contentment and pain.” [CCP President Raul M. Sunico, p. 87]

(3) “Catastrophes make us remember that we are weak and need a father to protect us...Maybe frequent catastrophes are the reason for the strong faith of Filipinos.” [Dr. Felix Fuders, Universidad Austral de Chile, p. 107]

(4) “In history, calidad humana is usually lost by traditional society as it reached the threshold of industrialization in a materialist society...We have calidad humana even before Spain and America had colonized us.” [Dr. Ernesto Gonzales, UP Manila, pp. 146, 148]

(5) “I think being cordial is not to be confounded with resignation, particularly in a poor country that was able to liberate itself from dictatorship, recover from the devastation of World War II and also from colonialism.” [Juan Ignacio Rodriguez, El Mercurio, Santiago de Chile, p. 161]

Mayorga, in his search for our Human Quality, ought to be escorted into our time-scape of the past (both recent and distant), particularly its hairy moments.

READ MORE

Like the December coup of 1989 that targeted the Corazon Aquino administration but failed due to American intervention (among other factors). According to American national command authorities:

“December 1st. We left last night, and I was awakened in the middle of the night on Air Force One, having taken a Halcyon sleeping pill, by John Sununu telling me that things were tough in the Philippines, and that Aquino had requested our help – no troops, but the use of our air force to keep the rebel forces from coming into the air and bombing the palace, etc. I gave permission, and Dan Quayle, Bob Gates are working the problem on the U.S. end. (The uprising ended without major incident).” [George Bush. All the Best: My Life in Letters and Other Writings. NY: Scribner, 1999, p. 446]

More details from a second high-level player: “On November 29, Cheney (Defense Secretary) and I (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) had just returned from a conference in Brussels…I went to work the next day, returned home, and gratefully hit the sack soon after dinner. An hour later, the phone rang, and I was informed by Tom Kelly that a coup was under way in the Philippines headed by a General Edgardo Abenina. I went immediately to the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon.”

“I sat at a table facing five TV monitors. On one I could see the White House Situation Room, with Vice President Quayle at the center of the table. Quayle was there because President Bush was in the air flying to Malta for his meeting with Gorbachev…President Corazon Aquino, I was informed, had reported that the presidential palace in Manila was being bombed and strafed by rebel planes. She had requested U.S. military intervention to stop the attacks. Eagleburger (of the State Department) argued hard in favor of answering Aquino’s appeal.”

“Before we did anything rash, we needed more on-site information. I wanted to talk to Fidel Ramos, the Philippine defense minister, to get an eyeball account…In the meantime, I described to Quayle and the others a plan that Hardisty (CINC Pacific) and I had devised: have our F-4 Phantom jets stationed at Clark Air Force Base buzz any T-28s daring to come onto the runway at the rebel-held airbase...The F-4s were launched...”

“Finally, after dialing for nearly 40 minutes, the Navy watch officer managed to locate Fidel Ramos and his chief of staff, General Renato De Villa. They told me that the situation was dicey, but under control. Bombing? Who was asking us to bomb anything? Don’t bomb, we were told. Within hours, the coup collapsed without our getting further involved and without the F-4s shooting up anybody.” [Colin L. Powell. My American Journey. NY: Random House, 1995, pp. 440-444]

Where else and when can we find Filipino Calidad Humana?


FACEBOOK PHOTO: APPENDED BY PHNO

In our distant past, we have the Kartilya of the Katipunan, the essays of Emilio Jacinto (Brains of the KKKANB), the poems of Gat Andres Bonifacio and the diary of Apolinario Mabini (Brains of the Revolution). And, of course, Jose Rizal who wrote: “Man works for an object. Remove the object and you reduce him to inaction

The most active man in the world will fold his arms from the instant he understands that it is madness to bestir himself, that this work will be the cause of his trouble, that for him it will be the cause of vexations at home and of the pirate’s greed abroad.” [La Indolencia De Los Filipinos] These documents and the writings of our other heroes (Miguel Malvar, Wenceslao Q. Vinzons, etc.) are essential input for the HEKASI (geography, history, civics) modules taught in our formal school system.

More Calidad Humana? In current events, we have the following:

(1) At the Bali Process Roundtable held in Manila last December 03-04, Faizal Chery Sidharta (Directorate for International Security and Disarmament of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) shared the country’s position on irregular migration (Burden sharing and collective responsibility should be the core principles as well as the precepts of international law of non-refoulement, non-penalization, and non-discrimination).

(2) Also in Manila, the Supreme Court affirmed the May 2013 Court of Appeals order for the government to prepare an immediate plan of action to rehabilitate field trial sites (of Bt talong), setting a global precedent as the first legal decision on GMOs in the Philippines using the writ of kalikasan. Virginia Benosa-Llorin (Food and Ecological Agriculture Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia) added: “It is high time that the Philippine government also looks at new, innovative and science-based ecological farming.”

(3) Still in the Philippines, Koji Imaizumi (a Japanese volunteer working in Baguio for 19 years) organized the 6th Asia Pacific International Peace Memorial and Peace Film Festival, featuring Ms. Sizzle Otaka whose gentle songs help heal the grief of the living for the dead in the interval of the cruel story of World War II.


WHAT DOES THE PARIS CLIMATE CHANGE PACT REALLY MEAN FOR THE WORLD? By NESTOR MATA December 17, 2015

THE Paris climate change accord reached by a group of 195 nations after two weeks of negotiations will, if faithfully carried out, reduce, without eliminating, the risk that runaway climate change might render parts of the planet Earth uninhabitable.

This is the view of climatologists and other keen climate observers who closely monitored the Paris talks. They said it was not the agreement that humanity really needed, and, by itself it will not save the planet, which has long been under threat from human emissions.

“The Paris climate deal is, at best a first step, toward fixing the problem of global warming,” as one of the scientists said, as quoted by the International New York Times. “The great ice sheets are starting to melt, coastlines are flooding from rising seas, and some types of extreme weather are growing worse. Yet some of the consequences of an overheated planet might be avoided, or at least slowed, if the climate succeeds in reducing emissions. At least, by requiring regular reviews, the deal lays a foundation for stronger action in the future.”

The deal, in short, begins to move the countries of the world in a shared direction that is potentially compatible with maintaining a livable planet over the long term. It will lessen somewhat the possibility of the collapse of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, which would cause a rise in the sea of 20 feet or more.

Perhaps the most important part of the deal is that it explicitly recognizes that countries were not ambitious enough in the emissions cuts they pledged ahead of the Paris talks, pledges that were incorporated into the document. To compensate, the deal sets up a schedule of a regular review that will encourage countries to raise their goals over time. It envisions a tighter system to monitor whether the nations are keeping their promises, though how tough that will really be put off to future debates.

Scientists with long experience studying climate change were heartened by the Paris agreement, but for it to mean anything, they emphatically said, it must give way immediately to an era in which intensive efforts are made to squeeze emissions out of the world economy. This task will fall largely to businesses and investors, operating under emissions-reduction policies that countries have pledged to put into effect by 2020.

The climatologists noted out that emissions of greenhouse gases – primarily carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels and the destruction of forests – have been rising for decades, interrupted only by economic downturns. They stalled this year, projected to fall 0.6 percent in part because of the softness of the Chinese economy, in what is hoped an early sign of things to come.

Yet, 2015 will nonetheless be the hottest in recorded history, breaking a mark set only one year earlier. All 10 of the hottest years in a global record stretching to 1880 have occurred since 1998. No one under 30 has ever lived through a month of global temperatures below the 20th century average.

READ MORE...

Since an agreement in Cancun in 2010, the official goal of international climate policy has been to limit the warming of the Earth to 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 Fahrenheit, above the level that prevailed before the Industrial Revolution. With the rapid warming that has occurred since 1950 as a result of industrial emissions, the planet Earth is already nearly halfway there.

The Paris agreement sets a more ambitious target, declaring that the global average temperature rise ought to be kept “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, and countries should try to go further, limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. As small as that difference might sound, as an average warming over the surface of an entire planet, it is actually substantial.

Scientists say it could make the difference, for example, between saving much of Greenland ice sheet and losing it. They also say that limiting warming to the higher target would require that industrial emissions of greenhouse gases come to end by roughly 2050, and to stay below the lower target, by about 2030. But coal-burning power plants are being built today that can operate well past 2050, and fossil-fuel companies are spending hundreds of billions a year looking for new reserves that cannot be burned if either target is to be met.

A serious campaign to meet the more ambitious goal would mean that in less than two decades, the nations of the world would likely have to bring an end to gasoline cars, to coal-or gas-burning power plants in their current form, and to airplanes or ships powered by fossil fuels.

So far, countries have offered no plans that would come remotely close to achieving either goal, and, given the current state of technology it is difficult to see how they could be achieved. This led some scientists to dismiss tighter temperature targets as feel-good measures with no real meaning.

And yet, the tighter targets do throw the seriousness of the situation into sharp relief. Scientists hope that, by highlighting the gulf between humanity’s stated goals and its plans to achieve them, the Paris climate change agreement will launch a more intensive push to figure out how it might actually be done.

***

Quote of the Day: “I think this Paris outcome is going to change the world. We didn’t solve the problem, but we laid the foundation!” – Christopher B. Field, a leading American climate scientist.


‘A’ IS FOR AUTHENTICITY By Jose Bayani Baylon December 16, 2015


By Jose Bayani Baylon

IF there is one negative that is hounding the campaign of LP presidential bet Mar Roxas, it is the fact that ordinary people cannot seem to connect with him --with him as he is being portrayed to the public.

I had to add the last ten words to the paragraph above because anyone who gets to meet Mar, and gets to engage with him, even if for a short time only, will get to feel who he is and connect with him. But, absent that personal, face-to-face engagement, the Mar who is being marketed like a product to the public is one who is given a once over and then passed over for the next one available.

I know this for a fact, because I’ve had the opportunity of engaging with Mar Roxas a few times, beginning with the time when he was first elected to Congress following the death of his brother and he called for a meeting in Diliman of mainly UP types to engage us (I was there!) in a discussion of his thoughts.

I remember at that time how he was focused on anti-trust, perhaps a result of his stint as an investment banker in New York with Allen and Associates. (You can check that out and slap me if it doesn’t prove true, hehe).

The next time I had a more private opportunity to engage with him was when he was convening this small group at the Cubao White House in 2008 or maybe that was 2009, as he was contemplating a presidential bid.

If I remember right I had two opportunities to join that group for breakfast. But there would be no third invite when I opened my mouth, not to put food in but to express a thought that was stupid to express there but that was so me.

You see I suggested that for 2010 the ideal pair would be a Grand Coalition between the Nacionalista Party and the Liberal Party, the likes of which has not been seen here since maybe right after World War II. But here was the catch: because of their different ages and experience, my suggestion was that NP’s Villar be the Presidential candidate and Mar of the LP run as Vice President, in my mind an ideal pro-business and pro-masa combination.

My breakfasts after that would have to be at Jollibee Cubao.

Anyway with about a month to go before the 2010 elections I connected again with then-VP candidate Mar, who was way up in the polls, and suggested that as soon as he became Vice President he should visit the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta where I would be his guide (I was still with Coca-Cola then). He said he would like that because the only time he ever got to visit Atlanta was as an investment banker of Allen since his principal was one of the members of the Coke Board of Directors (and one of the most influential one, too!).

He didn’t make it, and two years later I left Coke.

As you will see, I cannot and do not claim to “know” Mar Roxas inside and out because except for a handful of engagements with him I was just as distanced from him as Juan dela Cruz. Yet those few engagements have left me an impression about him – his capabilities, his personality, the way his mind works – that I can connect with.

Why can’t I now connect with Mar the candidate that the public sees?

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It must have been the fist bumps and the chest bumps and the carrying of sacks of whatever was inside them. They weren’t him – or at the very least not the him that I take him to be (and there can be a whale of a difference between the two!) , and when he did them (or was made to do them) the public reaction was that this was all show, all smoke and mirrors and the real one was being hidden away somewhere.


Mr Palengke PHOTO COURTESY OF THE REAL MAR ROXAS WORDPRESS (PHOTO APPENDED BY PHNO)

Even their reaction to his “p***** i**” , directed to then President GMA and spoken from a stage during an anti-GMA rally at Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas, was seen as scripted, or a put-on. As if the public expects an English expletive from his lips rather than the favorite local one.

Note that I have not said that his “Mr Palengke” persona was not him, or that it came across as inauthentic. It didn’t to me, and it made some sense actually, because I could imagine a Mar Roxas growing up to understand how palengkes work both in the theoretical (even academic) world as well as in the real world, given that his family owned Farmers’ Market and surely the concept and the reality of Farmers’ must have been a topic for discussion at the dinner (or breakfast) table and not only once or twice.

But the way he has been marketed of late has been, well, off. And his numbers are suffering as a result.

In fact I’d give this effort to “sell him as he is not” – as I’d put it – a grade of C or somewhere between 73-76%. Barely passing, if you ask me.

He desperately needs an A.

It is no wonder that a Coke colleague (who has been given responsibility for marketing Brand Coke throughout the Philippines) posed very good questions on her Facebook page that Team Mar can (in fact should!) use as a guide during an evaluation session. Over and over again she asks : “Who are you, Mar Roxas?” because she, like many other voters around the country, are unable to make that connection with the candidate who may very well have all the right “ingredients” to make him a good President with apparently one sole and critical exception - the ability to connect with the majority of the people he is supposed to serve.

A connection that is made possible by authenticity.

Something that is not there.

At least not yet.

Now they will just have to play catch-up with the rest of the field that, p***** i**, has demonstrated its ability to make that connection.


EPICENTER By Dahli Aspillera December 18, 2015


By Dahli Aspillera

THE epicenter is the point closer to the surface of the earth, directly above the hypocenter. The hypocenter is the core, where an earthquake movement, explosion is first manifested.. The word derives from the New Latin noun epicentrum, the latinisation of the ancient Greek adjective ɛpɪsɛntər, “occupying a cardinal point.”

In seismology, the epicenter is directly above the point where the fault begins to rupture, and in most cases, the epicenter is the area of greatest damage.

Epicenter is frequently misused in the context of seismology. It is often used as an alternative to ‘center’. For example, “Travel is restricted in the Chinese province thought to be the epicenter of the SARS outbreak.”

Joan Salcedo of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-Philvolcs) explained this error during a forum on disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) at the DOST Executive Lounge early this month.

Epicenter is frequently used to mean ‘center’, such that ‘center’ is now one dictionary definition of epicenter. For example, Wiki tells us that in the 2002 magnitude 7.9 Denali earthquake in Alaska, the epicenter was at the western end of the rupture, but the greatest damage occurred at the opposite, 330 km at the eastern end, the rupture zone, being the epicenter.

Once epicentral distances have been calculated from at least three seismographic measuring stations, it is a simple matter to find out where the epicenter was located using trilateration.

The forum was organized by the DOST-NCR office as part of the Department’s recently concluded “Science Festival.” According to Salcedo, there are other factors that determine whether hazards from earthquakes are set to occur aside from distance from the epicenter.

These factors are the local soil conditions, intensity of ground shaking, and the structural integrity of houses, buildings, and other infrastructures. To illustrate her point, Salcedo, with the help of some forum participants, recounted earthquake incidents in the country that brought considerable damage to communities kilometers away from the epicenter.

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Reducing disaster risk, she said, is a function of reducing vulnerability and exposure to hazards. One way of reducing vulnerability is through education.

On the other hand, reducing exposure to hazards requires informed actions such as seismic retrofitting and relocation. Seismic retrofitting is the modification of buildings and houses to make them resistant to ground shaking and collapse during tremors. Hence, a good approach to improving the implementation of DRRM measures is to start with public awareness.

Salcedo later guided the participants in answering an earthquake vulnerability checklist developed by Phivolcs dubbed ‘How Safe is My House?’ Aside from discussions on earthquake preparedness, a lecture on the technology behind DOST’s Project NOAH (National Operational Assessment of Hazards) was delivered by Neil Eneri Tingin, one of the project researchers.

In a separate interview, Tingin stated that familiarization with and appreciation of DRRM technologies is crucial in utilizing them, thus leading to reduced occurrence of hazards.

Tingin also demonstrated the beta version of the new NOAH website launched earlier that day. The new website features a simpler user interface for easier map navigation and new DRRM tools that are all publicly accessible.

The DRRM forum convened members of local government units, students, and teachers from Las Piñas, Manila, Marikina, Quezon City, and Taguig.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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