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


FROM THE MANILA BULLETIN

HOUSE ADJOURNS: IMPORTANT BILLS UNATTENDED - PLANNING FOR KEY PROGRAMS MUST CONTINUE AMID POLL CAMPAIGN
[The elections are now the principal concern of the nation, but in the midst of all the campaigning for votes, responsible officials should be planning even now for all the programs and projects that have been suspended because of congressional or executive inaction. The Mindanao peace program, for one, is now in a state of uncertainty; it must be pursued relentlessly, with fresh efforts that will take into account the mistakes of the past. Any move to amend the Constitution must also be taken at the start of the next administration, not towards its end, for that raises suspicions that the proponents just want to extend their terms.]


FEBRUARY 9 -The lawmaking sessions of the Sixteenth Congress came to a close Wednesday night, February 3, marking the start of a long recess. This Congress will meet one last time within 30 days after the May 12, 2016, elections to canvass the votes for president and vice president and declare the winners.
The adjournment of the House last Wednesday was a rather abrupt one, leaving many important bills unacted upon. It had been hoped that Congress would be able to override the presidential veto on a P2,000 pension increase for retired Social Security System members, but House officials decided to end the session before any vote could be taken. A veto override would have greatly embarassed the President and signaled a break in administration ranks. image: http://www.mb.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/edi5-191x300.jpg As a result of the sudden adjournment, a number of important bills were left unacted upon, notably the Salary Standardization Law which would have upgraded the salaries of all government workers from the President down. There were several other pending bills in Congress, for which advocates continued to nurse hopes, however slim – among them, the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the Freedom of Information bill, the anti-Political Dynasty bill, and Charter changes aimed at attracting more foreign investments. With the closing of the plenary session last Wednesday, all these bills are now effectively set aside, hopefully to be revived in the next Congress. READ MORE...

ALSO Editorial: The Taiwan quake - A timely reminder to Metro Manilans


FEBRUARY 10 -The last time a major earthquake hit Metro Manila was in 1968 when a 7.3-magnitude quake brought down the Ruby Tower building in Binondo, Manila, killing 270 people. More recently, in 1990, a 7.7 temblor devastated Baguio City and surrounding provinces as far as Nueva Ecija, killing 1,621 people. We recall these powerful catastrophes in the wake of the 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck the southern city of Tainan in Taiwan last Sunday, collapsing buildings pancake-style, much like Manila’s Ruby Tower nearly 50 years ago, and trapping scores of people living inside. As of Monday, the death toll stood at 37, with fears that it may go up to a hundred. Taiwan is just 250 kilometers from Luzon. We are part of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a connected series of volcanos and underground tectonic plates forming an arc from New Zealand in the south to Indonesia, north to the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, east along the Aleutian Trench, to Alaska, western Canada, United States, and Mexico, Central America, down to Peru and Chile. About 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes occurred along this Ring of Fire. The famous San Andreas Fault of California is part of this ring which has 452 volcanos and constantly moving tectonic plates whose collisions cause the earthquakes. The Philippines is on the Pacific Plate which is in collision with a number of smaller tectonic plates. This proximity of our two island countries along the western arc of the Pacific Ring of Fire raises fears that, with the Taiwan quake, one in the Philippines may not be far off. READ MORE...

ALSO: The 90-day 2016 presidential election campaign is underway


The 90-day campaign period for national candidates started last Tuesday, February 9, with the usual exuberance of Philippine elections. Almost at the same time, the results of one public opinion survey were released, showing the shifting fortunes of the presidential candidates. The survey, however, appeared to have no effect on the enthusiasm of the candidates and their supporters who began their campaigns in their respective strongholds in the country, all with expectations of victory on May 9, 2016. This is indeed the realistic attitude to have. For Philippine elections campaigns have been known to develop in the most unexpected ways and results are difficult to predict. In the presidential elections of 1992, for example, then Speaker Ramon Mitra was leading until he was overtaken along the way by Fidel V. Ramos who went on to become the 12th president of the Philippines. In the 2010 elections, Speaker Manuel Villar was similarly leading in poll surveys but Benigno S. Aquino III surged past him to win the presidency. So whoever is now ahead in the surveys for the 2016 elections better study closely these past elections and learn from them. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Fr. BeL R. San Luis - Resisting temptations


Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD A priest did an illegal parking. He left a note on the windshield, saying: “I’m a priest. Can’t find a parking space. Please don’t give me a ticket. ‘Forgive my trespasses.’” * * * On returning, he found a ticket on his windshield with this note: “I’m a cop. If I don’t give you a ticket, I’ll commit sin. ‘Lead me not into temptation.’” P.S. “But if you attach a P50 bill on your license, you’re forgiven.” * * * Temptations are an ever-present reality in our lives. Temptation is NOT a sin, but an attraction or enticement to commit sin. Even Jesus was tempted. The gospel for this first Sunday of Lent relates how he underwent temptations in the desert and how he struggled to overcome them, thus setting for us an example. (Read the more detailed version in Lk 4,1-13). * * * First, the tempter was sweet-talking Jesus to use his powers for his own personal aggrandizement. “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to turn into loaves” (Lk 4,3). There is always the temptation for us to use selfishly whatever powers or talents God has given us. A person, for instance, may possess an innate ability to sing. He may “cash in on it,” refusing to use it unless he is paid. However, there is no reason, too, why he should use it ONLY for pay! READ MORE...

ALSO: by Jullie Yap Daza - Politics, showbiz


by Jullie Yap Daza Tito Sotto assures and reassures the opposite sex, now that it’s Valentine season, that he has nothing against women and should not be blamed “for something I did not do,” that is, cutting out a billion bucks from the RH law. What he did, he says, was to ask DOH, “Where did P300 million worth of condoms go if I couldn’t find them in any health center?”  If DOH, with its P123 billion budget, had no need to buy condoms, then it could do without money meant for reproductive health services. In Senator Loren Legarda’s view, the funds are considered savings which may then be used to fill in for the deleted sum. Among other things on the senator’s plate, should he win reelection — why not, as he is consistently No. 1 in the polls, his steadfast appearance on Eat Bulaga is a “big factor” behind his popularity – - are bills to regionalize Bilibid prisons and consolidate the war on drugs under one Drug Enforcement Authority whose mandate will be prevention and education, enforcement, prosecution, and rehabilitation. As for the death penalty, it’s a yes — if applied to “high-level drug traffickers.”  As soon as he sits down to face “Bulong Pulungan,” Tito Sen declares open season: “Ask anything you want about politics and even showbiz.” READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Editorial: Planning for key programs must continue amid poll campaign

MANILA, FEBRUARY 15, 2016 (BULLETIN) February 9, 2016 - The lawmaking sessions of the Sixteenth Congress came to a close Wednesday night, February 3, marking the start of a long recess. This Congress will meet one last time within 30 days after the May 12, 2016, elections to canvass the votes for president and vice president and declare the winners.

The adjournment of the House last Wednesday was a rather abrupt one, leaving many important bills unacted upon. It had been hoped that Congress would be able to override the presidential veto on a P2,000 pension increase for retired Social Security System members, but House officials decided to end the session before any vote could be taken.

A veto override would have greatly embarrassed the President and signaled a break in administration ranks.

As a result of the sudden adjournment, a number of important bills were left unacted upon, notably the Salary Standardization Law which would have upgraded the salaries of all government workers from the President down.

There were several other pending bills in Congress, for which advocates continued to nurse hopes, however slim – among them, the Bangsamoro Basic Law, the Freedom of Information bill, the anti-Political Dynasty bill, and Charter changes aimed at attracting more foreign investments.

With the closing of the plenary session last Wednesday, all these bills are now effectively set aside, hopefully to be revived in the next Congress.

READ MORE...

Election to that next Congress – the Seventeenth — is now the principal concern of most of the members of the House and half the members of the Senate who seek reelection. Today, February 9, marks the start of the 90-day campaign for all those aspiring for national positions.

The elections are now the principal concern of the nation, but in the midst of all the campaigning for votes, responsible officials should be planning even now for all the programs and projects that have been suspended because of congressional or executive inaction.

The Mindanao peace program, for one, is now in a state of uncertainty; it must be pursued relentlessly, with fresh efforts that will take into account the mistakes of the past. Any move to amend the Constitution must also be taken at the start of the next administration, not towards its end, for that raises suspicions that the proponents just want to extend their terms.


Editorial: The Taiwan quake: A timely reminder to Metro Manilans February 10, 2016 Share2 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share35

The last time a major earthquake hit Metro Manila was in 1968 when a 7.3-magnitude quake brought down the Ruby Tower building in Binondo, Manila, killing 270 people. More recently, in 1990, a 7.7 temblor devastated Baguio City and surrounding provinces as far as Nueva Ecija, killing 1,621 people.

We recall these powerful catastrophes in the wake of the 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck the southern city of Tainan in Taiwan last Sunday, collapsing buildings pancake-style, much like Manila’s Ruby Tower nearly 50 years ago, and trapping scores of people living inside. As of Monday, the death toll stood at 37, with fears that it may go up to a hundred.

Taiwan is just 250 kilometers from Luzon.

We are part of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a connected series of volcanos and underground tectonic plates forming an arc from New Zealand in the south to Indonesia, north to the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, east along the Aleutian Trench, to Alaska, western Canada, United States, and Mexico, Central America, down to Peru and Chile.

About 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes occurred along this Ring of Fire.

The famous San Andreas Fault of California is part of this ring which has 452 volcanos and constantly moving tectonic plates whose collisions cause the earthquakes. The Philippines is on the Pacific Plate which is in collision with a number of smaller tectonic plates.

This proximity of our two island countries along the western arc of the Pacific Ring of Fire raises fears that, with the Taiwan quake, one in the Philippines may not be far off.

READ MORE...

As early as last July, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority conducted a Metrowide Earthquake Drill aimed at preparing residents for the Big One, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake predicted to hit Metro Manila.

It is not known when the Big One will hit, only that it could come anytime.

It was thus thought best to be ready – at least to make Metro Manila’s residents know about the most basic things they must do in case a big earthquake strikes. Thus during the drill last July 30, people – particularly school pupils and office workers – were told to perform the drop, cover, and hold position for 45 seconds.

Residents were told where to evacuate if the need arises. The important thing was to get people to be ready and not panic.

It has been six months since that drill. The Taiwan quake is a timely reminder that the danger remains, a powerful earthquake could hit us at any time, and it is best to be ready.


The 90-day 2016 presidential election campaign is underway February 13, 2016 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share0

The 90-day campaign period for national candidates started last Tuesday, February 9, with the usual exuberance of Philippine elections. Almost at the same time, the results of one public opinion survey were released, showing the shifting fortunes of the presidential candidates. The survey, however, appeared to have no effect on the enthusiasm of the candidates and their supporters who began their campaigns in their respective strongholds in the country, all with expectations of victory on May 9, 2016. image: http://www.mb.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/er1-261x300.jpg

This is indeed the realistic attitude to have. For Philippine elections campaigns have been known to develop in the most unexpected ways and results are difficult to predict. In the presidential elections of 1992, for example, then Speaker Ramon Mitra was leading until he was overtaken along the way by Fidel V. Ramos who went on to become the 12th president of the Philippines. In the 2010 elections, Speaker Manuel Villar was similarly leading in poll surveys but Benigno S. Aquino III surged past him to win the presidency.

So whoever is now ahead in the surveys for the 2016 elections better study closely these past elections and learn from them.

READ MORE...

Opinion surveys reflect public thinking only at a particular time during a campaign – and that is if the pollster knows what he is doing. Survey results can be affected by so many factors – the proper selection of the sample, the wording of the question asked, the circumstances of the interview, etc. In some elections in the past, “survey results” were concocted and used as election propaganda. Then there is the observation that many Filipino voters make up their minds only on the day of the election, either because of crucial last-minute developments or a final bloc decision.

It may take some time before the Filipino electorate achieves a level of maturity that ensures that the best candidates with the best programs of government win. But we value our elections, such as they are. At least, they reflect our people’s wishes. As we gain in maturity as a people, we hope that we will, in time, but sooner than later, make truly wise choices.


Resisting temptations by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD February 12, 2016 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share4


Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD

A priest did an illegal parking. He left a note on the windshield, saying: “I’m a priest. Can’t find a parking space. Please don’t give me a ticket. ‘Forgive my trespasses.’”

* * *

On returning, he found a ticket on his windshield with this note: “I’m a cop. If I don’t give you a ticket, I’ll commit sin. ‘Lead me not into temptation.’” P.S. “But if you attach a P50 bill on your license, you’re forgiven.”

* * *

Temptations are an ever-present reality in our lives. Temptation is NOT a sin, but an attraction or enticement to commit sin. Even Jesus was tempted.

The gospel for this first Sunday of Lent relates how he underwent temptations in the desert and how he struggled to overcome them, thus setting for us an example. (Read the more detailed version in Lk 4,1-13).

* * *

First, the tempter was sweet-talking Jesus to use his powers for his own personal aggrandizement. “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to turn into loaves” (Lk 4,3).

There is always the temptation for us to use selfishly whatever powers or talents God has given us. A person, for instance, may possess an innate ability to sing. He may “cash in on it,” refusing to use it unless he is paid. However, there is no reason, too, why he should use it ONLY for pay!

READ MORE...

* * *

In the SECOND temptation, Jesus was challenged by the devil to “throw yourself down (the parapet of the Temple) but would not get hurt since the angels would rescue you.” In short, do something sensational. Make miracles.

We Filipinos have a penchant for the extraordinary and miraculous.

* * *

The trouble is that we’re so drawn to the sensational that we overlook the many “miracles of faith” that are happening around us. For instance, isn’t it a miracle that strong, happy families survive in an environment of broken marriages? Or that many practice honesty and compassion where selfishness and dishonesty abound?

* * *

The tempter’s THIRD avenue of assault was for Jesus to “fall down and worship me, and I will give you all the kingdoms of this world” (Lk 4,6). In short, compromise. Don’t demand too much. Wink just a little at evil and people will follow you.

But Christ slammed the tempter’s enticement. There can never be compromises with evil. Evil can not be defeated by compromising with evil.

* * *

Finally, remember one very important thing. Temptation often comes not at our strongest, but at our weakest moments. Jesus’ temptation began AFTER 40 days of fasting. Concretely, when one is penniless, the temptation to steal or accept bribes can be very strong.

* * *

We have just entered the season of Lent. Lent challenges us to pass the test of our fidelity to God and our Christian moral principles.

Can you pass the test? Or better still, can you avoid the occasion that will lead you to sin? A wise man once said: “To pray against temptation but not to avoid the occasion of sin is like putting your hand in the fire and pray that the hand does not get burned.”

* * *

FAMILY TV MASS — aired on IBC 13 (channel 15 cable) at 7-8 a.m. every Sunday; also on international GMA Pinoy TV. Sponsor: ST. LOUIS COLLEGE of Valenzuela, Bulacan. Celebrant: Fr. Egai de Jesus.

PRAY WITH US ON TV.


Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD Word Alive He was born on November 19, 1944 in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. His father is Francisco San Luis, and his mother is named Encarnacion, second of four siblings. He finished his Master’s degree at the Divine Word Seminary, and sucessfully obtained a Master’s degree in Mass Communications in Leicester, England. He is currently practicing his vocation as a priest, at the Christ the King Parish located at E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue in Quezon City.


Politics, showbiz by Jullie Yap Daza February 12, 2016 Share0 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share0 Senator


by Jullie Yap Daza

Tito Sotto assures and reassures the opposite sex, now that it’s Valentine season, that he has nothing against women and should not be blamed “for something I did not do,” that is, cutting out a billion bucks from the RH law.

What he did, he says, was to ask DOH, “Where did P300 million worth of condoms go if I couldn’t find them in any health center?”

If DOH, with its P123 billion budget, had no need to buy condoms, then it could do without money meant for reproductive health services. In Senator Loren Legarda’s view, the funds are considered savings which may then be used to fill in for the deleted sum.

Among other things on the senator’s plate, should he win reelection — why not, as he is consistently No. 1 in the polls, his steadfast appearance on Eat Bulaga is a “big factor” behind his popularity – - are bills to regionalize Bilibid prisons and consolidate the war on drugs under one Drug Enforcement Authority whose mandate will be prevention and education, enforcement, prosecution, and rehabilitation. As for the death penalty, it’s a yes — if applied to “high-level drug traffickers.”

As soon as he sits down to face “Bulong Pulungan,” Tito Sen declares open season: “Ask anything you want about politics and even showbiz.”

READ MORE...

In the Philippines, a thin line separates the two industries. On his career path, he claims that the handsome talent fees from 36 years with Eat Bulaga — and only 24 in politics — enable him to “keep away from temptation.”

In the hotter by-the-day race for the presidency, his choice is a fellow-senator with a showbiz background also. “Ah, Grace Poe, definitely,” her father, the action king FPJ being the standard bearer of the party whose campaign managers were Senators Sotto and Chiz Escudero in 2004.

And yet, Senator Escudero, Grace’s running mate, is not Tito Sen’s candidate for VP but another senator, Gringo Honasan, “my BFF,” best friend forever.

Looking at the telegenic senator and listening to him talk about politics and showbiz, I got the feeling that he’s lasted this long precisely because he has been lucky in marrying the two and staying married there.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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