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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)
FROM GMA NEWS AND THE FREEMAN (PHILSTAR CEBU)

ANALYSIS: PACQUIAO COULD END KNOCKOUT DROUGHT AGAIST VARGAS


NOVEMBER 4 -It has been seven years since eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao scored a stoppage victory. His career went through ups and downs since then, as if his reputation of once being a feared power puncher with blinding speed is nothing but folklore. On November 5 (November 6 PHL time), Pacquiao will once again step inside the ring following his brief "retirement" earlier this year. He's tasked to challenge Jessie Varges for the WBO world welterweight championship -- a title he held in the past. And while some observers tend to see this upcoming fight as nothing but a mismatch, the showdown could also be Pacquiao's most exciting matchup since his fourth encounter with Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012.  WHO IS JESSIE VARGAS? READ MORE...

ALSO An Open Letter to Spkr. Pantaleon Alvarez et al.: Do you really want to deter drunk driving in the Philippines?


NOVEMBER 2 -SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE ALVAREZ By DINNA LOUISE C. DAYAO I am writing you as a citizen who is deeply concerned about the number of road crashes in our country that can be blamed on alcohol. The figures from the Department of Health are alarming: from 2009 to 2015, alcohol topped the list of risk factors at the time of the road crash. During that period, alcohol led to 10,914 injury cases. I therefore thank you for authoring House Bill number 5. Said bill sets longer jail times and higher fines for people who drive under the influence. Tougher penalties for drunk driving are good. However, road safety research suggests that they are not enough.  READ MORE...

ALSO: THE FREEMAN EDITORIAL - Tourist destination


NOVEMBER 2 -Another tourist destination in Central Visayas has gained an international recognition. The famous Chocolate Hills in Bohol were included on the list of 17 most wild and beautiful places in the world by the prestigious National Geographic. In a new book on the beautiful places on earth, the National Geographic said the "conical Chocolate Hills of Bohol Island in the Philippines are mystery of nature." Those famous hills have also been proposed for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List. For the Department of Tourism, the recognition was certainly an honor for Bohol and the entire region. "We can now say that the hard work placed by both the private and government sector of Bohol has resulted to such recognition," said DOT-7 director Rowena Lu Montecillo. READ MORE...

ALSO THE FREEMAN OPINION - The two mocking birds: De Lima and Trillanes


NOVEMBER 6 -By Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez
Senator Sonny Trillanes has alleged that there are ten senators who are not happy with President Rody Duterte. I dont think so. At this stage in our history, when fundamental issues, like human rights and police power are in direct collision course, we are missing the great men and women who used to occupy the seats of honor in that twenty-four member chamber. We miss, among others, such brilliant men of wisdom and erudition, like Senators Felimon and Vicente Sotto, Claro M Recto, Jose P Laurel, Lorenzo Tañada, Jose W. Diokno, Arturo Tolentino, Jovito Salonga, Francisco "Soc" Rodrigo, Rodolfo Ganzon, and, why not, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino.. Today's breed of senators, we are sad to note, cannot hold a candle to the venerable late members of the senate. And we say that, with all due respect. READ MORE...


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ANALYSIS Pacquiao could end knockout drought against Vargas

MANILA, NOVEMBER 7, 2016 (GMA NEWS) It has been seven years since eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao scored a stoppage victory. His career went through ups and downs since then, as if his reputation of once being a feared power puncher with blinding speed is nothing but folklore.

On November 5 (November 6 PHL time), Pacquiao will once again step inside the ring following his brief "retirement" earlier this year. He's tasked to challenge Jessie Varges for the WBO world welterweight championship -- a title he held in the past.

And while some observers tend to see this upcoming fight as nothing but a mismatch, the showdown could also be Pacquiao's most exciting matchup since his fourth encounter with Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012.

WHO IS JESSIE VARGAS?

READ MORE...

The 27-year-old Vargas was a former amateur standout who had more than a hundred fights under his belt and is an ex-national amateur boxing champion. He turned pro in 2008, and went on a 26-fight winning streak in a span of seven years.

He is a 5'10 orthodox fighter, who does well in putting his combinations together. His fighting style, however, is rather basic to say the least. The current WBO world welterweight champion often comes forward, throws the jab and frequently gets to a slugfest. His defense is suspect too, making him an easy prey for someone like Manny Pacquiao.

Vargas' first competition against an elite opposition was when he stepped up to face Timothy Bradley last year. And while he managed to hurt Bradley once during the fight, Vargas was severely outboxed during their 12-round encounter. Another notable fight worth looking into was his slugfest with Josesito Lopez in 2011. Lopez managed to take Vargas to deep waters but ended up losing by split decision in a bout that many thought Vargas lost.

PREDICTION

Vargas is a decent fighter, but he's a borderline class C boxer at best and is nowhere near the level of Pacquiao. He loves to come forward and brawl while utterly lacking speed and power. He's tall but doesn't fight tall, and his mediocre defense and nothing special footwork often leaves him open for the taking. Come fight night, fans can expect Pacquiao to land his straight left and right hook at will while dazing the poor Vargas with his lateral movement.

Other than his youth, height and reach advantage, Vargas has pretty much nothing to offer against Pacquiao. The Filipino ring icon has the overwhelming advantage when it comes to power, speed, experience, skills set and cornermen -- a package that is quite hard to beat since Vargas isn't exactly known for having a high in-ring IQ. Suffice it to say, the two words that would best describe Vargas are "average" and "ordinary".

The interest surrounding this upcoming fight has proved to be lukewarm since the day it was announced. And why not? Nobody asked nor wanted to see Pacquiao going against Vargas. The Filipino people wanted Pacquiao to get himself in the Olympics in hopes to win the country's first gold medal, instead they got a fight with Vargas, who's widely unknown and is levels below him when it comes to the fight game.

Vargas does not belong in there with Pacquiao. Heck, Vargas and Pacquiao shouldn't even be mentioned in the same sentence. Vargas' come forward style is a horrible matchup for Pacquiao given his weak attributes.

Pacquiao's victory has never been much more imminent this past few years. Should he show force at least 70% on fight night, it would still be sufficient enough to snatch the WBO world title. Pacquiao, however, has also put himself in a situation where he has a lot more to lose than to gain. By picking to fight a weak opposition in Vargas, he had placed himself in a position where he can't afford not to impress.

What makes this fight a bit worth watching though is that Vargas is going to try, he's going to press and brawl and would be made to pay for it over and over. At 37 years old, there's still not too many fighters out there who can trade with Pacquiao, let alone Vargas, who barely has any sting in his punches.

Pacquiao is bound to outbox and do better than Vargas in every aspect of the game. And should he bring out a tiny bit of his old aggressive self, a knockout win is a huge possibility this time around. If the plan is to have Pacquiao retire with a world title around his waist, then his team surely picked the right opponent to fight. — BAP, GMA News


An Open Letter to Spkr. Pantaleon Alvarez et al.: Do you really want to deter drunk driving in the Philippines? Published November 2, 2016 5:59pm


SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE ALVAREZ

By DINNA LOUISE C. DAYAO

I am writing you as a citizen who is deeply concerned about the number of road crashes in our country that can be blamed on alcohol. The figures from the Department of Health are alarming: from 2009 to 2015, alcohol topped the list of risk factors at the time of the road crash. During that period, alcohol led to 10,914 injury cases.

I therefore thank you for authoring House Bill number 5. Said bill sets longer jail times and higher fines for people who drive under the influence.

Tougher penalties for drunk driving are good. However, road safety research suggests that they are not enough.

READ MORE...

“Strong laws can change behavior, but strong enforcement can ensure the change of behavior,” says Kelly Larson, program director, Bloomberg Philanthropies. The Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety focuses on implementing key interventions proven to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries.

Researchers Arthur Goodwin et al. agree. “Deterrence works when consequences are swift, sure, and severe (with swift and sure being more important in affecting behavior than severe),” they conclude. These experts wrote Countermeasures that work: a highway safety countermeasure guide for state highway safety offices.

And therein lies the rub, Speaker Alvarez and company: “Swift” and “sure” are not words that can be used to describe the way our law enforcers have been struggling to implement our national drunk-driving law, Republic Act (RA) 10586.

Consider the following:

The Philippines got a dismal 1 out of 10 rating in the implementation of its drunk-driving law in the World Health Organization Global status report on road safety 2015.

Our national drunk-driving law, RA 10586, is based on blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits. This is a good start. We have a leg up on Indonesia; the country’s drunk-driving law is not based on BAC limits.

Another plus is that RA 10586 sets a limit of 0.05 grams per deciliter (g/dl). “Laws that establish BACs of 0.05g/dl or below are effective at reducing the number of alcohol-related crashes,” says the WHO.

However, our law needs to be accompanied by “visible and rapid enforcement,” says the global agency. And this is the area where we have failed. The dismal rating came from eight road safety experts from the Philippines. While it is subjective, the low rating is very telling.

In the entire archipelago, there are only 150 breath alcohol analyzers.

RA 10586 states that within four months from its effectivity in 2013, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Philippine National Police shall acquire “sufficient breath analyzers” for the use of law enforcers and deputized local traffic enforcers nationwide. The LTO is the lead agency for enforcing RA 10586.

Having enough breath analyzers remains an elusive dream, though. The LTO bought only 150 units of the Fit 333 model for use throughout the entire country in 2015. Since then, no new breathalyzers have been bought.

The test results from the Fit 333 breathalyzers have “evidentiary value.”

“If you file a case against the driver, you need to show the test result in court,” says Atty. Roberto Valera, head of the traffic safety department at the LTO. Using the Fit 333 model, one can test a driver and have a printed test result in minutes.

Time is of the essence. On average, it takes about one hour for the human body to break down one unit of alcohol. Therefore, it’s crucial to quickly test a driver for breath alcohol and get the test results right away. But how can law enforcers do that when they don’t have enough breathalyzers?

There are simply too few breathalyzers to effectively breath-test enough drivers.

One of the key ways for the police to successfully deter people from drinking and driving is by testing a high proportion of drivers. What is the ideal proportion?

“At least one in 10 drivers every year,” write Dr. Margie Peden et al. in the WHO World report on road traffic injury prevention. “This can only be achieved through wide-scale application of random breath testing and evidential breath testing.”

The dearth of breathalyzers makes it impossible to achieve such a scale. The number of registered motor vehicles in the country totaled 8.7 million in 2015. This number includes cars, utility vehicles, SUVs, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and trailers. And car sales in the country show no signs of slowing down.

Moreover, RA 10586 does not provide for random breath testing. The law enforcer cannot just stop any driver at any time for breath testing. The law states that he first needs to have “probable cause” to believe that the driver has had too much to drink. This means that he needs to witness a traffic violation—such as lane straddling or speeding.

Only then can the law enforcer flag down a driver. At first, he conducts 3 field sobriety tests. If the driver fail any of the tests, then the law enforcer can use a breathalyzer to determine his blood alcohol concentration level.

There are too few law enforcers to effectively catch impaired drivers.

Atty. Valera trained 4,842 people to be deputy law enforcers in 2015. However, only 992 trainees went on to become deputy law enforcers.

Why so few? Many law enforcers are concerned that apprehended drivers may contest the charge and sue them, he says. And since the law enforcers lack breathalyzers, they are on shaky ground.

It doesn’t help, either, that trying to catching drunk drivers is a thankless job. The hours—from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.—are terrible. And these law enforcers do not get paid a night differential or hazard pay, says Atty. Valera.

In summary, Speaker Alvarez and company, imposing harsher penalties alone isn’t enough. Without strict enforcement, RA 10586 would not be worth the paper it’s written on. This much is shown by international road safety research.

I therefore urge you to put strict law enforcement—not severe penalties—first. Ensure that the consequences for violating RA 10586 are swift and sure. Only then will many drivers stop drunk driving.

I hope you find this useful. I await your reply.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Dinna Louise C. Dayao Concerned citizen

Dinna Louise C. Dayao is an independent writer-editor. She interviewed Kelly Larson, program director of Bloomberg Philanthropies, at the Safety 2016 conference in Finland held in September. Dayao attended the major injury prevention conference with support from the ICFJ-WHO Safety 2016 Reporting Fellowship Program and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The opinions expressed in this letter are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.


FROM THE FREEMAN -PHILSTAR CEBU

EDITORIAL - Tourist destination (The Freeman) | Updated November 6, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

Another tourist destination in Central Visayas has gained an international recognition. The famous Chocolate Hills in Bohol were included on the list of 17 most wild and beautiful places in the world by the prestigious National Geographic.

In a new book on the beautiful places on earth, the National Geographic said the "conical Chocolate Hills of Bohol Island in the Philippines are mystery of nature." Those famous hills have also been proposed for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

For the Department of Tourism, the recognition was certainly an honor for Bohol and the entire region. "We can now say that the hard work placed by both the private and government sector of Bohol has resulted to such recognition," said DOT-7 director Rowena Lu Montecillo.

READ MORE...

Last month, Cebu province, especially the Camotes Islands, was named as one of the world's best islands together with Palawan and Boracay by the international lifestyle and travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler.

Now that Central Visayas has been slowly getting huge worldwide exposure, it's high time for our tourism authorities to double their effort to attract more foreign tourists. They should be more aggressive in promoting the region to take advantage of those international recognitions.

Although Central Visayas has been the favorite destination for the South Koreans, the Japanese and the Chinese, there is still a lot of work to be done considering the fact that there are other markets waiting to be tapped. These untapped markets are those wealthy states in Europe, Middle East, and North America.

Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

And taking advantage of those international recognitions should include revolutionizing the strategy if we want to attract more tourists from other markets aside from the usual neighboring countries.

Cebu and other areas in Central Visayas have what it takes to become the tourism hub not just in the country but in Asia as well. All we need is an honest-to-goodness approach by those concerned tourism officials in the campaign to lure more foreign tourists.


The two mocking birds: De Lima and Trillanes WHAT MATTERS MOST By Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) | Updated November 6, 2016 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


By Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez

Senator Sonny Trillanes has alleged that there are ten senators who are not happy with President Rody Duterte. I dont think so.

At this stage in our history, when fundamental issues, like human rights and police power are in direct collision course, we are missing the great men and women who used to occupy the seats of honor in that twenty-four member chamber.

We miss, among others, such brilliant men of wisdom and erudition, like Senators Felimon and Vicente Sotto, Claro M Recto, Jose P Laurel, Lorenzo Tañada, Jose W. Diokno, Arturo Tolentino, Jovito Salonga, Francisco "Soc" Rodrigo, Rodolfo Ganzon, and, why not, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino.. Today's breed of senators, we are sad to note, cannot hold a candle to the venerable late members of the senate. And we say that, with all due respect.

READ MORE...

We are also missing the great women who were elected to the upper chamber, such as, the first ever, Geronima Pecson; the then Pacita Madrigal Warns-Gonzales; Maria Kalaw-Katigbak; Tecla San Andres-Ziga, the first Filipino woman to ever top the Bar Examinations; Eva Estrada-Kalaw, Magnolia W. Antonino, Helena Benitez, Letecia Ramos-Shahani, and Santanina Tillah-Rasul.

Perhaps, the most brilliant, articulate, and daring was the recently-departed Miriam Palma Defensor-Santiago. Of course, in the not-too-distant past, Dr. Loi Estrada, Tessie Aquino-Oreta, Anna Dominique-Coseteng, GMA, and Jamby Madrigal were also elected to the Senate's august body. Today's batch, we have to say, are not up to the likes of their illustrious predecessors.

In the midst of raging issues, such brilliant lawyers like Franklin Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan, and Chiz Escudero remain mysteriously silent.

They are even outshone by the boxer from Saranggani, Senator Manny Pacquiao, whose motion to declare as vacant the chairmanship of the Justice Committee triggered the ouster of Senator Leila de Lima. It is only Senator Alan Cayetano who is almost single-handedly carrying the torch of parliamentary combat against the two emerging mockingbirds in the Senate, the bold Leila de Lima and the never-say-die rebel, Antonio Trillanes IV. The two are hot as the peppers from Bicol where they both come from.

Senator de Lima, despite the fact that she is a neophyte, has emerged as the most active parliamentary debater in the Upper House.

While she is always outwitted and out maneuvered by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, de Lima has shown some caliber in refusing to bow down to the male majority and to the dominant pro-Duterte solons.

Whilst we do not exactly agree with her advocacies and stand on fundamental issues in law and in politics, we grudgingly hold her in high esteem for her grit, her angst, and her courage in locking horns with the likes of Cayetano, Lacson, Sotto and Gordon, who are her senior legislators.

Senator Trillanes is not a lawyer. He was a navy officer who may have never experienced an actual battle, but he is fearless. He was caught, prosecuted, and jailed for the attempted coup against then President GMA.

Perhaps his attempted and failed rebellion brought him to the halls of the Senate. So far, we have not seen any worthwhile from the senator that creates a meaningful impact on the nation. Nevertheless, he continues to capture the limelight for standing up even against the president.

He challenged the authority of Senator Gordon and called him a biased Justice Committee chairman. He also engaged the lawyer, Senator Alan Peter in a debate and dared to turn off the mike while Cayetano was having the floor on a matter of draconian importance.

De Lima and Trillanes is the tandem to watch, the two mockingbirds who, by the looks of them, may continue to vex, cajole, and challenge the president and his men.

But the question that matters most is: Are they serving the best interests of the nation? I don't think so.


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