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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, January 5, 2018
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Will we have a first No-El?

Ninfa Leonardia The news on top of the page said: “Palace issues new rules on Gov't junkets”. At the bottom of the same front page, it was “Rody visiting India, Sokor, Israel this year”. Of course those will not ne junkets. By the way, the Palace should issue its definition of “Junket” so the people will not be confused. Some executives have already been kicked out because of their fondness for junkets.

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Meanwhile, it seems the House Secretary has his own version of the Christmas Song “Noel”. Right after the New Year, reports broke out that he had been saying in interviews (I watched one of them on TV) that because of the drive towards Federalism, there is a strong possibility of No-El taking place in this country come 2019. For those who may have forgotten, No-El is the “nickname” given by the bright boys in government for “No Election.” And that was what Secretary Pantaleon Alvarez was broadly suggesteing in this TV pronouncements.

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Then there are also the talks that the President's term is going to be extended. Now, his new spokesman has denied that, even hinting that President Rody can hardly wait for his term to end. But the NO-El speculation must have struck at the heart of the ambitious ones who have been planning and scheming to snatch plum positions come 1019. For one, there is Bongbong Marcos who will surely step up his struggles to wrench the vice-presidency away from VP Leni Robredo, so he can be the next in line, in case President Duterte really gets fed up with his post and throws in the towel.

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But what is disturbing are the exchanges between two bellicose heads of state who do not seem to consider the safety and well-being of their constituents as they try to outdo each other in their threats involving nuclear warfare. After North Korea's Kim Jung Un boasted that he has his finger on the button of his nuclear toy all time, America's equally trouble lover Donald Trump comes out also bragging that he has his finger on the button of his nuclear plaything and that his button is bigger and more destructive. What can we make of such immature minded leaders? The Koreans have an excuse ? they did not elect their leader ? what have the American voters to say about their predicament now?

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When we were children and spending vacations and holidays with our grandparents in their farm in Pontevedra, I became very fascinated with the tales and superstitions as well as the practices they and those who worked for them used to tell us. Among those was the belief in the “tubong” which, I think, translates to “equal” or “match” in English. When the new year starts, my grandmother would mark in her calendar the weather for the first 12 days of the first month, that is, January.

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So, if January 1 turns to be sunny, she would smile and say, the first month will be clear with fair weather. If it rains January 2, alas, it predicts a rain, February, if January 3 is hot and dry, March will be hot and dry, too, and if January 4 brings showers, that would be good for making plans, and the same with January 5, that will predict what the climate will be in May, and so on. Well, we never stayed at the farm that long as we had to go back to school, but I really believed those calendar markings did guide them in their decisions in running not only their rice farms but also their fishpond. My father, of course, just humored them and, being an only son, and not inclined to farm work, left them to their own devices, but me, I thought of that when I watched the first five days of January go by.

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But with hardly a week after January came in, we already have “Agaton” wreaking havoc in so many areas of the country. That is starting with “A”. if this continues, how soon do we get to typhoon Z? They name them alphabetically, you know. “Vinta” closed the year, we did not get to “Zenaida” or “Zenon”, so let us hope that we don't go through half of the alphabet before half of the year is over. And that's tallying only typhoons. What about earthquakes, landslides, and eruptions? Heaven watch the Philippines!

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A group calling itself the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project has bestowed on President Rodrigo the title of their “Person of the Year”. But neither the President nor his people are amused. It seems the award is not really an honor, but in fact a satirical one, or a mockery, because the ones granting it were focusing on the human rights issues against him. It was not reported if he had accepted it or even entertained the idea, but I am sure he will be advised to ignore it. I am also sure the President saw through their scheme.*

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