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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, June 12, 2019
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OPINIONS

The nose of Duterte

Ninfa Leonardia

I can only imagine how many Filipinos, as well as foreigners, will be grateful to President Duterte if he succeeds in making officials of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport toe the line and adopt measures that will stop those frequent delays and cancellations of flights that have inconvenienced the riding public so much. Of course frequent fliers had to tolerate them – they have no choice. But if other airports in other parts of the world can do it, why can’t ours?

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Our people have been very tolerant, they may grumble and deplore their loss of time and, of course, also money, if they are business people, but it is about time something is done, and who can wield the whip, but the President himself? I bet even he has to endure delays and cancellations at times, if not now, because Malacañang provides him with his own aircraft, then, during the days when he was only a city mayor. So he will actually be voicing the complaints of the flying public, especially professionals and business people, and even students, who lose a lot when their flights are delayed or, worst, cancelled.

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I bet the Tulfo brothers never, never expected this to happen to their careers. Well, only one of them is now in hot water, but he really getting it up to the neck this time. Journalist Erwin Tulfo must have prided himself in being fearless and untouchable, but, by gosh, he stepped on some unyielding toes this time by cursing a top ranking military man, and even threatening to slap him and dunk his head into a toilet bowl! Maybe he used to laugh at us “cowards” who never dared to be as offensive as he allowed himself to be, but, as they say, a day of reckoning will come. Last I heard, the military is not only filing charges against him, it is also recalling all the firepower, i.e. guns, men, etc. provided him.

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I hope neither the French nor the Americans are as superstitious as Filipinos. Sometime during the early days of their terms, Donald Trump of the United States and Emmanuel Macron of France, planted a tree in the White House garden that was to symbolize the friendship between their two countries. That was during those friendlier times but lately there seems to be some problems in their relationship, and the poor tree died. Now, it was said to be an oak tree, one of the sturdiest kinds, but it could not survive. Our Pinoys would look at that as a bad omen, indeed.

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The law should be harsh on those centers exposed to be defrauding the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., or PhilHealth, by making it pay claims for persons already dead. And the one already identified and could face charges must not be the only one operating in the country. What the operators of the center allegedly did was to go on charging PhilHealth for supposed treatments of patients who have already died, but whose names are still registered with them. Unfortunately for them, their racket has been discovered, and let us hope that others in similar operations also get discovered soon.

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It is saddening to read or hear about accidents involving buses in various parts of the country. Some fall off the roads, and cause death and injuries to passengers, while others allegedly lose their brakes, or fall on their sides. One wonders what the problems really are, because the buses involved seem to be new and in good condition. But some people say they suspect that some of those buses only go through “face-lifting”, that is, they look spanking new, but actually have old and decrepit engines already. What steps are our government agencies in charge of checking them taking to ensure that the engines of such vehicles are in top form all the time?

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I was not able to watch the Miss Universe-Philippines contest myself, but from members of the STAR staff who did, our bet from Negros Occidental appeared to have a very good chance of making it but blew it in the question and answer portion. Seems she did not get the gist of the poser and therefore had to make up something irrelevant. Well, she did get a lot of titles allotted to non-winners, so that’s a consolation. It means we should brief our bets more thoroughly before they come out. Better luck next time, I say, for our next Miss this-and-that contestant. Let’s hope the one who got the title does better in the next round of the competition.

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I truly admire the guts of Inquirer columnist John Nery who wrote yesterday about the “lies” of the President! I’d even say I admire his editors for letting him get away with it. But I noted, too, that he backed his statements with the facts as he knew them. My! He sure does not believe the Boss will also lie about him. He also claims that when the President gets caught, he brazenly admits it. But how can the ordinary Pinoy tell when he is telling the truth or lying? Can we do it by watching his nose and see if it twitches?*

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