THIRTY-FIVE years after being mothballed, the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) continues to hound a discredited regime for…
Pili nut is common in the Philippines, especially in the Bicol region. It is a favorite crispy snack,…
The Christmas season promises to become a brighter time in the coming years for Persons Deprived of Liberty…
A hands-free computer interface with a built-in medical scanner, a computer-monitored wastewater filtering and management system, and a…
GENEVA—Fifa intensified its push for hosting the men’s World Cup every two years by garnering support from soccer…
As the country continues to grapple with COVID-19 and its more contagious Delta variant, the Makati City local government continues to ramp up its efforts in protecting the residents against the dreaded virus.
(Photo from Makati PIO) According to the local government unit (LGU), the city has already deployed 587,532 vaccines as of Sept. 16. A total of 331,650 residents received their first dose and 219,882 were fully vaccinated.
The LGU assured the public that it will continue to improve its vaccination efforts and information programs to convince those unvaccinated individuals to get their jabs not just to protect themselves but also their loved ones and the public.
The city government also started the registration of minors aged 12-17 for vaccination.
In a Facebook post, the LGU said that residents of Makati aged 12 to 17 could sign up for vaccination on the website proudmakatizen.com, adding that a master list would be created for the inoculation of teenagers.
Registrants may click the category A4: Makati Resident, Non-Voter for teenagers. They were advised to wait for further details and updates regarding the vaccination registration on its official Facebook page.
READ MORE: https://mb.com.ph/2021/09/11/makati-city-opens-covid-19-vaccination-registration-for-minors/
Senator Sonny Angara It is that time of the year again when we in Congress start buckling down to work on what some consider to be the most important law year in and year out—the country’s national budget. To emphasize just how important this measure is, in the Senate, the traditional practice is for all the attention to be on the deliberations on the proposed budgets of the different agencies and government offices, meaning all the other hearings take a back seat as much as possible.
The challenge we faced during the debates on the 2021 General Appropriations Act was particularly tough considering that we were in the middle of a pandemic and we had to balance the operational requirements of the agencies with the responses to the impacts of COVID-19.
The task in front of us in the preparations for the 2022 national budget is no less challenging. We are still under a national public health emergency and with the emergence of new COVID-19 variants such as the Delta, we have seen a spike in cases that outnumber even those recorded during the first few months of the pandemic last year.
Under this COVID-19 regime, the situation on the ground is changing constantly and rapidly. The requirements of our frontline agencies can change in a month or within weeks. And so what is contained in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) or the Executive branch’s proposal to Congress for the 2022 national budget could already be outdated when the so-called budget season begins.
The situation is somewhat understandable given how the budget process works in the country. Our Constitution requires the President to submit to Congress the proposed national budget within 30 days from the opening of its regular session or by the third or fourth week of August every year.
As such, the agencies are required to submit their budget proposals early in the year so that the DBM will be able to prepare the voluminous document and have it ready for submission to Congress by the opening of its regular session on the fourth Monday of July. Given the current situation (particularly with the Delta variant), it is understandable that a lot of key expenditures are not captured in the budget document. This is why I suggest that agencies should be allowed to submit revisions to their proposed budgets to reflect new developments brought about by the pandemic.
During last week’s briefing of the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) on the P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022, we took note of the absence of some key items related to the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among these are vaccines for minors, the provision of special risk allowance (SRA) for health workers, cash aid or ayuda, loans for micro, small and medium enterprises, and funding for testing and contact tracing.
On the vaccination of children aged 12 to 17, something which we pushed for earlier this year and has since been adopted by our Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) pointed out that the 2022 NEP only contains funding for the purchase of booster shots for individuals who have already completed their jabs in the amount of P45 billion under the unprogrammed fund. No funding was provided for the inoculation of minors mainly because the FDA came out with its amended emergency use authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine in June and for Moderna’s vaccine in September to allow its use on children within that age range.
For the SRA, a monthly benefit we provided to our health workers under the Bayanihan 1 and 2 laws, the DBM did not include funding for this in the 2022 budget in light of the expiration of the two laws. As the sponsor and author of the Bayanihan 2, it is clear to me that the SRA, along with several other benefits for health workers, should continue even after the law expires for as long as the state of public health emergency declared by President Duterte is in place. In fact, the President has just extended the period from September 13, 2021 to September 12, 2022.
This coming September 24, the Committee on Finance, of which I sit as chairman, will conduct a public hearing on Senate Bill 2371 that seeks to ensure the SRA and other benefits intended for public and private health workers will continue to be provided even after the expiration of the Bayanihan laws. Senator Richard Gordon and I jointly filed the bill in response to the request by the Department of Health for Congress to pass a law for this purpose.
With the emergence of Delta and the other COVID variants, the requirements of our frontline agencies are constantly moving. The situation is changing rapidly and so must our processes pertaining to the submission of the national budget. The spread of COVID has been rapid and our budget must be able to keep up with it.
Sen. Sonny Angara has been in public service for 17 years. He has authored and sponsored more than 200 laws. He is currently serving his second term in the Senate.
E-mail: [email protected]| Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @sonnyangara
HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRIPEVINE: OUR NEW ABNORMAL
Philip Cu Unjieng While watching the coverage of tennis’ US Open at Flushing Meadows, New York City last week, I’d view with envy the full capacity crowds at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. They were enjoying the matches in typical boisterous Noo Yawk fashion, all without wearing face masks or shields, and I’d get depressed – because, sure, it’s halfway around the world, but it’s this same world, and yet, it’s zillions of worlds away from the reality we continue to endure here in the Philippines.
Let’s be fair, COVID has not been flushed out of the USA’s reality; the variants are still a serious matter in pockets of America. And yes, the USA is geographically vast, and we refer to it as a first world nation. But somehow, in New York, over the two weeks of the Open, the tennis wasn’t just about the competition; but it was just as importantly, about transpiring as a physical, spectator sport. Food and drinks were being served and brought back to their seats. The night sessions were rowdy, rambunctious affairs. People were packed in the stadiums, and it was evident, everyone was having a great time.
I’d watch the matches, wake up bleary-eyed, and don my face mask and shield, head to the office conscious of social distancing, avoiding crowds or groups of people, and get fearful reading about the ever-rising daily COVID new cases count. If you wanted to define what escapism meant to me last week, it would have been those hours when I’d be watching the tennis on my own, in my bedroom – wondering why we’re still mired in this predicament of two steps forward, three steps back with our COVID response.
What was New York doing to make “normalcy” a carefully tended reality? We can talk vaccinations and herd immunity, we can speak of effective contact tracing; but it would seem they’ve gone beyond that. And here we are with our laborious vaccination rate, still depending on hand-outs. After one year and a half, do we even have a comprehensive and reliable contact tracing system in place, or are we just playing lip service to that notion?
At last week’s US Open, and never mind the tennis player, take note of the crowd watching – no masks or social distancing! (Photo courtesy of mb.com) Have we been rational in allowing the food and restaurant industry to pick up the pieces of its existence? We’re a consumer-driven economy, so what happens when we’ve kept the consumers in a veritable straitjacket? Retail ends up dying. I see institutions like Automatic Centre announcing their closure after more than 70 years of service as one of our leading retail appliance network of stores. I see global fashion brands closing shop here. I even wonder about the demand for office and commercial spaces when remote work seems to be a permanent fixture of our hybrid workforce of the immediate future.
Of course, every business will have its pivot scenario or go on survival mode – but it’s obvious that for so many companies, survival mode can only be the game plan for so long. There will be a breaking point if you haven’t discovered that sweet spot of going online. FinTech is the new wave of businesses that will survive, even prosper. But even here, for every FinTech that’s doing great, there are a dozen FinTech start-ups that are struggling, and may not last the end of the year.
At this point, I don’t even want to point fingers or play the blame game. But I can’t escape the fact that while so many businesses and MSME’s are going under, so many people have had their incomes and earning capacities compromised and threatened, so many have uncertain futures; there are people up there who are brazenly enriching themselves during this pandemic, taking advantage of the situation without compunction, and only looking out for themselves even when they’ve been entrusted with public duties and responsibilities.
I’m reminded of things I’ve observed in my lifetime about the “King’s horses and King’s men.” One scenario says you’ll find that when small-minded people are given a little power, they strut and fret like they were the kings, acting more “Don’ than the real ‘Don’s” who own the company and hold the power. I’ve seen this so many times in the corporate world, how minions puff their chests like peacocks, and act with complete disregard for decent workplace ethics or behavior. The irony often being that they don’t know I know their bosses, whose name they drop, or I’m certain would not act in this manner themselves.
And then there’s scenario number two – this is when the man on top is himself a practitioner of “bully ball” tactics. Anyone who’s done playground basketball will know the type, double-dribbles but doesn’t care, will push off too hard before receiving the ball and think that’s fine, and lastly, will sulk if you don’t pass him the ball often enough. When the boss is himself like that, his followers and disciples will “ape” his demeanor, become pathetic caricatures of their “little God.”
The real quandary ensues when there is no real substantive leadership, as that man on top is already at a loss on what action to take, vacillates between the contradicting “payo” of his advisers, but hates to be perceived as weak or having run out of ideas. Clueless as to what the real game plan is, the sorry fact is that so many of the followers then fall back on self-preservation and aggrandizement before the sand in the top half of the hourglass runs out – not caring how many heads they step on to reach that exit door, or to get their hands on a “golden parachute.”
If Dante’s Circles of Hell are a reality, I just pray there are spaces reserved for these people. History has taught us that in this lifetime; more often than not, they’ll get away with it. Filipinos are so forgiving. In fact, we’re beyond forgiving, as we’re so forgetful as well.
Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.
They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they remained silent. They had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.
THE VIEW FROM RIZAL
Dr. Jun Ynares For reasons unknown to non-social media habitués, Baguio had all of a sudden emerged as the unofficial “Friendship Capital of the Philippines.” We were told that Baguio City earned the title after a couple of celebrities decided to take a day trip to what is officially “The Summer Capital of the Philippines.”
We were told that one of them made sure that the public understood that the one-day trip was purely on the basis of “friendship.”
“As a friend,” according to him.
We will not begrudge netizens who have dubbed Baguio with the new “friendship” label.
After all, many special friendships were born and blossomed into romance in the City of Pines.
We will also not fault the celebrities involved in the day trip. We were told that the said trip had some unsavory issues behind it. When we face setbacks and adversities in life, it is recommended that we seek the company of friends.
Many medical practitioners support this view.
For example, the US-based Mayo Clinic says friendships not only enrich one’s life but also “improve your health.” “Good friends are good for your health,” the Mayo Clinic says in an online article. “Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too,” it added.
Here are the other benefits of being with other people “as a friend” as mentioned in the Mayo Clinic article.
It says “friends can also increase your sense of belonging and purpose; boost your happiness and reduce your stress; improve your self-confidence and self-worth; help you cope with trauma associated with adverse events like divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one.”
“Friends also encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise,” the Mayo Clinic article added.
Friends also play an important role to people who have embarked on an important mission in life.
Our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, was the consummate friendship-builder. He had a good number of friends who journeyed with him in life as he pursued his most ardent dream for his country.
They included the Paterno brothers Pedro, Maximo and Antonio with whom he shared ideas, engaged in lively exchange and heated debates. There was Dr. Ferdinand Blumentritt, an Austrian academician, with whom our national hero had what we would call today a “long-distance friendship.” He must have also been a mentor to the national hero and was credited with having translated Dr. Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere into the German language.
There was the Spanish Governor-General named Emilio Perinat Terrero whose friendship with Dr. Rizal ensured that the latter’s “subversive” novels would not be totally banned in the country. Perhaps, we can say that even our national hero knew the importance of having “friends in high places.” Then, there was the patriot Maximo Viola of Bulacan. Like our national hero, he was a doctor of medicine. They were both involved in the Propaganda Movement and had travelled together in Europe.
Dr. Viola is said to have given Dr. Rizal significant financial help. It was said that Dr. Rizal had suffered severe financial constraints in his bid to publish one of his novels. He felt so desperate about his situation that he almost tore up the manuscript of the Noli Me Tangere. He thought he could never get that historic novel published because he did not have the money to finance its printing.
Dr. Viola is said to have come to his aid and given him the money. Of the national hero, it could be said that he was blessed with those who were truly friends “in need” and who are “friends, indeed.” It appears that individuals who pursue missions that are life-changing attract friends who are loyal and who eventually share their passion and commitment.
That was true for Dr. Rizal.
That was true for the person who walked the earth thousands of years before Dr. Rizal did.
The Man was Jesus Christ.
He attracted a band of loyalists who carried on his mission. Their friendship with Him was so strong that they were willing to die for Him and what He stood for.
The fact is 10 out of the original 12 best friends of Christ died painful, horrible deaths as they preached His good news.
That good news still rings today and remains the most important message we all need to hear.
That good news says God is waiting for us to return to His Love, to be reconciled to Him and to live meaningful lives under His Reign.
The good news is that God loves us so much and wants us to live as his children.
And as His friends.
*For feedback, please email it to [email protected] or send it to Block 6 Lot 10 Sta. Barbara 1 cor. Bradley St., Mission Hills Subd., Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City, Rizal.