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Bacolod City, PhilippinesMonday, July 8, 2013
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Of kings and queens
and royal babies

Ninfa Leonardia An Asiana Airlines plane crash landed at the San Francisco International Airport yesterday and burst into fire. Miraculously, however, most of the passengers survived, some with serious injuries, and only two were reported killed. The two were described to be children, about 7 and 8 years old, and were said to be seated at the back of the aircraft, near its tail, which was blown off.

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There were 291 in all on that plane, that, unlike the recent Cebu Pacific aircraft that was involved in an accident in Davao, landed short of the runway and virtually broke into pieces. And how were almost all the passengers saved? Statements quoted from survivors said that, instantly a kind of foam spurted out inside the plane, and it was believed to be a fire extinguisher material. Also, inflatable slides were immediately rolled out at the exits and the people inside were able to slide down to safety. From the accounts by the wire services, the passengers were very grateful that they were able to get out immediately. Remember how angry those on the Cebu Pacific flight were that they were made to wait for some 15 minutes before getting out?

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Fortunately for us Filipinos, none of the reported passengers was a countryman. The plane had reportedly left Shanghai, then stopped over in South Korea before proceeding to San Francisco. That was why most of those on board were Chinese, 141 of them, with 71 Koreans and 61 American, 3 Canadians and one each Canadian, French and Vietnamese. The two little kids who died were said to be Chinese. One passenger commented that the incident will be terrible for their parents who will no longer have any left because of the Chinese one-child policy.

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Speaking of children, Prince William of England and his wife, Kate Middleton, are due to have their first baby any time now and so excited are their people about the event that, even now, the major media networks have already set up stages or stands in areas near the hospital where the baby is to be born. This is because they all want to be the first to publish the photos of the royal couple when they come to the hospital, and also when they leave, possibly with the new prince or princess. By the way, the couple has not disclosed the sex of their child, preferring to have everybody guessing as in older days. That was more exciting, wasn’t’ it?

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Meanwhile, the King of Belgium has abdicated and relinquished his throne to his son, Prince Philippe, in a move that apparently is not very welcome to his people. In the announcement of his plan to let go, King Albert said it is because he is now old and his health is failing, with his movement now quite difficult. But those who reported on the event noted that he was still very alert and erect, being only 79. On the other hand, they do not seem to be eager to have Philippe who is now 53, but does not appear to be as responsible or reliable as his father.

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Maybe King Albert took his cue from Queen Beatriz of the Netherland who also recently, had given up her throne to her son Willem Alexander. But Beatriz had served for 33 years, and was quite elderly. Willem was a favorite even when he was younger, so it was a smooth transition. How about England? Queen Elizabeth is already in her 90s and her son and heir, Charles, now in his 60s but there are no signs that his mother will turn the throne over to him. What does mama know about him that we do not know? Aside, of course, from his infidelity, and lack of charisma, especially after marrying “the other woman” in his supposedly idyllic marriage to Princess Diana.

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What is the Land Transportation Office doing about the strident complaints of vehicle owners griping against the snail’s paced conduct of the required smoke emission tests at the government authorized center? Or, does the LTO have any authority over them? If not, can it be appealed to for help so that vehicle owners will not have to go through, not only hours, but sometimes days of waiting in line for their turn to be tested?

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Drivers are already rejoicing over the cancellation of the former requirement of drug testing before they can acquire or renew their licenses. Can we not also agitate for the cancellation of emission testing? Why, anybody can not only detect, but actually see when vehicles emit smoke on the streets. So why not apprehend them then, and no longer subject them to the long, long queues and waits? I am also due to renew my own registration soon, and dread the procedure after hearing the horror stories from those who had undergone it. I join the drivers groups who are now complaining. Who will come to our rescue?*

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