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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, November 11, 2014
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Word war in Tacloban

Ninfa Leonardia The Filipino peacekeepers who have been stationed in that very dangerous Ebola-plagued country, Liberia, have been declared free of the virus and are returning home soon, but they will not be able to meet their families for three weeks after arrival. That is because they will be quarantined in an isolated island, that used to be an American fortress during the World War. There they will stay for 21 days, the period during which symptoms are expected to appear, in case they had caught the virus before traveling home.

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The island where they are going to stay is known as Caballo, where there are medical personnel, adequately protected, no doubt, to closely observe them and report immediately to the Health officials in case any sign of the ailment is noted. The quarters are described as comfortable, but how pleasant it will be, being attended to by staff, all covered in protective gear, who may be afraid to get near you? Worse for the returnees, I think, will be the fact that, upon arrival, they cannot even see or get near the loved ones they had been missing so much.

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But a bit of good news is that the Ebola attacks seem to be winding down and there are less new cases beingmonitored. Perhaps the virus will soon go away, or maybe the change in the weather is unfavorable to it. But we hope researchers and medical workers will soon be able to find, not only a cure, but, more important , a vaccine that could prevent infection by the virus, the same way that workers in the past were able ti develop vaccines that eliminated such terrible diseases a smallpox and cholera.

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In the meantime, sit back and watch the developing exchanges between Yolanda rehabilitation tsar and former general and senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez. As he had been doing ever since Yolanda struck and he was no-show to his constituents for several days, Romualdez is again whining about the alleged neglect of his city where, he claims, no funds were allotted from all the money that had been earmarked for the area.

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It was amusing to hear Lacson cut him down by pointing out the millions already given to him that he had used on some other purposes. The no-nonsense Ping did not mince words, he directly stated that someone was lying, and, of course he must have the paper trail to prove it. Romualdez should think several times before tangling with Lacson, who has gone through and survived so many vicissitudes in his life, unlike Romualdez who not only looks, but also sounds like the pampered and spoiled heir of a wealthy clan.

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But it looks everything that is happening, and all the statements coming from Tacloban now are highly politicized. When it was proposed that a new airport be built in a place where flights could not be affected by floods, or storm surges, the officials there promptly cried that politics was behind it, because the hub was being taken away from Tacloban. That seems to be a very short-minded way of looking at things, where the general benefit is not being considered. Well, what can you expect when the Marcoses, who are very close relatives of the Romualdezes,had been there during the Yolanda anniversary, probably roiling the political waters, with Marcos Junior said to be eyeing the presidency?

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Meanwhile it was appalling to hear about the complaint of school officials in Albay, where Mayon Volcano had been threatening to blow its top for several weeks. To prevent injuries and loss of lives, the local government ordered the evacuation of those living within the danger zone, and those who had to leave their homes were allowed to stay in schoolbuses. When the all-clear was sounded last week, and the evacuees began to return to their homes, officials of the schools complained that their buildings had been vandalized, with several lamp bulbs stolen and even their water pumps gone. That’s gratitude for you.

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Well, well. At last, after losing continuously – four or was it five – times, the Los Angeles Lakers finally won one in the ongoing NBA games yesterday. It was quite a decent win at 107-92, but their fans could have expected more, since the former Wonder Boy, Jeremy Lin, who had astounded everybody with his shooting prowess before, is now with them. Remember the boy they called “Linsanity”? Well, the star Kobe Bryant said they are still adjusting to each other. Do that faster, guys, your fans are waiting.*

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