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Antonio M. Reyes

Where is Dr. Feliciano Matibag?
By ANTONIO M. REYES

For the past few days I have been trying to contact our health officials here to find out what actions they have taken to prepare us for (God forbid) the arrival of the deadly Ebola virus which has already killed nearly 5,000 people in the Western African countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

I was worried because the killer virus has already claimed the lives of 2 victims in America and has hospitalized a nurse in Spain and Germany.

I’ve tried to contact Dr. Jose LitoTrumata, our former Provincial Health Officer and his predecessor, Dr. Feliciano Matibag, who is our next door neighbour and have (surprisingly) failed to reach either of them.

In hindsight they really had nothing to be evasive about. Because even the once mighty quarantine and medical expertise of the United States can’t seem to deal with this indomitable virus, which is continually evolving, and could become airborne if unchecked.

I’ve also tried to confirm if any of our Overseas Filipino Workers in Western Africa were from Southern Leyte, or Eastern Visayas, or thereabouts.

But when I called the Department of Labor Office here, I was referred to their Overseas Workers Administration office in San Juan, Metro Manila, which also did not have that information.

It reminded me of the difficult situation our newly appointed Chief of the Provincial Risk Reduction Management Office, Danilo Atienza, finds himself in.

Yesterday he called a meeting of the various heads of offices here involved in Risk Reduction Management and found himself addressing the almost empty conference room of the R. Kangleon Function House.

There is an old but still very reliable description of the difficulty of coordinating any group of Filipinos comprised of 3 or more people, and this is: “Two is company, and three, or any number above that is pure chaos.”

This is probably why we have never excelled in team sports like basketball and should stick to individual sports like bowling, billiards, boxing and chess.

Our state of unpreparedness for the deadly Ebola Virus was underscored by our Secretary of Health Jose Ona, who assured all Filipinos, and the World Health Organization that: “There was nothing to worry about.” And that he was actually more concerned about our “seasonal problems like Dengue Fever.”

Now what could possibly be more alarming than that?

Antonio M. Reyes is the publisher and editor of the Southern Leyte Times the largest circulating newspaper & website in Southern Leyte.

Duterte supports federalism
by Atty. Jess G. Dureza

Mayor Rudy Duterte is now doing the rounds actively campaigning for the country's shift to a federal system of government.

Lately, he went to Cebu City for this. This is a good move, having seen what has been happening in the country in terms of governance which requires systemic changes rather than just changing leaders during elections.

This system will empower the locals to govern themselves and determine their own road maps and dismantle the monopoly of a Manila- centric government which has contributed to the corruption spectacle we are seeing today. I concur with him when he said he will not consider running for a national office unless an enabling environment for good governance is in place. A shift to federal is one avenue.

I was surprised hearing some members of media in Gen. Santos city openly denouncing the activities of so-called “illegitimate" press which, according to them, still abound in Gen. Santos City. Some denounced the practice of "AC-DC" ,( acronym for "attack & collect, defend & collect") tactic resorted to by mulcters parading as journalists. It was significant that the expose' came from media members themselves who wished that this practice be curbed.

The creation of a multi-sectoral press council through the initiative of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) might remedy this.

I felt uncomfortable reading statements coming from the MILF panel chair MohaqherIqbal himself warning that the dreaded terrorist ISIS will spread in Mindanao if the Bangsamoro agreement will not become a reality.

Some observers are taking this as a form of a veiled threat to Congress like saying: " pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) or else..".

Although the MILF may be correct in this, it may be more comforting for MILF itself to just allow others to say so. Some are even saying that the MILF cannot even control or effectively deal with their own " rogue" elements . What more of the ISIS?

We must pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law. But let it rise (or fall) on its own merits, minus a threatening environment.

Must read list
By Juan L. Mercado

“How We Got To Now” is a new book that you’ll want to add to your “must read” list. Written by Steven Johnson, it examines “six innovations and their unforeseen spinoffs that make today’s modern world: The printing press, for example, ignited a revolution in glassmaking that by 1590 resulted in the microscope to photography, movies, TV and telescopes that traced the “Big Bang”.

During periods of rapid innovation, there is uproar as people try to make sense of innovations. The many unpredictable offshoots.” Even the smartest seers end up being terrible at predicting the future.
Invented in the 1400s, the printing press mass produced books, newspapers and magazines. That fueled increases in literacy and spawned new industries. It also laid the foundation for colossal changes in how citizens expected to be governed, leading to more open and democratic societies.

But few recall the printing press also ignited a revolution in glassmaking. People began to demand eyeglasses to help read material that
printing presses were producing. When there was little to read, few cared about farsightedness. Eyeglasses were hard to find and expensive. But because of the printing press, an entire industry of lens crafters was born.

Soon artisans discovered that spectacles were just one kind of lens. By 1590, they’d figured out a way to use lenses called microscopes to see the tiniest of things. And a generation later, lenses called telescopes were focused on distant objects.
Telescopes helped change our understanding of how humans and the Earth evolved. Microscopes helped drive quantum leaps in medicine.

Eventually, new kinds of lenses changed the definition of media, too — to include photography, movies and television.

“Smartphone’s and tablets, along with the software and cloud computing growing up around them, are turning the world on its ear. There is massive global hand-wringing to figure out how much of this progress is good and how much is not so good.

“How We Got To Now” Johnson’s book reminds us these issues come with progress.

Some argue that Silicon Valley is becoming dominant as Detroit was during the first half of the 20th century. “The best and brightest now all want to move west to work at companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Microsoft.

The problem is companies create as much wealth as the automakers did at their peak but hire only a fraction of the people. The automakers employed more than 1 million workers by the 1950s, when General Motors was the most profitable company in the world. The top tech companies by market capitalization — Google, Apple and Microsoft — employ less than 25 percent of that.

Johnson’s book spurs “less linear” thinking. One might have been able to foresee five years ago. That the convergence of high gas prices, climate change and the smart phone revolution would create an insatiable demand for better batteries. But few could have predicted that an important attempt at a solution would happen.

In the US heavy manufacturing was supposed to be dying but in September, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said that together with Panasonic, he would build “the world’s largest battery plant in Nevada. That will have worldwide effects beyond the 6,500 it will hire.

Many expect a history of innovation to include various forms of power: sail, water, hydro, electric, wind, steam, gas — or the development of steel, or flight, or the elevator, or assembly-line manufacturing. But when was the last time you thought of the importance of glass to the history of the world? Or of Galileo’s pendulum clock — the first machine that could keep accurate time to the minute? “Would the industrial revolution have even happened” without it? Johnson asks.

“You can make a reasonably good case the answer is no.”

The Industrial Revolution required a schedule for the delivery of materials and the arrival of workers at factories. That would not have been possible without accurate clocks, he says.

Invention of the microphone and the vacuum tube enabled the entertainment industry. But it also gave dictators such as Adolf Hitler a new tool to grab power — the political rally. “For the first time, Johnson says, dictators could be heard by tens of thousands. “And they used their superior oratorical skills to whip crowds into frenzy.

Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Lenin and the rest could not use microphones so, they used the “reverberations of caves or cathedrals or opera houses.” Before tube amplifiers, the limits of our vocal chords made it difficult to speak to more than a thousand people at a time.” Would Hitler truly have been less of a dictator without a microphone?

Innovations arenever a simplistic tale of a lone inventor in a lab coming up with an earth-changing idea. It’s much more complicated than that. It takes someone like Steve Jobs or Thomas Edison, who is smart enough to notice many different innovations converging at the same time and ambitious enough to build something no one else saw in those ideas.

Its rare to think that someone’s explanations, like Johnson’s, could be more, not less, complicated.

Juan L. Mercado is the Founder of the Press Foundation of Asia and is best known as one of the Visayas Region's most prolific and multi-awarded writers.

High time for the airport

By RUEVIVAR "WOWIE" REYES

The recent announcement of the CAAP for the suspension of large commercial flights at the Daniel Z. Romuldez Airport will have an effect on many Southern Leytenos who are scheduled to use the regional airport in the next few weeks, or possibly months.

The CAAP suspension of large commercial flights is reportedly due to the repair of “fast developing potholes” on the airport’s runway and also other infrastructure.

Another reason would be, though not highlighted by our government, is the fast approaching visit of his Holiness, Pope Francis, on January next year to visit “Yolanda” hit areas of Tacloban City and Palo town.

Air travelers should be ready for an unpleasant surprise as there will surely be changes in their commercial flight schedules from now until probably the end of the Christmas season. So it’s best to contact your air carrier for any clarification or adjustments on your scheduled flight. It’s better to be sure now than sorry later.

This development in the Tacloban airport has again revived the age old questione; why is our decades old airport in Southern Leyte still not fully operational?

One of the major hindrances to our province’s economic growth is that it is still relatively isolated from most of our country’s highly developed and urbanized cities. To reach the nearest airports, we would have to travel many kilometers over land to Tacloban City or board a boat for Metro Cebu. At this age of high speed travel, information and technology, our people deserve at least a working airport by now.

Our airport which started construction almost two decades ago with hundreds of millions already allocated to it through the years, still needs to have constructed a CAAP standard passenger terminal, administration office and state of the art airport control tower.

Last May the DOTC with the blessings of Malacanang Palace had announced that it had already allocated P217 Million for the completion of our airport. But similar announcements have been made before and it is no wonder that many of our people are re expecting a “halfbaked” allocation of the promised airport budget.

In reality, the airport project will continue to move at snail’s pace unless our community lobbies for it. The main reason for this is our national government’s centralized bureaucracy which needs constant follow-ups and non-stop lobbying in Metro Manila.

Many national and local administrations have come and gone, promises made and broken, but the fact of the matter remains - we still do not have a real working airport for our people.

It will take a gallant effort by Southern Leytenos as a whole, citizens and officials alike, to make this decades old dream a reality. A good place to start would be with the outgoing Aquino administration, which I am sure, would want to leave a lasting legacy in Southern Leyte.
His Excellency President Simeon Benigno Aquino III says he listens and acts to the dictates of the public, which he claims are his real “bosses”.

With this premise it would be a good opportunity for us (as his bosses) to express our opinion, and push for the speedy completion of our airport.

After many years, it’s high time.







 

 

 

   

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