The President's next State of the Nation address is expected to be his last, barring an unconstitutional extension of his term, and he would naturally want his valedictory, a victory lap of his administration. At best, however, it would be a pyrrhic victory lap, for we, the nation, are not at our best. We are instead languishing: in the tides of history, in a flood of blood and tears. We languish in COVID, with the Philippines holding the ignoble record of the longest continuous lockdown. $15 million has been borrowed to tide the country over during the pandemic, but we've only seen infection numbers seesawing, business shuttering, families going hungry and losing loved ones, and the vaccination rollout still trying to gather steam. All this was derived from decisions made since February 2020, when, despite evidence that the Wuhan outbreak could become a pandemic, the Duterte administration dithered on controlling flights from the region. That other countries are also going ... » Learn More about [OPINION] The languishing state of the nation
As of this writing, 185,291,530 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed worldwide, with 4,010,834 deaths. When two of those deaths belong to your family, you want to be precise; just as you want to be circumspect about saying anything positive can come from all this pandemic madness. "The Earth is healing," was one of the early ones. "Our grandparents went to war and all we need to do is stay home and watch Netflix," was another. The unavoidable, self-congratulatory proselytizing came out too: "Learn a new skill," "Write that novel," "Develop that side hustle…" otherwise you’d have wasted the opportunity of all this “free” time. And the narcissists, never to be outdone, started counting their "true friends" based on who checked on them, while some folks needed the nudge of a few million deaths to value “family time” and/or “self care” and/or “simple living.” I sound salty and I won’t be the only one. The (mostly) well-meaning comforts turned tone-deaf and hollow quickly, ... » Learn More about [OPINION] Injustice is contagious
SARAWAK is a state to watch. The announcement by its Chief Minister to invest in an infectious disease centre is progressive. Scientists have predicted that the Covid-19 pandemic is not going to be the last. Those who study the emergence of infectious diseases are convinced that we need to be prepared. As humans encroach into the habitats of microbes, these microbes will spill over into the former’s communities. This can be through host animals or other means of transfer to humans. There are also those who experiment with microbes for various purposes, including use in agriculture. Mistakes are sometimes unavoidable in such experiments where, instead of producing beneficial microbes, they create harmful ones. The worry is over the accidental release of bad microbes, which can infect us and create a pandemic. Future wars will not be just about fighting nation states over water, oil or territorial claims. They will be about fighting disease-causing microbes and cybercrime. Health ... » Learn More about Sarawak on path of excellence in research
WE all know that lockdowns are temporary measures to control the spread of Covid-19 within the community and lessen the healthcare burden. However, there are major concerns about how they can negatively affect people’s mental health. As a paediatrician, I receive numerous calls and visits by parents worried about their children’s health – especially those less than five years old. Most parents assume that the older age group would understand the pandemic better than the young ones and thus handle it better. I beg to differ. Here are some observed effects of lockdowns on children. > Developmental milestones – For school-going children, repeated school closures and strict movement control cause a significant reduction in having direct contact with their peers. Such measures also prevent children from participating in social activities like going to the playground or having playdates. This situation may make them feel lonely and anxious and some (especially young adults) ... » Learn More about How do lockdowns affect our children and what can we do to help them?
The metre-high trees with roots resembling an octopus' tentacles can be appreciated in all their glory when the tide is out here in Gazi, a sleepy bay in southeastern Kenya. "It can take up to 10 years for a mangrove plantation to grow," explains Josphat Nguu as he inspects the green giants. Nguu, a marine biologist, and his colleagues from the Mikoko Pamoja project are trying to reforest this area with mangroves again as well as to protect the ones that are already growing here in Gazi. It's a fight that's well worth the time and effort: That's because mangroves are a valuable weapon in the fight against climate change. "By surface area, mangroves store four to five times more carbon than conventional forests," explains Dorotee Herr, who's head of the oceans and climate change division at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The trees, which have the rare ability to grow in salt water, store carbon dioxide in sediment, explains Herr. "They have sediment ... » Learn More about Magic bullet against climate change? Saving mangroves in Kenya
Vice President Leni Robredo recently met with potential 2022 presidential race contenders, senators Richard Gordon and Senator Panfilo Lacson as well as the latter’s running mate, Senate President Vicente Sotto III. This was confirmed to Rappler by Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez on Wednesday, July 28. He said the meetings were conducted last week – between July 19 to 23 – as part of the Vice President’s effort to build the “broadest unity” possible in 2022. Lacson also confirmed meeting the Vice President with Sotto during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum , while Gordon disclosed it an ANC Headstart interview . Robredo was accompanied in her meeting with the Lacson-Sotto tandem by former senator Bam Aquino, her ally from the once-ruling Liberal Party and who had served as her campaign manager in the 2016 elections. Robredo was the underdog of the vice presidential race then, beating five incumbent Male senators to become Vice ... » Learn More about ‘Possible unity’ in 2022? Robredo meets with Lacson-Sotto, Gordon
The pandemic has drawn families, including pets, closer together. Being stuck inside a bedroom-turned-classroom has turned our pets into classmates as well. I live with my four dogs, Obi (a German Shepherd), Snow (a Labrador), Chewy (their son – what we call a “Huskador” or “Labsky”), and Solo (a Beagle). A year and a half into this pandemic, and being at home has given me an opportunity to rekindle my fondness for dogs. There’s science behind the effect of dogs on mental health. Most of these studies were conducted on patients undergoing in-house long-term care. Given the current circumstances, our being on lockdown for the duration of the pandemic provides evidence enough of the help our dogs can offer us. Owning a pet is a give-and-take relationship. Throughout the time I've continued to spend with my dogs, I’ve paid more attention to their needs, and they, in turn, have helped me to reflect on the way I take care of myself. It takes a lot of steps to take ... » Learn More about [OPINION] Self-care, as told by dogs
Last week, the Ateneo School of Government released its first working paper for “Duterte at 5,” a series that assesses different areas of governance including economic policy, legislative reforms, and crime and corruption. In that first report, we focused on social development reforms. While the report speaks for itself, we would like to use this space to reiterate some of our salient points especially on poverty and hunger. Social development is a pillar of Duterte’s administration. The reduction of social inequality is clearly enshrined in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 . And in its Kasama sa Pamana pre-SONA report, rolled out in different regions in the first half of 2021, the administration applauds its accomplishments in combating hunger and ensuring food accessibility. So, are Filipinos indeed faring better now? Poverty To be sure, poverty incidence in the past two decades has been steadily declining. During the ... » Learn More about [ANALYSIS] Poverty, hunger, and Duterte’s wasted political capital
At a glance Claim: President Rodrigo Duterte told his economic managers and agencies to make Davao, his home region, the last priority for infrastructure projects. Rating: MISSING CONTEXT The facts: The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism reported that Davao Region had the highest budget increase with 119% from 2016 to 2017. Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said various infrastructure projects in Davao had been completed, such as airport development projects, improvement works on an international airport, and port projects. Why we fact-checked this: Duterte made this claim during his final State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 26, 2021. Complete details In President Rodrigo Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 26, 2021, he claimed that he told his economic managers and agencies to make Davao the last priority for infrastructure projects. (READ: FULL TEXT: President Duterte’s State of the Nation ... » Learn More about MISSING CONTEXT: Duterte policy to make Davao Region ‘last priority’ for infrastructure
For the fourth time, the proposal to create a department for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) made it to President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address (SONA). Duterte on Monday, July 26, identified the creation of a Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos (DMWOF) a priority bill in his final SONA. He made similar calls during his past SONAs, except in 2017 and 2018. "I also ask Congress to pass a law creating the Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos. Kailangan po ito (this is needed) – because they are suffering, they suffered not only yesterday but they are still suffering now with so many inadequacies, in both our government response, including the monetary assistance – to ensure that there is a department that is solely focused on addressing the needs and taking care of the welfare of our countrymen abroad," Duterte said on Monday. It has been Duterte's plan to create a department focusing on OFWs even before he ... » Learn More about Does the Philippines need an OFW department?