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Four hundred thirty-one HIV cases—the highest number of cases reported in a month this year. The Department of Health announced that number and that claim only in June. But a month later, that figure would be breached with 449 new cases, a record high that didn’t last long. In October, the number climbed to 491, a new benchmark that’s about 66 percent higher than the 295 cases reported in the same month last year.
The government released last week the economic growth data for the third quarter of 2013 and, as widely expected, the expansion of the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) was sustained at a respectable 7 percent. Domestic economic growth during the quarter was supported by the robust performance of the services sector, higher household consumption, and increased government infrastructure spending. This brought GDP expansion for the first three quarters of the year to 7.4 percent compared with 6.7 percent last year, or well within the government’s 6-to-7-percent target for the whole of 2013. This will make the Philippines one of the best performers in Asia for 2013.
China angered its neighbors when it unilaterally declared an Air Defense Identification Zone (Adiz) on Nov. 23. The United States disappointed its regional allies when, after ordering a pair of unarmed B-52 strategic bombers to fly into China’s Adiz three days after the surprise declaration, it called on American airlines last Friday to comply with China’s instructions when flying through the zone. Between Beijing’s increasingly rash decisions and Washington’s inconsistent policies, regional capitals find themselves at a loss.
Good news has been in short supply in the sad aftermath of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” but here’s a report that blazes a small trail for helping students in need. As a means of offering relief to its students from devastated Eastern Visayas, the University of the Philippines is waiving collection of tuition from at least 30 students who have cross-enrolled in UP Los Baños, in order to allow their families breathing room to take stock of their situation and begin the daunting process of rebuilding. Additionally, three students from UP Tacloban will be given free accommodation in UPLB dormitories. And UPLB Chancellor Rex Cruz has also called for pledges to cover the students’ meals for a semester.
Produced by Cameron Mackintosh with composer Claude-Michel Schonberg and lyricist Alain Boublil, “Miss Saigon” has become a Filipino treasure. Our best performing talents have made it come alive since its inaugural turn in 1989 on London’s West End, which introduced Lea Salonga in the lead role of Kim.
He was a man of paradox: In today’s terms, he would be called an out-of-school youth turned upwardly mobile worker; an orphan with a telenovela background who died a tragic, ultimately triumphant death; a social pro who created a secret society; a hero-worshipping autodidact who himself became a hero, and inspired other heroes.
The inimitable June Keithley will be buried today, five days after succumbing to cancer at 66.
Our prayers for our children are simple as we catch our breath at the end of a crowded day. May they be safe, healthy, and loved. And may they know right from wrong.
Manny Pacquiao scored an emotional victory over Brandon Rios last Sunday in Macau, not only for himself but most especially for the survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” who have only just begun to stir from its knockout punch.
Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla has put his job on the line with the promise to restore by Christmas Eve power supply in vast areas in Eastern Visayas ravaged by Supertyphoon “Yolanda.” Restoring electricity to the region will be more than just symbolic. “Energizing” far-flung communities is a life-changing event for the people living there. With electricity comes progress. On the other hand, living literally in the dark is quite tragic. Darkness has come to be associated with criminality, and the rise in robbery cases, even rape, in the darkened communities in Leyte is proof of this.
So this is the way extremely compromised United Nations conferences end: not with a bang but with a demoralizing whimper. The 19th edition of the UN-sponsored climate change negotiations, held in Warsaw the last two weeks, sputtered to a pitiful close over the weekend…
Nineteen journalists have been killed for their work in the Philippines since Benigno Aquino III assumed the presidency in 2010. And in 2013 alone, at least 66 instances of threats, physical assaults, illegal arrests, libel suits and other forms of harassment were recorded.