Listen to the Great Debate

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I almost wailed when I saw the item announcing oil price hikes this week. Oh no! I thought, how cruel can the oil producers be to raise prices at this time? Maybe, I thought it is because there is less consumption now and they have to make up for the reduction in sales. But it was quite a relief to realize that the increases were only by the centavos, like 10 for gasoline and less for petroleum. However there was no mention about diesel prices earlier, so I just hope it will be at par with gasoline or petroleum. Ten centavos is not much, but let us be grateful for favors. No matter how small.

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Tomorrow is the day when the Great Debate between the two contenders for the presidency of the United States will take place. Since that is sure to be broadcast worldwide, I bet not only leaders of most countries will be watching it, except, of course, the non-English speaking ones, unless their media will provide subtitles of the translations. What can we expect of this debate? Will the soft-spoken Joe Biden be outshouted by the garrulous Donald Trump? Anyway, whether or not you are interested in American politics, the event will surely provide you some entertainment, if not anxiety.

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Oh, I hope I can catch the entire debate because I want to know how Trump will explain, or justify, the reports on the accusation that he had not been paying his taxes faithfully for some 10 years! This was reportedly discovered by the New York Times, that is, not the exact amount he should have paid. In fact he was supposedly refunded some $72.9 million due to some strategy called “tax avoidance”. If he isn’t able to convince voters about the righteousness or legality of this, he may be in for big trouble at the polls. What was it, some people like to quote about taxes? Wasn’t it “The only thing you cannot avoid are death and taxes”?

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I was gratified to hear the news that a law is being considered regarding the voting privileges of senior citizens and person with disability, or PWDs. That is a very humane law and I hope it passes quickly and will be in effect when the next election comes. From what I understand of the proposal, seniors and PWDs will be allowed to have precedence in voting, or may be allowed to vote a day ahead of the regular election days. Let us pray that it goes through without hitches so nobody will size voting becomes of fears of having to wait in line for hours before being able to vote.

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Although many of us are thankful for our families and close friends being spared by this pandemic, and are strictly abiding with the protocols imposed on us, there are still a lot of people who do not seem to care that they could be contaminated by being careless, and, worse, they may pass the virus on to their loved ones, too. Doesn’t your blood boil when you hear news about people who still go to bars, or hold drinking sprees in their vicinities, unmindful of the possibilities that they may not only be infected, but could pass the virus on to their families? Which is why, I commend those police officers who arrest those caught having such gatherings, whether at bars, or in their own homes and vicinities. If they do not care about their own health, couldn’t they think of others?

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I hear there is a move to postpone our elections due, I think, in 2022. Is that possible? The dates, I understand, are specified in our Constitution, and can it be amended within the time between now and 2022? Can Congress enact a law to change the date and postpone it? Anyway, 2022 is still two years away, if we pray hard enough and the Lord listens to us, the COVID may have been vanquished by then and we can go on with our normal lives and schedules. What is different about this coming election is that, so far, we have not known or heard of any potential aspirants for the presidency. Are they keeping their plans under their sleeves in fear of early bird hangers-on?

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Despite objections from some politicians to the immediate appointment by President Trump of a new Supreme Court Justice to replace the one who died recently, Trump immediately nominated Senator Amy Coney Barret, as his choice for the vacated post. Democrats are complaining, just like other people who believe he should have waited until after the election. I guess their misgivings are about what could happen in case there is some problem in the results that would require Supreme Court intervention. But I hear that Mde. Barret is not only a good lawyer, but also a devout Catholic.

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This is something that the Philippines has not adopted – yet? – and may never do, I hope. In the U.S. there are states that still insist on mail – in voting, i.e. by sending their ballots through the mail, and not go to the polling places themselves. Will that work in the Philippines? With our system being referred to by many as “snail mail”, some mailed ballots may not get delivered until the next election comes! Let’s stick to the old and proven method, and just work hard to minimize the cheating, that’s all.*

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