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Skills diplomats need

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

Despite the statistics on the cases as well as mortalities linked to this new virus has been decimating world population, why is it that people are  still afraid of undergoing vaccinations against it? I heard on TV one city mayor (not in the Visayas) complaining that only 19 percent of his constituents are agreeable to being vaccinated. Does it mean that they would rather risk infection than vaccination? We are no longer of  the old ages when people were wary of any discovery of science. Yet people, and I am not only referring to Filipinos, are still exhibiting signs of ignorance regarding medication!

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That is probably      why our government is also hesitant to order the vaccines in a number proportionate to our population. Reports said that we have ordered only 300,000 of the Sinovac and that is according to the Food and Drug Administration. And the target  for its use are those from 18 to 69 year old. I guess those below and over that must fend for themselves, and maybe resort to herbolarios and witch doctors! Anyway, we are not alone in our worries, the entire world population is worrying with us.

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I admire Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire for her very practical and knowledgeable advice involving the COVID. But I wonder, again, why the Secretary himself has been hardly heard from on the COVID pandemic, or any other health issue so far? At least we are fortunate to have an undersecretary who is not only knowledgeable, but also articulate, and can be very reassuring in what she discusses. What is the matter with her boss? Too afraid of COVID to come out himself?

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There is a certain group in the United States that must be lauding their new president, Joe Biden for one of his earliest acts. And that is the passage of the LGBT Protection Act that must endear him very much to that sector. No other president or lawmaker had thought of that sector during their terms, and Joe Biden, realizing what a big number those in that category are, immediately acted to give them the recognition they deserve. We must admit that such people are also among the most talented and useful, given the attention they long for.

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But it is reassuring to know that our city, Bacolod has been categorized as the “most prepared” for the COVID vaccine roll-out. Our people care for their well-being and are putting their trust in what could protect them from this new disease that is not only spreading, but also mutating into several variants that must be confounding even medical experts and scientists. So  I hope the vaccination process in our city starts as soon as possible, and preempt the entry of any more variants that may appear!

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I was thrilled to read the news that a group called “Negros for Leni” has been put up. Of course it refers to incumbent Vice President, LeniRobredo who has been keeping quiet all this time, but whose capabilities are recognized by a lot of people, among them political leaders themselves. Will history be repeating itself. In a manner of speaking? Remember that when Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. was mercilessly shot down at the airport now named after him, Filipinos voted his widow, better known as “Cory” , to the post he would have gotten.

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Now there are moves to launch the candidacy of Leni, and among the earliest to do so is a group from Negros. But we haven’t heard from Leni herself, although I hope she will oblige. I will never forget that when she won as vice president and I texted her my congratulations, she called me up to thank me! Of course it helped that she was with Mayor Bing when I called, so she was able to contact me at once. But that gesture made her unforgettable to me, and I will surely root for her if she does agree to run. We didn’t do badly with any of our female presidents, did we?

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They were not only wise in diplomacy, they were also experts in self-preservation. I am referring to the diplomats from Russia who fled from the trouble brewing in North Korea, by hopping on a rail car and pushed themselves through the railway until they reached Vladivostok. Wow! A scene on their flight was shown on TV and, really it was amazing how they did it! Could  diplomats in the  Philippines do that in similar circumstances? In the first place, few of our government units have railways. Diplomats here in similar circumstances could have fled on foot, or must know how to shoot!*

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