What’s terrifying about the Terror Law?

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Was that in the United States where the bells rang 200 times last Sunday? Thought for a while that they were celebrating something. Alas, it was supposed to announce that the total of coronavirus cases in the country had reached the 200,000 mark already. So the bells were not ringing in a triumphant tone, but in mournful one. If ever the cases rise over that number, will they still ring those bells?

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One of my favorite poets while in school, and even up to now, is Edgar Allan Poe, who had, for me the perfect sense of rhythm and the somberness that really matched his character, as described by his biographers. And “The Bells” was one of those poems that I found unforgettable, and enjoyed sharing it with the Literature classes I used to handle. Others, especially during his lifetime, may have found it nonsensical, but I remember that my students loved to recite it in chorus, giving the appropriate sound for each type of bells mentioned.

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Now I hope and pray that any ringing of bells, outside of those from church belfries, will be for triumphant accomplishments, and, for these times, I pray, for the conquest of this pandemic that has frustrated the efforts of medical people and scientists to find a cure or vaccine against it in the more than seven months that it has been raging. An encouranging piece of news is that senior citizens are no longer high on the statistics lists, but it is countered by another report that more victims are coming from the lower ages of 25 to 35. So we all need to pray more that our scientists and medical people soon discover the ultimate foil to it.

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I heard that President Duterte has gone home to Davao and who can blame him? Malacañang is said to be a lonely place, and, even presidents can feel that there is no place like home. Anyway, I don’t think be can receive calls in the palace these days, so why not let him be where he is more at peace and happiest? Anyway, with the advances in communication now, he can, figuratively, keep his ear on the ground to know if his officials are into some monkey business while he is away.

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Sometimes I wonder if some people have this so-called death-wish. Why? Because, despite all the warnings about physical distancing had even threats again those not observing it many still ignore them, as can be seen in TV shots showing people still huddling in groups and carelessly talking to each other. Well, most if them do wear protective masks but, as clarified by medical experts, this virus continues to float in the air and how can one tell of its flecks manage to land on your forehead, arms or even your eyes and ears. I don’t mind being called paranoid, if being so will protect me.

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Some people wonder why, the United States, with all its advances in science and medicine, is being hit so badly by the coronavirus pandemic. Me, I suspect that this is because their media is so free and so truthful in reporting that even if it seems as if they are baring themselves to the world, they still report freely what is happening and the numbers affected. Note that China, where it all came from, does not came to tell the world how many have been hit by their home-grown virus, or the mortality it has caused. In fact, they even flaunt their supposed freedom from it by holding festivals in Wuhan City, the land of the birth of the Coronavirus!

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What gives with the controversial Anti-Terror law being proposed? So far, I noted that no less than 35 petitions against it have been filed with the Supreme Court. It’s a pity, though, that citizens are not being briefed, or provided copies, even just resumes of that law so we can also discuss it and give our two bits worth of opinion. But with so many dissenters, how can we not feel fear that there is something ominous in it that would terrorize, rather than comfort us? I hope our congressmen and women will take it upon themselves to furnish us, especially to the media, so we can, in turn, share it with our readers. It is disturbing to think of a potential law we can’t tell if it is good for us or not.

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It seems that this season has also been marked by some freak accidents, to say nothing about killings and arrests of lawbreakers who defy the protocols imposed for their safety. The one that was really extraordinary was that about a girl in North Surigao who drowned when the boat she was on capsized and while her companions survived, her hair got caught in the engine and she went down with the vessel. Those are strange times, indeed!*

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