POSTSCRIPT / October 16, 2005 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Concrete slabs at U-turns still snagging more victims

ANOTHER VICTIM: Our hypersensitive friends in the Metro Manila Development Authority will not like this for Sunday reading.

Another car was snagged the other night by those infamous Bayani Fernando concrete blocks at the U-turn near the North Avenue terminal of the Metro Rail Transit in Quezon City. It was right where I had a similar accident last June 11!

Also last Aug. 12, a Honda City sedan with license plate No. WGK 809 crashed on the blocks in the same site. There have been at least four such accidents in that same death trap since that time, according to a traffic officer familiar with the area.

The pre-dawn scene was all too familiar: the same concrete blocks in disarray after snagging another victim at the ill-lighted U-turn where motorists tend to swerve to grab the inner lane before making a left turn.

The vehicle involved this time was a white Opel Tigra with plate No. WFB 472. The airbags popped out, indicating how strong the impact was. The young driver, who was with three others, begged me not to mention their names.

Some investigative reporter may want to find out how many accidents have happened at these carelessly installed U-turns on EDSA, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon Avenue, and other Metro Manila thoroughfares.

Maybe the MMDA gods will act on these hazards only if a nephew of a senator or a daughter of a congressman or a popular movie star is killed or maimed. It seems all right to them if the victims are just plain folk.

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A TESTAMENT: Now for some positive thoughts.

Quoted below is the supposed “winning answer” of Ms Precious Lara Quigaman, who bested 51 beauties in the world pageant held in Tokyo last Sept. 26, to win the Miss International crown.

(She was the fourth Filipino to win the Miss International title, the last being Mimilanie Marquez in 1979. Gemma Cruz was crowned in 1964, making her the Philippines’ first international beauty queen. In 1970, it was Aurora Pijuan.)

Q: What do you say to the people of the world who have typecast Filipinos as nannies?

A: I take no offence on being typecast as a nanny. But I do take offence that the educated people of the world have somehow denigrated the true sense and meaning of what a nanny is. Let me tell you what she is. She is someone who gives more than she takes. She is someone you trust to look after the very people most precious to you — your child, the elderly, yourself. She is the one who has made a living out of caring and loving other people. So to those who have typecast us as nannies, thank you. It is a testament to the loving and caring culture of the Filipino people. And for that, I am forever proud and grateful of my roots and culture.

Something tells me somebody just invented this Q&A. Still, I feel that the thought expressed in the supposed reply is worth passing on. When faced with the same question, we would know now what to say.

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FOR PROFESSIONALS: Paging professionals and highly skilled specialists dreaming of a better job abroad.

More than 350 executives of transnational companies in Europe, North America, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean, will meet with licensed recruitment and manning agencies this November to recruit professionals and specialists for jobs abroad.

Their meeting is set Nov. 8 – 11, under the auspices of the Department of Labor and Employment and the private recruitment and manning industry. Labor Undersecretary Danilo P. Cruz is working overtime to meet the department’s commitment to open one million additional jobs a year. Inquiries may be addressed to him.

The high-level personnel in demand include those in medicine, oil exploration, education, science, hotels and resorts, construction, information technology, cruising, aviation, manufacturing and management consultancy.

The foreign employers will deal only with recruitment and manning companies licensed by the labor department. Compensation packages and work conditions offered will have to be registered and approved first by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration under Administrator Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz.

(FOR LOCAL HIRE — Professionals who have worked with print or broadcast media, or hold a master’s degree in a related field, and want to teach masscom subjects at a local university full time or on the side may contract me within the week. Please see ePOSTSCRIPT at the end of this column on how to contact me.)

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MORE JOB FESTS: The global labor market is experiencing a shortage of professional and specialist skills because of globalization, the demographic aging of population in many developed countries, and the fast growth of information communication technology.

Also watch for these coming events at the Philippine International Convention Center: the First International Labor Mart, the First International Labor Opportunities Forum, Second International Employers Award, and the presentation of livelihood programs and business opportunities for overseas Filipino workers.

Every year, the Philippines deploys some 900,000 workers in friendly host countries each year. About 8 million Filipinos, or 10 percent of the national population, are either working or living in 194 countries.

Filipinos working abroad sent home last year more than $8 billion through the formal channels, including banks. The total amount would be around $12 billion if remittances through informal means (such as padala) were added. The economy would collapse without these remittances.

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CONVERTED RHDs: Reader Leno Eballe, who works in Seoul, expressed surprise over a statement of Sen. Richard Gordon that Poro Point officials had told him that “a ship with 400 used RHD vehicles from Korea unloaded without import permits 56 of the vehicles in Poro Point, La Union.”

Eballe said in an email: “Maybe there is something wrong in the report about right-hand-drive vehicles from Korea. I am working here in Korea for six years already, but what I know is that this country is using left-hand-drive vehicles. RHD vehicles are also prohibited here. So, I cannot see any logic in the report that RHD vehicles from Korea were unloaded in the Philippines.”

Also in reaction to our item on converted RHD vehicles, Allan Bernard Fernandez, a senior at the DLS – College of Saint Benilde on Taft Avenue, Manila, said:

“As an avid car enthusiast, I have test driven a whole lot of cars — even ones from Subic. I even considered buying a second-hand car from Subic, because there P300,000 will get you a Pajero. But once I did, I could not escape the fact that I would be driving a road hazard, a gas guzzler, and a vehicle looking new but feeling definitely surplus. I had no recourse but to purchase a brand new Honda Civic instead of a dream SUV.”

On why he thinks converted vehicles are hazards: “First because the turning radius of the cars are significantly changed because of the conversion from left to right hand drive. Next would be that most vans that do get converted do not have doors on the right side as they should — hence passengers exiting on the left are accidents waiting to happen to oncoming traffic. Next, because of their age, their engines no matter how good reconditioned consume more fuel than newer, cleaner running engines in brand-new vehicles.”

He added: “Kudos for writing on the TPL racket most people encounter during registration. My advice is to get CTPL insurance from the same company you get your Comprehensive Vehicle Insurance from, or from established big named companies before going to LTO.”

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DILIMAN CHAPEL: The first Mass celebrated at the UP Chapel of the Holy Sacrifice in Diliman, would be 50 years ago on Dec. 20, 2005. The Eucharistic celebration on that day, Tuesday, at 5:30 p.m., will bring together past and present community members including, UP officers, faculty, students, non-academic personnel, fraternity and sorority members, friends of Fr. John P. Delaney, SJ, former chaplains and parish priests, UPSCANs and alumni and those who helped build the Chapel.

There is a three-month-long preparation leading to the Dec. 20 celebration. For nine consecutive Sundays starting Oct. 16, the 6 p.m. Mass will have some previous chaplains taking turns as presider. Msgr. Patricio Lim will be the first celebrant.

The National Historical Institute, through its chairperson Ambeth Ocampo, has signified its intention to declare the church as a national historical landmark, “considering its historical and artistic significance as a masterpiece of Filipino artistry and ingenuity by proclaimed Filipino National Artists.”

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of October 16, 2005)

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