POSTSCRIPT / May 3, 2020 / Sunday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Tagle’s promotion belies Du30 chismis

POPE Francis has elevated Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, former archbishop of Manila, to cardinal-bishop, making him one of the 11 highest-ranking princes of the Church. His promotion, announced by the Vatican on Friday, was made April 14.

The 62-year-old Tagle is the first Filipino to be named cardinal-bishop, the highest rank in the College of Cardinals. Consisting of 223 bishops, the College helps the Pope run the 1.2-billion-strong Catholic Church.

Pope Francis has also appointed Cebuano archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla, 66, as apostolic nuncio to Guatemala.

News of Filipino prelates moving up in the Church hierarchy comes as the Philippines prepares for 2021, the 500th year of the introduction of Christianity in the country.

Fr. Greg Gaston, rector of the Pontificio Collegio Filippino, “Home in Rome” of Filipino secular diocesan priests, told Rappler that Tagle lives with them and says mass there every Sunday livestream.

Gaston said they were elated and honored that Tagle is now one of the cardinal-bishops in the Vatican helping the Pope coordinate with all cardinals worldwide. The Dean of the College of Cardinals is elected from the ranks of cardinal-bishops.

When a pope dies or resigns, the Dean, who is “first among equals” in the College, calls other cardinals to Rome to elect a successor. If he is below the age of 80, he presides over the papal elections.

Tagle is one of nine prefects or members of the Pope’s “Cabinet” helping run the Vatican bureaucracy. He heads the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in charge of spreading the faith throughout the world.

When Tagle was summoned to the Vatican in March to head the congregation for evangelization, President Duterte claimed that the Pope removed him as Manila archbishop because the Holy Father was angry with him for allegedly funneling funds to the opposition.

The Pope’s promoting Tagle has belied that gossip peddled by Duterte. The Archdiocese of Manila is run in the meantime by 65-year-old Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who we noticed has been critical of the President.

• IATF must devolve COVID tasks

WHEN the Inter-Agency Task Force combatting the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic changes lockdown guidelines that are encountering problems, it is sometimes to correct errors from its trying to control everything everywhere.

The IATF must not always insist on common guidelines for the 106 million people scattered over an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, 81 provinces, 146 cities and 1,438 towns with varying population densities, economic status, and public health conditions.

Its dividing the country into general and enhanced community quarantine areas with their respective rules helps, but there is still a need for the guidelines to be adapted to local conditions after non-partisan consultations with local leaders.

Malacañang and the COVID-19 task force should avoid arbitrariness and consider the peculiar situations of local executives who after all are the ones on the political front lines. What works in one locality may fail in another.

Instead of regarding governors and mayors as obstacles or even rivals, the national government should listen to them and seek their assistance in solving problems with common implications.

There was Marikina, for instance, putting up its own COVID-19 testing center since the national government did not seem to be able to do it by itself. It took the Department of Health one month to accredit it, and only after Mayor Marcelino Teodoro threatened to open it even without DoH go-signal.

If the facility lacked anything to meet standards, could not the national government have moved to facilitate its becoming fully operational so it could help fill the demand for more testing laboratories?

There was the case also of Pasig whose Mayor Vico Sotto took the initiative of using special tricycles to ferry health professionals and essential service providers, some of whom have had to walk because of the lockdown.

The problem of possible contamination, which the IATF cited as the reason for its disallowing tricycles, could have been easily solved if it did not let its having been embarrassed by the mayor’s initiative and imagination to cloud its judgment.

This is what happens when a central body oozing with emergency power uses a one-size-fits-all formula without trying to be flexible, or to adjust to peculiar situations, to save lives.

The same attitude of one rule for all cases cropped up when the health department announced guidelines barring teenagers and senior citizens from going out of their homes even after the lifting on May 16 of the quarantine in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon. Met with widespread and well-reasoned objections, this rule will have to be revised.

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines said that ban based solely on age could lead to workers aged 18 to 20 and senior citizens losing their jobs since only those who are 21 to 59 years old would be allowed to leave their homes.

The ban will forbid even President Duterte, aged 75, from leaving wherever he has been staying. (Vice President Leni Robredo is only 55.) Many Cabinet members are also covered, such as Salvador Medialdea, 68; Francisco Duque, 63; Delfin Lorenzana, 71; Teodoro Locsin, 71; and Arthur Tugade, 74.

Other random seniors in government who will be banned include Vicente Sotto, 71; Franklin Drilon, 74; Richard Gordon, 74; Gloria Arroyo, 73; Rufus Rodriguez, 66; and Lucas Bersamin, 70.

The Philippine population distribution pyramid drawn by based on the 2018 data of CIA World Factbook shows:

*0-14 years (children): 33.07 percent (male 17,870,983 /female 17,151,096).

*15-24 years (early working age): 19.17 percent (male 10,360,704 /female 9,934,798).

*25-54 years (prime working age): 37.11 percent (male 19,987,460 /female 19,312,673).

*55-64 years (mature working age): 6.04 percent (male 2,932,572 /female 3,462,832).

*65 years-over (elderly): 4.61 percent (male 2,001,964 /female 2,878,299).

If that population pyramid is correct, 62.3 percent of Filipinos are most potentially productive in their early, prime and mature working age of 15 to 64 years. Also, it shows that after age 55, the women start to outnumber (outlive?) the men.

* * *

(First published in the Philippine STAR of May 3, 2020)

I think that its less an issue of numbers (deaths, afflicted) but more of capacity. During the lockdowns and cq'S THE IATF seemed to have focused more on "leveling the curve" (which experts say is not a cure) and less on ramping up the capability of the country to identify, isolate and contact trace (which experts say is how to meet a pandemic). The relevant questions, to my mind, are: Where are we now? When are we going to be ready? Would we be prepared for an expected spike if we loosen up? How about the expected second wave? Then, of course, we will have the flu season, rainy season and the floods.

Mario E Valderrama

Dear Sir Pascual, Women will usually outlive men—notwithstanding fatal accidents—due to the nature of their role in life. Women's bodies are better designed to cope and are more efficient. An "experiment" was done decades ago where a man and a woman of similar body weight were put in a sealed glass container with equal amounts of oxygen. The man ran out of oxygen much sooner. Also, women have menopause whose purpose is to ensure that the mother will have sufficient time to rear the child—sans being pregnant again—to an age that it can survive. Men's andropause is much later but is intended to ensure siring capability should the spouse become incapable earlier than expected and once the mother has ensured the last child will survive, the father's role is no longer necessary (ergo, he "can go ahead". Finally, men generally do not take care of their body—the "macho image" as well as is more exposed to hazardous situations (like combat, physical labor, and being in the front lines). Stay safe, hand wash frequently and thoroughly, avoid touching eyes (by wearing non-prescription eye glasses or goggles or a face shield), take care, and God bless us all (no exceptions) . . . Edgar


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