POSTSCRIPT / September 30, 2021 / Thursday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Hello, is the ‘United Opposition’ there?

TODAY is the deadline for submitting to the Commission on Elections the lists of authorized signatories with specimen signatures of all political parties and coalitions participating in the May 2022 national elections.

And tomorrow is the start of the Oct. 1-8 period for the filing of certificates of candidacy for all elective positions, of certificates of nomination and acceptance, as well as of lists of nominees.

Where is the so-called “United Opposition” that reportedly has been putting together a lineup of candidates for president, vice president, senators, and so forth and so on down the line?

Those “down the line” bets are as crucial as the standard-bearer because warm bodies and animated voices must be physically active, audible and visible down to the barangay level. Presidents and senators are not elected via FacebookTwitter and such social media platforms.

The PDP-Laban’s Cusi wing candidate for president is Bong Go, with Rodrigo Duterte as his VP partner. We expect the Comelec, six of whose seven commissioners are incidentally Duterte appointees, to recognize the faction led by his Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

Will the 1Sambayan civic group become the core of the opposition coalition? Will the Liberal Party, Magdalo, and such oppositionist groups cooperate with 1Sambayan (or whatever name the coalition eventually adopts)?

The biggest question still hanging is “Will Vice President Leni Robredo be the United Opposition’s presidential candidate?” She will likely be, as we see no one else who could play that commanding role.

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WHETHER the Yes/No answer comes tomorrow or next week will not be that crucial to gaining a tactical or psychological advantage, so we hope the question is answered quickly.

Any hesitation or delay gives the impression that either Robredo is not confident of winning or that some important negotiations are still ongoing. She should explain that part neatly when she or the “United Opposition” makes the announcement.

Robredo’s delaying confirmation of her candidacy could just be tactical, something like keeping the enemy guessing. After all, her rivals for the presidency also have not filed their official CoCs with the Comelec.

We wonder if these headliner politicians believe in poll surveys not commissioned by them, but the latest one by Pulse Asia might influence their decision about their running in May 2022.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte lost points in the Sept. 6-11 survey of Pulse Asia, but remained top choice for president. She kept 20 percentage points despite her losing five points after announcing she was junking her presidential plan because of her father’s running for VP.

Sara is still ahead of Marcos by five points, while President Duterte has dropped to second place, overtaken by Senate President Tito Sotto who now leads him by 11 points.

Other presidential aspirants trailing Sara and Bongbong are: Isko Moreno Domagoso, 15 percent; Manny Pacquiao, 12 percent; Ping Lacson, 6 percent; Grace Poe, 9 percent, Leni Robredo, 8 percent; Alan Peter Cayetano, 4 percent; Bong Go, 3 percent; and Sonny Trillanes, 1 percent.

 US talking of boosters, PH of face shields

AMERICANS are already talking of COVID-19 booster shots while we Pinoys are still debating the wearing of face shields and if the purchase of protective gear from under-capitalized but well-connected alien suppliers was a swindle.

On Monday, President Biden, 78, was shown on TV rolling up his left sleeve for his Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot that was administered while he was answering questions. The jab was done in less than three minutes.

He said: “We know that to beat this pandemic and to save lives… we need to get folks vaccinated. So, please, please do the right thing. Please get these shots. It can save your life and it can save the lives of those around you.”

Last week the US Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use authorization for a booster dose of Pfizer’s vaccine in people 65 of age and older, people at high risk of severe disease, and those whose jobs put them at risk of infection.

The booster shot is administered at least six months after an individual has completed the primary series, which consists of doses 1 and 2 for most vaccines or the lone dose in the case of Janssen.

On his weekly TV night show, President Duterte also exhorted Filipinos to get vaccinated. He said 20.3 million of the population have been vaccinated and predicted that 55 million will get their shot by October. In the last few days, he said, infection cases have been going down.

Citing the police power of the state, he said the government can compel qualified Filipinos to take the COVID-19 shots in the higher interest of society as a whole.

On the face shields, Duterte said as he was examining a sample that he could not understand how the plastic shield could expire. He was reacting to reports that “expiry dates” of some face shields had been replaced with newer ones.

As of Sept. 29 (Wednesday), 07:24 GMT, the Philippines was No. 18 (out of 223 countries and territories) with its 2,522,965 total infections and 37,686 deaths. The US remained No. 1 in the world count with its 44,054,825 total infections and 711,222 deaths.

In Washington, Biden said: “Over 77 percent of (American) adults have gotten at least one shot. About 23 percent haven’t gotten any shots, and that distinct minority is causing an awful lot of us an awful lot of damage for the rest of the country… This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

The World Health Organization reminded the US last week as it prepared to administer booster shots of the need for vaccines of low- and lower-middle-income countries. Biden said that the US was buying 500 million more doses to donate to them through the COVAX facility, bringing the US donation to over 1.1 billion doses.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of September 30, 2021)

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