POSTSCRIPT / December 25, 2022 / Sunday



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Maligayang Pasko sa inyong lahat!

To our visitors and friends, welcome back to ManilaMailMaligayang Pasko sa ating lahat!

Christmas this year comes on a Sunday, making this joyous holiday doubly blessed. While we keep hearing laments about how bad the country has been faring lately, many Filipinos still believe that with God’s grace, we will survive the corrupt and inept officials running the system.

A parol is a Filipino ornamental lantern displayed during the Christmas season. Photo:Shutterstock

Recent surveys of the Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia surveys have found that Filipinos are celebrating this Christmas with hope, and are optimistic about the coming new year.

We have also noted in ManilaMail/About/The Philippines at a glance: “With his country blessed with bountiful human and natural resources, the Filipino – hardy but graceful like the bamboo bending with the wind – is the eternal optimist ever trusting in the benevolence of his God.”

* * *

Our last “Postscript” published on Nov. 27 mentioned the medical issues bothering me and why I was to leave the media scene for a while. I was then undergoing a series of eye surgeries in New Jersey where I had been riding out the pandemic.

Still recuperating, this journalist at large is now back in Manila – escaping in the nick of time from the monster winter storm that slammed the US on Christmas eve, burying wide areas under thick snow, trapping motorists, causing power outages and disrupting normal life.

In Manila, most complaints are not about stormy weather, but the heavy traffic – especially during the pre-holiday shopping spree – and the insane prices of essential goods. Inflation in November surged to 8 percent year on year, faster than the 7.7 percent in October.

Some officials, apparently detached from reality or feeling duty-bound to project a positive outlook, claim that ₱500 (< $10) is enough for a typical household to prepare noche buena, a Christmas eve repast that many low-income families skip, moving it from tradition to oblivion.

Fortunately, even a clumsy administration is saved from the brunt of a dreary fiscal year by the substantial remittances of OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) beating the clock to send Yule cheer to the folks back home.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has reported that remittances from land-based and sea-based OFWs rose by 3.8 percent year-on-year in September 2022 to $2.84 billion. That inflow accounts for some 8.9 percent of the gross domestic product.

The conspiracy to create, even just in the mind, a positive outlook has helped make this holiday in a dominantly Christian nation a truly Merry Christmas.

* * *

From Malacañang, meanwhile, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sends this message:

“My warmest greetings to Filipinos all over the country and the world as we celebrate the blessed day of Christmas.

“The story of Christ’s birth has become an integral part of our culture and every year we have become more accustomed to commemorating this day with gatherings, thanksgiving and merrymaking. No matter the evolution of its observance, it is imperative that we emphasize the true essence of this holiday — love.

“It is this pure and simple love that Christmas represents – the same one that we constantly desire and need – that allows it to be more than just a Christian tradition. Across beliefs, all the generosity and goodwill stirred in this season are welcomed. Surely, embracing these will help us overcome the difficulties brought by the pandemic and other challenges.

“Let our spirits not dwell on the adornments that we display, on the buzz and activities we create, nor on the lack thereof. Instead, let us partake in this holiday with the same simplicity, sense, and meaning that we get from it.

“Let us freely offer our smiles, share a conversation or impart wisdom to our peers, our loved ones, and even strangers. Let our affection be known and felt in the simplest of ways so that the eternal message of the Nativity of Christ may again spark hope for a brighter future in the hearts of all.

“I wish everyone a Christmas full of love, compassion and hopeful beginnings.”

News RoundUp

CNN PhilippinesDeath toll from heavy rains, floods during holiday weekend rises to 39
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The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the death toll from the heavy rains and floods during the Christmas weekend has risen to 39. The NDRRMC also noted in its 6 p.m. report that 11 of the deaths were already validated. (Dec. 29)
CNN PhilippinesPhilSA warns of possible debris from Chinese satellite launch
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CNN PhilippinesFDA approves emergency use of Moderna, Pfizer bivalent vaccines
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The Department of Health confirmed that the Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization for bivalent vaccines of Moderna and Pfizer. DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the health agency will release recommendations and guidelines for the priority...
CNN PhilippinesDTI records all-time high business name registrations in 2022
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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recorded an all-time high of 932,097 business name registrations in 2022. In a statement on Wednesday, the DTI said 827,491 (88.8%) are new registrations while 104,606 are renewals. (Dec. 29)
CNN PhilippinesServer issues mar early hours of SIM registration
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Subscribers who wanted to register their SIMs early were greeted by server issues despite the telecommunications companies' assurance they are ready to accommodate the deluge of registrants. (Dec. 27)
CNN PhilippinesTelcos: We are ready for SIM registration
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The country's mobile service providers assured subscribers they will be accommodated once the period to register their subscriber identification module begins on Tuesday, Dec. 27. Representatives from Globe, SMART, and DITO Telecommunity laid out plans for their subscribers as well as... (Dec, 27)
CNN PhilippinesDOJ opposes DSWD plan to demand child support from negligent fathers
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The administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. exceeded its revenue target for 2022 by 2.2%, the Office of the Press Secretary announced Sunday, citing a report from the Department of Finance. (Dec. 27)
CNN PhilippinesOver 21K Filipinos visit Malacañang for Christmas activities
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Over 21,000 Filipinos have visited the Malacañan Palace to attend the Simbang Gabi and view the Christmas tree and lantern displays at the Kalayaan grounds. In a statement on Sunday, the Office of the Press Secretary said there were 2,895 attendees for the Simbang Gabi from Dec. 17 to 24.
CNN PhilippinesOver 16,000 DepEd teachers, staff hired in 2022 — OPS
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The Department of Education hired more teachers and administrative officers in 2022 to address the "learning losses" of Filipino students amid the pandemic, the Office of the Press Secretary said Sunday. (Dec. 27)
CNN PhilippinesWomen inmates visit husbands at NBP on Christmas Eve
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It was an emotional Christmas Eve for around 35 inmates from the Correctional Institution for Women and their husbands incarcerated at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City. The Bureau of Corrections allowed them to be reunited at the national penitentiary in the spirit of... (Dec. 27)



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