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

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Philippine Daily Inquirer‘Sweaty’ at Naia: Cooling system under repair
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Philippine Daily InquirerWorkers seek dialogue with Marcos on Labor
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The Nagkaisa labor coalition on Saturday urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to set a meeting soon with labor leaders as the country marks Labor Day on May 1, noting a “concerning pattern” of the lack of such a dialogue with workers two years into his presidency. (April 30)
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Agricultural damage due to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon has reached P1.6 billion, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said. The weather phenomenon has so far affected 46,805 farmers and fisherfolk and damaged 44,437 hectares of farm lands. (April 30)
Manila Standard1.7-M Pinoys affected by El Niño, agri damage at P3.9B
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Some 1.7 million individuals have been affected by the El Niño phenomenon, which has resulted in close to P4 billion in damage and losses to the country’s agriculture sector. DSWD spokesperson Irene Dumlao said the affected individuals are in Regions 2, 3, Mimaropa, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12 and (April 22)
Manila StandardPhilHealth airs heat alert
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PhilHealth has cautioned the public against heat stroke amid record high temperatures as the state weather bureau warned Monday of possibly even hotter weather in May amid the El Niño phenomenon. PhilHealth recently increased its heat stroke benefit package by 30 percent (April 30)
Manila StandardExpect brownouts in May as demand outstrips supply
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he Department of Energy expressed concern over the possibility of brownouts as a red alert draws closer due to recent power plant outages and high power demand as the El Niño phenomenon rages. “How close are we to the red alert, brownouts when we reach the red alert? (April 30)
Manila StandardPresident warns BARMM elections saboteurs
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President Ferdinand Marcos had recently warned individuals trying to intervene and derail the first BARMM parliamentary election next year. “Let this serve as a warning to those who may plan to threaten and derail this upcoming election, don’t even think about it because you will be (April 30)
Manila TimesCyberattacks pound PH amid sea row
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CYBERATTACKS against the Philippines have shot up 325 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2024 as tensions rise over the country's territorial dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea (WPS), a US-based cybersecurity company said. The company Resecurity, which has (April 30)
Manila TimesHotter days ahead; heat indexes to soar
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THE state-run weather bureau on Monday warned of much hotter days ahead and heat indexes at extremely dangerous levels that would last until the second week of May. Aside from the dry season, the soaring temperatures and heat indexes are being triggered by the El Niño (April 30)



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