Crossroad

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    ‘The President should not forget that he is not conducting any late-night news pressers and must fully recognize that this SONA will bring the people to a crossroad in their social, economic and political future.’

    PRESIDENT Duterte should deliver his SONA online from Malacanang instead of venturing out into the Batasan building. He wants to personally demonstrate both ego and courage in the face of the crippling COVID-19 crisis and set an example to all. But Filipinos have a way of twisting or abusing government protocols or protection measures, notably the simple but vital restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus.

    Many still downplay the deadly virus only to regret it after they get infected and are intubated in a hospital. At many squatter communities the families are back to their merry ways as if the virus no longer exists. Fumbling officials unprepared for this great calamity have contributed to the widespread distressing behavior.

    The President may send the wrong signal that people should be “immunized” from the virus through their zeal and boldness to attend to their work and business more frequently, debunking the critical “stay-home” policy of the national government. His plate is full as he reports to the nation for the fifth time. His advisers would have done more to rebuild and reinforce his credibility over and above any new measures to revive the economy and further strengthen the national efforts against COVID-19.

    Since romanticizing the deaths of doctors and other health workers and rambling on one night on his nocturnal urinary problems, it was not easy to tell he was not in touch with a mounting national crisis. He has failed to articulate clearly any health, economic, job-generating and hunger-alleviation programs during this very difficult time. It would take some ingenuity to reverse the public dismay over iron-fisted political maneuvers. His speeches have to be edited lately to excise numerous portions that merely exhibit irrelevance and high-handedness instead of regal presidential willfulness and empathy. The President should not forget that he is not conducting any late-night news pressers and must fully recognize that this SONA will bring the people to a crossroad in their social, economic and political future.

    Good friend Jing Magsaysay just couldn’t take it sitting down that a presidential crony is out to seize the frequency of ABS-CBN if and when it is sequestered. Magsaysay was managing director of ANC who practically built the pioneering cable news channel from the ground. He also organized the live satellite technology of ABS-CBN upon the instructions of then chairman and president/CEO Eugenio Lopez Jr. “to build bridges on-air,” which was a breakthrough in the history of TV broadcasting in the country.

    He would endure days of driving through inhospitable terrain, virtually clamber up mountains and endure the elements to put up satellite stations in several provinces.

    Magsaysay, who has since retired, still credits his engineering crew for helping him accomplish the back-breaking tasks. He is sure no one who takes over the production, programming, and the news and public affairs of ABS-CBN can possibly equal the shinning achievements and innumerable distinctions of the employees and executives of the huge network.