Never imagined
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - November 14, 2017 - 4:00pm

We never think of medical emergencies on vacation and few of us have any idea where hospitals and doctors are in certain tourist destinations. Last weekend that reality hit home while we were in Baguio. Our friend Art Manuntag was performing and just after singing his first song he collapsed from an apparent heart attack. Within minutes, nurses and an EMT of John Hay Manor was on stage with equipment, and by the time we managed to lift Art to the driveway, an ambulance was rolling up and promptly took over.

The next morning the hotel nurse started checking the blood pressure of the guys who assisted and stayed up until 2:30 in the morning to help, before allowing us to drive down to Manila. High BPs and Ferraris are not a good mix. I became pick of the liter and was sent up for medication and to take a short nap! This experience teaches all of us to research on medical facilities, bring your BP monitor, medicines and be careful because on many occasions we end up over doing things instead of actually resting. Most important know the numbers and how to get to the best hospital!

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Is Senate President Koko Pimentel trying to be a healer or a dealer? 

I just got word that Senator Pimentel will be visiting Leyte as guest of honor and organizer of a political event this coming Saturday, Nov. 18 in Palo, Leyte, home turf of the Petilla clan. It seems that Senator Koko will be the officiating officer when various political groups and personalities take their oath as new members of the PDP-Laban including all the politicians who hate each other’s guts. I was also informed that politicians opposed to the Petillas were “Told” to join the swearing in ceremony.

This “unexpected” move of Pimentel has raised eyebrows if not questions about his motives. Is he simply beefing up the formerly party of one and recruiting everybody willing to join the PDP-Laban?  Is Pimentel attempting to mediate and heal political wounds in Leyte particularly between the Petillas and the Romualdezes in order to dominate or dictate on the line-up or outcome of the 2019 elections? Does President Rodrigo Duterte know or approve of the union of the PDP-Laban with politicians who failed or abandoned Tacloban and opposed his Presidential bid? And did the Senate President consult local officials and party heads about his controversial move?

As far as the PDP-Laban membership goes, I do know that their party has become the prime example of quantity not quality. In fact I heard a joke going around in CamSur when the PDP-Laban also swore in turncoats and stragglers from the Liberal Party into the PDP-Laban. A high-ranking official quipped: May natira pa bang Liberal? If Pimentel thinks he can heal the wounds between the Petillas and the Romualdezes then he apparently is more naïve than I imagined. As far as President Duterte is concerned, I have a feeling he will blow a fuse over this mass recruitment especially when he hears that the recruitment has given the impression that it’s an insurance plan for when Duterte is no longer popular.

Sadly, when I checked with people on the ground, I found out that Pimentel never asked for the opinion of people or checked how deep the resentments or hatred is among the feuding parties in Leyte. So instead of saying a prayer for unity, Pimentel might as well practice announcing: “Lets Get Ready To Rrrrummmmble!”

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 “Sir, How do you solve a problem like Maria?”

Some government officials are not quite sure on what to do and how to handle the controversial ASEAN Lane invasion of Maria Isabel Lopez. Lopez has already been bashed and apologized for her act of belligerence coupled with her posting on social media. But the question still remained?

All I could say was; “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.” What else was I suppose to say knowing full well that the night before as I exited from the NLEX – Balintawak off ramp I unintentionally landed on the “ASEAN Lane.” Anyone familiar with that “connecting area” knows how dark the place is and how selfish drivers can be and won’t stop to give you room. In that brief moment I had no idea I was on the ASEAN Lane already until I passed the Congressional Avenue – EDSA intersection. There were no cops, no traffic enforcers; it was dark in the area.

When I realized I was on the wrong side, I tried to find an exit but each exit had two lanes of vehicles turning left across the ASEAN Lanes and blocking us from getting out. Every exit point was blocked or you had to drive past because the buses were on your tail, even the vegetable vendor was on the ASEAN Lane.

It’s difficult for government to act all “Perfect” and righteous when they are responsible for creating an “imperfect” system. For starters, there was no need to eat up two lanes. If I remember correctly we only assigned one lane during APEC. That being the case, why was the ASEAN Lanes left unsupervised and not operated as a flexible system that could be cleared when delegates arrive and then opened to the public when not in use. It’s roughly 60 to 70 kilometers from Clark and the NLEX had cops at every kilometer who could easily radio in an arriving dignitary.

Pasig City applies the flexible counter flow system and I have witnessed even more complicated ways in Bangkok, Thailand. The crucial point was they had a system, they had people and they operated via radio and not mere government pronouncements and designs that are convenient for authorities but a three-day long major inconvenience to people starting from Pampanga all the way to Manila. Some businessmen from Pampanga said that there was also a Truck ban on NLEX for the duration of the ASEAN so deliveries had to stop. No wonder tourists were buying up all the vegetables on Kennon Road.

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