About the president’s state of health
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2019 - 12:00am

Call this a reminder that on Nov. 6-8 is the 6th Farm Tourism Conference that will be held at the Cebu Grand Ballroom of the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel in Cebu City. That this is the first time for Cebu, the Queen City of the South, to host this very important tourism event is something that we are all proud of. The theme of the Farm Conference is “Farm Tourism: Building Community Relationship for Sustainable Development.” One of Cebu’s greatest assets is it is centrally located in the middle of the Philippines, where it is a short ferry ride from Ormoc, Leyte, a shorter bus ride to Negros Oriental or San Carlos City and an easy ferry ride to Bohol and of course also to Mindanao.

The 6th Farm Tourism Conference is hosted by the city government of Cebu and is co-organized by the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST) and the Cebu Alliance of Tour Operations Specialists Inc. (CATOS), with the support of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Tourism Promotions Board Philippines (TPB), and SM Seaside City Cebu.

Keynote messages would be delivered by former president and speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, DA Secretary William Dar, and Senator Cynthia Villar, the principal author of the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016. The three-day event will also have an exhibition area for fresh and locally grown agricultural produce, and a site visit on the leading farm tourism spots, namely Sirao Flower Farm, Jaime Chua’s Orchid Farm, and Adlawon Vacation Farm. Of course there are many areas within Cebu Province that fits the title of farm tourism, all we need to do is list them into one category and we are already there. So we’ll see you in two weeks time.

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It turned out that President Rodrigo Duterte had to cut short his attendance at the coronation of the Japanese Emperor as he was experiencing an “unbearable pain” in his lower back, the Palace due perhaps to his very recent mishap on his motorcycle. However, I would like to emphasize that that incident was on a motorcycle that has already stopped running, but the President only fell on the bike because of its wrong position at the time the bike stopped. We bikers usually do not give such slight crashes any attention as it is not life threatening.

However, in the case of Pres. Duterte, he already suffers from a severe back pain and I would like to believe that this bike incident only worsened his back. As president of the land I can understand that many Filipinos who support the President are concerned about his state of health. As we bikers today tell each other biker…”we’re no longer young chickens and we need to be more careful than usual.”

If there is anything I should be concerned about it was when last month, the president disclosed that he has Myasthenia Gravis which is considered a nerve malfunction that as the President said, he inherited from his grandfather. He said that the condition is to blame for his drooping eye. In the late 60’s this medical problem was linked to billionaire Aristotle Onassis, which is why it is more known as the disease of billionaires.

One of my closest friends in Manila, the late Joey Pineda, husband of Angie Pineda of Star Cinema also suffered from Myasthenia gravis, but his was a bit worse that he was in coma for more than 10 years and eventually died in 2006, the same year that we lost Philippine STAR publisher Maximo V. Soliven. We googled the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and told us that myasthenia gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles, which are responsible for breathing and moving parts of the body, including the arms and legs.

So whether this disease will spread further in the body of Pres. Duterte only time will tell but I would like to believe that his spinal pain is linked to his vertebra and this should be looked into more carefully before it worsens. Otherwise, I would like to believe that President Duterte would finish the remainder of his two and a half year term. Meanwhile, at this time I would like to exhort Pres. Duterte to continue with his proposal for political change in this country.

Our partner in our bid for a federal state in the person of the late Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. already left this world and I dare say that it is time for Pres. Duterte to give the Philippines a true and patriotic legacy with our shift into a parliamentary form of government that would eventually bring federalism to the Philippines. If this happens, Pres. Duterte would never ever be forgotten by the Filipino people for truly bringing a fresh and better change in our nation’s political system.

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Email: vsbobita@gmail.com.

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