Brexit has allowed the UK to leave EU
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - February 4, 2020 - 12:00am

While the whole world is concerned about the spread of the novel coronavirus, which now has killed 304 people as of last count, last Jan. 31st was a historic day for the United Kingdom. When more than three years after the British people voted in a referendum for the UK to officially leave the European Union (EU), as of 11 p.m. last Friday the UK finally left the EU with not much fanfare except that UK delegates in the EU were asked to remove the British flag within the EU Parliament.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation an hour before it departed the EU bloc and called on the country to celebrate a “new dawn.” Indeed, while finally the UK has left the EU, which now only has 27 members… however we still have up to December for the UK to negotiate with the EU on many issues like taxes cost of food and many other things. Of course, we know that some people are celebrating this historic event, but there are others who are commiserating at the end of nearly five decades of unity with Britain’s European neighbors.

Without doubt European leaders expressed remorse in losing the UK, the first nation to leave in the EU’s history. What’s going to happen in the next nine months is something we would only learn when issues are being negotiated between the UK and the EU. People want to know whether the English pound would be larger than the euro, we really can’t tell as of this moment. For us Filipinos, getting a UK visa is quite an expensive proposition, which we hope the UK can reduce.

One international news had this report that in the short term, the biggest changes will be invisible to the public. During the transition period, currently set to expire on Dec. 31 of this year, the UK will continue to obey EU laws and European courts. Businesses will be able to operate as normal and people wanting to travel around the EU will not be affected. But after Dec. 31… things would dramatically change and we have up to the end of December to find out what kind of deal the UK and the EU would come up with.

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We’ve been following up a lot of materials from local and international news about the novel coronavirus that has spread all over the world, emanating from Wuhan, China… but the sad news we got was that the second case of novel coronavirus as confirmed by the Department of Health (DOH) last  Sunday morning became the first recorded death outside China. This was a 44-year-old male companion of the first confirmed carrier of the virus.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque reported in a press briefing that the man passed away on Feb. 1, days after he was admitted for fever, cough and sore throat. The man was also found to have severe pneumonia, a lung inflammation due to viral or bacterial infection. In his last few days, the patient was reported to be in stable condition before his sickness worsened within 24 hours. This is what many medical practitioners say that the symptoms of this virus do not show up until it is on its worse condition but then it is already too late. Sec. Duque also reported that a 38-year-old woman, also tested positive for the virus.

Aside from the novel coronavirus that emanated from Wuhan, China there is now a new bird flu outbreak in China. Wow we really thought that this virus was going away but it seems to have created another form of virus called the bird flu happening in the very same place as the novel coronavirus. Here in the Philippines, we did not only record the first coronavirus death outside of China, we have also discovered the African Swine Fever (ASF) in Davao Occidental in Southern Mindanao. Think of it… there are many Muslim communities in Southern Mindanao who do not eat pork so why is this happening there?

Meanwhile here in Cebu, the archdiocese of Cebu through Arch. Jose Palma has asked the lay faithful to have recourse to prayer and protection of St. Raphael the Archangel, the Medicine of God and to St. Roch, the powerful intercessor against plagues and pestilence from the fatal novel coronavirus that is now ravaging Wuhan, China and other countries in the world.

Mind you the year 2020 is now our countdown for next year’s biggest event for Catholics… as it is the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. We have already prepared an official logo for next year’s celebration, so at this point we can only hope that the global events that have been affected by the novel coronavirus would no longer be an issue by that time. We have invited Pope Francis to this momentous affair and we can only hope and pray that he would spare us his precious time.

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