Faces of the News: Dec. 8, 2019
For over a decade, Philippine swimmers faced a dry spell in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, unable to win a gold medal in the regional event.
That drought is over. James Deiparine made a huge splash for Team Philippines, landing not only a gold medal, but a SEA Games record as well after topping the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:01.46.
It was a long-awaited victory for the Philippines. The last time the country ruled swimming was in 2009 when Miguel Molina won two gold medals — for the 200m and 400m individual medley.
Also winning that year were Daniel Coakley in the 50m freestyle and Ryan Arabejo in the 1,500m freestyle.
Deiparine isn’t new to SEA Games competition, having won a silver in his debut in the biennial meet in 2017.
But his gold heralds a new era for Philippine swimming, which hopes to keep making waves in the SEA Games.
Names rarely give an insight into a person’s virtues , nor are they meant to. But Angelica “Angel” Locsin Colmenares seems to be an exception.
The multiawarded TV and movie star was named among Forbes Asia’s “Heroes of Philanthropy” alongside tycoons and entrepreneurs Hans Sy of the SM group, and Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire behind Alibaba.
A surprised Locsin said: “I’m nowhere near being a billionaire, but I try to do my part in my own little way.”
Forbes said her “little way” added up to about P15 million in over a decade, donated toward scholarships, supporting the rights of indigenous people, ending violence against women and children, aiding survivors of Tropical Storm “Ondoy” (international name: Ketsana), and more recently, helping those affected by the Mindanao quake and the Marawi siege in 2017.
“The only motivation we need is being part of humanity,” she said.
The recently published results of the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment, an achievement test administered in 79 countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), showed that overall, Filipino students got the lowest scores in reading and the second lowest in both math and science.
Class, more than nationality, seems to play a part, with private school students getting significantly higher marks than public school students in all three subjects.
Students from cities also scored higher than those in rural areas.
The OECD also noted reports of bullying among Filipino students, and having a “fear of failure” at higher levels than other countries.
This shows that both schools and communities must be made more conducive to learning, said University of the Philippines Diliman chancellor Michael Tan.
Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes
In what is likely to be his last hurrah for the Southeast Asian Games, Efren “Bata” Reyes once again brought honor to the country in more ways than just winning a bronze medal in the 1-cushion carom men’s singles.
Reyes was clearly a legend in the sport, the way fans, journalists and even fellow athletes gravitated toward him, hoping for a selfie or a chat with the 65-year-old pool icon.
“The Magician” was the first pool player to win World Championships in two different disciplines and has won over 70 international titles.
Reyes admitted that his magic may have waned, as he cited his aching right shoulder.
“Wala na yung magic,” he said.
More than going for a gold medal, Reyes also aimed to give his fans a good show. He felt he had let them down.
“My usual shots weren’t working. That’s why the crowd wasn’t as thrilled.”
The old magic may be gone but Bata’s legacy will live on.
Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s ban on the use and importation of electronic cigarettes, or vapes, several groups have called for regulation rather than prohibition.
The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates claimed that e-cigarettes “have been helping smokers quit, and a ban would only worsen the smoking problem.”
The government had previously issued administrative orders to regulate e-cigarette use, but e-cigarette distributors Green Puff and Ryan Sazon have managed to obtain a temporary restraining order from two regional trial courts.
The Philippine E-cigarette Industry Association, meanwhile, acknowledged that while the product is “not risk-free,” it was still a better alternative to cigarettes, and was intended mainly for adult smokers who want to switch to less harmful alternative products, not for minors and nonsmokers.
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