Tag: #RONI SANTIAGO
The Philippines has thousands of islands from the Batanes group in the north to the Tawi-Tawi group in the south. Most people are familiar with the bigger islands – Luzon, Mindoro, Panay, Negros, Samar, and Mindanao. But there are thousands of other islands – 7,641 at the last official count, possibly even more at low tide.
The country’s biggest mass gathering – the annual Traslacion of the Black Nazarene from the Luneta Park to its shrine, the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo — is still three months away, January 9, 2021, but Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has started considering the problems it will present in the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
The image, carved in the 16th century in Mexico, came to the Philippines in 1606 and was housed in several churches in Intramuros. The Traslacion commemorates the transfer of the image in 1787 from the Church of San Nicolas de Tolentino of the Agustinian Recollects in Intramuros to its new home, the Church of the Camisa, now the Quiapo Church.
The Traslacion has become the biggest religious procession in the country, with hundreds of thousands — millions, according to some police and Quiapo church officials — joining the procession or lining its route. Barefoot devotees in brown garments struggle to touch the image or even just its carroza, believing in its miraculous healing powers, as it slowly makes its way from the Luneta to Quiapo from dawn to near midnight.
In this day of the COVID-19, the Traslacion is simply out of the question. Attendance in churches in Metro Manila continues to be limited to 10 percent of capacity to this day, seven months after the start of the lockdowns.
Thus Mayor Isko last weekend said he would have to meet with Quiapo church officials as he cannot possibly issue a permit for the Traslacion on January 9, 2021 — just as Holy Week last April passed without the traditional Visita Iglesia, when thousands of Catholics visit seven churches on Holy Thursday.
There is one other Filipino tradition that may not be allowed this year — the Simbang Gabi, a novena of predawn masses from December 16 to Christmas Eve on December 24, when thousands of Catholics flock to churches all over the country, spilling out into the churchyards for lack of space inside. This is one tradition that Filipinos now living in many other countries have brought with them.
There is yet no end in sight for the COVID-19 pandemic, since it emerged in China in December, 2019. There have now been over 35 million infections and over a million deaths around the world and hope is pinned on vaccines now in their final testing processes in many countries. The earliest of these may be ready by December, but most will win approval only in 2021 and it will take months for the billions of people around the world to get it.
In the meantime, we must face a Christmas like no other in the past. And we must do without the massive procession of the Black Nazarene in January. We can only focus now on surviving the COVID-19 and on planning for recovery that will take many nations, including ours, years to accomplish.
Nations around the world have begun to plan for the acquisition of vaccines with which they hope to stop the spread of COVID-19 in their lands. Of 175 proposed vaccines listed by the World Health Organization (WHO), 33 are said to be in their final human trials and two or three in the United States, China, and United Kingdom are in the last Phase 3 stage, each involving hundreds of people over a three-month test period.
Today is the start of the last quarter of the year. Government economists and business managers generally expect improved figures in these final three months, making up for any losses in the middle of the year, so that the year-end figures stand out, reflecting progress in the national economy or in the business enterprise.
It’s still 15 months before the presidential election on May 9, 2022, but some politicians are already talking of postponing the election. This has happened in the past as the sitting president neared the end of his/her term, as if hoping the term, with all its powers and privileges, could somehow be extended.
Scientists have long established that rising temperatures around the world are spawning more violent storms while melting more ice in the polar regions. And the world is getting hotter because of the carbon emissions billowing daily into the atmosphere from factories of the industrial nations.
Last Monday, Oxfam said new research shows that the richest 1 percent of the world’s population is responsible for more than twice as much carbon pollution as the poorest half. This poorest half consists of some 3.1 billion people mostly living in remote areas of the globe.
President Duterte has decided it is best to maintain the one-meter rule on physical distancing in public transport. The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) had allowed a shorter distance of .75 meters to enable public transport to accommodate more passengers. But the President decided to maintain the one-meter rule in the interest of public health.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the ten member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) early this month to stand up to China in their territorial disputes in the South China Sea and they can bank on US support.
The Vatican announced last weekend that Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, tested positive for COVID-19 on his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the Philippines on the evening of September 10.