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Tag: Marvin A. Tort

Child safety in motorized vehicles should apply to all

About two years ago, Republic Act 10666 or the Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act took effect and placed conditions on small children riding as passengers on motorcycles -- or two-wheeled motor vehicles. I support this law, but I do not understand why tricycles were seemingly exempted from it.

The long, hot summer

Based on information on the website of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), the main sources of Metro Manila’s water supply are the...

Living off sunshine

BusinessWorld has reported that a listed company had just “broken ground” on a 1.1-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) rooftop project in one of its malls in Mindanao. The project, said to cost P67.4 million, is in line with the firm’s target capacity of 200-MW of electricity from solar PV rooftops in the next two years.

Can proof-of-parking work?

A bill on “proof of parking” is now up for consideration at the Senate. How this legislation can actually be effective in easing traffic congestion in Metro Manila is still lost on me. Instead of moving on it hastily, by making it a “priority” measure, I strongly suggest a proper study first be done on how it can best work for us.

Addressing the housing backlog

On a visit to Singapore about 15 years ago, I had the chance to meet a number of key government officials, including senior people from Singapore’s public housing authority, the Housing Development Board (HDB). Many of the public condominium units in Singapore now were built and are currently managed by HDB.

Battle for food

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. In 2018, it reported that for the third year in a row, “there has been a rise in world hunger. The absolute number of undernourished people, i.e. those facing chronic food deprivation, has increased to nearly 821 million in 2017, from around 804 million in 2016. These are levels from almost a decade ago.”

Changing the way we buy and sell

The matter of cleaning up Manila Bay and our surroundings boils down to effective waste management. And this, to me, is not just a question of proper disposal. We should address the problem at the source, and this means targeting to minimize if not eliminate waste altogether. And this is where policies like the Food Waste Reduction Act come into place.

The cannabis industry

In March 2018, the United Kingdom was reported to be the largest world producer of “legal” cannabis, otherwise known as “medical” marijuana. This was based on 2017 data with the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), which is the independent and quasi-judicial control organ for the implementation of the United Nations (UN) drug conventions.

Hitting a home run in affordable housing

We need roughly 11 million homes put up and sold to buyers in the next 11 years, or an average of one million homes every year. That is, if we are to address the backlog or shortage in the supply of affordable housing from now until 2030, as estimated in a study by the University of Asia and the Pacific.

Iron farming

This piece has little to do with mining or “farming” for iron. Although, mining becomes crucial in the way that it significantly contributes to technological advances, which, in turn, help boost agricultural productivity. Metallic soil is not conducive for food farming, anyway. So, farm or mine the iron and other elements, then use these elements to improve farming for food.

Old hasn’t gone out of style

We have started a new year, an election year at that, but it doesn’t seem like “out with the old, in with the new” applies. For the senatorial election, that is. Checking the latest survey list, and I have checked it twice and have my own opinion on who has been naughty and who has been nice, I see mostly “old” names in the lead, and “new” names trailing behind.

The death of us?

I was born in the year of the First Quarter Storm. It was the same year that a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Luzon that killed 15 and injured 200, that Typhoon Sening left 575 dead in Camarines Sur, and that Typhoon Yoling ravaged Manila and killed 611. It was also that year that Pope Paul VI visited the Philippines and survived an assassination attempt.

Skyway to heaven

I have been using the South Luzon Tollway for the past 45 years, or since the early 1970s when the toll fee for the Nichols-Sucat segment was only one peso. All this time, ever since the south tollway first opened in December 1969, cash has been an acceptable mode of payment for tollway use. Apparently, by some time in the near future, this might no longer be the case, at least for the Skyway.

Let them eat cake?

A quote incorrectly attributed to the infamous French royalty Marie Antoinette, “Let them eat cake,” is said to be more fiction than fact; invented, the offspring of a fertile imagination. But its context cannot be discounted. There are situations when food might be plenty, but not within the reach of common folks. Thus, the forced “trade” of cheap bread for more expensive cake.

Traffic Czar or Traffic Caesar?

I wish Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade the best of luck. By legislating his designation as Traffic Czar, the House of Representatives as well as the Senate are putting on his shoulders the burden of -- as well as the blame on -- the gargantuan task of resolving the problem of vehicular traffic congestion in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao.

Where to with IKEA, China?

Of the business developments in the last two days, what stand out -- at least, in my opinion -- are the commitment of furniture manufacturing giant IKEA to invest initially about P7 billion in putting up a Philippine store; and the government’s signing of more than 20 agreements with the People’s Republic of China on the occasion of the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Spies in your coffeemakers

About 10 years ago, a very good friend lent me a book by authors Kieron O’Hara and Nigel Shadbolt, both based in the United Kingdom. Titled The Spy in the Coffee Machine, I found the book to be a very interesting read. In fact, it came to memory just recently as I noted the news report on a proposed law to make mobile numbers “portable,” or that a person can maintain his cellular number for life.

Rethinking recycling

About 18 years ago, I had a management professor at AIM who wasn’t completely sold on recycling. In one class discussion, Ning Lagman, whom I believed has retired from teaching, expressed the opinion that recycling would be insignificant in a production process that reduced or minimized, if not eliminated, “waste.” Without waste, there will be nothing to recycle.

Where to with Philippine bilateral trade?

Please allow me to share with you a recent report by Moody’s Analytics, which I believe is very relevant particularly to those who are very concerned with the ongoing trade war between the United States and China. Essentially, Moody’s Analytics noted that “US trade policy has the potential to do more harm than good for US manufacturing and the broader economy, particularly if more protectionist policies are implemented by the US or if its trading partners retaliate.”

Going green

No, I am not from La Salle. Neither am I anti-Ateneo. But, I am pro-Green. And by Green, I mean the environment. I understand that going about change is difficult, so is moving out of comfort zones. In this sense, going Green or making our lives Green -- or doing things in ways that do not further harm the environment -- can take much time, effort, and resources.

Retiring by choice, not by age

I am a journalist, and have been for my entire professional life. There is no such thing as “retirement” for this particular work, especially for freelancers. If you can still think, and write, and go out there and produce stories or articles or columns, and media outfits are still willing to pay you for your output, then you can continue to work. An option, of course, is to self-publish or self-broadcast, usually electronically, by doing your own blog or site or podcast.

A school is only as good as its best teachers

Tomorrow, Oct. 5, is World Teacher’s Day, a campaign started in 1994 and mounted each year since then to help people better understand the role teachers play in developing students and the society. Please allow me to devote my space today to all the teachers out there, past and present, as my way of giving thanks to them for all their contributions to the world.

Dealing with the food we waste

In this day and age, people tend to buy and consume more than they actually need. Technology, both in production and storage, has allowed us to build up surpluses both in stores and in homes. Take the case of rice. While cheap NFA rice may be in short supply, to the detriment of the poor, Metro Manila stores are flooded with commercial rice. More affluent homes are stocked with grains as well.

Values literacy

What caught my eye recently was a news item in this paper regarding financial literacy, particularly the present efforts of the government and the financial sector to introduce or incorporate it in the K-12 curriculum in public and private schools. The effort, according to the report, also includes producing learning materials and teaching guides for schools.

Agriculture and education

One cannot help but be left with the impression that our farmers are now too poor to be proud of what they do. Pride in work, and in how they feed the country, plays second fiddle to survival. A lot of big farms flourish, for agriculture is still a business. But small farmers, which account for majority of agricultural workers, remain poor and desperate.

Burning garbage

I recently chanced upon an Aug. 2 commentary in The World Post about an emerging Dutch technology that aimed to address the negative effects of incineration. Written by Rachel Nuwer, a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn, New York, the commentary discussed how incineration could now be a “clean” alternative to solid waste management.

Acceptable racism?

In a 2012 piece in The Spectator about the win of Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen in the London Olympics, writer Ross Clark titled his commentary, “Sinophobia, the last acceptable racism.” He wrote about how Western coaches questioned China’s win of gold medals, initially insinuating possible illegal drug use, then later the use of inhumane and brutal training regimes.

The Prime Minister scenario

On Monday, Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was elected by her peers as Speaker of the House of Representatives, to replace Davao Del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez. And with that, from three “Mindanaoans” heading the government in 2016-2018, we are now down to one. Ahead of Alvarez losing the Speakership, Senator Koko Pimentel had lost the Senate Presidency.

Much work but not much time

The 17th Congress resumes on July 23rd with President Duterte opening it with his third State of the Nation Address (SONA). At this point, with 11 days to go until the event, his people should be busy putting the finishing touches on his speech. Unless, given the recently reported “drop” in his ratings, they have actually chosen to recast and recalibrate what he is scheduled to deliver.

Going beyond price guides for farm products

I have always been curious of price guides particularly on food products. The government, through various agencies, has long instituted the use of such guides. On occasion, the state even chooses to broadcast or publish suggested retail prices -- and try to go after those who unjustifiably breach them.

Relearning Islamic history in the Philippines

Starting tonight, until tomorrow night, we join our Filipino Muslim brothers and sisters in celebrating Eid al-Fitr or the Feast of Breaking the Fast. This feast, an important religious day observed by Muslims worldwide, and which we mark with a national holiday tomorrow, marks the end of Ramadan fasting for Muslims.

Say goodbye to private schools?

The middle class, that struggling segment of society that straddles between the rich and the poor, may soon be a thing of the past. And perhaps, even their schools. Despite stories of economic growth, the fact remains that the gap between the rich and the poor has been widening, leaving fewer and fewer people in between. As a consequence, services that cater to this segment may eventually fade away as well.

Rethink plan to allow foreign ownership of land

Land is such a scarce resource, and a finite one at that.

Drinking plastic

An item a couple of months ago in the online international edition of UK-based publication The Guardian had caught my eye: “WHO launches health...

Gardens required

Way back post-war, I was told, public schools taught practical skills like carpentry; maintained school gardens planted to vegetables; and put students in “junior...

Fighting malaria and dengue

The world was well on its way to controlling malaria -- a very old disease transmitted through mosquito bite, much like dengue -- until...

Back to June

In a column last October, I raised the issue of whether or not we are aiming -- as a matter of government policy --...

The Quintessential Old-Timer

I refer to him as the Quintessential Old-Timer. It was the way he did things, the way he went about them, in the past...

Regulating vaping

Several studies have been made public since the start of the year indicating that “vaping” or the use of e-cigarettes, as a substitute for...

Going electric

In June 2010, about eight years ago, Silicon Valley-based automaker Tesla Motors made Japan its first Asian market for highway-capable electric cars by shipping...

Remembering RM

Ramon del Fierro Magsaysay of Zambales, the 7th president of the Philippine Republic, died 61 years ago, as his Manila-bound plane crashed in the...


We might yet see the advent of an application by 2019, to be available on mobile phones, that can allow Filipino citizens to renew...

Goodman Richard

Last Monday morning, I had the privilege and the pleasure to board the US Navy amphibious ship USS Bonhomme Richard, which was anchored in...

Get it done, then move on

In many instances in our history, we appear to have stayed in place rather than having moved forward. In some cases, we even slid...

Congestion and corruption

Four years ago, I raised a question in this column: “Where do we lose most: from corruption in government, from tax evasion, or from...