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Rolling with early punches in 2017

/ 03:56 AM January 05, 2017

A simple bunch of the vegetable malunggay, trusted health enhancer among poor folks around the wet market, now costs P10. It used to be only P5.

“Wala ng limang piso,” cried the thin, dusky mother selling an assortment of kangkong, talbos ng camote, siling panigang, etc. from her muddy sidewalk perch.

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It’s not really alarming, the five-peso jump. However, coming on the second day of the year, it has caused uneasiness after it next got bared that there’s no longer a five-peso vegetable available for the masa.

If prices of other table necessities, like fish and meat, had risen during the holidays, there’s now only faint chance these would readily return to normal. The increase in food prices came almost simultaneously with the rise in the price of oil, petroleum and other fuel products.

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This is not the season to sulk. But it’s odd that a day after President Duterte declared he was upbeat on the Philippine economy, a report came about a sudden slide in optimism.

Said the audit and consulting firm Grant Thornton: “After an unprecedented rise in the second quarter to 94, the Philippines experienced a sudden drop of ten percent points in the third quarter, which has continued to descend to 80 percent in the fourth quarter.”

The trend was not too encouraging either for Philippine sports.

On the national campaign in this year’s Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia, our boxing team got an early jolt after the hosts cancelled six boxing events.

Hardest hit was former world women’s champion Josie Gabuco, who was set to go for her sixth SEA Games gold in the 48 kg. Her teammates Nesty Petecio, Irish Magno and Aira Villegas are also out.

The events of two national men’s team standouts, Charlie Suarez and Eumir Felix Marcial, have been junked.

The Philippines, with five gold medals, three silvers and one bronze, topped the previous SEA Games boxing tournament.

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Anyway, after the demise last year of three all-time Philippine sports greats—Carlos Loyzaga, Virgilio Dalupan and Filomeno Codinera Jr.—the sports year opened with the tragic news on the death of the venerable Mel Lopez, former mayor of Manila and chair of the Philippine Sports Commission, architect of the fabulous Go for Gold boxing program.

For the record, Go For Gold would’ve been a supreme success if not for the cold-blooded treachery inflicted by judges in the Atlanta Olympics on Mansueto Velasco. Velasco, a clear winner, tearfully settled for the silver medal after he was skinned live by the judges with the blessings of the dreaded AIBA chief Anwar Chowdry.

It was tragic how Go for Gold was eventually junked, despite what Mel Lopez has done for Philippine boxing and sports as a whole.

It would indeed be a fitting tribute to Mel Lopez, tested patriot, if Go for Gold, which definitely did not fail, is brought back.

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TAGS: food prices, Philippine sports, Southeast Asian Games
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