Just like war coverage

By Alex P. Vidal

“You can’t get anywhere in life without taking risks.”—Esme Bianco

REPORTERS who risk their lives and limbs covering the actual devastation of typhoons, fires and earthquakes are like reporting about the war in the battlefield.

There is a high level of risk and danger; the possibility of getting injured and maimed during the actual coverage is always clear and present.

When they leave their homes, there is a possibility that war correspondents may not be able to come home alive.

Just like the soldiers who are aware their other foot is in the cemetery when they mount their refiles and engage the enemy.

Reporters covering the calamities in the field could also suffer life-threatening injuries and even death. Mishaps always occur. Landslides and flying debris are as deadly as the stray bullets, bombs, and armalite ammunition.

I remember one incident in Pototan, Iloilo in 1987 where a radio reporter was electrocuted and died on the spot while his colleague was badly injured and lost his arm. While reporting “live” the antenna of the reporter’s walkie talkie touched a live wire connected to the electric post.

According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), 65 journalists and media workers were killed worldwide in 2020 while doing their jobs.

The victims, however, weren’t hit by flying G.I. sheets or burnt and swept away by floods and landslides.

The were killed in 16 different countries during targeted attacks, bomb attacks and crossfire incidents. And this is another sordid story that saddens Filipino journalists.


Why is the Philippine peso has been rapidly declining against the US dollar these past weeks?

Not only is the peso unusually weak over time, it is also now the weakest in ASEAN, economic analyst JC Punongbayan asserted.

In the past two years, other ASEAN currencies—like the Thai baht, Malaysian ringgit, and Singaporean dollar—have even strengthened significantly against the US dollar, he said.

Punongbayan stressed that this separation or “decoupling” of the peso from other ASEAN currencies suggests that factors peculiar to the Philippine economy are causing its weakness.

He said some analysts like to blame the interest rate hikes of the US Federal Reserve (simply called the Fed), which tend to attract investments into the US.

As investors in the Philippines haul off their investments to the US, investors exchange their pesos for dollars, flooding the local market with pesos and reducing its relative value.

In other words, Punongbayan explained, Fed rate hikes tend to weaken the peso.

“But this could hardly be the main reason behind the peso’s weakness today: the Fed rate has been rising since late 2016, yet other ASEAN currencies have managed to strengthen against the dollar,” he stressed.

“Hence, the peso’s decoupling must be due to factors peculiar to the Philippines. Here I elaborate on 3 likely reasons: a widening trade deficit, weak OFW remittances, and some degree of capital flight.”

The Economist’s Big Mac Index is based on the theory of purchasing power parity (PPP), which states that in the long run, the exchange rates of any two economies should move towards the rate that would equalize the prices of an identical basket of goods.


THREE MAJOR REASONS WHY PEOPLE GET OLDER QUICKLY. ABC news has released a study made by experts listing three major reasons why some people are getting older quickly:

  1. Smoking
  2. Over exposed to sunlight
  3. Divorce

Another study shows the average child recognizes over 200 company logos by the time he enters first grade.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)