"She was a true thespian."
The curtain has fallen on Armida Siguion Reyna, iconic film and stage star. She passed away at age 88 succumbing to cancer. The widow of lawyer Leonardo Siguion Reyna, Armida is a sister of former senator and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
It is sad day for the Ponce Enriles as JPE himself will be marking his 94th birthday on Feb. 14, St. Valentine’s Day. I last saw Armida at her place in Forbes Park when her senator brother brought members of the 365 Breakfast Club there. She was also a member and she was simply called Tita Midz. Several years back, she and her family and friends Mr. and Mrs. Teddy Locsin went to Budapest where I was then ambassador. Her group, which chartered a tourist bus, was on a tour of select European cities that included Prague, Vienna and Budapest.
Armida was at one time chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board. While her films were shown before my movie-going days, I had a chance to see her body of work on replays of these films on Cinema One and PBO which runs them for night owls like me. Not only was Armida a true thespian, she also sang and produced shows on stage and television, among them the long-running “Aawitan Kita” in which she sang the title song known to many of her fans and followers.
Armida’s wake started yesterday at the Heritage Memorial Park at McKinley Hill.
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Meanwhile, the death toll from the measles outbreak in the country continues to rise, The casualties are mostly children whose parents are wary of having their kids vaccinated after the deadly effect of the Dengvaxia anti-dengue vaccine. Health workers who are doing a door-to-door vaccination drive reported that parents are slowly being convinced the anti-measle vaccine is necessary to prevent the spread of the epidemic and that there is no danger similar to the Dengvaxia side effect.
Former President Benigno Aquino III, his Health Secretary Janet Garin and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad are facing charges of criminal negligence for not exercising due diligence before purchasing the Dengvaxia vaccine from French manufacturer Sanofi.
In another news affecting the health of Filipinos, the Department of Agriculture under Manny Piñol has banned the importation of pork from Japan, Australia and Africa due to the possibility that these could be tainted with swine flu.
The good news in business is that tycoon Enrique K. Razon could take over the bankrupt Hanjin ship building operations in Subic. Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez welcomed Razon’s reported interest in the Korean company. The head honcho of the International Containers Terminal Services Inc. is a logical choice to acquire Hanjin since ITCSI’s interest has relevance to Hanjin’s equipment and operations.
Some 30,000 Filipino workers are going to be affected if Hanjin closes shop. Some of these workers are already applying for jobs in the Middle East and other countries with port facilities like Singapore, and other ports where ICTSI has existing container terminal operations. Taiwan is another country where Filipino welders with ship-building experience can find work in the Taiwanese company Evergreen.
Hanjin in Subic was where the US battleships used to have a naval base. Washington cannot have a Chinese company taking over Hanjin. It would be a de facto replacement of the US presence in a strategic port considering a rising China’s aggressive move in the South China Sea and its vast potential of oil gas and mineral resources under the seabed.
Vital international sea lanes for commercial cargo worth trillions of dollars is also a concern of the US, Crude oil carried by international tankers from oil-producing to consuming countries cannot and should not be controlled by China in the disputed SCS territorial dispute.