Seares: Davao Mayor Sara and US poet Gorman will run for president - in 2034 and 2036. Renaming Mactan airport took cue from Duterte. Excuse me, 'spike' not 'surge.'

Pachico A. Seares
·4 min read

How to call the increase

THERE'S not much difference between the nouns "spike" and "surge." Cebu City Vice Mayor Mike Rama used them interchangeably during a recent City Council session.

Councilor Joel Garganera, who attended the session, didn't correct his presiding officer. But that was before the controversy over the current surge, er, spike in Covid-19 cases in Cebu.

Now Kons Joel, IATF deputy implementer at the city's Emergency Operations Center (EOC), seems to wish that people choose their word carefully in describing the current rise of cases.

It's still a "spike," not a "surge" of infections, he said.

The Department of Health, Garganera a.k.a. Ang Panday told CDN Digital, there are three "parameters" for a "surge": number of positive cases, extent of bed utilization, and contact tracing capacity. Cebu's situation has not yet reached the standard numbers for a "surge," he said.

To most of us, who rely on the standard dictionary and not the jargon, a surge is a sudden rush, flood or increase while a spike is a surge in power or a sharp peak in a graph.

The same thing, "di ba," as the late Cardinal Vidal would put it. Basically, both words mean the same thing. Except when "spike" is a verb.

Among journalists, to spike a story is to withhold or kill it for editorial, commercial or political reasons. Atty. Eddie Barrita says that, back in his news-reporter days, he could stand his story being spiked by his editor, but not his whisky being spiked with water by the bartender.

Different reasons

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, 42, the president's daughter, last Sunday, January 31, asked her supporters who are prodding her to run in 2022 that she run in 2034 instead. "Dahil malayo pa at malaki ang chance makalimutan na nila ako sa 2034."

Amanda Gorman, 22, the first National Poet Laureate and the youngest poet in US history to recite the presidential inaugural poem, when asked last January 27 by CBS's Late, Late Show host James Corden if being president was something she'd want to do, said, "Oh heck yeah! Plan on it."

The difference between the two answers?

Mayor Sara was obviously just teasing or playing coy. Her candidacy has been mentioned randomly but so many times that it's no longer rumor or idle talk. She has figured in power plays in the national scene, including the two last changes of speakership in the House. Setting up her own party, Hugpong Pagbabago, and doing all those sorties across the country, forging alliances and mending political fences beyond Davao City: those are plausibly preparations for a national election.

Poet Gorman in contrast is not a politician and has not held public office. She still has to start wading in politics: not even a foot in to test the waters. Apparently, the poet was fiddling with the TV host. Or being dead serious. Earlier, she told the L.A. Times that watching Kamala Harris's historic win as vice president solidified her plan: "It makes it more imaginable. That the dream exists in the first place is huge, even for me." Still, unlike Sara's prospect, Amanda's is still in the realm of imagination and dreams.

The Davao mayor will be 56 in 2034; her dad became president in 2016 at 71. The American poet will be 37 in 2036, by then two years older than the age required for a US president or vice president.

Renaming Mactan airport

Proposals in the House of Representatives to rename after Lapu-Lapu the Mactan Cebu International Airport and the authority (MCIAA) running it apparently took the cue from President Rodrigo Duterte.

The President had been saying and giving cues that the Cebuano freedom fighter was not being honored well enough.

Last May 16, 2016, Duterte said he plans to make Lapu-Lapu a "proper hero" for being the first to fight against Spanish forces who landed in Cebu more than three centuries ago. In his campaign speeches, he lauded Lapu-Lapu.

After he assumed office, he said last January 18, 2021 that Filipinos must elevate Lapu-Lapu to a "greater standing among the pantheon of Filipino heroes" as the 500th anniversary of his successful resistance to foreign invaders neared. He was delighted when the Lapu-Lapu P5,000 commemorative bank note and medal were launched in connection with the quincentennial observance.

Representative Paz Radaza of Lapu-Lapu City's lone district and the late Representative Raul Del Mar filed separate bills to rename the airport. Radaza wants to change "Mactan Cebu" to "Lapu-Lapu." Del Mar wanted to keep "Cebu." If the President and others wanted to honor Lapu-Lapu more than he already was, "Cebu" must stay in the airport name. Thus, he proposed "Lapu-Lapu Cebu International Airport." Recently, Representative Pablo John Garcia expressed his opposition to any change, defending the retention of Mactan both as a historic name and a brand.

But when will Lapu-Lapu become the "proper hero" that the President wants him to be? Naming a city after him didn't make him one; neither would renaming an airport.