This coming Sunday, my wife—the former Trinidad “Nining” Capistrano—and I mark our 68th wedding anniversary.
Santa Banana, believe it or not, I have been married to the same woman for more than six decades!
I married my wife on May 14, 1955 in Cotabato City at the city’s basilica officiated by the Bishop Gerard Monjeau, complete with all the entourage of “ninongs and ninangs,” with my best man, my elder brother Willie, a retinue of bridesmaids and flower girls, some of them still alive with their own families.
When I tell friends and relatives about my 68th wedding anniversary, some could not believe it because it seems that marriages no longer last even in this highly Catholic country.
Often in jest, I tell people that the reason my wife and I have been married this long is that I insist on having the last word, “Yes, darling.”
But, if I tell you why my wife and I have been married this long it is because we have complete trust and faith in one another, based on complete trust and faith in God.
That’s why I often tell friends and relatives that my marriage must have been “made in Heaven.”
The reason why our marriage has lasted long is that both my wife and I were educated with our foundation in the trust and faith in God.
My wife grew up with a good Catholic education with the Oblates in Cotabato, while I was with the Jesuits when I took up Bachelor of Arts at the ruins of the old Ateneo de Manila at Padre Faura.
In other words, my wife and I share the same values and morals.
We are both compatible, since we are both professionals, my wife being a Pharmacy graduate from UP and I, a lawyer-turned-journalist.
The reason why some marriages fail is that the husband and wife do not share the same values and do not put their marriage all in God’s will, with faith and trust.
Often people get married for the wrong reasons and soon enough they end up separated.
Going back to the subject of why there are failed marriages, and why divorce should be legalized, more often than not, people get married for the wrong reasons.
I tell you, marriage is not at all a bed of roses.
There are big hurdles along the way, like financial problems and relationship challenges.
But, my wife and I met all these challenges with our utter faith and trust in God Almighty.
There are also temptations along the way, and again, husband and wife must put their complete faith and trust in God.
There are those advocating the legalization of divorce in the Philippines because almost every country in the world has divorce laws except the Vatican and the Philippines.
But, is that why we should legalize divorce in the Philippines?
Not at all. Reasons for failed marriages are incompatibility, lack of values and morals, and, above all, as I said, lack of faith and trust in the Almighty.
It is for this reason, why I often blame the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for so many failed marriages — utter lack of evangelization especially on marriages.
It is a big challenge nowadays with so many failed marriages that give rise to many crying out for the legalization of divorce in the Philippines.
Another bid to modernize NAIA
Way back 2018, a group of the country’s tycoons made an unsolicited bid to improve and modernize the antiquated Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), but somehow the proposal to modernize it fell through for some reason or another.
Years back, the main gateway to the country had been described as one of the worst airports in the world, a big slap to the country, considering that all the main gateway airports in Southeast Asia have been voted the best airports in the world, like Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea.
I had hopes, as a journalist, that we may yet have NAIA modernized as the main gateway to the Philippines.
My hopes brightened with some of the country’s biggest tycoon-led conglomerates taking another shot at the redevelopment and modernization of NAIA with an unsolicited bid of P100 billion.
The Manila International Airport Consortium is a partnership among six leading Philippine conglomerates, together with US-based Global Infrastructure.
The six members of the consortium include Aboitiz InfraCapital , Ayala-led AC Infrastructure Holding Corp, Lucio Tan’s Asia Emerging Dragon Corp, Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global-Infracorp Development Inc., Gotianum-led Filinvest Development Corp and Gokongwei-led JG Summit Infrastructure Holdings Corp.
The six tycoon-led consortium partnered with GIP, one of the leading infrastructure investor and airport operators in the world.
The proposal includes significant upfront payments to the government and committed investments in new facilities and technology to transform NAIA into a world-class airport.
One of the directors of the consortium said. “We are ready to put our combined resources forward in partnership with the government on this massive undertaking.
“Our consortium brings unrivaled expertise, proven solutions and extensive capital. As the only large-scale gateway airport in the Philippines, the modernization and long-term sustainability of NAIA is a critical development priority for both country’s public and private sectors.
“Recognizing the importance of NAIA to the country’s economic growth, the consortium is bringing highly complementary expertise and making an unprecedented commitment in its sustainability.”
As a journalist, I often went abroad on state and foreign visits of the President and as I went through the airports of Asia, my heart sank when I noticed the modern facilities and technologies of those airports.
Perhaps at long last, with the P100 billion bid of the tycoon-led consortium in partnership with world-class airport operators, we will yet have NAIA as one of the best international airports in this region.
Thank heaven for that.
The consortium envisions NAIA to be able to serve up to 62.5 million passengers per annum efficiently by 2028 — more than double its currently constrained design capacity.
Pre-pandemic passenger traffic had already reached 48 MITPA in 2019, underscoring the need to upgrade the airport to meet the growing demand.
The country’s airlines are in support of this consortium, which will also mean an increase in passengers.
Need for strict health protocols
The sudden surge of COVID-19 cases recorded especially in the National Capital Region and in Metro Manila demands stricter health protocols, like masking and social distancing.
The uptick may not yet be alarming, but the latest sub-variant of Omicron, the XBB.1.16 called Arcturus is more transmissible than the past Omicron sub-variants.
According to health experts, while the XBB.1.16 or Arcturus may not be as deadly as in the past, the COVID-10 cases may still be fatal.
The uptick of COVID-19 cases was not expected with the greater mobility of people and their many holidays during the Holy Week, and unmasking by people especially in closed areas.
Thus, it would do well for the Department of Health to warn the public against the surge.
As I said, the uptick may not yet be alarming but unless the people continue masking, keep social distancing and avoid enclosed areas, who knows, the country may yet return to the time of the lockdown.
Thus, as I said, there’s no substitute for caution.
That invisible enemy we encountered three years ago when people were dying in parking areas because hospitals were overwhelmed, may yet return. I hope and pray it will not.