Faces of the News: Nov. 29, 2020

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Credit: Read the original article from Inquirer.

ILLUSTRATION BY RENE ELEVERA

Ramon Ang

San Miguel Corp. president Ramon Ang personally apologized for last week’s accident at the construction site of the conglomerate’s Skyway elevated toll road in Muntinlupa City.

One person died and four others were injured. Although contractor EEI Corp. and a subcontractor (whose crane operator accidentally toppled a large girder onto motorists) were in charge, Ang said he felt “ultimately responsible” and vowed to extend financial and medical assistance to the victims.

He also promised to review safety protocols to help prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

Reports said a crane at the site tipped over as it moved into position. The crane then hit a steel girder, causing it to fall on six vehicles.

“This terrible and tragic accident has affected me in ways I can’t even begin to express,” Ang said. “I have not stopped thinking about the people who were affected, the four that were injured and most especially, the person who perished, and his family. There are no words that can ease the grief of losing a loved one.”

The accident means a three-month delay in the Skyway project’s completion.

—Daxim L. Lucas

Manuel Mamba

Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba only planned to appear in an online Senate inquiry to push for a massive dredging of Cagayan River and put an end to the perennial floods in the province and neighboring Isabela, following the destruction brought by Typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco).

At one point, however, he told senators that there is “peace and order in the province because there are no Muslims living in Cagayan.”

Netizens immediately called him out for his “bigotry” and “discriminatory” attitude toward Muslims.

Bangsamoro Transition Authority member Zia Alonto Adiong reminded the governor that Muslims are “everywhere.”

Mamba’s public information office quickly issued an apology, saying the governor did not mean to disparage “peace-loving” Muslims.

Mamba also backtracked, saying “there are no extremist beliefs among the Muslims living in Cagayan,” and stressed that he had “a high respect for our Muslim brothers as peace-loving people but not those who [are] into extremism.”

The governor also cited his close relationship with Muslims in Cagayan and the job opportunities for them by the provincial government.

—Villamor Visaya Jr.

BTS

South Korean boy band BTS has broken a new barrier in the predominantly Western pop music industry by becoming the first K-pop act to be nominated for a Grammy.

The septet’s Billboard No. 1 hit “Dynamite,” their first song in English, will compete with those from Western superstars, including Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber, in the best pop duo/group performance category of the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.

BTS’ leader RM called the feat “the final part of the whole American journey” for the band that has been enjoying breakthrough success in the United States since 2017. As their fans rejoice over this rare achievement, some lament that the Recording Academy continues to ignore the band’s Korean discography, which is still smashing records worldwide.

Before the Grammy nomination, BTS had proven its massive appeal with sold-out stadium tours, record-breaking album sales and a strong global fan base.

Forbes music writer Bryan Rolli blamed the Grammy’s historical neglect of artists of color, saying it explains “why it took a made-for-radio pop smash performed entirely in English for BTS to earn their first Grammy nomination.”

—Mariejo S. Ramos

Diego Maradona

A kick from one of England’s players during the 1986 World Cup sent the football flying back to their keeper. But before the keeper’s hands could reach the ball, Argentina’s Diego Maradona leapt off the ground and intercepted it with a “header” that flung the ball past Peter Shilton, England’s last line of defense, and into the net.

The referee didn’t see it happen although every English player was up in arms, claiming that Maradona clearly punched the ball into the goal — a mortal sin in football.

After the match, Maradona said the goal was scored “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God.”

The statement had since given him his celebrated moniker. It is now considered one of the most famous goals ever scored in his career, and one of the many highlights that made him a legend in Argentina.

He later admitted that it was really his hand, not God’s, but added that history had already been written.

When his career ended, Maradona’s life wasn’t as rosy as expected of an icon due to his struggles with addiction. But Argentina’s admiration never waned and the country wore that love on its sleeve when the 60-year-old football icon died on Nov. 25 due to heart failure.

Mike Flynn

Thanksgiving couldn’t be happier for former security adviser Mike Flynn after US President Donald Trump tweeted he was pardoning the ex-aide despite an investigation into Flynn’s supposed participation in a cover-up of Trump’s alleged collusion with Moscow in the 2016 elections.

The announcement meant Flynn ducked a potential prison sentence. It also preempted special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe on the Trump campaign that already saw six associates plead guilty or convicted in trial.

Flynn, an ex-Army lieutenant general, found himself in the crosshairs of the Federal Bureau of Investigation over secret phone calls with the Russian ambassador to the United States in December 2016, before Trump took office.

There were also reports Flynn took sums of money for appearances in Russia, including a Moscow gala where he sat next to President Vladimir Putin. Concerns that Flynn may be vulnerable to compromise led him to resign less than four weeks into Trump’s presidency.

Analysts fear the pardon could open the floodgates for more absolutions—including those of Paul Manafort, Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon and Roger Stone—before Trump steps down in January 2021.

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