For this edition, the column offers a hodgepodge of news, comments and reviews.

Miss Universe 2017: to showcase the slogan “It is Fun in the Philippines and at the same time, to show the real Philippines. (The poverty in our country).

Unveiling the plan to hold the 2017 Miss Universe has included this most contentious issue: to develop a strategy to cover the ugly side of the Philippines, by installing walls to cover the filth and squalor of the shanty towns along the highways and streets where the international beauty contestants and foreign guests and press, exposing the ugly heads of financial inequity: poverty for more than 25% of the total population.

When it was brought up, following the tradition when then, First Lady Imelda Marcos, in 1974. had instructed to construct walls and be painted in white along the routes where the Miss Universe contestants, the international press and guests would pass by.

Department of Tourism official did not allow, instead the BOT officer issued a statement that other countries do not cover the ugly pictures of poverty. As the BOT official said that let the 2017 Miss Universe candidates, foreign guests and international press to see the real Philippines.

Metro Manila Film Festival 2016, featuring independent films, receives accolades from the critics and support from the public.

The recently concluded Metro Manila Film Festivals when most of the eight entries were independently produced had received accolade and honors from the various sectors in the Philippines, marking the creativity and craftsmanship of the Filipino Filipino filmmakers.But,some producers and actors were irritated when their commercial film entries were dumped by the selection committee.

Some producers reacted and from Senator Tito Sotto, the brother of Vic Sotto whose film was not selected for the festival, suggested that there should a separate film festival for independent filmmakers. He said that the 2016 MMFF had stolen the gifts of Christmas from the children who missed the some of the sequels of the rejected film entries.

The 2016 MMFF has elevated the quality of the Filipino films and everybody must be proud of.

What are the similarities and differences between President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and President Donald Trump?

First, the similarities: both were elected as a populist and as a nativist; both have had radical views on changes, especially outlashing the critics and the so-called “status quo” on radical changes; both have had a war against established media conglomerates, Duterte favours his own public media and does not trust some of the major print and broadcast media; same as Trump who accuses some mainstream print and broadcast media in the United States; both are divorced from their 1st wives; both have outtalk or outwit some critics; both are protectionist; presidents have been working for a better relationship with Russia/Philippine and Russia/USA relationships; both had criticized the United Nations: for Duterte, the UN must not meddle with his war against drugs and corruption; and for Trump,knowing that the USA supports the UN financially and posturing that the United Nation is being used to talk to each other; and have a great get-together and have fun; both are detested by their political rivals: Duterte against the Liberal Party when he defeated Mar Roxas, the star candidate of the Liberal Party; while Trump against the Democratic Party when he demolished the “probable winner” Hilary Clinton.

And now the differences: Duterte has a background on politics being a long time mayor of Davao city; Trump, has no background on politics, being a tycoon and a host of a celebrity reality show, “The Apprentice”; Duterte did not appoint a family member as one of his advisers while Trump appointed his son-in-law as one of the major members of the powerful group of advisers; Duterte has a simple and cozy house in Davao City; and Trump has the palatial home and owns many real estate properties, one is in the Philippines and in other parts of the world; Duterte has a common law wife while Trump is married with a former model; Duterte wears a barong and ordinary checkered polo shirt while Trump is typically handsome with his coat and tie; Duterte has been waging a war against the evils of drugs and corruption while Trump is waging war against illegal immigrants specifically the Muslims and the Mexicans, and at the beginning of his campaign, he mentioned about the Filipinos; Duterte has only million in pesos as compared with Trump, a billionaire with many past bankruptcies; Duterte has a traditional politician (tra-po?)man as his opponent while Trump has also a traditional lady politician as his opponent; Duterte has a 6-year tenure as president of the Philippines while Trump has 4 years to govern with a re-election option. Duterte is facing critic against the extra-judicial killing (EJK) while Trump, for the time moment, does not face criticism on the rising numbers of victims of drugs and loose guns in the United States.

We will go forward with intensity to follow the succeeding actions of the two presidents. And we will be writing more on their similarities and differences. Probably, our readers can contribute to this column as they follow the actions of President Duterte and President Trump in the days to follow.