Tag Archives: Philippine Elections 2016

Don’t insult your friends

“If you can’t ignore an insult, top it; if you can’t top it, laugh it off; and if you can’t laugh it off, it’s probably deserved.” — Russell Lynes

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — We don’t need to lose quality friends only because of friction and animosity during the election season.
While there are heightened emotions brought by partisan politics, a friendship can only be shattered if we insult one another especially in the social media.
We can crack jokes for the sake of discussion, but if we resort to insults and belittle our friends, egos will be bruised. Relations will turn sour.
If our friends don’t support our candidates, we don’t denounce them and assassinate their character for supporting another candidate. Vice versa.
Our friends don’t have “poor choices” only because we don’t agree with their candidates. Vice versa.
They are not “stupid” or “idiots” for insisting that their candidates have the best and better platform of government. Vice versa. Some words hurt like daggers especially when they come from friends.
Respect begets respect. When we heap insults, they will boomerang. The law of cause and effect.


Election season come and go. We keep friends, the good or quality ones, come hell or high water, if needed.
Even before Grace Poe had thought of running for president, friends have been “tagging” each other with many interesting videos, website links, quotations from Buddha and Shakespeare, etc.
Even before Mar Roxas filed his candidacy for president, friends have been swapping ideas and suggestions involving apolitical issues.
Even before Rodrigo Duterte disclosed his intention to seek the highest post of the land, friends have been “liking” each other’s posts with added emoticons.
We can always cast aspersions on the candidates we don’t like. That’s normal in the dirty world of politics. The candidates themselves won’t mind the slander.
Positive or negative publicity is still a publicity. Public Relations 101.


Politicians are accustomed to attacks, verbal and written abuse; mockery is part and parcel of being a candidate for an elective office.
Political rivals engage in mudslinging and pull each other down to improve their rating in the surveys.
Politics, after all, is nasty. We can’t expect the voters to look up at all politicians as role models. There will always be offensive remarks and bashing in mass media.
But let’s spare our friends who support or campaign for another candidate. Let’s respect their choices.
When emotions simmer down after the election of our new set of public officials from municipal council to the president, friends will always be friends.
Let’s hear the speech of Abraham Lincoln: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

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Posted by on April 29, 2016 in ELECTION, POLITICS


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Surveys don’t elect candidates

“Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right?” Robert Orben

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — I don’t believe in surveys.
I have covered presidential and local elections in the Philippines since 1992, and I can absolutely declare that many surveys conducted by different “independent” firms months–or even weeks-before the election day, didn’t match the final results.
Surveys–depending on who “sponsored” them– were sometimes used to condition the mind of the public.
Or confuse the undecided voters.
Election 1992 winner Fidel V. Ramos of the Lakas–NUCD (People Power–National Union of Christian Democrats) was never a front-runner in various surveys, but edged Miriam Defensor-Santiago of the People’s Reform Party (PRP)–5,342,521 million votes or 23.58% against 4,468,173 million votes or 19.72%.
Survey leaders Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. (3,316,661 million votes or 14.64%) of the Nationalist People’s Coaliation (NPC) and Ramon V. Mitra (3,316,661 million votes or 14.64%) of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (Struggle of Democratic Filipinos) wound up third and fourth, respectively.


Cojuangco’s runningmate, Joseph “Erap” Estrada won over Mitra’s runningmate, Marcelo Fernan by more then two million votes.
The only difference was the 1998 presidential race where Estrada clobbered Jose “Joe” De Venecia by more than six million votes (Erap got 10,722,295 votes or 39.86% against De Venecia’s 4,268,483 million votes or 15.87%).
SWS and Pulse Asia surveys consistently showed Erap in the front seat from day one during the campaign period.
Also making difference was De Venecia’s runningmate, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was consistently ahead on all the surveys against LDP’s Edgardo Angara–12,667,252 million votes or 49.56% against 5,652,068 million votes or 22.11%.
Survey networks couldn’t make a “profit” because Erap’s and Gloria’s victories were exceptional.
They were extremely popular at that time and their respective rivals were perceived to be “pipitsugin” or weak.


Election 2004 winner Macapagal-Arroyo was way behind Fernando Poe Jr. of the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (Coalition of United Filipinos) in SWS and Pulse Asia surveys, but romped off with a slim margin–12,905,808 million votes or 39.99% against 11,782,232 million votes or 36.51%.
Surveys were split between vice presidential winner Noli de Castro and Loren Legarda, who lost only by less than a million votes, 15,100,431 against 14,218,709.
Election 2010 winner, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino Jr. of the Liberal Party (LP) was also making waves in various surveys owing to the popularity of her late mother, former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, but SWS and Pulse Asia surveys showed his closest rivals were Manny Villar of the Nationalista Party and Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro of the Lakas Kampi-CMD.
In fact, many survey outfits saw Villar the winner weeks before the elections on May 10, 2010.
The former speaker of the House, who reportedly had P20 billion war chest, finished third with 5,573,835 million votes or 15.42%.
Strangely, Teodoro, who was the most popular candidate in social media, especially in Facebook, wound up fourth with 4,095,839 million votes or 11.33%


The most popular candidate in the May 9, 2016 elections in Facebook today is Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte.
He also topped the recent SWS and Pulse Asia survey followed by Grace Poe.
They were followed by United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) bet Jejomar Binay and LP administration candidate Mar Roxas.
The Comelec, however, has declared Binay’s party as the dominant minority party in this year’s elections, while LP is the dominant majority party.
The poll body’s declaration means that LP and UNA shall be entitled to the following privileges:
–get the fifth and sixth copies of election returns (ERs), respectively, to be produced by the vote counting machines;
–receive electronically-transmitted precinct results;
–get the seventh and eighth copies of the Certificates of Canvass, respectively; and
–assign official watchers in every polling places and canvassing centers.


Philippine elections are won not only by popularity but more importantly by machinery, as shown in the past presidential races.
A candidate may be popular, but his popularity can’t be translated into votes automatically.
Also, national candidates are usually being carried by party candidates in the local elections for governors, mayors, and provincial, city, and municipal councilors.
Most of the voters not reached by survey organizations are loyal to their villages chiefs, who are mostly loyal to their mayors and governors.
The LP had boasted that 67 out of the 82 incumbent governors showed up at the three-hour gathering known as “show of force” at the historic Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City recently.
A total of 169 district representatives and 74 city mayors were also in attendance.
Will LP change the course of history once more by proving both the SWS and Pulse Asia wrong?


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Philippines’ Pericles and Draco, donde estas ahora?

“Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.” George Bernard Shaw

By Alex P. Vidal53359519_10213652762096226_7463939624646213632_n

NEW YORK CITY — It is believed that the best-ever Senate in the Philippines was the Sixth Congress in 1966-1969 headed by Senate President Arturo M. Tolentino.
The batch produced some of the country’s greatest statesmen and brilliant lawmakers like Alejandro D. Almendras, Gaudencio E. Antonino, Magnolia W. Antonino, Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. (President Noynoy’s father), Dominador R. Aytona, and the marvelous Jose W. Diokno
Sixth Congress also saw the rise of the “Stormy Petrel of the South”, Iloilo City’s Rodolfo T. Ganzon, idol of the timawa (poor).
There was also Eva Estrada Kalaw, Maria Kalaw Katigbak, Wenceslao R. Lagumbay, Juan R. Liwag, Genaro F. Magsaysay, Manuel P. Manahan Raul S. Manglapus, and Camilo Osias.
Cebu’s Sergio Osmeña, Jr. was a member of that illustrious batch along with Emmanuel N. Pelaez, Leonardo P. Perez, Gil J. Puyat, Francisco Soc Rodrigo, Gerardo M. Roxas (Mar’s father), the eminent Jovito R. Salonga, human rights behemoth Lorenzo M. Tañada, Lorenzo G. Teves, and Tecla San Andres Ziga.


The Senate Seventh Congress (1970-1973) led by Senate President Gil J. Puyat was also making waves, what with the presence of comebacking Ambrosio B. Padilla, team captain of the RP basketball team that placed third in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, who first won as senator after he resigned as solicitor general under President Ramon Magsaysay in 1957.
But Martial Law cut short the senators’ tenure in 1972.
President Ferdinand Marcos subsequently phased out the Legislature as the country’s new Constitution transformed the system of government from presidential to parliamentary.
When democracy was restored after EDSA Revolution in 1986, the Senate Eight Congress (1987-1992) led by Senate President Jovito Salonga produced yet the country’s most dynamic and prolific leaders like Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Rene Saguisag, Edgardo Angara, Wigberto Tanada, Teopisto Guingona Jr., Joey Lina, Orlando Mercado, Heherson Alvarez, and the lone survivor from the opposition, Martial Law architect Juan Ponce Enrile.
Now Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. was the lone casualty from the President Cory Aquino-blessed administration senatorial ticket that nearly scored a sweep (Enrile bumped off Defensor for the 24th slot).


It was in the Senate Ninth Congress (1992-1995) led by Senate President Neptali Gonzalez where film comedian and action stars like Vicente Sotto III, Ramon Revilla Sr. and Freddie Webb started to make their present felt.
PBA playing-coach Robert Jaworski and putschist Gringo Honasan followed suit in the Senate 11th Congress (1998-2001) headed by Senate President Marcelo B. Fernan.
To add insult, action stars Lito Lapid, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Jinggoy Estrada completed the Senate 13th Congress (2004-2007) led by Senate President Franklin Drilon.
Another putschist Antonio Trillanes IV made it in the Senate 14th Congress (2007-2010) led by Senate President Manuel Villar.
And finally in the Senate 16th Congress (2013-2016) currently headed anew by Senate President Franklin Drilon, Ma. Lourdes “Nancy” Binay stole the limelight.


To compound the matter, the Senate 17th Congress is heading for another “disaster” with the “imminent” arrival of former bold star Alma Moreno and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.
When Pericles died in 429 BC, the Greeks mourned the loss of arguably the most prominent and influential statesman, orator and general of Athens during the Golden Age.
When Draco died in 600 BC, the Greeks wept the departure of Ancient Greece’s first recorded legislator who laid down Greece’s first constitution known as Draconion Constitution.
Donde estas ahora or where are you now, the Philippines’ Pericles and Draco?

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Posted by on April 15, 2016 in ELECTION, HISTORY, POLITICS


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How to win an election: Tips from Cicero’s brod

“The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.” Philip K. Dick

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — With election days fast approaching in the Philippines in May and the United States in November this year, we are lucky to have Harvard University’s Dr. Philip Freeman, who translated the text of the Commentariolum Petitionis from Latin to English and included it in the amazing book, “How To Win An Election”, an ancient guide for modern politicians.
For US $3.98 (plus $.35 tax), I was lucky to secure a copy of the book from the Salvation Army in Queens recently. Its unit price was actually $9.95 excluding tax.
Commentariolum Petitionis (“little handbook on electioneering”), also known as De petitione consulatus (“on running for the Consulship”), is an essay supposedly written by Quintus Tullius Cicero, 65-64 BC, as a guide for his brother, Marcus Tullius Cicero, in his campaign in 64 to be elected consul of the Roman Republic.
“I have tried to make my translation accessible, colloquial, and as clear as possible to modern readers, while remaining faithful to the sense of the original text,” writes Freeman, who holds the Qualley Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.


The book tells us that in 64 BC, when idealist Marcus Cicero, Rome’s greatest orator, ran for consul (the highest office in the Republic), his practical brother Quintus decided he needed some no-nonsense advice on running a successful campaign.
“What follows in his short letter are timeless bits of political wisdom, from the importance of promising everything to everybody and reminding voters about the sexual scandals of your opponents to being a chameleon, putting on a good show for the masses, and constantly surrounding yourself with rabid supporters,” explains Freeman.
Freeman describes it as “unashamedly pragmatic primer on the humble art of personal politicking is dead-on (Cicero wins)–and as relevant today as when it was written.”
Like Machiavelli’s Prince, this short treatise provides timeless and no-nonsense counsel to those who aspire to power.
Idealism and naivete are left by the wayside as Quintus tells his brother–and all of us–how the down-and-dirty business of successful campaigning really works.


Freeman says the letter is full of priceless advice for modern candidates, but some of the choicest gems are:
1. Make sure you have the backing of your family and friends. Loyalty begins at home. If your spouse and children aren’t behind you, not only will you have a hard time winning but it will look bad to voters. And as Quintus warns Marcus, the most destructive rumors about a candidate begin among closest to him.
2. Surround yourself with the right people. Build a talented staff you can trust. You can’t be everywhere at once, so find those who will represent you as if they were trying to be elected themselves.
3. Call in all favors. It’s time to gently (or not so gently) remind everyone you have ever helped that they owe you. If someone isn’t under obligation to you, let them know that their support now will put you in their debt in the future. And as an elected official, you will be well placed to help them in their time of need.
4. Build a wide base of support. For Marcus Cicero this meant appealing primarily to the traditional power brokers both in the Roman Senate and the wealthy business community–no easy task since groups were often at odds with each other. But Quintus urges his brother as an outsider in the political game to go further and win over the various special interest groups, local organizations, and rural populations ignored by other candidates. Young voters should be courted as well, along with anyone else who might be of use. As Quintus notes, even people no decent person would associate with in normal life should become the closest of friends during a campaign if they can help get you elected. Restricting yourself to a narrow base of support guarantees failure.
5. Promise everything to everybody. Except in the most extreme cases, candidates should say whatever the particular crowd of the day wants to hear. Tell traditionalists you have consistently supported conservative values. Tell progressives you have always been on their side. After the election you can explain to everyone that you would love to help them, but unfortunately circumstances beyond your control have intervened. Quintus assures his brother that voters will be much angrier if he refuses to promise them their hearts’ desire than he backs out later.
6. Communication skills are key. In ancient Rome the art of public speaking was studied diligently by all men who aspired to political careers. In spite of the new and varied forms of media today, a poor communicator is still unlikely to win an election.
7. Don’t leave town. In Marcus Cicero’s day this meant sticking close to Rome. For modern politicians it means being on the ground pressing the flesh wherever the key voters are at a particular moment. There is no such thing as a day off for a serious candidate. You can take a vacation after you win.
8. Know the weakness of your opponents–and exploit them. Just as Quintus takes a hard look at those running against his brother, all candidates should do an honest inventory of both the vulnerabilities and strengths of their rivals. Winning candidates do their best to distract voters from any positive aspects of their opponents possess by emphasizing the negatives. Rumors of corruption are prime fodder. Sex scandals are even better.
9. Flatter voters shamelessly. Marcus Cicero was always courteous, but he could be formal and distant. Quintus warns him that he needs to warm up to voters. Look them in the eye, pat them on the back, and tell them they matter. Make voters believe you genuinely care about them.
10. Give people hope. Even the most cynical voters want to believe in someone. Give the people a sense that you can make their world better and they will become your most devoted followers–at least until after the election, when you will inevitably let them down. But by then it won’t matter because you will have already won.

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Posted by on April 13, 2016 in EDUCATION, ELECTION, HISTORY


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Possible bedfellows: Roxas-Clinton, Duterte-Trump, Poe or Binay-Clinton

“Perfect partners don’t exist. Perfect conditions exist for a limited time in which partnerships express themselves best.”  Wayne Rooney
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — There should be no more false hopes for supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders as the number of Democratic open primaries is getting smaller, with Sec. Hillary Clinton must now win only 33 percent of remaining delegates to hit the 2,383 magic number as of April 6.
In order to oust Clinton, Sanders must win 67 percent of the remaining delegates.
Clinton now has 1,728 against Sanders’ 1,058 (this is the latest count even after Sanders clobbered Clinton in Wisconsin, 57 percent-43 percent).
With the next primary heading to New York (April 19), Clinton’s home state, the prospect has become dimmer for Sanders.
Assuming that Clinton clinches the Democratic presidential slot, pollsters have predicted she could put away either Donald Trump (753 delegates) or Ted Cruz (514) of Republican party in the November general election.
With full support from President Noynoy Aquino, Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party could pull the rug from under PDP Laban’s Rodrigo Duterte, Nationalist People’s Coalition’s Grace Poe, and United Nationalist Alliance’s Jejomar Binay.
Because of health problems, Miriam Defensor-Santiago has fallen by the wayside and isn’t anymore expected to put up a good fight with barely five weeks to go.
Assuming that Roxas will win on May 9, 2016 and Clinton becomes president after the November 8, 2016 general election, they can work together harmoniously as both the Liberal and Democratic parties almost share the same political ideology and philosophy.
Although LP distances itself from the political extremes on the left and right, it can tune in with the Democrat’s modern liberalism.
If Duterte will make it and Trump will upset Clinton, the political landscape will change drastically as both gentlemen are known tough guys determined to wield iron hands to govern their nations.
Duterte has vowed to wipe out criminal elements and feed them to the fishes in the Manila Bay, while Trump has promised to build a wall to prevent Hispanic illegals from crossing the US-Mexico border; round up and yank out overstaying aliens.
Duterte’s PDP Laban democratic centrist socialism
and consultative and participative democracy principles will have to sit well with Trump’s Republican American conservatism.
Poe’s NPC can work smoothly with the Republican as it is also a conservative party.
Since it is in the right wing, Binay’s UNA can engage in a romance with both the Democrat and Republican parties as it also embraces the ideology of conservatism, Filipino nationalism, social conservatism, and populism.
This means that a Binay victory in the Philippines and a Clinton or Trump victory in the United States can’t be a case of a round hole in a square peg.
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Posted by on April 6, 2016 in ELECTION, POLITICS


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RP removed from list of most corrupt, says Loida

“When the President does it , that means that it is not illegal.”
Richard M. Nixon
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — As chief executive officer and chair of a multi-million dollar foods and staples retailing empire in the United States, Loida Nicolas-Lewis sheepishly marveled when a New York Times article called the Philippines “the most corrupt nation in the world” in April 2006.
This was when “corruption grew worse after Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was reelected president in 2004,” recalled the 72-year-old Fil-Am widow of TLC Beatrice International Holdings Inc. founder and CEO Reginald F. Lewis.
Nicolas-Lewis, who recently staged rallies against China’s intrusion in the West Philippine Sea as chair of the U.S. Filipinos for Good Government, blamed the declaration of Martial Law by former President Ferdinand Marcos on September 21, 1972 to be the genesis of the Philippines’ “infamy.”
“Not only did President Marcos nullify the constitution of the Philippines, but he also instituted a culture of corruption into our national consciousness,” she averred.
APV: “How did it happen?”
LNL:  “In 21 years of Martial Law, corruption entered into our very soul, into our makeup as a nation. People Power of 1986, a bloodless revolution and change of government, Cory Aquino restored democracy.”
APV: “So Mrs. Aquino became our savior and hope after Marcos?”
LNL: “Sadly, through no fault of hers, nothing much happened in terms of restoration of integrity in government. She had to fight off six coup d’ etat.”
APV: “But she was able to anoint a strong leader in the person of FVR who vowed to bring the Philippines into NIC (newly industrialized country)-hood.”
LNL: “President Ramos was effective in moving the Philippines forward, but six years under the new constitution of 1987 was not enough to uproot the culture of corruption.”
APV: “Because he was succeeded by Erap Estrada?”
LNL: “In 1998 Erap was elected president. Erap para sa mahirap. But in his three years as president it was Erap para kay Erap. In 2001, he was sent away in a second People Power EDSA 2.”
APV: “The real reforms did not happen during the administrations of FVR, Erap and Gloria, do you think it happened under President Noynoy?”
LNL: “Year 2010 ushered in President Noynoy Aquino under the battlecry ‘kung walang corrupt, walang mahihirap.'”
APV: “Please elaborate.”
LNL: “He made good on his campaign promises. In the first year, Merceditas Gutierrez was forced to resign. In 2011 the Supreme Court Chief Justice Corona was impeached for having more money in the bank than what he declared in his statement of assets and liabilities. By his own admission, $2 millions dollars more.”
APV: “You gave President Nonoy credit for these so-called ‘reforms’?”
LNL: “Not only that. In 2012, the entire Janet Napoles scandal broke wide open and we saw powerful senators arrested for corruption. Enrile, Estrada and Revilla. Kim Henares, the new BIR chief, filed 347 tax evasion cases against doctors, lawyers and movie stars–even Manny Pacquiao. Tax revenues rose to P1.3 trillion in 2014.”
Nicolas-Lewis credited President Aquino when Transparency International removed the Philippines  from the list of 10 most corrupt nations.
She quoted Morgan Stanley as declaring that the Philippines is now the new tiger of Asia.
“In 2014 S&P, Moody’s and Finch International rating agencies gave the Philippines triple BBB ratings. For the first time, the Philippines became investment grade,” she revealed. “Bloomberg business listed the Philippines as second to China in being the fastest growing nation in the world.”
LNL added: “In 2015, the Philippines with its more thsn nearly six percent GDP growth for the past five years is judged by all it took was five years good-daang matuwid.”
“Who did President Aquino choose to continue his legacy of the daang matuwid? Who did he choose as his successor, as to be president of the Philippines? Mar Roxas.”
Nicolas-Lewis said it was Roxas who introduced business process outsourcing in the Philippines and the industry calls him “the father of BPO call centers.”
Some 1.3 million Filipinos all over the Philippines have been employed and the industry revenue generated $24 billion in 2015, according to her.
The feisty Fil-Am leader also credited Roxas for fighting multinational pharmaceuticals to lower their drug prices by more than 50 percent.
“The weekly crime rate in NCR was reduced from 915 reported per week, 500 less crime reported in the NCR alone. He also fired four out of five Metro Manila polic chiefs who failed to meet crime reduction rates,” she added.
Among other accomplishments of Roxas enumerated by Nicolas-Lewis were the following:
–putting in place drinking water faucets in 300,000 homes in 400 municipalities;
–passing the laws that exempted the minimum wage earners P450 per day from paying income tax;
–planning for government a sustained economic growth, swift justice, high quality jobs;
–revitalizing agriculture;
–producing one billion scholarships for talented students;
–giving affordable and reliable power and boosting infrastructure;
–maximizing tourism and fighting crime systematically.
Roxas, she continued, also expanded the four Ps: Pantawid, Pamil yang Pilipino Program.
“An experienced executive, a track record of achievements in public service, no hint of corruption, inborn integrity and loyalty to the Philippines ans to the people, that’s why Mar Roxas will be the next president of the Philippines,” Nicolas-Lewis concluded.
Nicolas-Lewis’ company, TLC Beatrice International Holdings Inc., distributes food and grocery products. It distributes dry groceries, beverages, household products, and frozen food in France.
It also manufactures and markets ice cream and dessert products, potato chips, snacks and beverages principally in selected western European markets.
TLC Beatrice is headquartered in New York City.

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