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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, January 23, 2016
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

The SSS and its tail

Ninfa Leonardia The country's first Miss Universe in 42 years is expected to arrive in Manila tomorrow. A grand parade has been prepared to welcome her, with our beauty contest winner-hungry people crowding the streets her float will pass, to see this woman, who finally broke the record after four decades. There will be the usual ticker-tape showers, and exultant crowds, because ours is a beauty contest obsessed country.

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Another parade held recently in Manila was that of Montero cars, probably organized by the company producing the vehicles, to prove to the public that it is not the monster that some owners have claimed it to be when they reported antics of their cars that seemed to run away on its own, even bumping into other cars in parking areas. Well, one can't blame the manufacturers for doing all they can to disabuse the public mind of the impression that their car is, well, irresponsible. And to further stress that it is still very salable, the company has announced that their sales have even gone up by 29 percent! All I can say to that is “Caveat emptor (Let the buyer beware)!”

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There are now proposals for members of the ASEAN for them to work together on their tourism efforts, and that they should consolidate their plans, so visitors can consider the member countries as one whole package of delight to visit. That does not sound bad at all, if the competitive spirit does not arise when some places appear more attractive than the others. Maybe the slogan of “It's more fun…” is catching. One advantage that we have over the rest, though, is that more of our people speak English and can communicate with tourists, majority of whom seem to be English-speaking, too.

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After all the hullabaloo over the vetoed pension hike for retirees of P2,000, there have been protests, tirades, and rallies against the President, apparently egged on by the proponents of the bill who had hoped to earn votes for their measure. But, if it is true that giving that much to the retirees all of a sudden will impoverish the Social Security System, then other options should be considered. The President, who is getting all the flak should consider them, but should not be bulldozed into what could have a backlash on others.

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As for the proposals that the pension hikes can be met if the premiums collected from the working members of the SSS were hiked, would that not rouse even more strident protests? As it is, those workers are also no longer satisfied with the pay most of them are receiving. What if they are charged and get bigger deductions from their pay? That would be comparable to the story of the beggar and his dog. Both of them were starving and the beggar could not stand seeing his beloved animal dying of hunger. So he asked him, “Dog, are you very hungry? Shall I cut off your tail so you can have something to eat?”

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Scientists have reported that they can have discovered the existence of a ninth planet in the solar system. What they have apparently not determined yet is whether it is habitable, and whether human beings can exist in it. Suppose it is? Will we see settlers from earth flocking to it? Will they be like the pioneers from other countries, England especially, who sailed to what is now the United States of America? Will they claim vast tracts of its surface to grow crops and become rich? It sounds like a crazy idea now, but how do we know?

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Surprise, surprise! That must have been the reaction of the anti-narcotics agents who raided a townhouse suspected of being a shabu laboratory, when they discovered, not only 60 kilos of the illegal substance worth 320 million, but also a Marine colonel inside the laboratory. Now, what could Col. Ferdinand Marcelino, once the head of a unit of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, be doing there when he was not a member of the raiding team?

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Now, Marcelino was no ordinary member of the PDEA, he was credited with some of the most successful buy-bust operations of the PDEA. And some of the team members had even been under him in the past, and must have been embarrassed and hesitant to arrest him. But arrest him they did, as we have seen in pictures published in the media. What could have lured a PMA graduate to the business? Was the money irresistible?*

 

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