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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, February 21, 2018
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Shot in the foot

Ninfa Leonardia Hurrah! Another holiday! And it is not only an ordinary one, it will also be a work free holiday. But it happens on a Sunday, so the ordinary worker will not win anything, and only those who ordinarily work on a Sunday will have some advantage in additional compensation. I hope all Filipinos still remember why February 25 is being declared a holiday. Remember EDSA, the bloodless revolution that liberated our country from Martial Rule, and restored democracy to our suffering people?

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That was what happened on February 25, 1986, a day worth celebrating and rejoicing over. But how long did we feel truly liberated and freed from the possibility of Martial rule again being imposed in our country? At the moment, only Mindanao is under Martial Law, and may continue to be under it for some time yet. What do the people of Mindanao really feel about being under Martial Law? Will they also work for the declaration of the day of their liberation from it a holiday 32 years from now?

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What is the matter with the caterer or caterers of the food for the student athletes now participating in the Davao Regional Athletics Association Meet? One day, 38 delegates from Mati, Davao were hospitalized for food poisoning. The next day, 92 from the Tagum City contingent suffered similar symptoms and some had to be hospitalized, too. So far, no definitive reports have come out as to the cause, but officials of the meet say the delegations had their own kitchen committee in change of their meals. That should make detection of the causes easier.

***

The Philippine government is said to be working for the arrest of the couple who were the employers of Joanna Demafelis, the Pinay domestic worker whose body was discovered in a freezer in a house that her employers had vacated. I guess the Kuwaiti government will be more willing to pursue the case, because, after all, the suspects are not their own people. Early reports had identified the couple as foreigners, with the husband a Lebanese and the wife Syrian. Does Kuwait's law have a long arm, too?

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The University of Santo Tomas has finally decided to expel the students involved in the fatal hazing that ended the life of young Horacio “Atio” Castillo. Somehow, I feel sad for the students whose lives will never be the same again after this, but, if only to drive home the lesson among other fraternities and sororities that their misguided sense of brotherhood should be eliminated, once and for all, perhaps that was the proper thing to do.

***

Atio Castillo was not the first fatality in a fraternity hazing. There were others before him and there will be more, if the evil practice is not stopped. The expulsion is small comfort for his devastated parents who lost a beloved son, a promising young man, just because he wanted to “belong”. As for the ones responsible, including the ones who did not touch Atio, but were there, and did not protest, as their “brothers”, they too, could be included in the principle of the act of one being the act of all. And this ouster from the school is not all they will have to face. A case has been filed in court and the parents and family of the boy who died, are not likely to give it up.

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But now the parents of “Atio” are no longer content with just charging the frat members responsible for the death of their son, they also want to involve the school officials like the dean of civil law, and some faculty members, not for any actual participation in the fatal hazing, but, for somehow withholding information about it or reporting the matter to the police, or surrender to them the frat members involved. One can only wonder what the parents of those members must be going through now that their sons may not be able to finish college and become lawyers. If convicted, they may spend as much as a lifetime in jail.

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Now it's Panglao. After shooting our terrorism efforts in the foot with all the exposés on the conditions in Boracay, which, I hear, has already caused a lot of cancellations from potential travelers there, we now hear reports about the shortcomings of Panglao, another popular tourism site. It is not that I, personally, do not care how dirty or how unsanitary things are in both Boracay and Panglao have become. But need we wash our dirty linen so openly in public? I am sure just a notice to all those careless operators or hotels and inns in both tourist spots to clean up or pack up, could have done the trick. Well, the news is out, so let the tourists wait until they shape up.*

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