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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, March 8, 2018
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The goose that is Boracay

Ninfa Leonardia

A state of calamity in Boracay? Oh no! After all the negative publicity that has been coming out about our Number One tourist attraction that even continues to draw visitors despite it, what could worsen things more than a declaration of a state of calamity there? Not that I condone the crimes of those who had not been observing the proper hygienic measures (to say it politely), but isn’t a declaration of a state of calamity the worst that could happen to it?

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Couldn’t our environment officials have focused on the erring resorts and hotels, as well as the lodging houses there by quietly warning them, and monitoring their compliance without having to announce their deficiencies to the entire world? In the first place, officials of the government of Aklan could also be held accountable for their failure to check on the accommodations being offered in their gem of an island. As righteous as the President sounds over his claims against it, there would have been no need for it, if the officials of both Kalibo and Boracay itself had done their jobs.

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What now if the President follows words with action and declares a state of calamity there? Will the arguments about people being jobless and losing income touch his heart? Oh, this incident calls to mind the folk tale of the goose with the golden eggs. Remember? After seeing the golden eggs laid daily by his wonder goose, the owner, in a hurry to get more golden eggs, killed and cut open his goose, only to find out that there were no golden eggs inside. So he was left with no goose and no more daily golden eggs. Maybe that’s an offbeat analogy, but there you are. What if the entire tourism population get so scared, they will stop coming to Boracay altogether?

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In the meantime, there will also be no more “golden eggs” or big wages for overseas workers in Kuwait, where our government has stopped their deployment. Already, 2,376 of them have been repatriated and are back to try their luck in their own country, and 10,000 more are also expected to come home soon. Their employers will now have to do their dirty work themselves, unless they can get some more victims from other impoverished countries. As for our own people, who have come back, they will have to make do with the much lower wages here, but, at least, they have less chances of being starved, overworked, physically abused, and even raped.

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It looks as if they are all ganging up on Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno. The first woman to head the highest court in the land is now being besieged from all sides with not only the top officials of the Justice Department and her own people at the Supreme Court rallying against her, but also some members of Congress unsympathetic or even downright against her. Seems all the odds are now stacked against the lady, but give it to her, she is not backing down, but insists she is not resigning, and seems ready to face the impeachment poised against her. Anyway, if it happens, she would not be the first. One of her predecessor also got impeached, you know.

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“Slightly up”, that’s why they said about the increase in gas prices this week. So the rollbacks in the past two weeks were just “consuelo” for users who imagined that the implementation of the TRAIN Law will not affect it. But gas prices are determined by the producers abroad who call the shots, and, for all we know, we were just being softened for the blow of higher prices coming our way. Whatever happened to all those reports before about the alleged discoveries of oil in our country? I can’t forget a published photo showing then President Cory Aquino holding a vial of what was triumphantly declared as oil found in our shores. What happened to that? A precursor of “fake news”?

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Straight from the horse’s mouth. No less than President Duterte himself has said that dynasties can be good sometimes. Like if it is composed of Dutertes? But obviously his eldest son, Paolo, does not like the idea of being in one, because he resigned and gave up his position as vice mayor to his mayor sister, Sara Duterte Carpio. Maybe it can’t be helped in the political milieu of the Philippines. Look at the Marcoses, they cannot seem to let go of political power, with Imelda Jr. or Imee, governor of Ilocos Norte, their mother Imelda Sr. a congresswoman, and Ferdinand Jr. now itching to grab the vice presidency won by Leni Robredo, and going through every means to snatch it from her. Oh, there are so many other dynasties in our country, maybe we should stop thinking about federalism and switch to a monarchy.

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Could it happen here? Maybe some teachers and parents are feeling the urge to do so, but haven’t gathered the guts to do it. In Bangladesh, an Islamic school, exasperated probably with their students’ fixation on them, gathered all their cellphones and made a bonfire of them. The administrators said they were distracting the students from their studies, and ruining their characters. Maybe it should also happen in some offices.*

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