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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, February 5, 2019
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Where the ax should fall

Ninfa Leonardia

He’s alive. And he himself said so, therefore, sorry na lang for all those who have been hoping for his early demise. That was, in effect, what President Rodrigo Duterte wanted to say to those reportedly spreading the news that he had died. I just wonder who were the alleged bashers who had the temerity to post such stories online. Were they not afraid that technology is so advanced nowadays, that they can be easily identified?

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But if Mr. Duterte still has the sense of humor he is noted for, then perhaps, he will crack the funniest jokes about it, or like that philosopher, or was that a politician? reacted to similar rumor about him, by saying “The news about my death is grossly exaggerated”. But there is a belief among farmfolk I know that if you are mistaken for having died, it means you will live longer. And if the President thinks that he a bad boy, then he can quote that Spanish bromide “Hierba mala nunca muere” which roughly translates into “Bad grass (or weeds) never die”.

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But I think nobody in Bacolod, or for that matter, the whole Negros island, would believe such a canard, because the day it circulated, the President was reported to be in Davao holding a conference with some top officials, to which even the Bacolod mayor was invited. That was supposed to be a very important gathering so how can a man who is dead, or even dying, do that? I guess we can expect a lot of similar fake reports, especially malicious and evil ones like that, now that elections are coming and some candidates are hard pressed for black propaganda stuff to fling at their opponents.

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An interesting piece of news in a national daily yesterday was the one announcing that there are 649 children who are available for adoption in the Central Visayas. The announcement came from the Regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, so it must be for real. One wonders, though, how come there are so many such children, and what happened to their parents? But this could be a boon for childless couples, since the acquisition of the child will truly be legal, and free from any future problems from the real parents. This will put an end to common practices of faking birth certificates, which is illegal, and could cause those who risk it hefty fines and even imprisonment.

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It’s the year of the Pig, but I hope people do not take it to mean that they can “Pig out” all they like this year. In fact it should be a reminder for us all that pigs are rather harmful, especially for adults who could be prone to high blood pressure and other ailments, not suffered by the pigs themselves. Anyway, there are a lot of interpretations and warnings about one’s behavior during such a year, and it will not cost us anything to listen.

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I think the first advice is aimed at houseowners, especially housewives. It says that they should clear their homes of unneeded or unwanted items that no longer serve any purpose. Another advice is to check on your finances to see if you still have enough to see the year through. If possible, settle your debts and start the year a clean slate. This also applies to enemies who were once friends. Settle old scores and try for a new beginning with them. Also, one should try to look one’s best, by wearing nice clothes, and for both men and women, to, maybe, get their hair trimmed or cut to attain new look. Well, these are all good hints and you may take them or leave them. But if you choose the latter – suppose they work?

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The widow of the slain mayor of Daraga in Albay has thrown her hat into the political ring by challenging the man suspected to be the mastermind in the killing of her husband, his vice mayor, and now detained Carlwyn Baldo, as well as the one now sitting as mayor, Victor Preta. Well, that is not a surprising turn of events, we have had other wives of assassinated or murdered officials whose widows got the sympathy votes of their subjects who voted them to office. I think this was started by the late Corazon “Cory” Aquino, the very unassuming wife of Benigno Aquino Jr., better known as “Ninoy”. And the ladies did well at their offices, too.

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This does not sound good to taxpayers, but it must be very welcome to the government. The Bureau of Internal Revenue, or BIR, has announced that it is stepping up its drive to collect no less than P2.3 TRILLION from us poor souls this year. A note of consolation: it will run after tax evaders especially businesses, many of which are notorious for evading, or as they nicely call it, “avoiding” taxes. I guess this should not worry regular employers or government workers, who cannot shirk tax payments because of the very efficient deductions from their pay via the withholding tax. So let the tax fall where it should.*

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