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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, January 10, 2019
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Manokan Country memories

Ninfa Leonardia

What an irony it is that the Manila Police Department had to close what it optimistically called its “Honesty Store”. The way I understand its operations, the store relied on the honesty of purchasers in paying for the stuff they get. The idea was good, and to think that it was the Manila Police District operating it, you’d think the “customers” who, I expect, were members of the agency themselves, would truly be honest in patronizing it. But, sadly, a lot of dishonesty must have occurred, because the store kept losing, and there was suspicion that some did not even buy, they just got money from the till.

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I congratulate, however, those who thought up the idea of an “honesty store”. Seems such people still had faith in human nature, and believed that human beings, in general, are honest. Alas, that does not seem so, and if the original plan was to establish such stores in other police offices, it has obviously killed itself. The most disappointing thing is that, you would think the police themselves would be the best examples of honesty but, obviously, a lot of them are not. That may have worked in some other country, but it is not yet time for it in the Philippines.

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Several years ago, I was with a group of Bacoleños who went to Tokyo as part of a cruise we had joined, I was very excited because the city was then having a World Fair that brought tourists from several countries. Indeed, the exhibits and the booths were all very beautiful and interesting, depicting the representing countries, products and art works. As the fair was closing, I went around, just like any nosy journalist would have done, interviewing people, asking for their comments. My last stop was the Secretariat, where the staff was winding up their work. I approached their head and asked, “Were there any crimes, like theft, during the whole fair? “She looked straight at me and said”, Only one. Piripino!”

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In the meantime, the Philippines Sportswriters Association is all set to honor our athletes who have won distinctions during recent competitions. Topping the list of honorees are the gold medal winners in the contests are Hidilyn Diaz, for weightlifting, Margielyn Didal for skateboarding, and Yuka Saso, Bianga Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go, for golf. Where were the men, and how come they weren’t able to produce golds, too?

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What do you think of having 90 candidates for senator to choose from when you go to the polls in May? Seems there are that many who have filed their certificates of candidacy for the position this time. The Commission on Election must be having quite a time picking the chaff from the grain, in a matter of speaking. In case all 90 are listed, I am afraid those whose names start with A may have good chances of being voted on, as the voters may not want to go far down the list of 90! To think that only 12 will make it, as that is all we need!

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But then some of those who filed are probably not seriously thinking of winning, but of just getting in the news. I bet the Comelec is having a hard time running a fine-toothed comb through the list. Seems bets from Party List groups comprise a big number of the hopefuls who think they can make it against the well-heeled and well-endorsed ones from the leading political parties. I hear that President Duterte has been endorsing only three, so far. Let us find out how these three fare in May.

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Yesterday, a frame fell from a shelf in a corridor of the house of my brother Prospero, or “Enggol” to family and friends. It was already discolored and dusty, but the wordings were clear, as were the signatures. I read it with surprise, since he never showed it to us and just put it away. Me, I think, Manokan Country folk now may be interested to know what it says, so I am quoting it en toto, even if I know how embarrassed Pros will be.

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Here’s what the framed statements says “PLAQUE OF APPRECIATION. Bacolod Bar-B-Q Vendors and Producers Cooperative Association, Reclamation Area, Bacolod City. Presented to Architect Prospero R. Leonardia, Chief Beautification and Special Projects, for the talent and skill he has given in making the vision for MANOKAN COUNTRY a reality; thus promoting among its members and their immediate families a sense of economic well-being, peace and progress in the community they live in. Given in Bacolod City, Philippines, this 11th Day of April, 1984”. The signatories were Teresita Umbao, Treasurer, Maximo Magno, Jr., Vice President, and Vicente Jaranilla, President”.

Of course many Bacoleños still remember the now deceased Jaranilla, as the inimitable “Mr. SLIM”.*

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