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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, November 18, 2019
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OPINIONS

Mushroom memories

Ninfa Leonardia

Both the House and the Senate may be slow in preparing their budget, but the Executive Department, that is, the Palace, is quite advanced in determining and releasing to the public the holidays they may expect when the year 2020 rolls around. Although he is reportedly staying in his hometown, Davao, to ease his schedule and work from home, the President has managed to declare the holidays we can expect in the coming year. That should be a boon to all workers, whether in the government or in private companies.

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There are 10 regular holidays and nine special holidays which are also non-working ones. Those, in addition to the weekends that most offices leave free, will certainly give a lot of time for breadwinners as well as students to relax and focus on family matters. Students, especially, will enjoy such days as they will be in addition to the regular Saturdays and Sundays when they are free from schoolwork.

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Now it’s mushrooms! Could it be true that the ordinary mushrooms that make such tasty fare, could also make one “high”? Sounds incredible, but no less than Education Secretary Leonor Briones has warned that some students have discovered the use of mushrooms as substitutes for illegal drugs. How ingenous those kids are getting in their search for a “high”! I wonder if they use the real mushrooms which are edible, or the toadstools that can be toxic?

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When we were children and on vacation at our grandparents farm, they taught us how to look for the real mushrooms. They told us that real mushrooms sprouted on the anthills (bungsod) and they come up when there is lightning during the night. And if you find a mushroom on one side of the “bungsod”, there is sure to be another one on the opposite side. And, indeed, it was true, and mornings after a thunderstorm, we children would race to the “bungsods”, and there the plump mushrooms were, one or two on both sides! Now all we eat are canned ones, with no more bungsods around.

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What’s gotten into former columnist Teodoro Locsin Jr.? Has the position he now holds gotten into his head? Is it true, and did he actually call a bishop “a moron in a white mu-mu”? And not only that, he also referred to the bishop as an “ecclesiastical idiot”. He also said worse things, but why should we quote what drips from a dirty mouth? The strange thing is that he supposedly said those things when the bishop asked Catholics to pray for Vice President Leni Robredo after she accepted the position of co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs.

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Funny. Malacañang – read that as Salvador Panelo, spokesman – said he does not see the need to tell Locsin to watch his language. Ha! Maybe he is afraid the guy would turn on him, too. What Mr. “Malacañang” would only say was that there must have been something that made the undiplomatic Foreign Affairs Secretary to say those things. To him, it seems, a man like Locsin can say anything because he is “a man of substance”. One cannot help wondering what “substance” he has got in him.

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What happened? Suddenly, the Palace seems to be treating the Vice President like a favorite daughter. It does not sound like at all like Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo defending her from supposed critics on the way she is handling the drug war that has been assigned to her. It seems now that there are efforts to confuse her with some officials belying her conclusions about the sources of illegal drugs coming into the country. Well, she had been warned to “watch her back,” hadn’t she?

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Now she has more reason to do so because it seems there are people close to the President who are not happy about the job being given to her. One wonders who has been whispering to the President that she might reveal state secrets. The lady is no fool, I am sure she loves her country as much, if not more than some of the bootlickers circling around the boss. Give her a chance to do her part in saving this country from the drug menace.*

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