A golden harvest for PH

"I am sorry to say I cannot buy the excuses of the organizers."


 Day One of the Southeast Asian Games, for the Philippines, showed that our athletes can excel in regional and international events if properly motivated and trained. My congratulations to all the winners.

Sadly, politics often enters the picture.

Last Saturday’s spectacle—the opening ceremonies—featured a display of pyrotechnics, dances and songs. All these dazzled locals and foreigners alike. I was amazed, too. I watched part of it on TV.

The question is, do all these erase from the people’s minds the blunders of the organizers?

I do not intend to belittle our initial wins and the fantastic opening ceremonies. I just want to put things in their proper perspective.

I still believe that the athletes who were stranded for hours because of logistical missteps on the part of the organizers should not be forgotten. These not-so-nice experiences—delays in pick-up time, wrong hotels, kikiam for breakfast, the absence of scoreboards and the non-completion of competition venues—are already embedded in their minds.

Photos don’t lie, Santa Banana!

Of course I know that we should focus on encouraging our athletes to do their best. But I also know that those accountable must also face the consequences of their ineptitude, my gulay!

I am sorry to say I cannot buy the excuses of the organizers. They say they only had eight months to prepare, that the media’s negativity was to blame, and so on. The House Speaker, Alan Cayetano, chairman of the organizing committee, claims there are four social media groups responsible. Well, all of them embarrassed us, my gulay!

No amount of grandiosity will erase the embarrassment that was brought upon us.

Cayetano also claims there were attempts to sabotage the SEA Games. He should prove these claims.

* * *

Whether President Rodrigo Duterte realizes it or not, he practically endorsed the candidacy of both Vice President Leni Robredo and his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. He said Leni was incompetent, and that he did not want his daughter to experience all the hardships he is undergoing.

I say this is an endorsement because the Vice President, as chairman of the opposition Liberal Party, is presumed to be the opposition’s candidate. His claim of her incompetence is actually an endorsement.

Yes, it can be a Leni-Sara fight for the presidency in 2022. I am certain it will be Sara, my gulay!

* * *

The President has given Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators three days grace period to settle their obligations—or else they will be shut down and their employees, mostly Chinese, deported.

Duterte’s ultimatum is directed at 218 POGO service providers reportedly not paying taxes. According to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., there are only some 60 licensed—and tax-paying—POGOs. All the rest are illegal.

This time, I believe Duterte is serious. Illegal POGOs are estimated to be costing the country more than P21 billion. Santa Banana, that’s a big chunk of money. These are funds that can be used for good purpose!

In my years as a journalist I have never seen so many foreigners cheating the government of what is due it. It’s about time we showed the Chinese they will not get away with everything, just because Duterte says they are his friends!

* * *

I cannot understand why the President keeps on claiming that he killed people, mostly high-value targets, in the context of the war against drugs. He claims also that he dumped their bodies in Manila Bay or threw them into ravines.

This is not the first time the President has boasted of killing people. Recall that he said he had been doing this since he was mayor of Davao. Is it to warn others to take him seriously, or say he is a strong leader?

Whatever his purpose, I doubt if his critics would believe him. The problem is that those who don’t know him may believe him. And that, my gulay, is the problem!

* * *

With information technology and social media, online lending entrepreneurs have proliferated.

This is because going down the socio-economic ladder, minimum-wage earners, contractual employees and everyone else below the poverty line do not have any access at all to institutional lending firms like banks. My gulay, even pawnshops require some form of assets! This leaves countless people with no choice but to borrow from so-called 5-6 operators during times of great need!

With so many online lenders offering between P5,000 and P2 million in loans, the problem goes out of hand when these online lenders use the phone book to put to shame the families or close friends of the delinquent clients to get them to fully pay their loans. I have heard many such horror stories. This should be stopped by the government!

Yes, we have the National Privacy Commission, whose mandate is to prevent people from dispensing their personal data. Still, I believe Congress should enact a law to protect people from being harassed by these online lenders!

I believe that the National Privacy Commission alone cannot stop the racket. My gulay, would you believe that personal data is even secured illegally using credit cards especially of the elderly?

* * *

It has been over a week since the President fired Vice President Leni Robredo as chair of the Inter-agency Committee Against Drugs. Robredo has promised to expose what she discovered about the conduct of this bloody war, and hinted that the President himself was even covering it up!

Just what those discoveries are, we can only speculate.

Are they about high-value targets and narco-politicians? About the killings?

I do not think, however, that we can trust Robredo. She talks too much! She has become a windbag, always criticizing Duterte but not being able to prove anything.

Topics: Southeast Asian Games , Leni Robredo , National Privacy Commission , Alan Peter Cayetano , PHISGOC , Sara Duterte
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