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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, September 30, 2017
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Twinkling
with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Home-stay for MassKara?

Ninfa Leonardia I had to take a second look at the news yesterday. One said that Rody (Duterte of course) wants friendlier ties with the U.S. Another national daily said “Duterte pushing for closer trade ties with Britain”. I know those items will raise some eyebrows, but we should be glad that our president is now realizing that no man, or country for that matter, is an island. Oh, he could go on being buddies with China, but the more friends we have, the better. Even if one of them happens to be North Korea.

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Somehow, I feel that our president will more easily be friends with U.S. President Trump than with other world leaders. He and Trump open sound like birds of the same feather, like soul mates, even. But he has one advantage over Donald Trump. He continues to be popular while Trump's ratings keep sinking, even with his own party mates. Well, maybe he can teach Trump a thing or two about holding on to his followers. But we understand Rody – or Digong – is a seasoned politician, while Trump is a newbie with no experience in public service at all.

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But now that he is no longer mad at the U.S., it looks as if the President has transferred his anger to the Office of the Ombudsman that he accuses to be corrupt, too. Now, what can the ordinary Filipino make of that? An office created to investigate and punish those guilty of corruption, involved in corruption itself? I hope it is not only because it is headed by a woman that he is zeroing in on it. Note that even the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is also being threatened with impeachment. And the head of the SC also happens to be a woman.

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But wait. Is Trump following the strategy of Duterte in dealing with drugs? Trump has reportedly also “suggested” that the police should not treat drug suspects with kid gloves, and should not be “nice to them. But he did not say they should also adopt the Philippine method of “EJK”, did he? Even those “suggestions” were met with disagreement by the chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration, who resigned forthwith. Chuck Rosenberg quit because he believed that Trump's “suggestions” condoned police misconduct. Maybe he knew that EJK is not working at all, even in our country.

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Even if we didn't know Horacio Castillo III, or “Atio”, personally, never even seen or heard about him before, we cannot help feeling the grief and anguish of his parents when they had to bury him on Wednesday, with none of the culprits in his vicious and cruel death still not accounted for. Yes, there is Paulo Solano, but he insists he was not a participant in the killing, I mean, hazing, as he was only called after it, and was the one who took Atio to the hospital. The only good thing is that he has disclosed the names of those who actually participated, and it won't be long before they will all be made to answer for their crime.

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I have heard about initiations before, but they weren't as cruel or deadly as the ones this generation is undertaking. When we were in college, the kind of initiation to ROTC we heard about was that the boys were made to beg for money from strangers, walk half-naked around the school block, and harmless things like that. Nobody was beaten up, tortured and killed, it seemed to be all in fun. Whoever started this sadistic type of “welcoming” a member must have been a victim of sadism even in his own home. I hope the amendment to the anti-hazing law will impose severe penalties to perpetrators. Better yet, it should altogether ban fraternities in schools or anywhere.

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The president has ordered that government offices must not display pictures of government officials, but instead put up those of heroes. I bet Jose Rizal will be a popular choice, and also Andres Bonifacio. Will some prefer Emilio Aguinaldo? My father used to admire President Manuel Quezon, he bought a clock with him holding the wheel of the nation. We still have this clock even if it no longer working. Will today's executives also choose him for their hero? Oh, and will anybody choose the first defender of our land, Lapu-lapu?

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Just an idea: They say that hotel reservations are coming in so fast for the MassKara festival that some visitors may not be able to get slots when it starts. So why don't we encourage residents who have extra rooms in their houses to offer them for minimal charges? In some countries, this is a common practice, I think they call it home-stay. Why not? Maybe those who are interested to offer this hospitality should contact the Tourism Office of the city, at the Bacolod City Government Center. I haven't told them about this but they should welcome the idea, shouldn't they?*

 

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