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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, December 6, 2018
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OPINIONS

Rizal and his tyrants and slaves

Ninfa Leonardia

Vive le France! I hope nobody laughs at my efforts to write in French. But what I am cheering the French people is for their determination and willingness to die in protest of fuel price tax hikes that they find unacceptable. When their complaints were not heard, they resorted to widespread riots that led to the defacement of some of the landmarks of Paris like the famous Arc de Triumphe. The protestors wore yellow vests, apparently unafraid of being identified. And their anger was focused on their president, Emmanuel Macron, who had to cry “Uncle” and declare a suspension of the tax hikes, especially on diesel.

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Well, we are also facing a rise in fuel costs, with the implementation of the President’s plan to impose an excise tax on fuel by the start of the new year. Except for sighing and groaning quietly, we have not heard or known of any plans to stage a strong protest against what is going to become a reality next month. Is it fear, or just complacency among our people? Have we been subdued by all the reports on EJKs and death squads that we no longer dare to complain or, worse, protest, like the French people have done? Well, remember what our National Hero Jose Rizal said about there being no tyrants where there are no slaves?

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Anyway, another interesting topic now is the acceptance of marijuana. After the President declared that he uses it to keep awake during tiresome conferences, a lot of people also sat up and asked, “Why not?” Indeed, some states in America have already legalized its use for medical purposes, and some even for “recreation”. But I believe the medical aspect is the one that should be considered and studied. Anyway, the time may come when, like tobacco, it may be just another substance to feed the vices of people all over the world.

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Excuse me if I had written about this before, but one of my favorite storybook tales was that of some explorers during the times of Magellan and Columbus, one of whom came back after a trip to the East Indies, and got hooked on tobacco that he discovered there. When he came back to England, he brought back bales of tobacco leaves and indulged himself with a good smoke at night. One evening, his valet came into his den where his master had his back to the door, and smoke was floating over his head. Frightened, the man ran out, grabbed a pail of water and doused his boss, thinking he has caught fire! Somehow, I think the attitude to Marijuana will end up in a similar way.

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So Freddie Roach is working for Manny Pacquiao again. I hope that will not hurt the feelings of his long time friend, Buboy Fernandez, who saw him through his last fight with Lucas Matthysee and did a very good job of it. But then the opponent of Manny this time is reputed to be a DANGEROUS one, so he must feel that he should have what is figuratively called “all hands on deck”. He will be fighting with Adrien Broner. But Roach, who must miss the excitement of readying Pacquiao for his fights, seems to be very happy to return, and their old team is now complete again.

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I feel bad, though about not being able to watch this fight live, as I used to, not being “travel-worthy” anymore these days. But for sure I will be imagining all the excitement from the time the team arrives in the city or venue which, this time will be at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. I will surely miss the people I had been meeting and recalling old times with like some relatives of Manny Pacquiao in the States who all flock to Las Vegas whenever he has a fight, like his aunt Lily, who became a very close friend. The last time I had watched his fight live was in Macao, several years ago. But, as in all his fights, I will be praying for him as he brings great honor to our country.

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By the way, we Pinoys really take our sports very seriously. Our sports lovers however, include some unscrupulous ones who engage in illegal activities. That is why a bill has been filed in Congress called the Anti-scalping bill that is supposed to curb an illegal practice connected with sports. Of course we are not talking about the scalping by the Indians that the early Americans contended with. This one refers to the illegal practice of alleged sports lovers, who corner ticket sales to basketball, volleyball and football games, and sell them at higher prices to fans. There is a name for such people, they are called “scalpers”. I don’t know what their victims are called, though. Suckers?

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In the news yesterday was the capture of a huge crocodile in Palawan. Wild life officials said it was 15.6 long and more than 500 kilos in weight. I thought crocodiles had already become extinct in our country? There was a time when people used to tag some high officials of the country as crocodiles, but maybe that type of officials are the ones already extinct? By the way, officials will check the croc’s stomach to see if it the same one that had killed, possibly eaten, a man in the area last month. Ugh.*

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