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Biden, the Hunter

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

“We will hunt you down and make you pay”.  The words were quoted from United States President Joe Biden, apparently as his reaction to the acts of the Taliban who are believed to have caused the deaths of Americans in Afghanistan. And who can blame him for the harsh words? His fellow Americans had nothing to do with the conflict between the Afghanistan and the warlike Taliban, but they were also victimized in the conflict between the two. I guess Biden resorted to that kind of talk, because he knew that was the language the Taliban would understand.

***

So far, several flights of American airlines have been ferrying home thousands of their citizens whose lives, they knew were endangered  in that country. So as swiftly as  they would, the officials of the United States sent off airliners to evacuate their people either working or residing there. Fortunately, and surprisingly, as well, there didn’t seem to be any Filipinos among those evacuated from Afghanistan. Were there really none of our countrymen there, or the ones already residing, or have adopted citizenship there, really opted to stay, feeling themselves safe from the Taliban since they are not natives?

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But perhaps some of those who had not joined the ones who took advantage of the airlines sent to evacuate them also realized the danger of being in the airports, because reports later said that there were suicide bombers posted there, and who knows if some of them managed to be on the same flights as those fleeing from what they thought had become a dangerous place for them? It was also reported in the news that 13 American senior citizens, and more than 90 Afghans  were killed!

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But we have to give thanks that no Filipinos were noted among the mortalities, which is rather surprising, because our countrymen seem to have penetrated and have become citizens of so many countries, and Afghanistan was the type of place that could have enticed them to settle in. But for that we should be thankful, even as we continue to pray for the safety of all our countrymen and women who have settled in countries where such incidents are likely to take place. But we cannot speak for all our adventurous kababayans, especially those who but are not professionally trained, and therefore have to make do with domestic jobs where they are often taken advantage of.

***

But is it true that President Duterte is now in favor of allowing casinos and other gambling activities to operate in any part of our country, especially where tourists are usually flocking? Well, as the saying goes, “Necessity  is the Mother of invention”. In this case it could be amended to “Necessity is the Mother of concession”. Anyway, as he must have conceded, Pinoys really love to gamble, and even consider it not a vice, but just a form of entertainment. For that matter, why don’t they pass a law legalizing and taxing gambling games like mahjong, blackjack, and the rest? That could mean income for the government units, too.

***

I still remember, but vaguely, that when we were children, the relatives of my mother who were also our neighbors, were very fond of playing games like “panguingue” and mahjong but they had to do them clandestinely, because sometimes policemen would come around – obviously tipped by jealous neighbors – confiscate their playing cards or mahjong blocs and issue warnings that they would be arrested “next time”. But, as far as I can recall, the games still went on after lunchtime, and nobody got arrested, anyway. Today, I think the attitude to such household “entertainment” is more lax, and I don’t think I have heard of any arrests of mahjong playing ladies in recent years.

***

Is President Rodrigo Duterte really serious about his announced plan not to seek reelection, but to run for vice president instead come the next elections? That way, he is reported as having explained, he can be a watchdog over other officials past and present. Seems, however, that other elected officials are neither in favor or opposed to his idea. For one, Senator Ping Lacson has already warned that he should not meddle with the Senate. But why would he seek the vice presidency if that is his mission? Why not get himself appointed to the Commission on Audit? I’m sure he will make a good job of it.

***

Meanwhile, Bacolod City has another novel idea, and that it is the launching of a round-the-clock, or 24-hour vaccination drive. Some may think that unnecessary, but, indeed, we have workers who cannot avail of vaccination since their office hours may not allow them to leave their work to go to the vaccination centers. Well, let us see, how our people will respond to this, and if other places will replicate it, too.*

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