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Post Valentine and other matters


by Jose Abeto Zaide

After four days of the 21st Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, Capt. Joy Roa flew the pilots to R&R at Boracay, where the nights are long and the day is too short.

 Capt. Roa and the organizers booked his guests at the Sea Wind Hotel on Station 1.  The proprietor, one of the Tirol heirs, was away; the hotel manager was on leave; and the assigned supervisor was off to be with his Valentine. So there was no one to complain to when the antedeluvian Internet service did not allow us to meet our deadline. The action is in Station 2 for non-stop music, disco,  and what pumps the adrenalin.  Senior citizens among us just took the ambience from a safe distance.

 Boracay is a short banca hop from Caticlan (where the Boracay airport is located). Nature endowed Boracay with infinitely fine white sand (which incredibly does not burn even at high noon).  The pristine white sand is God’s gift to Boracay. The locals discovered its potential for tourism, before the construction industry could mine it for more utilitarian purposes. Carabao Island nearby is also blessed with the same white sand, a potential lebensraum for Boracay expansion.

INCREMENT & EX — The first and the last time I visited Boracay was 20 years ago.  With fame and fortune, this paradise island swelled with migrants, settlements, hotels, shops, services to cater to tourist who increased two scores-fold.  Skeptics worry about septics that only a Malabanan can decongest the island.

 To those that have, more shall be given To those that have not, even what he has shall be taken away. As the universe is so unevenly divided, so is it between the haves and the have nots. Tourism created all kinds of business and jobs, including over 400 masseuses in Boracay, who have formed into an association. Members pay an average of P5,000 annually for renewal of  their license, permits, health card, and  for a refresher course.

 The hotel management takes 20 percent of the rate (P100 off the P500 massage rate).  On a good month, of the P12,000 that the masseuse makes, P4,000 goes to the hotel.  Multiply that by the number of months and you can tell that the better it is for a masseuse, the better it gets for the hotel’s share. In December, the hotels throw the masseuses small bonus – a P1,000 Christmas bonus from management plus a T-shirt.


Headlines and other views.

Duterte, labor groups to meet on contractualization policy – News item.

DOLE announced a consultation process before the final issuance of the new policy governing contractual employment. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that labor groups requested to meet with Du30 following his meeting with management groups on contractualization in January this year. Labor groups will submit to the President their own proposed policy. Bello reported that as of January, 35,855 contractual workers have been regularized under DOLE’s campaign to stop illegal forms of contractualization.


While the world celebrated Valentine’s Day, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez wants to boot out his wife from the Batasan complex, where she holds office as president of the Congressional Spouses Foundation,  Inc. Alvarez said that the Congressional Spouses Foundation, Inc., has no place in Congress as it has no legislative function. As of this writing, there has been no reported repercussion on the speaker’s decision and on who wears the pants in the Alvarez nest.


On the other hand, tough-guy-image Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa says a man should not be ashamed of being henpecked, since this only indicates that the man really loves his woman. “Don’t be ashamed if you are called under di saya. You should be proud of it because it goes to show that you really love your wife. If you don’t really love her, you won’t really care.”


Bill vs catcalling, other forms of harassment filed

Senator Risa Hontiveros filed Senate Bill 1326 to protect women and the LGBT community from harassment in public places. Hontiveros said the measure will complement the existing Anti-Sexual Harassment Law.  It seeks to penalize gender-based street and public spaces harassment (catcalling, wolf-whistling, cursing, leering, groping, persistent request for name and contact details, and the use of words tending to ridicule on the basis of actual or perceived sex, gender expression or sexual orientation and identity, including sexist, homophobic, and transphobic slurs). Citing government data, Hontiveros said in Quezon City, three in five women have experienced harassment in the streets.  (She didn’t say if the 2 in 5 women who were not harassed felt discriminated against by neglect or kulang sa pansin.)


Taiwan commutes sentence for 2 Pinoys on death row

Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) Representative Gary Song-Huann Lin said two Filipino OFWs – Nemencia Armia and Darwin Gorospe Sarmiento – were granted clemency with their death sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

Armia was given the death sentenced by the Kaohsiung District Court in Taiwan for stabbing her job broker, a 48-year-old Taiwanese woman who helped foreigners find teaching jobs at private schools in Kaohsiung in 2007. She also used the victim’s debit card withdrawing over NT$660,000 (about $20,200).  But on humanitarian grounds, the Taiwan High Court’s Kaohsiung branch overruled the death sentence and sentenced her to life imprisonment in 2010.

Taiwan’s District Court conferred the death sentence in 2015 on Sarmiento for killing a grocery owner in Taoyua Country in 2014.  He was also convicted for sexual assault and robbery.  Taiwan’s Supreme Court ruled that there was no premeditated intention to kill the grocer.  It also noted that Sarmiento had been under severe financial pressure to settle medical bills for his daughter who has congenital heart disease.  The Taiwan Supreme Court commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment.

Taiwan envoy Lin said if the felons would be penitent and behave in prison, they could be eligible to apply for parole after serving a number of years as required by Taiwan’s law. TECO is also willing to help the families of Armia and Sarmiento obtain visas to visit them in Taiwan.

In other places, the system just gives the defendants a fair trial, then hangs them.


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