Sunday, September 23, 2018
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Shame on you, BI

Reader, so many things were brought to my attention this week as a result of my having had (for me, anyway) a full social schedule of three events.  This, aside from my conventional sources of information—traditional media. Can you imagine, I asked myself, how much worse the case would be if I was involved with Facebook, or Twitter, or anything like that?

You don’t think it’s that bad? An online course on Communication in the Digital Age says: “There are massive volumes of new information coming our way every day. In a 60-second period of time, 3.3 million Facebook posts are made; 500 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded; and 150,000 emails are sent. We are confronted daily with enough information to fill up 175 newspapers.”

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Good grief. How can anyone manage that deluge of information?

I will discuss that in a future column.  Right now, those three social events (which I thoroughly enjoyed) left me with information overload. So many things I want to share with you, and so little space. Let me give you a cat’s lick and a promise, starting from almost-gossip to data-backed information.

First, about Boracay. Today marks one month since Boracay was closed to the public. Remember how the closure was marked by so much media coverage?  Well, a month after, I am told that everything has come to almost a standstill—some kind of funding scarcity. And no media to cover it. It may be temporary, of course, but with the public not having been provided any sort of detailed plan and work schedule, no one can tell what is going on.

For example, an illegally-built structure with pictures of efforts to destroy it. But work has stopped. No signs of infrastructure improvement, either.

My source, who has a business in Boracay, had their manager take pictures around the area, so they know. I asked my source how the six-month closure was affecting them. They estimate a P30-million loss of revenue. They employed 90 people, and have cut it down to 25, but with a rolling 25, so that all of them would have some employment for the period.

Other businesses have cut down more drastically. The worst part is that when employees tried to go to SSS or Pag-Ibig for loans to tide them over, they were told one thing: “No guidelines yet.”

A good, real gossip story: A competitor public utility source is apparently enjoying the discomfiture of the Ayalas, who have been caught with various violations of their water and sewerage system concessions.

At the national level, there’s the Chinese invasion. The real estate market is up, no signs of bursting, because so many Chinese have come. Legally or illegally, they’re here to participate, principally or so I’m told, in Pogo (the O and G stand for online gaming, but I don’t know how it works), and other retail businesses.

Divisoria is full of them. Chinatown is not the only beneficiary (oodles of construction going on), but the rest of Metro Manila as well. And I am further told (unsupported by any data, because none exists) that the men entering are mostly of military age, whatever that means.

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Apparently they are not the most sterling of tourists/workers/businessmen, as evinced  by a social media item showing a Chinese restaurateur, not speaking English or Tagalog, berating his Filipina worker in public.

Which leads us to the story of Sister Pat Fox, a missionary who is Australian by birth, but Filipina by heart, who speaks Filipino more fluently than I can. The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is adamant that she violated the terms of her missionary visa, and has refused with finality her request for reconsideration. Well, she refuses to leave the Philippines, her adopted country. Good for her. How come they treat those Chinese better than her?

Reader, if you think she has been given a raw deal by the government, you can email Immigration at immigPH@gmail.com, attention Jaime Morente. What do you tell them? Something short like: 1) Do you really think a nun will harm the Philippines? Or, 2) Pat Fox has spent 27 years serving our poor. Is that our way of saying thank you? Or, 3) Shame on you, BI.

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