Let it roll

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By Gary Covington

Looking In

Monday, February 3, 2014

EARLY Wednesday evening, about 5:20, waiting for ABS-CBN's “anytime between 5 and 5:30” five-o-clock news, clicking around the three public TV channels available down here in Buhangin Hollows, I chanced upon a foodie program called “Something to chew on” and, glory be, the program was in Davao.

The host, Xandra Rocha, did a segment on the new hotel she was staying at - we'll skip that bit of brownnosing - but then, glory be once more, there she was casting a television eye over Daryl Blatchley's Bone Museum. What impressed me was that the commentary wasn't the usual touristy guff but rather introduced the museum as a place of information and particularly of warning; that we - us, you and me - thanks to our indiscriminate dumping of garbage into the Davao Gulf, are killing the creatures, fishy and mammal, which make the sea their home.

Here was the skeleton of a whale killed by ingesting a plastic bottle; a dolphin which gagged on a plastic fastfood giveaway, a turtle, a tuna, the list went on and look - right there, alongside the skeleton in its glass case, lay the mangled remains of the plastic refuse which did for the animal. Xandra had the grace to look uncomfortable and, just come from a tuna lunch, did again when Daryl explained that most of the tuna which finds its way to our dining tables has yet to reach sexual maturity – too young to mate and ensure the survival of the species. That not so slowly and surely, we consumers and the fisherman who provide are killing off an entire species of creature. Extinction by overfishing. This was good TV, a far cry from the usual ingratiating 'my friend Daryl' pap we usually view or read. If there is such a thing as a Davao environmentally-aware eco-tour then the Bone Museum should be top of the list.


How to fiddle the funds and get away with it and the other week we learnt that an internal investigation had found five Davao treasury officials guilty of “serious dishonesty and grave misconduct,” a pair of misdemeanors heading a whole laundry list of wrongdoing. Their crime? Stealing P14 million from the city treasurer's coffers over a period of six months (Stealing is my word - the city prefers namby-pamby alternatives such as “misappropriation” or, the latest, downgrading the whole issue to “an anomaly.”)

Their punishment? Dismissal, never to work for the city again. Pathetic. All week I've waited for a gibbet or firing squad to appear in front of the City Hall, at the very least a row of stocks so that we may pelt the guilty parties with rotten fruit and bad kwek-kwek. But no. Cartoonist Fernando Zamora got it right on Sunday drawing a fat City Treasurer's Office gently rapping the miscreants' knuckles with a toffee hammer. There's something seriously adrift here - get in a traffic altercation with 'a person of authority' and you're banged up in jail and charged with murder. Make off with P14 million of the taxpayer's money and you're initially suspended - whoopee, six month's holiday to enjoy the cash - and then, finally, shown the door and free to go. Who said crime doesn't pay?

Lastly lastly and Davao Mayor Rody Duterte for President of the Philippines? Why not? The chief political requisite - a dynasty is already in place. Let it roll.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 04, 2014.


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