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Bacolod City, PhilippinesWednesday, January 19, 2011
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No test flights, Mr. Tan

Ninfa Leonardia

The Metro Manila Development Authority Administrator is serious. He has posted a huge streamer along EDSA calling for lady drivers, obviously to pursue his plan to recruit women as drivers of the buses that ply the highways and expressways of Manila and the rest of Luzon. After the series of deadly accidents involving buses that were driven by men, Administrator Francis Tolentino, the former mayor of Tagaytay City, revealed his trust in women drivers.

* * *

Now the macho men are sulking because their egos are hurt with the statistics Tolentino is trotting out showing how many more male drivers have figured in fatal mishaps, compared to women. Some make sexist remarks like, what about women who get moody on certain days of the month? What about women drivers who are also mothers and who have to breastfeed their babies? I am sure Tolentino and his fellow admirers of women drivers have factored those in their plans, and have provided for them, and any other exigencies. As for the men, who cannot control the big buses, let them drive tricycles or trisikads. At least, they can only harm fewer people with them than they could in a bus.

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A new kind of crime has been noted in Metro Manila, and this time the victims are car dealers. Within a week, we had two sensational reports about the brutal killing of two young men who were only trying to sell their second-hand vehicles. And the modus operandi was very similar in the cases of the son of lawyer Oliver Lozano and businessman Boy Evangelista. Both were approached by alleged buyers with whom they went on a test drive. And both were later found killed with their bodies burned in similar fashion.

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The police actually have three gangs or syndicates that they are now eyeing in these two cases. I am sure many people will just look the other way in case the brutes who did those evil deeds are caught and salvaged. They truly deserve a fate worse than death. No wonder a solon has proposed again the restoration of the death penalty. Some criminals deserve nothing less. They are not content with stealing, they also have to kill their victims.

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Close on the heels of the very controversial “reproductive health” bill that is roiling the country, comes another proposal for the stepping up of the process of annulment of marriages. Proponents say the present procedure takes such a long time and so much expense that it is very inconvenient for couples who want to get rid of each other. Hmmm… so now they want a quickie? The proponent gave only three grounds, any one of which will do, he says. Will the time come when all a quarreling couple has to do is file a petition, and wait in the corridors of the Hall of Justice?

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I wonder what the reaction of the Church will be to this new issue. For so long the lobbying against any divorce bill had been successful. Will annulment be the rose with another name? Maybe the day will also come when a bill will be passed requiring trial marriages before a marriage license is issued? I don’t know if it is still being practiced, but there was a time when the “ulog” was a traditional ritual of some tribes in the Mountain Province. In the “Ulog”, the couple planning to marry are allowed to be together for a time while the family of the bride-to-be studies the worthiness of the suitor. Another “back to basics” solution?

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Brace yourself for worse traffic problems, whether you are in the provinces or in Metro Manila. Business reports say that car sales have been zooming in the past few months. I hear that Bacolod already has about 80,000 vehicles – not counting the tricycles and trisikads – roaming in its streets, and more from the other cities and towns compound this on weekdays. It may not be long before those who can afford it will order helicopters for city use. Just imagine all the roaring and flapping adding to the noise pollution we already suffer from.

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The reports about the young men who were abducted and killed while trying to sell their vehicles reminded me of the business item saying that tycoon Lucio Tan is willing to sell the Philippine Airlines, if the price is right. Whatever you do, Mr. Tan, if you are serious about selling your planes, don’t ever go on a test flight with any prospective buyer! They might toss you out while you are up in the air.*

 

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