‘Laming’ the duck
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - October 2, 2020 - 12:00am

“Better to remain silent and be thought of a fool than to speak and remove all doubt” – Abraham Lincoln / Mark Twain

After coming out of a conflict resolution session with no less than President Duterte mediating and resolving that Congressman Lord Allan Velasco will be the incoming Speaker of Congress, it was sad and shocking to listen to Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano “washing dirty linen” or wailing a river of lament on national radio like a child who has been forced to give up his favorite toy or leave the playground. While there is very little to base and assess the competence and leadership abilities of Congressman Velasco, his tactical silence makes him appear smarter. On the other hand, Speaker Cayetano grievously erred by publicizing and using choice parts of their meeting with President Duterte against Congressman Velasco. One would assume that such a sensitive matter would be treated with complete confidentiality out of respect for the President. At the very least, Cayetano could have simply delegated some of his lap dogs to grandstand on his behalf while he kept his dignity intact. Unfortunately, the Speaker chose to play victim while bashing his opponent.

I don’t know if the President was brought in on the plan of the congressmen to initiate a pre-emptive strike against Congressman Velasco, but if he was not, then Cayetano et al have unwittingly made President Duterte a Lame Duck President with still two years left in his term. This is a very crucial situation in terms of leadership and public impression because if his own partymates or alagas have moved independently away from the Alpha male, it will slowly but surely dilute the strongman persona of the President.

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Instead of betting anywhere from P20 to P100 a day on lotto you are better off saving your money until you save P500 and then go and buy yourself a “PREMYO” government issued bond. Why, you might ask, well because each PREMYO Bond gives you four chances to join a government initiated raffle where you could win P20,000/ P100,000 or the grand prize of P1 million that comes with a house and lot or a condominium unit. This very innovative idea was initiated and nurtured into reality by no-less than Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez and it is just one of two “new” projects of the DOF that is designed to be inclusive for every Filipino who wants to save or get a better deal for their money.

Given our love for raffles and risks, the PREMYO bond is certainly culturally connected but better yet is a great stepping stone or hands-on teaching tool for Filipinos to invest on government bonds that provide greater security and stable predictable returns than other financial products and services out there. It’s simple and straightforward and very affordable and gives Filipinos a money-back guarantee after one year. So if you happen to be an employer, family member or community leader who wants to wean your kin and neighbors away from jueteng, “Ending” or lotto, then learn more about PREMYO bonds and teach them so everybody panalo!

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It won’t be long and we might be hearing “ROLLING THUNDER” on our highways when hundreds if not thousands of motorcycle owners and enthusiasts take part in several government sponsored road trips! Yes, you read it right. The government through the Department of Tourism is currently organizing a tourism promotion program centered on motorcycles, both big bikes and under bone category. The idea is to host three major events in the three main islands namely Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao as well as smaller events for smaller bikes such as one day loops around Laguna, Cavite, Batangas and up north.

Spearheaded by Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat and the Tourism Promotions Board of the DOT, the project has invited well-known and respected enthusiasts representing motorcycle clubs and regions. I was told that one of the Luzon runs will be for about five days and four nights and will loop around known and less discovered tourist spots. Aside from giving bikers a chance to do legal rides during the Covid-19 quarantine, the project will direct clients and business to accredited and authorized venues and facilities such as hotels, resorts and restaurants. Given that the number of motorcycle riders and units in the country is already in the millions, the DOT has reason to be confident that if done properly, MOTO-Tourism will surely be a big hit among road trip starved bikers. Oh how I wish I could already enroll for lessons on being a better and safer rider!

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While writing this column I received word from two different friends that they have recently tested positive for Covid-19, with another under quarantine awaiting test results while nursing a fever. This development gives me a feeling that with every month of quarantine, the virus is getting closer and closer to home. Back in March the cases were faceless individuals, then it became government officials I interviewed for work, one of which resulted in me being forced to undergo “home quarantine” weeks before President Duterte applied the rule nationwide. Then it became parents of friends, some of whom died, and now it’s my close friends who are getting hit by COVID-19. Interestingly enough, these are friends whom I have warned, actually told off, for moving around too much. They are either government appointees or businessmen who simply chose to go around instead of relying on technology or using third parties to cover for them. They are simply creatures of habit and like any “bad” habit, we all wait to get hurt or pay a stiff price before we realize the cost. Stay home if you can, it’s not safe out there!

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E-mail: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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