‘Who pushed me?’

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

There was a millionaire who had the best cattle, the most money and the most beautiful wife in the state. He would hold a lavish poolside birthday party open to all and every year, he would declare that anyone who can swim across his pool and not get eaten by hungry crocodiles could have any of his three prized possessions.

Just after making the announcement there was a loud splash at the far end of the pool and everyone could see a man swimming past snapping crocodiles slashing through his clothes. The man finally jumped out right in front of the millionaire, who was both amazed and sad to see the man survive the ordeal. Being a man of his word the millionaire said: “Well, what will it be, my cattle, my money, or my beautiful wife?”

The man said, “I don’t want no cattle and I have no need of your money nor do I wish to take your wife. I just want the guy who pushed me!”

That joke seems to be such a timely joke given how many people are being pushed, prodded or encouraged by others to enter the political Arena. Yes, that’s Arena with a capital A because anyone foolhardy enough to get into politics is doing exactly what the mythical swimmer did: Swim past crocodiles for the sake of property, money or sex in the form of power. I am glad that Kabayan Noli de Castro has decided to pull out of the senatorial race, considering he has nothing more to prove in politics and the fact that he has always been more effective as a senior broadcaster. In the same manner, Senator Bong Revilla was diplomatic enough to politely decline the kiss of political death when invited to run for president.

All this, of course, pales in comparison to the biblical version of someone being pushed to death by his own comrades and king. Yes, the Bible has some nasty political tales that make today’s politicians look like saints. Look up Uriah the Hittite who was a loyal warrior of King David and husband to the adulterous Bathsheba. While Uriah was busy in the frontline, King David spotted Bathsheba, had an adulterous affair resulting in pregnancy, so David gets Uriah to go on home leave, hoping the couple would have sex and fix the potential mystery pregnancy.

But Uriah turns out to be loyal to his band of brothers and denies himself and sleeps outside his home. Frustrated, King David secretly orders his chief general to send Uriah into the hottest hot zone in the battlefield and abandon him to be slaughtered, which is what happened.

The lesson is never let anyone push you forward while they use you as a shield or to get the most cattle, the most money and the beautiful woman while you put medicine on your wounds!

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After writing a short piece on smuggled Ferraris and luxury European automobiles being offered to affluent individuals, I received an unconfirmed/unverified tip about 54 units of different Ferrari models reportedly being offered to congressmen, private collectors and children of lesser gods in the Philippines.

It seems that the primary target market or interested buyers are legislators who are confident that they have enough clout and ability to protect themselves from the Department of Finance, Bureau of Customs and the LTO/ Highway Patrol Group. Given the details we’ve put together, it seems unlikely that the tip is fake news. More likely that someone in the gray market got cut out of the business or is unhappy that certain legislators have ruined their low-key lucrative business.

Based on two different sources, the Ferraris now waiting for their future owners are two units of Ferrari 458 Speciale; one unit Ferrari Speciale Aperta; one unit 488 Spider; two units La Ferrari; 40 units Ferrari PISTA; two units Ferrari PISTA Piloti; five units Ferrari 812 Superfast; one unit Ferrari 812 GTS Novitec; 12 units F8 Tributo; 12 units SF90. The grand total is 78 units!

There are enough of people on “Revenge Buying Mode;” the question is, will they simply risk driving their Ferraris with the protection of police back ups and motorcycle escorts or will these luxury cars be subject to adjusted and friendly tax settlements much later when they have made even more money during the campaign?

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One year and seven months after the arrival of COVID-19 in the Philippines, there is no audit or research done to determine how many tourism-related businesses have downsized their operations, suspended operations, shifted or changed their business model, were foreclosed by banks and lending institutions and how many have been sold to bigger organizations or politicians currently legitimizing or laundering their ill gotten wealth.

Many small and medium tourism enterprises face the daily challenge and cost of operations where allowed, while being strangled with interest charges and how to pay off loans made during the pre-pandemic tourism boom! Officials have automatically pointed business owners to SB Corp or the government lending institution, saying the terms are so generous that it equates to government aid and debt relief.

NO it is not! The last thing a drowning person wants to hear is people shouting “Use your arms... kick.. kick!” They need help, not directions to nearest government lending institutions. We need to get the data in order to prioritize concerns and address their problems to ensure that people who invested so much time, money and effort and who have an enormous wealth of knowledge and experience don’t simply pack up and leave the industry.

The efforts of the DOT to get workers vaccinated and try to convince LGUs to open up have been commendable. But we need to determine just how much tourism activity must be generated, what is the minimum traffic and number of guests and bookings that every LGU must allow to insure that the industry does not collapse.

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E-mail: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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