Monday, December 11, 2023

Delivering Stories of Progress


FIRING LINE: Chocolate dollar bills

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

Caught on camera supposedly swallowing dollar bills stolen from a Chinese passenger’s wallet, the lady scanner of the Office of Transportation Security (OTS) has filed a counter-affidavit to insist she was eating chocolates at the time.

That’s nothing short of an insult to our intelligence. One-hundred-dollar bills don’t at all taste a hint of cocoa. You can ask a young boy, who’ll tell you it comes in chocolate gold coins! I thought she would pull off a magic trick the next day and show on TikTok how the bills came into her body as dollars and came out in pesos.

Seriously, hija, your diet is neither safe nor healthy nor financially responsible. Swallowing bills or eating sweets by shoving them with your finger down your throat, followed by a gulp of water, is not how anyone I know enjoys chocolate.

This absurdity has shocked us and Transportation Secretary Jimmy Bautista, who seems more ashamed of the seriousness of the situation at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) than the OTS ever will.

NAIA is the country’s premier gateway, and this incident is so disgraceful that it reflects not just upon the airport but also on Filipinos.

The question remains: Who stole the money, and who should be held accountable? Here’s another idea: Maybe we should ask Vice President Sara Duterte if this is what’s being done with confidential and intelligence funds – eat it and shut up.

Calls have been made left and right for maximum penalties against the lady scanner, not a slap-on-the-wrist suspension to send a clear message that this behavior will not be tolerated.

Let’s hope this incident serves as a wake-up call for those responsible and a reminder that our airports deserve better than this.

Barangay talk

With the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE 2023) drawing near, I have to ask these nagging questions sent to Firing Line that I cannot answer myself:

First, Mayor Joy Belmonte, how true is it that within our District 3 here in Quezon City, there is a barangay that facilitates the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers or TUPAD program quite peculiarly. Some claim that the 60-day contract for light work like street sweeping is only offered for 15 days because once they signed up, the first 15 days of salaries have already been marked as claimed.

In Valenzuela City, how true is it, Mayor Wes Gatchalian, that a big barangay in District 2 has a bet for a chairman who, along with his council candidates, has been meeting community leaders and voters behind closed doors with their cellphones temporarily confiscated while vote-buying is being arranged? I heard the budget of “Mr. Candidate for Chairman” is P10 million.

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