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ROUGH CUTS: Liquor ban lifted: Let’s drink to that!

REALLY there are people who, in spite of their success in life, including their political aspirations, remain grounded. That is, that they are not detached from their community and the people who they have been with.

One such person is Rep. Isidro “Sid” Ungab of Davao City’s third district. We actually have a very limited interaction with the congressman. If at all, there were, these were in connection with our job as a media man, and for years, as an employee of the power distribution company that supplies electricity in Davao City.

Even after our retirement from the Aboitiz-owned electric utility, and our return to the media profession as columnist of this paper, still we hardly had any chance of personally meeting each other.

But this apparent gap in our professional relationship, we have become friends on Facebook, although only recently. Last Friday, while we were scrolling the many posts that we received, we came across his name. We did not have the intention to call him but somehow, our fingers now getting indications of advancing years, accidentally keyed a button on our mobile phone.

We realized, to our chagrin, that it was a dial call to Congressman Ungab. So, we hurriedly keyed another button to stop the connection. But the call was already made. Yet, we were hoping that we would not receive negative reaction from the congressman because we were thinking that our accidental call may have distracted his attention from whatever official function he was doing at that time.

To our surprise however, what we got a few minutes later, was a very humble response from the congressman saying that he was sorry he could not answer my call immediately as he was having a virtual conference with his fellow congressmen members of a committee deliberating on the 2021 proposed national budget.

We actually did not even expect a response from the congressman, or if at all there was any, we were thinking it could be a rebuke. But no. it was not. In fact, as we said earlier, it was a very humble and polite way of advising us that he could not entertain our call because he was in the middle of a committee discussion.

We could only thank the congressman so much.

On a similar vein, we learned also from the same social media platform that another friend, Ms. Susan Palad, had complained of an almost impassable road in her barangay in Subasta, also in the city’s third district.

Susan backed her complaint with photos of the dilapidated road showing that even a 4 x 4 vehicle will have difficulty in negotiating it because of its condition. Our friend was literally showing her virtual surrender of her importuning on having the said barangay road repaired or improved.

But it did not take long for Susan’s post to get a feedback from Congressman Ungab. This time, the third district lawmaker was inquiring from Susan where the road exactly is. We have no doubt of the possibility that the lawmaker will act immediately on her complaint.

Because of that social media interaction, many netizens were quick to post their own complaints on similarly situated roads in their own barangays. In fact there were those who are non-residents of the third district. We can only hope that the immediate response of Congressman Ungab will trigger similar quick reactions from the lawmakers representing the districts where the other complainants come from.

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Now the liquor ban imposed in Davao City starting last March when the entire country was placed in an emergency situation because of the Corona Virus Disease (CoViD) pandemic is already lifted.

The lifting was done starting at 12 noon of last Monday, September 21, 2020. It was announced officially by no less than Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who had earlier promised of such move once she can see that there will be a marked improvement in the reduction of the number of CoViD infection in the city.

And yes, over the last two weeks we had been closely monitoring the reports of new CoViD cases in the city, the number of those who have recovered, and the figure of those who died because of the disease. It was clear that there was a substantial slowdown in the number of Davaoenos tested positive as well as the fast recoveries of a good number of those afflicted. And the number of deaths due to CoViD in the city seems to be static as days went by. So we assume that these were indications enough to make the lady mayor decide that it is about time to let the thousands of liquor drinkers in the city have their day again.

But wait, we are certain the “good news” may not be totally good for the drinkers at all. The mayor has set conditions to those allowed to serve or sell intoxicating drinks. The serving or selling is being limited to two (2) bottles only! And establishments mostly nocturnal like bars and related businesses, are still not allowed to open.

Waaaa! Ngaab tawon ang mga manginomay. Two bottles? It could not even wet their throat. Or, the contents could not even reach their stomach.

We can say this with “authority.” Yes, because we used to be among the many who drink like there is no more tomorrow. We could remember during our younger years. Usually every Friday after office hours, one of our fellow employees in government would open his wallet, fork out a well-folded bill, and offer an invitation for our group to have a “1 for the road” session.

And that is how we start the “One bottle of beer grande” tournament. After consuming the first “1-for the road” comes the 2 for the road, and so on until no more secretly folded bill can be found inside the wallet. After calling our day – or night—some of us ended in a “7 for the canal.” Yes, because of the 7 bottles of beer grande consumed by only four or less among our group, we were already too drunk to drive our motorcycle going home. So there were times that some of us ended in the canal.
Liquor ban lifted now! Let’s drink to that! Beware of the “7 for the canal.”

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