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Empty Words



There’s this new building that is being constructed at the spot where Peña de Francia used to be back in the day. People tell me that the structure is starting to look good. We’re starting to think that it might be some shopping mall or something. If it would be so, that would be nice. It would offer another option to shop that one could just walk to around downtown.


My aunt at the City Engineer’s Office would definitely know something about that. She told us about construction of the new malls. She told us about the President’s housing project; and that we could apply if we wanted to. The staff at the City engineer’s Office probably know about those since the permits go through them. If office staff know about new buildings and those which will be constructed, I suppose the city engineer should also know about them. It would be easy for city councilors to know about them. The same goes for the vice mayor and the mayor.


A couple of decades ago, there was this house in our neighborhood, which obviously sat unfinished along the street. It was of moderate size, with two storeys. It was so prominent and it was so difficult to notice that no one was taking care of it anymore. Word in the street was that the person or persons who had the house built failed to secure the building permits and they had to suspend construction indefinitely. I guess, they ran out of funds among other problems, the house was starting to go to disrepair. It was a modest structure in a residential area. I could not imagine it being commercial in anyway. (Well, they could always use the front area as a sari-sari store.)


My point is even the simplest structures pass through the permission of the local government. So do structures of expansive area. When structures are built and operate in a town or city or province, the local government would and should know about them. Even common folk who notice the construction ask about them.


So, I don’t understand how governors and mayors could claim no knowledge of Pogo hubs in their area, which are of prominently enormous size. Even residential structures have to apply for permits. Buildings like those are clearly not residential. They should know because they simply should. How could they not?


Is there a Pogo hub around us? They say they are strategically built near military camps. Is there an inconspicuous Pogo hub in Pili that we do not know of?


I’m having a hard time to wrap my head around the theory that the hubs are Trojan horses for an eventual Chinese invasion. That’s too James Bond or Mission Impossible. What would China get from invading the Philippines? They would just risk activating mutual defense treaties and incurring more ire from the international community. They could benefit more from us by covertly using our territory and citizens for questionable schemes. But the fact remains that they’re all over the place. Are we really sure that there isn’t any hub in our midst?


Since we established that it would be unbelievable and practically improbable for local government units to have no knowledge of the operation of the hubs in their area, why do they claim they do not have any awareness? That raises many eyebrows.


How did they spread all over the nation in the first place?


Are these part of the Build, Build, build Project that should usher the golden age of infrastructure in the Philippines? If the hubs spread from Luzon across Visayas and Mindanao, then this issue goes beyond the local government. If the governor or mayor should know of what structures are being built in their area, so should the national government. When did these gambling hubs start to operate and branch out? Oh, wait, I first heard of these during the previous administration. Could the head of the state then know all about these when he was in position? We could vaguely remember that he was friends with the Chinese. Maybe, “friends” is too strong a word. Perhaps, at best, the administration was tolerant, or was just playing it safe to protect the nation from an international confrontation.


Could the former President have known of the Pogo hubs being built across the nation and the true nature of their operations? Maybe not. That would be too James Bond or too Mission Impossible. Maybe, just like the mayors and governors, he did not know anything of it.


“Everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” Matthew 12:36

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