Rant-free-A A +A
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
I LIKED fellow scribbler Jun Ledesma's notion the other day of there being an Island of Amnesia. Jun was debating whether it was the repository of some DPWH heavy gear promised to Davao long ago which never arrived (No Jun, it's probably on 'loan' somewhere digging out private swimming pools or constructing politician's mansions). I thought about enlarging on the theme - an Amnesia Island being where electioneering promises end up; where Davao's genuinely useful ordinances and resolutions find their way; where all those odd socks must be, but I won't - the cybercrime ogre is reading over my shoulder, have to be careful.
Note, though, that the Isle of Amnesia is obviously the birthplace of whoever runs Philhealth because they've forgotten that in the past twenty years Davao's population has doubled and that the urban sprawl has sprawled five-fold. Their brand-new headquarters off Magellanes, a building meant to serve the swarming public, is actually smaller than Philhealth's old premises out on Quimpo Boulevard, Ecoland way.
No? So why are there help desks out in the yard? Why is much of the customer seating out there as well? Where's the open space we payees used to conga our way around queuing up to pay the cashier - two on duty if we were lucky?
From outside the building looks impressively large. Bags of room but wait, isn't that a ground floor of lock-ups to be rented out to small businesses? This is Philippine governmental agency thinking at its best; spend millions on a new headquarters but rather than cater for the comfort and convenience of the paying customer let's make a bit of profit. Why, oh why, didn't Philhealth keep the old building on Quimpo Boulevard to serve the southern part of the city with the new headquarters serving the north?
The weather now, there's been quite a bit about lately, and I expect many of you have had on eye on ABS-CBN or GMA's early evening local weather forecasts and which, let's be honest, are bad beyond belief. ABS-CBN's I'll pass with a shudder. GMA's is a tad more clear but please, please ask the Pagasa guy to black-line the Philippines on his weather satellite images - there's the rain, there's the cloud but where's us? An insipid blue line against the blue of the ocean.
Now turn to Solar News Channel which, a little later in the evening, has a wonderful weather forecast. No piddley hard-to-see computer screen - here's a wall-sized image showing the whole archipelago. Decent computer animation, a lucid commentary, a whole-screen animated five-day forecast and, best of all, no idiot questions from anchor people - Sir, that cloud over Palau - might it develop into a super-typhoon?
Sunday last Mags Maglana in a column entitled 'Na-bar down' described the phrase 'bar-down' as meaning 'The effects of the snapping or crashing down of the timber used to shore up tunnels in small-scale mining'. Not so Mags. To bar down means to make safe the roof of a tunnel or working face by levering down, by barring down, loose pieces of ceiling rock. You use a pinch bar, a five or six-foot-long substantial iron bar, usually an old drill steel pointed at one end, flattened at the other. And, I can add, the loosened slabs crash at your feet with a most satisfying 'whump'.
Lastly lastly, before I forget, November last I had a few words to say on the apparent five-minute wonder of photo-walks but the idea stuck and eventually I invented the photo-bike. You can see the results of my first trundle over on www. covingtonsdavao.blogspot.com.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 30, 2013.