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Don’t nominate, we’ll just donate

“In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference.” Rachel Carson

By Alex P. Vidal

Please don’t nominate us for the ice bucket challenge.

We will just donate.

If we feel like participating in the promotion of awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research, all we need to do is donate cash.

No public announcement.

No ice dropping demonstration.

No self-congratulatory video gimmick that focuses primarily on fun while others are watching, giggling and cheering for all the world to witness.

We find the challenge as a clear example of substituting a trivial activity for more genuine involvement in charitable activities.

We may sound like killjoy to excited ice bucket enthusiasts, but if our intention is golden, just donate.

Don’t procrastinate. Don’t celebrate!

Let’s go straight to the point. We don’t need to dump cold water on our heads if our intention is purely to raise money for charity.

The challenge may have adverse health effects on participants, especially adults like Justice Secretary Leila De Lima (Et tu, Leila?).

FEVER

What if we have typhoid fever and other respiratory ailments that prohibit us from getting wet?

Instead of helping solve the problem on ALS, we could end up the ones shaking and trembling in the emergency room.

And find ourselves the recipients of cash donations from friends instead of the ALS research.

Experts have already warned of the potentially inducing vagal response which might, for example, lead to unconsciousness in people taking blood pressure medications.

In many places where the challenge was recently practiced, a number of participants have sustained injuries but were not all reported in media.

Sources said at least one death has been linked to the challenge, with another thought to be from a variation on the challenge, jumping feet first into water.

WASTE

We can’t waste water only for this instant pop culture phenomenon and brief videoed spectacle.

Ilonggos are saddled by water crisis owing to the recent furor involving the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) and the FLO Water Resources, Inc. headed by Bombo Radyo tycoon Rogelio Florete Jr.

It’s an insult to MIWD consumers to waste water in the challenge when there is no drop of liquid in the buckets and others can’t take a bath and drink potable water on time.

We can’t afford to be insensitive during the crisis.

When water utilities and their bulk water providers are at loggerheads, water becomes a premium.

And we need to save every drop of water specifically for the household use. Not for celluloid gimmicks.

The problem is we are easily smitten by almost all the myopic activities that emanate from the Western world.

COPY

And we are good in copying them—for fun first; and, perhaps, for charity second.

We are always guilty of gaya-gaya or sunod-sunod or copycat. We lack the originality. Many of us have become poor trying hard copycats.

And we also drag our senior citizens in this slapdash challenge without any regard to their safety and health.

We have enough of such water-related gimmickry in the Philippines.

In our barangay (village) in Iloilo City where we celebrate the Feast of St. John The Baptist every 24th of June, we splash water on friends and passer-bys, and participate in different games.

We line up on every street and alleys with water guns in hand early in the morning and “shoot” the first “victims” spotted walking or passing by.

We do it with fun and excitement since time immemorial, but for purposes of religious celebration and festivity as part of our culture and tradition, not to raise funds for charity or research.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

SC verdict on ‘hulbot-hulbot’ ban a big win for Defensor

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”
Henry David Thoreau

By Alex P. Vidal

We are glad that Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. also mentioned, albeit briefly, in his State of the Province Address (Sopa) the recent Supreme Court decision that affirmed the ban on hulbot-hulbot not only in Iloilo, but also off the coasts all over the archipelago.
In a move to protect the country’s natural marine resources, Defensor pledged for the total ban of hulbot-hulbot early in 2013.
“Recently, our Supreme Court affirmed the validity of Fishery Administrative Order 246 banning the operation of the super hulbots or the modified Danish seine. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources issued this upon our prodding,” Defensor declared in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) Session Hall August 26.
“Our Bantay Dagat has relentlessly campaigned against this destructive fishing method. I have already called a coordination meeting among enforcement agencies like the BFAR, the Philippine Coast Guard and the Maritime Command to work together and enforce FAO 246 to the letter.”

UNKNOWN

Unknown to most people all over the country, it was Defensor who goaded Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala to issue an order banning hulbot-bulbot or Danish seine fishing in the Philippine waters.
Alcala thus signed Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 246, series of 2013, banning Danish seine and modified Danish seine on September 12, 2013.
Danish seine fishing involves throwing a large rock tied to a net into the sea and dragging it underwater.
The method destroys the country’s marine resources, warned the Iloilo governor, who was regularly briefed by Provincial Administrator Raul Banas, a former mayor of Concepcion, a coastal town in northern Iloilo where illegal fishing has been rampant.
Section 2 of the FAO 246 provides that “it shall be unlawful for any person to operate municipal and commercial fishing boats using Danish seine and Modified Danish seine in catching fish in Philippine waters.”
Persons, associations, cooperatives, partnerships or corporation engaged in Danish seine have six months from the effectively of the order to restructure or convert the same to other legitimate fishing gears.
Violation of the order will face imprisonment from two to ten years and a fine not less than P100,000 to P500,000 or both fine and imprisonment. The boat and gear will also be confiscated.

ALLOWED

Before the issuance of FAO 246, the Bureau in Fisheries Administrative Order No. 222, series of 2003, allowed the operation of modified Danish seine in waters beyond 15 kilometers from the shoreline of any municipality.
However, it was learned that it shall not use tom weights or any method or accessories that can destroy coral reefs, sea grass beds and other marine habitats.
The minimum mesh size of the net shall not also be less than three centimeters, it was learned further.
This fishing gear, also known as palisot, pasangko, bira-bira, hulahoop, is a fishing device which consistis of a conical shaped net with a pair of wings, the ends of which are connected to two ropes with buri, plastic strips or any similar material to serve as scaring/herding device with hauling ropes passing through a metallic ring permanently attached to a tom weight (linggote) when hauled into a fishing boat.
Hulbot-hulbot is now officially banned off the Philippines coasts and our coral reefs and sea grass beds will not be spared from its mayhem.
For this, we doff our hats off to Secretary Alcala, Governor Defensor, the Supreme Court, the BFAD, our law enforcers at sea and all those who risked their lives and livelihood to nip hulbot-hulbot in the bud.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

We tolerate corrupt leaders

“Money and corruption are ruining the land, crooked politicians betray the working man, pocketing the profits and treating us like sheep, and we’re tired of hearing promises that we know they’ll never keep.” Ray Davies

By Alex P. Vidal

No Ilonggo politician has been jailed for graft and corruption.
But many politicians from Western Visayas have pending cases in the Office of the Ombudsman.
Some of them have already retired or still active in public service, while some have already died.
There has been no conviction in the P125-million Pavia Housing scam in Pavia, Iloilo committed by prominent characters in Iloilo city government more than 10 years ago, but some of the accused are already dead if not retired.
Most of those facing graft charges normally belong to the opposition and their cases are the ones being expedited if the administration considers them as threats in the next elections.
While cases against the opposition are prioritized and tackled like a speed of light, cases filed against politicians allied with the administration gather cobwebs and may never even be remembered until the changing of the guards in the Office of the Ombudsman, when the next president takes over the helm of the Malacanang.

BELIEVE

That’s why we don’t believe that Senate President Franklin Drilon of Molo, Iloilo City will be jailed for graft and corruption.
We don’t believe that the graft cases filed against him by his former Twitter account handler, Manuel “Boy M” Mejorada for the alleged overpricing of Iloilo Esplanade, etecetera; and former TESDA chief Augusto “Buboy” Syjuco for alleged overpricing of the Iloilo Hall of Justice, etcetera will ever reach first base.
Drilon is one of the most powerful personalities in the administration of President Benigno “Noynoy” S. Aquino III today; the most influential honco in the kingdom of the Liberal Party.
As the third highest official of the country, Drilon enjoys the protection of no less than the President and his cabal which are also die-hard LP stalwarts.
He is even one of their rumored candidates for vice president in the 2016 elections.
The Office of the Ombudsman, as a quasi-judicial body, can never claim independence from Malacanang if it allows itself to be used as a tool by the Malacanang to persecute those identified with the opposition, but is lenient to those identified with the administration.

TOLERATE

The Philippines is probably one of the countries in Asia, if not the world, that tolerates and even elects into office corrupt politicians.
Even if many of the rumored aspirants for the highest positions in the country are tainted in the imbroglio related to misuse of pork barrel funds and other graft and corruption scandals, Filipinos are still willing to give them mandates in 2016.
Even if the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee will establish the guilt of the Binays in the multi-billion Makati parking space scandal, Vice President Jejomar Binay will remain as the leading aspirant for the presidency of the country two years from now.
Binay is extremely popular in Western Visayas, including in Capiz, the bailiwick of DILG Secretary Mar Roxas.
So many politicians in Iloilo, Negros, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Guimaras have shifted allegiance to Binay. And their numbers are growing by leaps and bounds.

DIMINISH

For these local politicians, graft and corruption issue will never diminish the vice president’s chances in 2016.
We continue to tolerate and elect into office even the worst politicians. That’s why we deteriorate as a nation. Corruption eats up the very foundation of our socio-political sphere.
The practical difficulty surrounding the effort to get rid of corruption is enormous. It comes from all sides. The biggest is the obstacles arising from a corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy, warned Syed Hussein Alatas, in his book, “Corruption and the Destiny of Asia.”
Any effort to correct injustice and reduce the suffering of the victims should be attempted however limited its success may be. The experience itself is valuable and revealing, explained Alatas.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Motel crimes could be poverty-related

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
Frederick Douglass

By Alex P. Vidal

Poverty remains to be the number one source of depression among the Filipinos.
Even the Ilonggos in Western Visayas face the grim task of how to arrest and, perhaps, reverse the trend now that the National Statistics Coordinating Board (NSCB) has confirmed that Western Visayas economy has slowed down in 2013 due to a substantial slump in the agriculture hunting and forestry and fishing (AHFF) industry.
If economic analysts will go beyond air-conditioned rooms, they can see the gnawing reality; many sectors in society are still very much saddled by financial woes.
A big chunk of the hoi polloi still can’t prepare a decent meal on the table for their families.
Violent domestic spats, health problems and gradual deterioration of the quality of life can be traced to this social malaise.
When there is nothing to eat during meal time, moods change, blood pressures increase, tempers flare up.
Crime and violence become the order of the day.

OPPORTUNITIES

Unemployment and lack of opportunities to wiggle out from dire straits are among the biggest stumbling blocks in a Filipino’s quest to live a normal life and maintain a peace of mind.
As a philosophical theory, existentialism is supposedly an approach that emphasizes our existence as a free and responsible agent determining our own development through acts of the will.
Many major cities and provinces are still infested with crime elements engaged in nefarious activities—all related to poverty.
The case of a despondent mother who recently hanged herself after killing her three-year-old child in a Bacolod City motel may be dismissed as a mental health issue on the part of the mother, but poverty may have driven her to commit the twin macabre crimes.
Some of the reasons why humans kill each other–especially their own relatives–are: 1. Either they are mentally disturbed; 2. Property dispute; 3. Crime of passion motivated jealousy; 4. War among kingdoms, territories, countries; 5. Extreme hopelessness due to poverty.

-o0o-

The letter addressed to Capiz Gov. Victor A. Tanco and Vice Gov. Esteban Evan B. Contreras and signed by two leaders of the Christian fellowships in Capiz and Iloilo regarding the P500 Million Yolanda Rehabilitation Fund, is an evidence that not everything is well in as far as the distribution or non-distribution of calamity funds for the super typhoon that ravaged parts of the provinces of Capiz and Iloilo is concerned.
That politics, as usual, reared its ugly head once more even if it involved the welfare of the people.
“Our warmest greetings to you all and the hardworking women and men of the Capiz Provincial Government.
“It is with the highest esteem that we reach out to you in this moment of confusion, sadness and disappointment. All these, as we have since supported your beliefs that a public office is a public trust.
“Mr. Governor, Vice Governor and our honorable board members, we are however deeply moved, even embarrassed, on the latest media report to hit our province. And this is in reference to the news about the P500 Million Yolanda Rehabilitation Fund for the damaged school buildings here.
Like the rest of our Christian-faithful, we ask, what is going on with the implementation of these relief programs of the National Government?
“Why is this happening to our province when we know that your administration is committed to delivering much-needed rehabilitation works? How can this happen to the detriment of our thousands of schoolchildren who up to today suffer from undelivered promises? How true that all these happened because of intervention of our beloved Congressman Tony Del Rosario? How true that all these were known by the hierarchy of the Department of Education particularly by Undersecretary Valera?
“We implore from your good office to please heed our call for action and corresponding investigation. We need to have the people behind this be held accountable.
“We implore from your good office to please make public the reasons why this delay even happened. We entirely depend on both your Executive Office and our Legislative Branch—our Capiz Provincial Board to shed light on this matter.
Yours in pursuit of genuine service to the people.
Suplicio P. Morales Jr., Capiz Baptist Minister Association, Province of Capiz; Rev. Ramon E. Plaza, Evangelical Minister Fellowship of Iloilo City, Iloilo City. Signed August 20, 2014.”

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Sex workers can’t change career overnight

“I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy.” Steve Martin

By Alex P. Vidal

Sex workers are not supposed to beg for customers openly in public like beggars and street children.
It’s the job of their pimps to look for clients so they can negotiate for higher pay and be protected from abusive patrons.
The pimps do the selling and talking, while the sex workers or prostituted men and women do both the soft and hard labor.
And this should be done secretly or in places not frequented by minors.
Aside from being illegal, prostitution also scandalizes the women. It assaults the woman’s moral fabric and degrades her person.
But this was not the case in Iloilo City.
Since last year, we’ve noticed that sex workers, some of them minors, have scattered right there in the vicinity of the historic Calle Real in downtown, City Proper from 9 o’clock in the evening up.
They personally approached males who passed by the dark sidewalks in the intersections of Ledesma and Valeria Sts., Ledesma and Quezon Sts., and in alleys within the Plazoleta Gay rotunda.
The more aggressive of those “pink ladies” acted as pimps for themselves, blocking male pedestrians and proposing to perform sexual services for a certain amount.

HOMOSEXUALS

Sex workers in this area included homosexuals disguised as women.
They have virtually transformed Calle Real into a large prostitution market.
Some taxi, jeepney, tricycle and pedicab drivers, as well as sidewalk vendors, also sometimes dabbled as their pimps.
They scattered and disappeared temporarily when patrol cars passed by. And back again. Even barangay officials in these areas did nothing to stop them.
These transient commercial workers have become the eye sores in Calle Real. Sexual acts were sometimes performed in “standing position” nearby for a quickie. Fees ranged from P200 to P600 for “instant action.” The amount increased if the client took the sex worker to the motel.
Efforts to round them up last year and prevent them from selling their bodies openly by teaching them skills and livelihood training proved futile.
The Task Force on Moral Values Formation (TFMVF) trained them to make soap, household and personal products, and how to process fish, meat and other food they could sell.
Lack of funds failed to sustain the training as they did not get a small capital to start a livelihood as promised by the city hall.

ORDINANCE

Now that the city council has approved an ordinance which prohibits public solicitation for sex, authorities will now have the reason to lower the boom on them.
The ordinance was approved during the regular session of the city council August 19. The ordinance also covers the pimps or handler or anyone who offers sex for money in public.
It prohibits any person “to transact, engage, perform, portray and display any lascivious conduct before the public.”
Penalties for violation are: First Offense – a fine of P1,000 or imprisonment of 15 days at minimum to 30 days at maximum, or both fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court, and undergo moral counselling by a competent government agency like DSWD;
Second Offense – a fine of P2,000 or imprisonment of one month and one day to six months, or both fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court, and undergo moral counseling by a competent government agency like DSWD; and
Third and subsequent offense – a fine of P3,000 or imprisonment of six months and one day to one year, or both fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court, and undergo moral counseling by a competent government agency like DSWD.
We expect sex workers and their pimps to feel the heat and embrace a more decent livelihood that will not endanger public health and morals.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Salaries of city hall big cats

“Salary stories are intrusive. Do you ask your neighbour what they earn for their job?”
Nicole Kidman

By Alex P. Vidal

We were surprised to learn from the piece of paper recently posted by lawyer-journalist Pet Melliza on his blog that some of Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog’s most active and deserving executive assistants are receiving only paltry salaries, while some of those who can’t be considered as assets in his administration are getting huge monthly pays.
We don’t question the amount that these subalterns receive since they are supposedly inherently specified in the plantilla duly authorized under the law.
The paper did not have the signature of any authorized city hall official, but we presumed its contents were correct since it was presented to public by a very credible lawyer and journalist, my colleague in media for more than 20 years.
Jeffrey Celiz (executive assistant on political affairs) and Fernando Jose “Boyet” Rico (executive assistant on barangay affairs) are two of the most diligent, vocal and active members of city hall’s executive branch, yet their salaries are not even half of those being enjoyed by some of their peers.
The big cats swallow the lion’s share of the total salaries appropriated for all executive assistants, Mabilog’s appointed officials who hold co-terminus positions.

RISK

Celiz, who risked his life and limbs as Mabilog’s spokesperson and “shock absorber” especially during elections, gets only P23,044 a month, far cry from the P58,028 monthly pay of city administrator Norlito Bautista, who is not as gutsy and as tough as Celiz when it comes to “biting the bullets” and “eating the punches” of Mabilog’s political and media adversaries.
No one among Mabilog’s executive assistants–not even Bautista–is as intrepid and as passionate compared to Celiz when it comes to doing his assigned tasks.
In fact, among the soldiers of Mabilog, Celiz tops the list as the most harassed, the most ridiculed, the most maligned, and the most dedicated.
No one among the members of Mabilog’s political family has incurred voluminous scars inflicted on Celiz in his many no-holds-barred skirmishes with Mabilog’s political enemies.
If Julius Caesar had Mark Antony, Mabilog has Celiz.
And Celiz knows who are the potential Brutuses and Cassiuses in his boss’ backyard.
With all his talent, dedication and sacrifices, Celiz should get more than P23,044 a month.
Boyet Rico suffers the most—when it comes to “unequal distribution of wealth”, so to speak.

CHIEF

The former village chief of Housing, Mandurriao, who is Mabilog’s confidante and liaison to all barangay officials—chiefs and councilors—is receiving only, would you believe, P15,081 a month.
Almost less than half of what Engr. Romeo “Boy” Paloma III (executive assistant on barangay projects) receives at P37,376 a month.
Rico, who comes from the city’s illustrious political clan whose members have carved a niche in public service since the post-war era, is also the most maligned like Celiz.
His salary obviously isn’t commensurate with the scope of his responsibility which covers the city’s 180 barangays.
Among all of Mabilog’s executive assistants, Rico is the most active especially in promoting barangay-level programs and projects implemented by the city government in the social media.
While other co-terminus officials are either too shy or too lazy to post some of Mabilog’s community outreach programs, barangay symposia and other related activities in social media, Rico almost always overloads his Facebook account with these events.
Rico, who was recently bruised by an ugly canard that emanated from city hall’s inner chamber, deserves more than what he gets like Celiz.

INTERNET

With the advent of technology and internet, political propaganda has shifted from the mainstream to the social media.
We’ve seen how Mabilog feverishly struggled to promote his programs, activities and projects and patiently answered critics in his interactions with both foes and allies in the Facebook.
Where were the overfed co-terminus knights while the king was single-handedly thwarting attackers of the castle in this new battlefield?
Ilonggos will know who are those who deserve gargantuan pays and those who don’t according to their performances and tasks.
Atty. Daniel Dinopol (city legal officer), P58,028/month; Jess Sio (assistant department head), P49,750/month; Dr. Perla Zulueta (executive assistant on finance), P42,652/month; Victor Facultad (building administrator), P42,652/month; Ely Estante (executive assistant on markets), P42,652/month; Erwin Plagata (executive assistant on medical services), P42,652/month; Dominador Coo (executive assistant on tourism), P36,567/month; Norma Jimenea (social services), P29,025/month; Ariel Castaneda (political affairs), P29,025/month; Jay Victor Mabilog (executive assistant), P29,028; Dr. Guillermo de la Llana (mentally-ill), P25,161/month; Patrick Alan Sy (dengue concerns), P23,044/month; Felix Muchada Sr. (security), P23,044; Melchor Tan (barangay special), P23,044/month; Mitch Antiquena (water system); P23,044; and Hector Alejano (environment concerns), P16,292.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Can Floyd and Pacman play together in PBA?

By Alex P. Vidal

Can the two feuding members of the Supreme Court work together harmoniously?
Can Floyd Mayweather Jr. be an effective basketball player if he is allowed to play in the PBA with Manny Pacquiao as his coach in the team?
This is the dilemma our higher court is facing today now that Ilonggo lawyer Francis H. Jardeleza has been appointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III as associate justice of the Supreme Court.
Jardeleza’s ascension to the higher court had to pass through the proverbial hole of the needle after his nomination was earlier blocked by no less than Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, who chaired the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
JBC recommends to the President the final names in the shortlist.
Jardeleza’s name had been scratched out earlier due to the opposition of Sereno, a fellow former faculty member of the University of the Philippines College of Law.
The Ilonggo jurist had to fight tooth and nail before he was given the appointment paper by President Aquino last August 19, shortly after winning his case in the Supreme Court that compelled the JBC to reinstate his name again.

****

It’s always difficult to convict an accused in a criminal case because the prosecutor has to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
If there is doubt, you acquit, is the standard legal maxim of court judges.
This seemed to be what happened in the case of murdered rebel returnee, Romeo “Ka Romy” Capalla of Oton, Iloilo.
The case police filed against suspect Julie Cabino and four other John Does, was recently dismissed by the provincial prosecutor’s office for lack of evidence.
“From all indications, it would show that respondent Cabino was not the same person who acted as back-up in the killing of Capalla. The identity of the perpetrator is a must to secure criminal conviction,” ruled Prosecutor Bernabe Dusaban.

REAL MCCOYS

If Gabino, et al were not the real McCoys, who killed Ka Romy?
It’s disturbing that a high-profile personality like Ka Romy can’t get justice after being murdered like an animal.
If this can happen to a former top-ranked rebel who has returned to the fold of the law, what are the chances of other lowly rebel returnees who are also facing a similar danger in their lives?
Ka Romy, 65, was shot to death by two gunmen on March 15, 2014 in front of the Oton public market.
The assailants were reportedly backed up by three motorcycle-riding cohorts. The five fled going to Tigbauan town, witnesses said.
Ka Romy died from two gunshot wounds on the head.
He was a commander of the Corazon Chiva “Waling-Waling” Command of the New People’s Army’s (NPA) Komiteng Rehiyon Panay in the late 1970s to the early 1980s.

ARREST

Ka Romy was arrested by authorities in August 2005 for his alleged involvement in the setting on fire a construction firm’s facility in Guimbal, Iloilo in 2004.
After spending 32 days in detention, he was released when the court ruled there was no sufficient evidence to pin him down.
Ka Romy was the brother of retired Archbishop Fernando and was the director of the Panay Fair Trade Center (PFTC), a private firm that helps small farmers in Panay Island, at the time of his murder.
PFTC buys agricultural products such as banana chips, muscovado (brown) sugar and ginger tea, and exports these to Europe and the United States.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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