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Rated X

By: Jullie Y. Daza

WHO’D think that in the Philippines, watching the news on TV earns a rating of PG, parental guidance recommended?

After the hearings on shabu smuggling and minors getting killed, and live coverage of the battle for Marawi, should parents now impose an X rating at home?

The news is not only bad, it’s terrible, so awful that even I have to stand up sometimes to get away from the TV, or close my eyes and cover my ears. It may be good “training” to inure the kids to the “real world of big bad people out there,” but childhood is too short and drifts away too soon for them to lose their innocence, so I do not blame young people for avoiding news that’s shamelessly political, boringly irrelevant, or else actually frightening.

Speaking of young people, how much news does newsmaker Mark Taguba watch? Marked as a broker and fixer in the august halls of Congress, the 26-year-old who still wears his baby fat on his cheeks has us wondering about his calling and mission. A congressman tagged him a hero for his courage to come forth, testify, and name names (mostly nicknames, first names, aliases) to ferret out the truth about the not-so-mysterious smuggling of 890 kg of shabu. Another cautioned him against telling mixed-up versions of his “facts.” In the Senate, his testimony cast no light but highlighted a tiff between two senators until a third – alas, it wasn’t the senator-pugilist! – pulled them apart, the way the referee does it in the ring.

Mark Taguba is a boy wonder. His father, said to be an old hand in Customs, must be proud of the way Mark has built a reputation that allows him to casually pass a million or two to strangers known to him by their pet names only. As a DoF pencil pusher calculated how BoC loses R15 billion yearly to the “tara” system, I waited on the edge of my seat to hear how many percent of that would end up in a broker-fixer’s bank account. But, nobody was eager to crunch more numbers.

Is Mark Taguba a good son and provider? Listening to his enumeration of Jacks and Smalls and Tita Nanies, should we envious taxpayers ask BIR to look into his ITR for tax year 2016? In the next hearings, should we allow the impressionable minors at home to hear him and be fascinated by his example, as in X-rated?

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