October 14, 2004 (STAR) SPY BIZ by S.A. Maguire - A medical doctor who was given a share in this Boracay resort as part of a debt settlement laments the shabby treatment he has been getting from the management. He got the shares four years ago, whereupon he asked for information regarding the resort. His request was repeatedly ignored, and not even a brochure was given him. The doctor is a frequent visitor of Boracay, so during one of his trips, he naturally went to visit the resort, only to be told that he was not a member. The Manila office however assured him that he was a member. On his next visit to the resort the following year, the same episode happened, but this time the staff asked for a membership card. He had none of course, and again the Manila office assured him that he was indeed a member, and promised to send him a membership form which never came. The doctor bore all this, paying for accommodation elsewhere when in fact he is entitled to a free week at the said resort. Imagine therefore his surprise when he received a statement for four year’s dues. It had to take the good old "connect" method for the mess to be elevated to the attention of the chairman, who gave the doctor a 30 percent discount on the "four-year dues" for a resort he could/did not use. The doctor did get a membership card finally, but is not happy about management’s treatment of his case.

Bothersome metal fences

A reader is suggesting the removal of MMDA-installed metal fences in northbound EDSA, right before the Magallanes interchange. The two sets of metal fences aim to separate bus lanes from taxi lanes supposedly to ease the flow of trafic. But after many months, traffic is still as bad since very few taxis use their designated lane. Private vehicles are not allowed to use the taxi lane, so they all have to squeeze into the far-left portion of the highway just to go to Pasay and Magallanes, and even those going to Pasong Tamo. The resulting traffic jam reaches as far as Ayala Avenue, especially during peak hours. Calling the attention of MMDA. Maybe someone should re-assess the practicality of installing those bothersome metal fences.

Crackdown on illegal LPG traders

Several LPG gas dealers associations have banded together to help government operatives crack down on illegal refilling activities by unscrupulous businessmen. Our Ear-spy said that in Tugegarao and Pangasinan, raids on several establishments have resulted in the filing of cases against the owners of the raided establishments for illegal trading and under-filling of LPG. These vultures are preying on hapless consumers who continue to pay rising costs of LPG without knowing that the cylinders are under-filled. Aside from sabotaging the economy, these illegal activities also pose a danger to the consumers. Statistics from the Bureau of Fire Protection revealed that more than 500 fires during the past few years have been attributed to defective cylinders. Despite concerted efforts by the DTI, DoE, NBI and CIDG, insiders say these unscrupulous businessmen continue their operations even while serving punishment. Maybe the government should work double time to finally stop these dishonest traders.

The listening post: Protest from a Princess

With the anticipated visit of a high-profile Princess from the French Riviera soon upon us, high society is gearing up for the most glamorous 2004 glitterati event of Philippine society. The Princess will arrive in a private jet accompanied by her Prince husband, who is 12th in line to the British crown. The Princess’ official agenda is to visit a home for disadvantaged children that she helped build. Not known to many, our Society Spy-ring informed us that that the Princess has been giving donations for the benefit of Metro Manila’s street children. She is a major donor of Virlanie Foundation, an NGO established in 1992 for the benefit of underprivileged children in need of shelter, medical, social and psychiatric services. Two high-society doyennes are being asked to co-chair the committee for the Princess’ visit–Chito Madrigal Collantes and Imelda Cojuangco. According to the Man from Cavendish, what is not known to high society is her unofficial top-secret agenda. The Princess plans to show up at a well-known freeport zone to highlight the pollution caused by visiting ships and other factories. She is a known supporter of environmentalist causes in Europe. She even wrote to President George W. Bush last year lamenting the "tragic failure" of the American military to rid the former US military bases of hazardous wastes before it left in 1991. She also urged him to promptly instigate procedures "to remedy the dangerous condition" in which Filipino toxic waste victims are living. "Let the Embassy-by-the-Sea be forewarned," said Cavendish. With their relations with France still uncertain, a prominent protest against visiting warships might not be good for the Republican campaign toward the final stretch of the US presidential elections. Perhaps, four more years of George W. Bush could be too big a pea for the Princess’ comfort.

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Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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