Etchos and eklavu

Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was published in the Business Mirror’s August 26, 2009 edition, page A6

I was surfing channels when I chanced upon what looked like Cristy Fermin and Boy Abunda on “The Buzz.”  But Fermin isn’t in that show anymore and Abunda looked like he overdosed on glutathione.

Something is wrong with the picture, I thought.  So I ran to the wife for help.

“Sweetheart, Boy Abunda turned white,” I said.

“Idiot!” she exclaimed. “That’s not Boy Abunda, that’s Gary Olivar, the presidential economics spokesperson, justifying Gloria’s lavish dinner at Le Cirque.”

“But why is Cristy Fermin sitting beside him?”

“That’s not Cristy Fermin, that’s Cerge Remonde!”

I felt so stupid, fooled by doppelgangers.

To save face, I told the wife, “In that case, could you please turn up the volume so we can hear what they are saying?”

“I’ve got better things to do than listen to etchoseras (bullshitters, in gay speak),” she said.

I had nothing better to do so I listened to the etchoseras.

Gary Olivar was talking about Gloria Arroyo’s pasalubong to the nation.

“You are looking at US$6 billion (the amount Gloria claims she brought home), very rough estimate. That’s about 312,000 dinners at Le Cirque.”

“Honey,” I cried out. “Gary Olivar just introduced a new unit of value!”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“He announced that Gloria Arroyo’s trip to the US was well worth the expense because she brought home about 312,000 dinners at Le Cirque….”

I couldn’t finish the sentence because my wife interrupted, “Gloria didn’t bring home anything!”

“What about the US$500M grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation?”

“What grant?? She has to pass the Millennium’s control of corruption benchmark before they give her a cent.”

“What about the US$1B in garment exports?”

“That depends on the US Congress passing a law that will open the US garment market to us so don’t hold your breath.”

“What about the US$1.6B under the General System of Preferences?”

“That program has been there for many years but we never took full advantage of it. Now we suddenly did?”

“What about the US$1B investment of Coke?”

“Yeah, sure. Coca-Cola never thought about investing in the Philippines until Gloria came and assured them that Filipinos will drink billions of liters of Coke.”

“So you’re saying those liars just pulled numbers out of their ass?”

“Yes, and they want us to swallow it.”

“Ewww…que asco. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.”

“Well, what did you want to talk about?”

“The new unit of value created by Gary Olivar, the Le Cirque Dinner unit.”

“Le Cirque Dinner is too long. Give it a shorter name.”

“Okay, how about eklavu?”

“Eklavu? Why use the gay term for bullshit as the name for Gary Olivar’s new monetary unit?”

“Umm….kasi… eeehenyway, one eklavu  is worth a one million peso dinner at Le Cirque.  We can use eklavu  to see how much value Gloria places on her soldiers.”

“Huh?”

“Gloria spent a grand total of PhP7 million, that’s seven eklavus for the soldiers who were ambushed in Basilan. PhP7 million is broken down to PhP250K for each of the families of the slain soldiers, PhP100K for each seriously injured soldier, and PhP50K for those not as seriously hurt.”

“So a soldier’s life is not worth one eklavu as far as Gloria is concerned?”

“The numbers speak, not I.”

“Hay naku, then I hope she gave them cash and not dinner coupons.”

“But she puts more value for military service than hospitality services.”

“What?!?”

“She only gave PhP6 million in tips for all the waiters, chauffeurs, hotel staff, and other service personnel who attended to her needs in Washington, DC and New York.”

“Well, soldiers certainly deserve a larger tip. After all, ambushes are not an occupational hazard for bellboys.”

I could sense my wife’s mood was about to turn nasty. Fortunately, Cerge Remonde said something that distracted her.

“Allow us, in all humility, to say that if not for the aggressive foreign engagements of the President, the state of our economy would be worse than what we are having now…”

“What do you think of that?”

“What do I think? I think THAT is Cristy Fermin’s evil twin.”

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