COMMENTARY: Is there a doctor in the house? By Elson T. Elizaga

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews/3 Feb) – My father is a basketball player, and a deep-sea diver – if we consider five feet of water deep enough. He used to hunt for danggit using a homemade spear gun. At 80, he still drives a car, manages a furniture shop, and helps supervise our Caltex Station which, for 40 years, has provided employment to numerous people. He never misses his morning walks. His hair is a glorious crown of silver, but he’s not about to become upao like Noynoy.

His buddy, the Rev. Prudencio Plaza of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines, is a tennis player, even after undergoing heart surgery. Still very active, he is known to his friends as a prolific church builder. Always optimistic, jubilant and sharp, he always calls the attention of the waiter for giving him bottomless bottles of beer. I wouldn’t be surprised if I see him cliffhanging in Alwana Business Park.

These guys – including the athletic Gov. Oscar Moreno who repeatedly visits the remote uplands – are living proofs that sports helps. Everyone knows. Even children in grade school know. But Dr. Jesus Jardin doesn’t seem to know. Interviewed by Nits Arancon of DxCC weeks ago regarding his opposition to Moreno’s sports budget, the good doctor asked rhetorically, “Does sports help alleviate poverty?”

Dr. Jardin, I’m already 51 and this is the first time I’ve heard a physician question the benefit of sports. What about serotonin, Doc? What about bone-and-muscle buildup? What about sunshine, vitamin D, motor skills development, digestion, oxygen, good cholesterol and learning about leadership and teamwork? Have we forgotten Dr. Jose Rizal, Vladimir Putin, and John F. Kennedy? All doctors I know say the opposite: Sports and exercise help. The only time a doctor tells a patient not to play bowling is when he’s about to die.

In fairness, I suspect it was Vicente Yap Emano, M.D. (medyo doctor, honoris causa) who told you to say that worn-out line. Several years ago, a propagandist of PaDayon Pilipino (PDP) disguised as a commentator in Bombo Radyo threw a similar question, “Can you eat heritage? Can you eat Huluga?” This is a typical PDP BS. It’s a logical fallacy, a red herring. But in 2004, Emano and his council took P450,000 from a poverty reduction fund and gave it to mercenaries of the University of the Philippines. The purpose? To conduct “research” related to cultural heritage.

If the P10-million sports fund of Gov. Moreno cannot help fight poverty, why cut it down to P2 million? Can P2 million solve poverty instead? Is it ok to waste P2 million of people’s money? Why not bring it down to zero na lang?

Now we know that the gavel cracked by the healthy vice-governor was made of ironwood. I was ignorant about it then. I thought it was cut out of gmelina or falcata. But Bency Ellorin told me it’s magkuno — IRONWOOD! Wouldn’t it be safe then if your valiant colleagues stay at least 50 meters away from Chuck Norris Babiera during council sessions? If he loses his temper again because of the nonsense he might get hold of their balls, and I’m very afraid nothing in CUMC will alleviate the injuries. ###

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