Not quite zooming with Didi

Attending this Zoom edition two weekends ago at the legendary Forum Pandesal at the 82-year-old Kamuning Bakery Café would have been a must. The special guest was the President and CEO of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), Andrea Domingo (whom we, her colleagues at First Quarter Storm would dearly call Didi), her whom I would rush to listen through thick and thin, except the participation in this case was not the one you would do with little change in your pocket for a cab fare, but rather, with so much expertise in your head to manipulate electronic gadgets to stay on top of the discussions.

Yes, this is the Zoom conference, as you want to call it, that any millennial follower of high-tech computer methodologies (cables, microphones, headphones and all) would love to get into, but one that an 80-year-old survivor has a pen in. pen like me, who had just finished learning the semantics of computer encoding, would certainly find it too complicated for his convenience.

In other words, the Zoom forum is not my cup of tea. The last time I tried the trick was the one organized by a friend Rod Kapunan for Bongbong Marcos some time ago. After a few electronic breakaways and I couldn’t join the fray, I shouted, “Count me in!” Bongbong would recall that some time ago we (him, Rod, Mentong Laurel and a few others) had a lunch meeting at Mama Rosa’s house of Mentong Laurel’s wife in Barrio Kapitolyo, Pasig, and we had a very good time to know us better. .

Moral lesson, nothing warmer than the pure pulsation of the flesh.

So, I wouldn’t dare exchange a personal and cordial one-on-one with someone you’ve been missing for eons for the convenience of electronic chat. It has been decades since Didi and I have shared courage and bravado in protest marches and rallies and in workers’ strikes, fighting against “US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism.”

A few months ago (it was at the time when the country was barely registering its first known case of a victim of Covid-19), I had the opportunity to meet Didi during a press conference that she called to voice her grievances against Senator Franklin Drilon, who had stoked media criticism over her conduct of business at Pagcor. This was our first meeting in a long, long time, and the resulting discussion produced an article in this column that generated thousands of likes, certainly one of my most read articles. I remember then titling my article: “Who’s Stupid, Pig?” The pig that he is, the subject of the question never realized he was.

Wilson Flores’ invitation to the Pandesal Forum was surely an opportunity to reconnect with Didi, but the complexity of the procedure made me decide to take the next best option: to obtain the progress of the Zoom procedure of the Pandesal Forum from from forum host Wilson Lee Flores.

So this is it :

Even critics of President Rody R. Duterte could not deny that one of his administration’s solid achievements is athletic success, as evidenced by the Philippines’ historic best performances at the Olympics in our last century of competition. from the recent Tokyo Olympiad, we won our very first gold medal, as well as the most medals ever with two silver and one bronze. Once as a sick Asian man in sport, the Philippines is now finally a strong competitor!

“For this Olympic success, we must thank Duterte for giving strong support to sport, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) led by President William Ramirez, the Philippine Olympic Committee led by its President, Representative Abraham Tolentino , leaders like basketball fans and sports patron, Senator Bong Go for his support, good coaches and good athletes, and special thanks to Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) led by its president and Multi-talented CEO, Andrea D. Domingo. ”

According to Wilson Flores, citing Didi, as revenues from gaming operations in the country stabilized, Pagcor had turned over 98 million pesos to the Philippine Sports Commission for the month of July. She said: “The last check I signed for the PSC for the month of July was around 98 million pesos now. Last year it wasn’t really good. [because of the Covid-19 pandemic]. We gave them about 60 million pesos on average. It gets better. “

Didi said Pagcor had handed over nearly 7.3 billion pesos since 2016 to the government sports agency for its National Sports Development Fund, which is where the PSC gets the money to fund the needs of the national sports associations; and allowances for athletes and coaches in the national pool.

She said she also recently signed a check for 38.5 million pesos for bonuses and other incentives from the 19 athletes who competed in the last Olympic Games in Tokyo, led by weightlifting gold medalist Hidylin Diaz.

Diaz received 10 million pesos from the PSC under Republic Law 10699, the “Incentive Law”, for his gold medal, plus 5 million pesos for setting two Olympic records by reigning over the 55 kilograms for women on July 26 at the Tokyo International Forum.

Boxing silver medalists Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam each received 5 million pesos under the law, while boxer Eumir Felix Marcial received 2 million pesos for winning a bronze medal.

To top it off, Didi announced that Pagcor has provided the PSC with direct support of 842 million pesos for the refurbishment of the facilities at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex – Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Ninoy Aquino Stadium, Rizal Ball Stadium, Track and Stadium. Rizal football and Philsports Arena in Pasig Town.

She expressed optimism that Pagcor’s revenue would be clawed back as the country is expected to ease restrictions on international travel and the government is ramping up its national Covid-19 vaccination program. She said based on Pagcor’s projections, it may take the end of 2022 for the agency to regain its record revenues of 74 billion to 76 billion pesos per year before the global pandemic.

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