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Getting to know you

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AT LEAST 18 persons including a teenager were rounded up by the police following a raid along Fields Avenue-Walking Street, in a fresh crackdown against unscrupulous vendors selling counterfeit sex-enhancing drugs…

So, the Angeles City government press released last week, furthering:

Police Colonel Joy Patrick Sangalang, officer-in-charge of the Angeles City Police Office (ACPO), said only two among the arrested (sic) individuals including one minor were found selling illegal items when accosted by the raiding team…

“This is the first of a series of raids to be conducted along Fields Avenue. We have to clean the entertainment district of illegal vendors, street children and hookers,” said Sangalang…

No mean to disrespect, Sir, but this is not the first in any series of raids on the infamous avenue, not in any of the past or in the current city administration.

Why, only last August, the city information office also press released – politically incorrect and outright libelous, at that – “Angeles raid nets 4 prostitutes,” to wit:

A lightning raid in the red district of Fields Avenue on Wednesday evening yielded four freelance prostitutes (sic).

Angeles City Mayor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin Jr. has ordered the series of crackdown in Fields Avenue to check on unlicensed bars and minor entertainers…

Which led to one longtime habitue of Fields Avenue breaking into song:

Getting to know you
Getting to know you
Getting to know all about you
Getting to like you
Getting to hope you like me…

In police parlance – again no disrespect, Sir – “nagpapakilala.” In this case, the first raid not enough to “get to know you,” thus necessitating a second one “para ganap na makilala.”

That “most of the arrested (sic) persons were later released after they were cleared except for Condar and a minor who were found to have marijuana in possession…” in the recent raid shows more than a lapse in legalese.

That nothing was mentioned of the fate of the four alleged commercial sex workers in the August raid despite having been found that they “do not have health cards coming from the City Health Office” and noted that “These unregulated workers may contract the deadly virus AIDS and spread it to others, according to health authorities…” shows essentially the same unsaid thing.

It is the police modus of “pagpapakilala” written there all over.

No disrespect to the police, Sir. But raids on Fields Avenue have become a standard, if introductory, operating procedures at the onset of every administration in the city. Take this jaded observer’s view of these police actions dating back to the 1970s initially assuming the perspective of an unknown 18th century writer as “hypocritical impotence, to make spasmodic raids upon their (the prostitutes’) habitation.”

Impotence, in as far as the raids’ ever coming short of the express objective of their conduct: the prostituted women back to their assignations without so much an entry in the police blotter; the pimps and mamasans merely raising their talents’ fees a nigh higher to cover the police (un)booking cost.

On the other hand, there is full potency in the pursuit of the not-so-hidden agenda behind the raids. Not necessarily, the police’s. But more of private individuals’ barnacled to the powers-that-be.

Three mayorships removed from this current one, there was the so-called Panchito-Smith partnership that ruled over Fields Avenue. All the clubs putatively paying “tokens of appreciation” for maintaining the peace and order in the strip, the police kept happy with “coffee and gas subsidy.”

A different administration came and the so-called Jojo Group not only took over the reins from Panchito-Smith but even started reigning over an expanded domain – institutionalizing a taxation scheme – not seen since the horrific days of Kumander Sumulong – in the exaction of tong-pats on every bottle of beer opened, on every bar-fine availed of, even on every garland of sampaguita or bouquet of roses bought, on every bag of peanuts sold on the avenue.

Sabo nang peksing, picualtan da pa ding mangatacbang alang marine, our Fields denizen spat in scorn.

The relative quiet over Fields in the previous administration, he claimed, did not mean the exploration, aye, exploitation of the strip for private gain, ceased in any way.

From the commerce of sex and its entertainment subsidiaries, the monkey business shifted to the “even more profitable infrastructural enterprise.”

Alleging, politicos getting into every phase of construction – from planning to site development, to mobilization, to actual building, even repair, remodeling and rehabilitation – impacting their mandate “in aid of legislation” but in actuality to raise funds for their next election, if not to keep up their lifestyles aping that of the rich and famous. So, how many fancy cars did you count at the city hall’s parking lot those days? How many mansions in uppity enclaves were splashed all over the alleged Facebook accounts of your aldermen then?

“We have to clean the entertainment district of illegal vendors, street children and hookers.”

So, we hear the police say again. Smug as it is, we can only put on our knowing smile anew.

No mean to disrespect, Sir.

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