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BARNACLES are small sea creatures with a shell that attach very firmly and in large numbers to the bottom of boats or ships.

Referring to humans, barnacles are unwanted persons who follow, hang out in or try to be part of an organization.

Barnacles are sticking tightly to President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte’s ship of state and won’t let go no matter what.

Among the barnacles in Digong’s government — there are many of them, by the way — are Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd and Ricardo Morales, president of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., a government-controled firm.

Duque is facing an investigation before the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged irregularities by officials of the Department of Health in the handling of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Earlier, the public was asking for Duque’s head for the delay in the disbursement of P100 million for the families of frontliners who died while attending to Covid-19 patients and others who contracted the disease.

Duque was also called down by some senators for his alleged inefficient management in the fight against the deadly virus.

Morales, a retired military general, continues to ignore complaints that some of his subordinates alleged grossly overpriced the purchase of protective equipment and test kits for hospitals.

No less than Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. has asked Morales to investigate his subordinates, but the latter hasn’t moved.

So, what can you glean from Morales’ non-compliance with the request from the Palace?

And, my dear readers, what do you make of Duque’s holding on to his position when the President has implicitly asked him to resign with the question, “Kaya mo pa ba (Can you still take it)?”

Even an idiot would have read through the President’s question.

Morales, on the other hand, should have taken a cue from Roque that his services were no longer needed and that he should resign.

Needless to say, Duque and Morales are impervious; in Filipino, makapal ang mukha.

* * *

I was profoundly touched — my eyes became misty — while reading the anonymous article below, which a friend sent me.

This friend of mine also got the article from another person who, apparently, read it from another on Facebook.

I’m sure that you, too, will be moved by this timely article that urges all of us to help our country pull out from the recession as a result of the pandemic.

Here it is:

“Let’s start a consumption movement. Let’s support restaurants, barber shops, clothing stores and all business establishments in our neighborhood that are reopening their commercial doors to customers.

“Be patient with the procedures required to keep everyone safe. Be overly generous with your tips. Offer kind words like ‘I miss being here’ even if it’s your first time in the place. See the eyes of the employees light up through their masks.

“Buy an extra meal or two and offer it to the unemployed, stranded or anyone hungry begging for their next meal.

“Smile. Appreciate the waiters, salesmen or salesladies, security guards, delivery men, ‘watch-your-car boys’ or everyone else you meet in the streets for what they do, why they do it, and who they are doing it for. You have no idea what struggles they are going through.

“For those who can afford it, spend. The way out of this recession is consumption. That extra expense from you might be a lifeline for others.

“Hire people for even the most mundane of work, even if you can do it yourself. Buy the walis (sweeper made from midrib of coconut palm) near your village gates, even if you don’t need it. Buy that furniture even if your place is full. Buy those flowers being sold by ‘kuya’ and ‘ate’ in the streets and give it to your loved ones. This gesture leads to wonderful surprises.

“Buy that piece of local art with the money that you could be spending for a masterpiece.

Buy the trapo (rugs) from street kids, even if you have canisters of microfiber cloths at home. Don’t bargain hard with these people because they have three months of catching up.

“Practice physical, instead of social, distancing. Reach out to someone. We are one community. The Darwinian evolutionary principle of ‘survival of the fittest’ is applicable only to animals. Life is meant to be lived in cooperation with another.

“On its own, iron rusts if not used to construct a building. But when amalgamated with carbon, you create an alloy, steel and erect skyscrapers.

“The same goes true for man.

“Share this and contribute to pull this country out of the recession.”

* * *

And now, the lighter side.

Wife to husband: Honey, please buy me a new bra. Please!

Husband: Honeybunch, you don’t have to wear a bra. You have very small boobs.

Wife: Oh, honey, but why are you wearing briefs?

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