Me and Customs Security
I was asked to attend the dialogue between the media and the business community on reporting corporate social responsibility on Wedensday at the Marco Polo.
It was organized by Newsbreak. Since I have to come in late after filing my share of news stories of the day, I planned to enter the session hall, which was at 3rd level, with another reporter.
I went straight to the sofa at the hotel lobby to wait for him. Before I could plunge into my relieving seat, however, a man in white security uniform, asked me what am I doing.
“I’m trying to sit down before you stopped me,” I said. What will you do? Who are you?” he asked sternly.
“Why is it your business to know what I will do?” I asked, trying to equal his stern tone.
He then pointed to the man in suit sitted across the lobby. “We have cleared this area for now,” he said. I have to ask you vacate this seat. He was trying to say it politely.
The man was Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales. He was being interviewed by NBN reporter Ethyl Constantino.
” Ah OK. So? I cannot sit down? I asked. “Who are you?” I’m a reporter,” I answered. “Will you interview him?” he answered back with a question!
I told him a big NO.
I didnt want to figure in a situation. I know the hotel lobby is a public place. But it is owned by the hotel –its private property so I know my limits. I have to back off.
As I pulled out of the scene, I was still wondering who they were guarding against me. For the first time, I felt like I didnt know where to go. I zeroed my silent anger on the man who caused my forced migration to elsewhere.
I only learned later from Ethyl that it was Commissioner Morales. ok … %$#@#$%.
This week Davao City played host to the First Heads of Customs Meeting of the BIMP – East ASEAN Growth Area. Morales was like king, as he said it was him who convened the meeting.
I do not really have earthshaking insights from the experience. Just this one thing: I didnt like being driven away from public spaces just because another citizen, albeit an official, is sitting there.
Personally, I wouldn’t feel OK if my presence would mean another’s displacement. Period.