Targeting a captive tourist market
Following reports of drug lords living it up in the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa, NBP has tied up with Maximum Security Tours (MST) to develop and market Bilibid Resort, a five-star leisure complex patterned after the penitentiary’s 20 airconditioned “villas” with jacuzzis, sex dolls, strippers, concert stages, giant TV screens, and bars serving “mind-blowing concoctions” in liquid, crystalline, powdered, inhaled and injected forms.
“We thank our millionaire inmates from the narcotics sector for this new source of income for Bilibid and its convicts,” said a top prison official. He spoke anonymously to avoid being summoned and visited by senators seeking media coverage. Imprisoned narco-kings funded the original leisure houses.
MST will invest P175 million to build 30 more villas with the same baths, beats and babes, plus three swimming pools with water slides, a game arcade with a smoking section, bank branches, and a prison break jungle trail with guards hunting tourists with paint guns.
Depending on market response, Bilibid Resort may add a golf course, a firing range, a shabu-shabu restaurant, and a clubhouse and garden like the plush Nueva Ecija home of suspended Philippine National Police Chief Alan Purisima. The resort will contract the same firm that built his estate for a mere P2.5 million.
MST has likewise contacted Purisima’s car dealer seeking discounts of P1.5 million per sports utility vehicle for a fleet of Toyota Prada SUVs for use of guests paying $650 a day, plus-plus. MST also plans to acquire the Maserati sportscar involved in the recent scuffle with a Metro Manila traffic aide, for a road rage and car chase track.
The company initially targets wealthy convicts from the country and the region. Besides narco-tycoons, the resort should attract insider traders, pyramid scammers, and corrupt politicians, including losers of China power struggles. Alleged pork barrel operators and their accused senatorial clients may visit too, with Sandiganbayan permission.
Bilibid Resort offers its captive market high-security transport from and to the clients’ detention centers and the most memorable prison experience laundered money can buy. A presidential villa will be ready for occupancy when malversation charges over the Disbursement Acceleration Program are eligible for prosecution in mid-2016.
The randomly polled public knows best
Positive results of a Social Weather Stations survey on disaster readiness of national and local governments have prompted some agencies to commission their own polls. In its fourth quarter survey of 1,800 adults nationwide, conducted November 27-December 1, SWS found nearly two out of every three respondents very confident or somewhat confident of state response to another Yolanda-scale supertyphoon.
SWS saw no need to ask respondents if they knew a lot, enough, a little, or too little about what has been done to prepare for devastating storms, along with the wind velocity, rain volume, and expected damage from a typical megastorm. And since public ignorance apparently has no bearing on how people and media assess randomly polled views, government entities see opportunities for good ratings.
The Department of Transportation and Communication, insiders say, will commission a nationwide survey asking: Do you like to ride the Metro Rail Transit? Other questions planned are: Has the MRT been properly maintained since 2010, with regular replacement of worn-out rails and refurbishing of trains? Is the MRT safety and punctuality record satisfactory? Will new railcars from China in coming years improve service and safety?
DOTC officials argue that asking respondents outside Metro Manila about the MRT is valid, since many opinion polls question respondents on issues they know little about. They point out that during the Senate trial of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona, people who admitted little or no knowledge of rushed charges, shoddy evidence, and pork-greased proceedings were still asked to judge the accused’s guilt.
“The MRT survey will debunk the Hong Kong report,” contends a Metro Rail executive, referring to the expert assessment of Manila’s system by technicians from the former British colony’s world-class Mass Transit Railway. “Filipinos know our own transport better than foreigners,” he sniffed. The Hong Kong report’s executive summary recently submitted to Congress warned of derailment due to broken rail cases up fourfold since 2011, for lack of replacement tracks.
The Commission on Elections may also be planning a survey on the Precinct Count Optical Scan machines. Only a small minority of Filipinos have read or seen reports and presentations on PCOS failings. Even fewer have read management professor and columnist Rene Azurin’s book Hacking Our Democracy: The Conspiracy to Electronically Control Philippine Elections. It exposed how negating legally mandated electronic safeguards opened automated elections to computerized fraud.
Comelec bosses believe the great majority of voters will give PCOS and its supplier Smartmatic the thumbs up. “That should clear the way for another contract to refurbish and operate our automated election system,” one election official said, predicting 60-80 percent approval for PCOS.
A third survey eyed by the government’s communications arm would ask randomly selected respondents: Will President Aquino find his true love … a) this quarter? b) this year? c) next year? d) in three years? e) never?
The love poll would be done together with the quarterly surveys on public approval, trust and satisfaction for national leaders and institutions. If Aquino’s ratings show a sharp drop, his love data would be released on the same day as his falling results.
“People need a lift when they’re down on the President,” a Palace spinmeister allowed.