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Termites attacked
By Elson T. Elizaga. Published July 16, 2017. Updated October 17, 2017.
Philippine Milk Termites. Photo by Elson T. Elizaga.

Philippine milk termites.


Our household was under attack by a massive colony of termites. They consumed several volumes of research books and demolished the ceiling of a bathroom. I fumigated their hideouts with neem, but they survived. One humid evening before it rained, the swarm burst inside the living room, circling a bright LED lamp.

Days later, I consulted a termite expert from Maroon Integrated Pest Management Services 1 in Cagayan de Oro. He told me something unexpected:  “Do not kill the termites. We need everyone to help destroy the colony.”

Then he and his assistant placed several boxes inside and around the house. The boxes contain slow-acting baits, which the termites ate and shared throughout their matrix.

After three months, the colony began to drag. The workers who distributed food throughout the empire fell ill and die. As a result, the soldiers and the queen ran out of food, and eventually shrivelled and died.

Something like this also happened in Facebook. TIME magazine issued a "bait" -- an online poll on 100 most influential persons of the year. Millions of supporters of Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, clicked this bait and shared it frantically in cyberspace. Their efforts were generously rewarded: Duterte came up number one. His supporters were ecstatic. But they were massively disappointed when they read the accompanying criticism written by the former president of Colombia, Cesar Gaviria whom Duterte had called an idiot. Excerpt:

"Since Duterte's inauguration last year, some 7,000 people have been killed. His ironfisted strategy alarms governments, human-rights organizations and faith-based groups while winning high approval ratings at home.

"When I was President of Colombia, I was also seduced into taking a tough stance on drugs. But after spending billions, I discovered that the war was unwinnable and the human costs were devastating. The cure was infinitely worse than the disease ...."

Meanwhile, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano filed a case to impeach Duterte. It was sent to the House of Representatives. Alejano accused Duterte of being responsible for the killings in the drug war and “treason in conferral with China on matters of the maritime domain.” Alejano's bait was in the form of sheets of palatable paper, which was, as expected, quickly distributed and lapped up: The House Committee on Justice, voting 42 to 0, junked the impeachment complaint.

It was just another ordinary day until they realized that they had created a precondition for the International Criminal Court to intervene. End

1 The pest control firm can also eliminate cockroaches, mosquitoes, flies, ants, rats and mice. Send email.

Article printed with a different title in Mindanao Goldstar Daily, May 22, 2017.

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