Matikas Bar Raid

Matikas Bar Was Raided

WELL, yours truly did not like to tackle this subject, but later realized he felt obligated to talk about this recent raid on a popular male strip club, however brief it might be.

AS you all know, Matikas Entertainment Bar, a small macho dancer bar at the corner of Quezon Avenue and Roosevelt Street in Quezon City, was raided by agents of the Anti-Human Trafficking Division of the Philippines National Bureau of Investigation (an “imitation” of the famed United States Federal Bureau of Investigation) and Human Trafficking Division of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the wee hours of June 4th, a Wednesday, after month-long surveillance by the bureau confirmed suspicions that the strip club offered sex services to its patrons (underscored words were from the head of the Anti-Human Trafficking Division Dante Bonoan) and engaged in prostitution.

The early morning raid (or shall we say “rescue” because it is a favorite word of the Philippine cops and other local enforcement agencies as far as raids of strip clubs is concerned?) netted eleven macho dancers (or male strippers), six of whom, according to Salve Sion of the Social Welfare Department’s Human Trafficking unit were minors, that is, below eighteen, which is the legal age.  The crackdown also led to the discovery of children all aged below fourteen and who were found asleep in one of the rooms.  What were these tots doing in a strip club? Well, let’s answer it this way: You are a single mom and you can’t afford to leave your precious child behind in your rented room. So the best option: Bring your child along to work your place.

(The latest strip bar raid in the City of Quezon received front page treatment in tabloids such as Hataw! [shown above].  Photo courtesy of Hataw! Tabloid)

The shirtless and clad-only-in-underwear dancers were taken to the headquarters of the investigation bureau in the Philippine Capital, Manila, and the children to the Social Welfare Department Rescue Centre also in Quezon City.

I hate it when law enforcement personnel refuse to listen to the side of the arrested performers and when the latter are talked into saying they peddle sex right inside the bar.  I have been to numerous macho dancer bars and I have never solicited sex from any of the strippers I tabled, which assertion may shock you but which is true, and the dancers who joined me at my tabled never ever offered sex service to me. In fact, I have never taken out any strippers.  Really? Yes.

This is not the first time that the strip bar was raided. If you recall, the establishment, when it was still known as Makisig in its old location on Timog or South Avenue also in Quezon City, was raided in April of 2008.  At the time, it was the police who swooped down on the club where supposedly half-naked men were caught dancing.

The Wednesday raid did not surprise yours truly. After all, raids are part of the challenges faced by strip bar owners and performers and patrons. On whether such raids are legitimate or not, yours truly withhold his judgment. But the Gonogran hopes the dancers will not be coerced or intimidated into shelling out hard-earned cash in exchange for their liberty. You know how the local system works.

By the way, it’s the month of June, which is traditionally the start of classes in the Philippines Islands.  You can’t put your child through school if you are cash-strapped.  Similarly, you need money in the run-up to the election. And you need more dough during the holiday season.  Do you see any connection?