Friday, March 06, 2015

WANTED: NORMAL, COMPETENT, HONEST POLITICIANS




“No person may be elected as president unless he is a natural born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election.” (1987 Constitution of the Philippines: Art. VIII, Sec. 2)

While it is definitely neither necessary that someone should be an extraordinary scholar nor should it be a requirement that somebody should be an aristocrat, and while it is not only reasonable that the individual concerned should be a resident Filipino citizen, a voter who is at least forty years old; truth to say, it is not only incongruous but also ridiculous that a candidate for the Presidency – and essentially the same for Hon. Senators and Hon. Congressmen – should know only how to read and write.

No wonder then that as a People with incompetent and dishonorable if not also insensitive and disabled elected Public Officials, they become by and large not simply angry and disgusted but also eventually stagnant in their socio-economic condition and thus become more poor even and miserable as well in the course of time.  On one hand, they are victimized by greedy politicians, they are confused by their confusing Government Public Officials.  On the other hand, they are furthermore victimized by able and dedicated criminals who dupe, steal and even kill people – and yet remain happy and free because of government incompetence and indolence.

It is then an understandable and laudable requirement that “A Member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.”  (Ibid, Sec. 7, no. 3)  But no less than the Chief Executive plus the Legislators of the Philippines – never mind if they are disabled and dependent, deceitful and corrupt on proviso only that they are “able to read and write.”  This is a shame but this is the truth.  Such is a disaster but it is the reality.  No wonder then that the abundance of temporal resources and/or the phenomenon of popularity  - not to mention the matter of partisan politics – are what really and actually count for the election to public offices from the local to the national levels.

It does not matter that even but elementary school teachers, mechanics, Call Center agents, etc. etc., should know much more being “able to read and write” in addition to  their trustworthiness and dependability.  But the president, the Chief Executive, the Commander-in-Chief – plus Legislators in this country – should only be “able to read and write”.  This is not to belittle individuals who were not able to go to school, who are unable to read and write, who are not graduates of any course, for one reason or another – on condition only that they are law-abiding citizens as an overall basic credential.  So is it that it bears asking:  Should not a candidate for the Presidency – as well as those for the Legislative Department – first pass the pertinent Psychological Test, IQ Test and the like?  Just asking.   

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

PRESIDENTIAL PLATITUDES

It can be readily said that the words “platitudes” and “presidential” do not a pairing make whereas they are rather opposite in objective reality, quite contradictory in spirit. “Presidential” says something supreme in standing, unique in perspective, singular in competence. On the other hand, “Platitudes” stand for inanity, banality, triviality. But all these notwithstanding, to this date, there are some three quite distinct Presidential Platitudes that the still incumbent highest public official in the Country is precisely rather well-known for and even identified with – not without ridicule and sarcasm.

When each of such supposedly noble invocations was then proudly and loudly invoked, people clapped their hands, showing their admiration and appreciation. But not really long thereafter, not simply unexpected but also shameful and disgusting events took place. And all such happenings were by and large met by the supposedly very distinguished figure not only with the same enigmatic look and smile but also with the same ever yellow pin. It will be good to mention the said platitudes – declamatory pronouncements, oratorical invocations – all of which have become big jokes in these times when their author is now well-known inside out.

Kayo ang boss ko.”

Really? Someone must have been joking when he had the guts to shout this dramatic pronouncement. It is according to law whereas sovereignty resides in the people. But the one who coined this memorable quote in due time proved that either he did not know what he was saying or simply kept living his aristocratic lineage that in fact made himself his own boss. His thinking and acting process appears to be shackled by “I”, “Me” and “Mine”.

Daang Matuwid”

Where? Not really long after this impressive quote was made, the one who said it nonchalantly made the distinction between imagination and reality, between hallucination and truth. This needs no proof. While holding the highest Office in the land and thus having the highest executive authority in the Country, his governance is known for its big graft and corrupt practices. So is it that the otherwise edifying quote has become in fact a big fat joke.

Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.”

Ha? People living under the bridges, by the canals. Families sleeping at the sidewalks, children begging in the streets. Digging for food in garbage cans, gathering garbage for a living. Women selling themselves, girls being sold. Men leaving their families, women leaving their children to find work abroad. Ever rising prices of consumer commodities, the use of public utilities well-included. Direct and indirect taxes from birth to death. Multi-billion CCT the glaring proof of misery. No corruption?

Be real, boss!

Monday, March 02, 2015

POLITICS AND POLITICIANS


In its simple and more common knowledge, politics is the art and/or science of government that is basically relevant to and concerned with the form, the pursuant organization and consequent administration of the State categorically in conjunction with the good and welfare of its citizens – and indirectly in relation to other States. And among more civilized Countries, the usually opted form of government is democracy. Theocracy is quite rare except for the now emerging phenomenon of religious extremism here and there. Royalty is by and large few. Communism is still around. Dictatorship appears to be on the way out. Democracy however still remains as the most common form of government the world over – the Philippines included.

And there are the politicians who are those charged with running the government – a charge, obligation or commitment they themselves freely and deliberately assume at the instance of the majority of the citizens in a democratic country. They are charged with the responsibility of giving public service that promotes public good which in turn finds its reality in emergence of continuous and gradually improved public welfare – primarily through socio-economic development. In a democratic country, the government is thus viewed and considered as “of the people, by the people, and for the people”. So is it that democracy may not but respect human dignity and human rights precisely appended to every human person.

The said public service, public good and public welfare plus the said human dignity, human rights, human persons have to be respectively rendered and acknowledged by politicians in a democratic country – without consideration of the color, the race and creed of its citizens. So is it that when politicians basically engage in self-service for their private good and personal (relatives and friends) welfare, when politicians have no respect for human persons and wherefore neither recognition of human dignity nor considerations for human rights, the conclusion is clear and easy, viz., the citizens have all the prerogative to remind, censure and even get them out of office. After all, the said citizens are the ones that fund their salaries, offices, their staff, etc. etc. by the continuous payments of various taxes from birth to death.

So is that it is a big loss for the country as well as a big exasperation for its citizens when these or those politicians are saddled either with incompetence or any given personal disability, are liable either for graft and/or corrupt practices, are responsible for either illegal and/or immoral acts. If private individuals guilty of doing the same actuations are censured by civil and/or moral laws, the more so is such in order when public officials themselves are guilty of the same censurable behavior. It is a basic principle that if the content and intent of laws are applicable to private citizens, the more so they are to public officials. And this brings to mind the censures made by churchmen upon erring politicians. These supposedly respectable individuals should be the first ones to know that such basic universal mandates that Churchmen teach and insist such as “You shall not kill.” “You shall not steal.” and the like – all these and other moral imperatives also apply to them as politicians. Said Commandments are not about politics per se.

Friday, February 27, 2015

CBCP PASTORAL STATEMENT ON THE DRAFT BBL (22 JANUARY 2015)


We all desire that the provisions of BBL express fairness and equity. For this reason, we hope that the BBL will ensure equal opportunity for integral human development for all the peoples in the Bangsamoro. We desire a BBL that will respect various cultures, religious beliefs, and traditions. We wish to be assured that the BBL will provide equal access to educational, economic, political beliefs and resources.” (Par. 12)

There is a big difference between but to merely dream and to truly nurture hope, between to but simply wish and sincerely yearn for – such is the over-all spirit and optimism of the CBCP on the BBL once duly affirmed by the Legislative Department, confirmed by the Judicial Department and accordingly implemented by the Executive Department. Reason: Such a Basic Law when proven as based on truth will eventually bring about justice which in turn will ultimately give all those concerned the blessing of peace and the promotion of development.

There is nothing like objective reality plus good will to make BBL the tenable promise of social harmony and economic progress in favor of the people of Mindanao as a whole – with the Luzon and Visayas also as pursuant beneficiaries thereof. If the supposedly Land of Promise instead remains the place of force and fear, the temptation to human strife and deadly moves even, then such would contribute to the loss of the Country as a whole. It is well understandable then that the CBCP would earnestly want and fervently pray for the success of the BBL.

So it is then that the CBCP – among other things – expressed its honest and sincere desire for the realization of the following:

1. That the BBL contains provisions that proffer fairness and equity among the people within its territorial coverage. Otherwise, the Law would simply be another legislation of futility.

2. That the BBL provides equal development opportunity for all the people in Bangsamoro. Otherwise, it would not stop but even enhance their discontent and disunity.

3. That the BBL shows respect towards various cultural, religious and traditional values of the people covered by the Law. Otherwise, human conflicts would not only continue but escalate even.

Needless to say, few are those if any, who who want a BBL that would forward deceit instead of truth, that would promote inequity rather than justice, that would instigate unrest rather than disseminate peace. Woe to such individuals. They would have a lot to answer for not only before all those concerned with and desirous of progress not misery, longing for peace not war, but also before God if they recognize Any, and before their conscience if they have any.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

CBCP PASTORAL STATEMENT ON THE DRAFT BBL (22 JANUARY 2015)




“Many are disturbed that there is a lot of misinformation and misinterpretation with regards to certain provisions of BBL, as for instance, the provision in land.  Presently, attempts to grab land or drive away their lawful owners by force of arms and even by murder, under the pretext of ancestral domain, are creating fear and tension among certain communities in the Bangsamoro.  There is the reported rise of shadowy civilian militias for self-protection…”(Par. 10)

It is common knowledge that while Mindanao is endowed with the beauty of nature, the blessing of a clean environment plus the good fortune of rich natural resources, all these attributions however have been long since undermined by social liabilities therein of long standing as basically caused by long existing regional harmony and conflict.  And the ultimate victims whereof are none other than the people of Mindanao themselves.

This is why in  the last analysis, the BBL is perceived and intended to be the fundamental resolution to such disunity.  Numerous meetings have been held abroad and locally. Different individuals with their rightful public offices and proper personal credentials have been involved.  Much effort as well as much money have been spent for its formulation.  So is it too that more meetings and discussions, more hearings and debates are being held for its analysis and evaluation – specially so with the advent of the now well-known and much detested infamous Mamasapano Massacre.

But then, even before the said murderous event took place, the CBCP – with good will towards all and malice towards none – already noticed and noted in particular the three following existing realities that undermine the much desired passage of the BBL for unity and  peace in Mindanao:

1.  The provisions on land:  Land is wealth, assurance and promise to the natives of a place in particular who are disturbed by certain BBL provisions that cause both misinformation  and misinterpretation.

2.  The pretext of ancestral domain:  Attempts to grab lands, to do away with their lawful owners under title and claim of ancestral domain, unfortunately come about with the BBL understanding.

3.  The rise of shadowy civilian militias:  There are now  this and that group of individuals who are interestingly both civilians and militias intended for the self-protection of the fearful communities concerned.

All the above already now  existing realities in Mindanao are certainly dissonant with a central objective of the BBL for the reign of harmony and peace in the region.  And all these have to be diligently considered by the authors and promoters of the said Basic Law – lest this cause more problems than solutions, more disunity than harmony among the people concerned.  And there is nothing like goodwill to bring about truth, unity and harmony.  This is an over-all lesson of history.