by Ronald Roy
SURPRISINGLY, the Filipino spirit has remained high after 2013 ended with record highs in crime, corrupt practices and natural calamities. Does this demonstrate that we are the most resilient people in the entire planet? Or does it portend a caveat from Mme. De Maintenon who said: “Hope says to us constantly, ‘Go on, go on’ and leads us to the grave”? Where has public outrage gone?!
Is it to our God-will-provide religiosity that this outstanding trait of Hope is ascribed, along with the oft-pontificated virtue of Forgiveness? Indeed, was it the spirit of Forgiveness, if not political posturing, that accounted for the recent visits to the ailing heinous-crime detainee Gloria Macapagal Arroyo by some high-profile clerical and political leaders?
Ang mga bumabagang balita, via the daily papers and radio-TV reportage, say it all and, by all indications, the ongoing upsurge of graft and criminality shall remain unabated. You cannot step out of your house without feeling you could get mugged, which is not to say that you feel fairly secure at home with nary a worry over a break-in or an “inside job” of sorts.
Yes, even your most trusted domestic helper is now suspect. Mainly because his pay is buying less, and he now has more to support in a growing family, period. And again, this is not to say that you are comfortable with the rigidities of the Kasambahay Law, the passage of which was most likely motivated by politicians’ ploy to curry favor with the vote-rich poor. You feel cheated, and rightly so.
Despotic QC Politicians
I live in New Manila, Quezon City and I share an utter outrage with my neighbors. New Manila might have been the “Forbes Park” of the 40s, 50s and 60s, but not anymore. It is not a “gated community”, and neither can it pretend to compare with any in those more affluent cities. Save perhaps for a sparse 15% handful in terms of social standing, the rest in New Manila are a mix of middle and lower middle-class families.
Even the richest amongst us are aghast at the “very injustice of it all” — a phrase often used in our coffee-shop tête-a-têtes. It’s even not a question of whether we’re rich or not, but whether we’re willing, symbolically speaking, to spend twenty pesos for one half-rotten medium-sized calamansi, or to be “taken for a ride”. What an outrageous rip-off!
The thing is: the city’s imposition of realty tax hikes was arbitrary. At its public hearings, the City Council ran roughshod over the hallowed guarantee of due process by totally ignoring the overwhelming well-argued opposition of residents. Three years ago, QC homeowners were imposed “social housing taxes” in order to help re-settle outsiders squatting on their lots. Today, the squatting families are still there, and the lot owners who cannot use their lots continue to bear increasing tax burdens thereon with no relief in sight. So, where has all the money gone?! Aha… there’s the rub! I don’t wish to give a cynical answer, except that—I have long considered QC officials to be corrupt. Until lately, they had their own pork barrel racket. Hmmm… maybe they still do. Anyway, “ghost employees”– two councilmen have pending cases which the courts are taking an eternity to terminate — “flying voters”, kickbacks and other anomalies are their bread and butter.
And to add to the residents’ discomforts, the service is bad. Cops are losing the war against robbers because the robbers are cops. Kickback schemes pave the way for roads and avenues being built so substandard that they undergo constant repairs. Prostitution and trafficking of prohibited drugs are on the rise. Ad nauseam! And the city continues to brag it’s the richest city in the country!!!
Oops, incidentally, there’s a new QC ordinance imposing on every homeowner a hefty garbage fee to fund the city’s—take a deep breath—reforestation program!! Huh?! Mayor Bautista, Hinde kami tanga!! Why could you not answer when asked to explain the program?! Hmmm…methinks what should take place soonest is an honest-to-goodness comprehensive audit of the financial records of the city government, as well those of QC Mayor Herbert Bautista, during all the long years he has been in office.
A New Year’s Bad Start
After the rambunctious celebration, we woke up to greet the dawn of a new year with resurgent hopes for good health, prosperity, peace, price rollbacks, diminished road rages and scams, and all that, but doggone it, we have had nothing but bad news since January 1!
Wreaking havoc is news that the newly constructed housing units for Supertyphoon Yolanda’s victims are overpriced, substandard and unlivable. Heartless and callous!! The role of rehab czar Ping Lacson here is merely coordinative, but we cannot discount his legendary savvy in the unique neutralization of felonious culprits in our jurisdiction. Go for it, Ping!
Explosive is a looming constitutional crisis between the Supreme Court and the Lower House which are headed on a collision course. With push coming to shove, the solons’ superior impeachment tool can however be blunted by the sovereign people and the Church coming together to support the Court, along with, if imperative, military backup.
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