Critical choices after EDSA 30

>> Monday, March 7, 2016

March Fianza

While Manila streets vendors rubbed elbows with anti-Marcos rallyists at EDSA, I was on Mt. Pulag from February 24 to February 26, 1986. I thought Baguio streets might be filled with the police of Fabian Ver stopping the welling up of people sympathetic to Cory, so that with two other friends we headed for my cousin Patty’s house in Ambangeg, Bokod.
Many see that the 30 years that passed after the EDSA peaceful revolution have not changed the life of Filipinos, except that the number of dominant political parties increased to about 15 from only two – the Nacionalista Party (1903) and the Liberal Party (1946), the main parties that I became aware of since the elections during my elementary school days.        
Every administration that followed after Marcos’ downfall in 1986 promised to abolish everything linked to the former strongman’s government but all those were impulsive promises unfulfilled, after enjoying what it felt to be resident of Malacanang. In fact, the infrastructure built during the time of Marcos are in use now and until they are up for repairs.
Concerns on infrastructure, agriculture, education, environmental protection, small and medium business initiatives moved very little as compared to the changes introduced during Marcos’ rule. Today, every candidate for president are rooting to do something about these concerns and the failed promises of those who sat before them.
But will the five of them have the political will to address these issues and will not short change their voters once they get the comfortable feel of sitting in Malacanang? That is doubtful as far as we see how the political campaigns are going. No one seems to be holding the bull by the horn. And every statement uttered are “generalisms” accompanied by name-recall jokes and body language.
Development and the peace and order problem in Mindanao have become favorites and overused issues discussed by the candidates, all promising to pour money through infrastructure and projects, things that the four presidents before them namely; Cory, Ramos, Erap and Gloria were not able to do completely.
Jojo Binay said, development in Mindanao can only be achieved by putting up a regional office of the presidency in the island and by duplicating the progress that he had done for Makati. With that, I say he caught his mouth with his own hook. I remember my professors in Political Science lecturing us that Makati has been the richest municipality in the country courtesy of mining companies in Benguet and other provinces that hold office there.
That was long before Binay chanced upon his political career courtesy of Cory. Not only that, the Makati experience cannot be replicated by other towns as all other LGUs have their own priorities. Maybe, Binay has to prove that he can do this as he claims by applying his management skill in  the neighboring town of Taguig and Quezon City, another wealthy city, before talking about improving Kapangan in Benguet, Sadanga in Mountain Province or Pasil in Kalinga.    
For Mar Roxas, he said he will continue PNoy’s projects in the Mindanao region, including the establishment of electric power plants. But just like Cordillera, electricity generation were stolen and distributed to more industrialized and more populated communities in the country through the national grid. And that is one of the root causes of the unstoppable war in Mindanao.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said, he will promote a Mindanao Peace and Development Plan to address the region's problems on economy and insurgency. The candid Duterte who has fought graft and corruption on his own terms is being downplayed by his opponents because of his “bad” language and street smart character.
For Grace Poe, she wanted to allot at least 30 percent of the country's annual budget for Mindanao in order to catch up in terms of development with other regions. But that too is a dream come true only if congress that holds the purse in the country will allow it, and if Supreme Court decides on her favor regarding her disqualification case.
Like all the rest, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago placed peace and order as top priority issue for Mindanao, but saying further that passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not an assurance for peace because it needs amendments by congress in order not to be declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Whatever, may the best man or woman win! I am reserving my vote for the least evil candidates.


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