‘Daang Matuwid’ defined

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Is there much progress on the “Daang Matuwid”? Some cases are being filed against plunderers, but no significant convictions or recovery to date. Economic programs end at conditional cash transfer (CCT) and/or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) doles and at announcements of putative efforts like the National Greening Program (NGP). Meantime, the prices of oil, electricity, transport, water and key food staples are soaring, making an already difficult life even more oppressive for Filipinos.

Daang Matuwid can’t be just about legal redress: it must include immediately providing livelihood and a vision for the future—which President Aquino hasn’t done. Strategic initiatives and priority industries must be established across the archipelago, transforming substantial natural resources into world-class products, by tapping an educable and hard-working populace whose skills and spirit are already known to be world-class, thanks to the overseas Filipino workers. If P-Noy can really recast old politics into new opportunities, he will find a willing private sector ready for the challenge.

Government officials must show private citizens that the days of plunder, impunity and cover-ups are over. That is why the Corona impeachment case, the cases against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Ampatuans are key: Daang Matuwid must even playing fields for ordinary folk and the powerful rich. And if P-Noy can turn the outdated employment-dependency mindset into a capability for opportunity discernment, the spirit of entrepreneurship that this would spark in the countryside will, by 2015, trigger an irreversible momentum that will expand the reach of the Daang Matuwid all over the Philippines.

But the first phase must be for leaders to set the example to be matuwid.  Letting prices rise according to the caprice of concessionaires, even when this clearly violates Philippine laws, is certainly not part of Daang Matuwid. It is hoped that P-Noy can help lighten the load of Filipino consumers by being decisive on keeping prices within the reach of all.

In this connection, the MWSS is clearly not heeding the warnings issued by P-Noy in his 2010 Sona: Can P-Noy do anything about the new unjustified and illegal MWSS water rate increases?

Let’s see.

—JOSE OSIAS, jzosias@gmail.com

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