MRT mess, traffic, ‘bukbok’ rice… what’s next?
First, it was the terrible traffic that, due to lack of adequate roads, made commuting in and around the tri-cities of Manila a horrible experience for the public.
Then the breakdown of the MRT, due to lousy management, made it even more traumatic for the commuting public.
And, now… rice shortage? That main staple food of the Filipinos? Oh, my!
There was a time when the Philippines was second to Japan in economic achievements in Asia.
Not only that, it was also home to the most accomplished achievers; the only country in Asia that could speak and write fluent English, and home to the first Asian president of the UN General Assembly (Carlos P. Romulo).
To top it all, the Philippines was also then reportedly the No. 1 in the world (yes, numero uno!) in rice and sugar exports!
And now, all these miserable turnarounds?
There’s got to be only one reason for it: The dumb government officials responsible became dumber, or maybe became too occupied with lining their pockets with easy moolah from the nation’s coffers, or both.
After all, how much brain does it take to know that, as population grows, future necessities must be foreseen and prioritized ahead of time in order to meet the anticipated needs of a growing population?
What are these needs?
Adequate roads, enough public schools (completely furnished with rent-free books, laptop computers, etc., and school buses for the commuting students), shelters for the homeless and — since the Philippines is often visited by destructive calamities such as typhoons, etc. —evacuation centers for those often affected, complete with not only sleeping accommodations but also dining facilities with enough supply of food.
For the farmers, free irrigation systems they badly need to ensure the adequate supply of the country’s rice and other staple food.
Too ambitious and too expensive?
Well, how about the millions of pesos stolen by the corrupt through shady business dealings in government projects that often end in long delays and unsatisfactory results?
The pork barrel of the past could have taken care of all the above-mentioned needs a long time ago, if only our government officials were honest enough and had the brains to think ahead for the people who elected them.
Yes, thinking ahead is what it all boils down to if we don’t want to get caught off guard by eventual necessities.
So, President Duterte, sir, being the head of the country responsible for the welfare of your nation, you better start cracking the whip on those who drop the ball in doing their jobs, before your country sinks deeper and deeper into the depths of misery. Because, when the people ultimately get pushed to the end of the tunnel, there’s no telling what they would resort to in desperation.
JUANITO T. FUERTE, Jtfuerte@comcast.net
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