PBBM, it’s been 60 days: What is next?
Time is supersonic. On October 8 or 40 days from now, this administration, the most popular and biggest landslide winner in history, will be crossing its 100-day Rubicon of public opinion.
Are the public getting what they expected from President Bongbong and his chosen alter egos in the Cabinet in the past 60 days? Maybe, it is too early and quite unfair to judge him in just two months, but in this country, the President presence must be felt with impact.
I remember former Pres. Duterte making explosive moves within his first 60 days. He named local officials, court judges and police generals involved in the illegal drug trade. Also in September, he declared a state of lawlessness in the whole country that took effect for one year. His first 100 days was bloody and fearsome that more than 732,000 addicts and drug dealers nationwide voluntarily surrendered. A large-scale display of presidential bravado that led to record-low crime incidence and widespread public appreciation.
Today, we hear Senators naming smugglers of white onion, garlic, fish, and rich sugar hoarders who connive with multi-connected syndicates inside the Dept of Agriculture, Customs that conspire to manipulate the supply situation and jack up prices. There was public outcry, but will Malacañang allow these people to continue their ways in the coming 40 days?
Looking back, the biggest news event of BBM’s administration to this day would only be his economic road map on both the June 30 inaugural speech and July 25 SONA. Everything was aspirational, hopeful but takes time and needs congressional approval. Yes, those speeches were spectacular and much awaited, but remember they were never thoroughly discussed during the campaign.
Now that 60 days passed, PBBM would rather work silently, meets his Cabinet twice or thrice a week, gain consensus from stake holders and veer away from Duterte’s bombastic style.
In the meantime, people are suffering from high prices. Inflation rose 6.4 percent in July from 6.1 percent in June and still going up. BSP governor Felipe Medalla says these price increases are 80 percent imported, consistent with worldwide supply of oil, and food aggravated by the war in Ukraine.
But we cannot forget PBBM’s own admission of the nation’s shortages of rice, corn, pork, poultry, or fish and of fertilizers. This was even prior to the brouhaha at the Sugar Regulatory Authority (SRA) and now there are shortages in white onions, garlic, salt, and many other products, that are obviously the handiwork of unscrupulous traders. Yes, there were much publicized raids of warehouses and the discovered contraband. But were appropriate cases filed or about to be filed? Was anti-hoarding, anti-price control or economic sabotage cases charged against these traders? None that we know of.
Quite honestly, BBM’s past sixty days, to many Filipinos who voted for him, is a big ho-hum. We acknowledge that he would never be like Duterte but, many are awaiting to see his decisiveness on serious public issues.
I firmly believe though, that in time, BBM will get his acts together and show to the people the kind of real leadership and succeed for greater benefit of our country in the next six years. I hope.
Hard-up citizenry need more “ayuda”
In the next few days, jeepney minimum fares will be P15, bus fares will be P17 and possibly P20 while taxi flag-down rates will be P60 from P40.
Diesel rose to almost 6 pesos per liter simultaneously with kerosene. Electricity rates are also expected to increase will water rates are next.
With a 6.4 inflation rate, your 100 pesos last year would only be worth P93.60 centavos today. Prices of goods are getting out of reach by the common people.
So clearly, everybody suffers, and this will not abate. Our people are crying for help and crowding government relief offices., the LGUs and volunteer organizations. They really need “help” today.
DSWD will increase to P1.5-B from its present P500-M its educational assistance to Students in Crisis with the help of additional “pork barrel funds” of a few but unnamed senators and congressmen.
DOTR continues its LIBRENG SAKAY on EDSA busway, until December 31 and this alleviates the daily struggles of our commuting workers. Occasionally, LRT 2 and PNR also gives free rides.
Nice to know that VP Sara Duterte allocated medical and burial assistance in the amount of more than P36-M for medical and burial claims nationwide. A livelihood program for women and members of LGBTQIA will also be launched, including the OVP Libreng Sakay although consisting of two buses in Metro Manila, and one each in Bacolod, Cebu City, and Davao City.
In many cities in Metro Manila, city residents have their own health cards, like Makati, Pasay Taguig , and Valenzuela, while Manila and Quezon city offers free medical services in its various city owned hospitals and district health centers. Even regular supply of maintenance medicines for seniors and diabetics are given free in Makati, QC, Taguig, Pasay and Valenzuela.
Families of displaced OFW workers abroad are also provided financial assistance in QC where great majority of constituents have QCITIZEN IDs. Commuters avail of QC hall’s LIBRENG SAKAY going around its business districts.
In previous columns, I noted that elementary, high school , senior high and college students of public schools in Makati, Pasay, Paranaque, Taguig and and Manila receive monthly allowances.
I am mentioning all of these because they are laudable and selfless initiatives of government leaders to fully serve people in these hardest times. Instead of allocating money for self-aggrandizement, they decide to give direct “ayudas” to where it is much needed and welcomed.