OPINION: 'What makes this country great...'

Buddy Gomez — Cyberbuddy

Posted at Apr 14 2018 12:23 PM | Updated as of Apr 14 2018 12:25 PM

“What makes this country great is that we have a government that is bound by the Constitution and just as importantly, a separation of powers that is enabled to enforce that.”

Oops! Wrong country!   

Such ideal could no longer be applied to the Philippines today. That quotation encapsulates the American template for a vibrantly functioning democracy. That, too, was the  model for the Philippines, once upon a time not too long ago. At the outset of our country’s tutelage in self-government and democratic politics over a century ago under American auspices, ideals in selfless patriotism, alloyed with nationalist economic aspirations, administered  by a well-honed professional civil service were inalterable goal posts in a playing field commonly available to all legitimate contending political parties.

Decidedly, such is no longer so. Whatever happened? The discerning Filipino electorate knows. What is he to do? Of course, the Philippines still remains nominally a democracy, albeit teetering on the precipice of  demise!

Never before has Philippine governance ever been as messy as evidenced by current happenings. Most quarters even agree: knots worse than Marcos’ Martial Law! A looming consciously crafted constitutional crisis, budgetary  deficits, bloated national indebtedness, unsettled foreign affiliations and challenges, unabated and heightened graft, continuing serial street killings, mishandling of problems and projects, the prospect of the country’s leadership brought before the International Criminal Court. There is no need for detailed enumeration. The discerning Filipino electorate knows. What is he to do?

Most notably, there is the much-reported ‘quo warranto’ proceedings against (on leave) Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, viewed by legal savants and the Integrated Bar Council as a blatant assault upon the very Constitution. And, as her public lynching borne out hatred and envy.  

Will this ‘quo warranto’ debacle finally bring about that rousing public wake-up call? Is this now the ‘tipping point’ for the outbreak of  righteous outrage much hankered for by the Filipino majority? They are indeed hurting and  angry, but as yet inert, unkindled!  

There has got to be some justices of the high court who are supremely aware that they have a tinder box in their hands possessing the spontaneity of a bloody conflagration.

Hope! Hope! Hope! Pray! Pray! Pray!

The American 'Boracay'

Speaking of the USA, what currently looms largest is, of course, Trump—the Donald, the American President.  

Let us allow ourselves a little break for some humor. You see, this US President has also had for quite a while now his own very “Boracay moment.”  (Might the phrase “Boracay moment” now merit its own niche in the nomenclature of useful Filipino metaphors for incompetence?)   

I liken Donald Trump’s signature project: that massive wall to be erected throughout the entire length of the US border with Mexico to be his personal “Boracay.” That wall is intended to keep Mexican illegal immigrants from crossing over to the US.

Much criticized, and satirized, the imbecility of Trump’s Great Wall has nonetheless its DDS (die-hard and devoted sycophants) also. One such DDS stalwart rose staunchly to Trump’s defense. In his loudest, best cheerleading suck-up chutzpah yelled at the critics, “If China can build its ‘Great Wall,’ why can’t the USA? There are no illegal Mexican immigrants in China!”

Also this week....   

There is continuing amazement and idle talk concerning the Philippines' chief public attorney, the publicity-seeking loose cannon who was accused, in a lampoon, of medical malpractice! Remember Atty.Persida Rueda-Acosta? She must really believe that there is a useful pot of publicity gold at the end of her Dengvaxia rainbow. Still at the chase, she simply would not let go of the artificially contrived vaccine controversy. Evidently, she now believes that her tenacity has endangered her life. Why then would she be moving about the metro area in an entourage of three vehicles with a personal security detail of eight  (8) armed guards? But of course, this extravagant frivolity is a useless encumbrance upon our taxes.

White elephant and a 'milking cow' in Samar

Meanwhile, catching up with the hometown’s “latest,” concerned habitues of Calbayog City are talking about an announcement made by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). A new Coastal Diversion Road project claimed to alleviate traffic congestion through the ‘poblacion.’ It is an otherwise welcome enhancement of our public facilities. And indeed, urban vehicular congestion does exist, requiring alleviation. There has been no mention, however, of its fiscal and physical feasibility. Coastal roads can be pretty tricky, to say the least.
The Coastal Diversion Road is neither a city nor a provincial initiative! Nor one of immediate need!

Like most DPWH activities, this one might attract graft-busters and enterprising journos to render a critical once-over, for a couple of reasons. Who knows, this could be just be a tiny leg to a national centipede of veritable pork barrel schemes and scams!

While the project has yet to be bidded out, the winning construction entity/bidder is already known. Knowledgeable townfolks talk about it, acceptably, with apparent unconcern. AREMAR Construction Company it  is, people say. They also say that the company’s owner/operator is the mayor of a 4th Class Municipality in Sorsogon province, a very close associate of a senator who is not domiciled in Samar. While AREMAR may have chalked up a string of public works projects over time, people are asking about its financial and technical capability to undertake a project that includes massive foreshore reclamation. 

My personal hang-up is the fact Calbayog City has just finished a 15-kilometer diversion road that was precisely developed to alleviate traffic through the city. This first-class roadway is hardly utilized!

For whose benefit then was this Coastal Diversion Road conceived?  Certainly not for Calbayog City. At whose legislative maneuver was the allocation inserted in the national budget law? Something smells.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the proposed  Calbayog City Coastal Diversion Road reeks with the smell of rancid pork. It will not only encounter cost over-runs and delays. If accomplished, that will render the already existing newly developed diversion road a white elephant!  

There is no existing need today for another diversion road in Calbayog and not even in the foreseeable future. It could very well be  just another “milking cow” project!  Let us watch!

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.