"Reflection and deliverance should be the undertone of our prayers."
There are times when a columnist who’s supposed to write three times a week is at a loss thinking of his topic or subject matter. We are not making excuses of having what they say in the trade as a writer’s block . But this has been happening lately with me that I thought I might as well write about it.
For starters, I find myself repeating myself on the same matter bedeviling this benighted land. It’s like going through a revolving door and finding yourself in the same place where you started. It’s frustrating to say the least. As we approach Holy Week, perhaps it’s time to reflect on why this country is confronted with so many challenges all at the same time.
Bear with me as I list this litany of problems again. These problems have come to bore those who have gotten used to them instead of being incensed that government has failed in providing even palliative solutions.
Take the case of drought that has wreaked havoc, to the tune of billions of pesos, on agricultural products. This cannot simply be blamed on the El Niño phenomenon that has also put Metro Manila’s water supply at crisis levels. Unemployment is still in millions even as the Philippines continues to deploy overseas Filipino workers to the Middle East where they are maltreated by their oil-rich employers. Yet we are allowing Chinese do the work Filipinos can in the online gaming industry. Our government justifies this anomalous situation because it claims we owe China billions of pesos in loans and grants for infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges to ease the monstrous traffic problem in Metro Manila.
There appears to be no solution in sight unless government sets up an effective public transport system as people mover of those who have found work but are in danger of losing their jobs because they are late in the daily commute.
The government is planning an ambitious underground or subway system. But its completion could happen only after President Rodrigo Duterte’s six-year term in 2022. President Duterte’s relentless and ruthless war on illegal drugs, it seems, has not stemmed the proliferation of drugs. Most of those big-time traffickers and manufacturer of shabu are Chinese who are doing it here because the offense is punishable by death with a shot to the back of the head in their own country.
This and the grisly rape-murder of a 16-year-old girl in Lapu Lapu City, Cebu has again brought to the fore the cry for restoring the death penalty. Those who favor capital punishment cite the Bible’s “an eye for an eye, an ear for an ear” retribution to those who commit hideous and unspeakable crimes. Why not if it’s the only way to put the fear of God on these evil wrong doers?
The other major problems besetting the nation is the continued infringement into our sovereignty and territorial waters by the Chinese who have deployed their warships in Scarborough Shoal or Panatag. They have been depriving local fishermen of their livelihood. The Department of Foreign Affairs said it filed a diplomatic protest and President Duterte might bring up this violation in his next meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Will Xi just give Digong a pat on the back or lock him tighter in his embrace? The Filipino people are watching the outcome of this meeting. So far, only Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario are the most vocal in the denunciation of China’s aggression and military buildup in the South China Sea.
With all this myriad of problems, I am amazed that President Duterte continues to have a high approval rating in the public eye and the poll surveys conducted in the latest poll by Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia. This President taunts God and the Church but we have yet to see the heavens inflict punishment for his defiance and disrespect. Or maybe we are—from the shower of problems Duterte is being drenched with and experiencing.
As I said at the outset of this piece, the advent of Holy Week should be a time for prayer for our country , the President and the new set of leaders in the coming midterm elections on May 13. Reflection and deliverance should be the undertone of our prayers.