I would offer no excuses to justify the excessive language that I used during my radio broadcast, admittedly overreacting rather emotionally and forcibly to Social Services Secretary Rolando “Rolly” Bautista’s unavailability for an interview last Tuesday morning, May 28.
It would not have happened at all had I known that the Secretary was actually anticipating a courtesy call by the Ambassador of Singapore within minutes when my staff requested the phone-patch interview with the Secretary on the subject of Magna Carta for the Poor.
Unfortunately, we were not apprised of that piece of information, which was actually a newsworthy public event as far as we at Radyo Pilipinas are concerned.
I did not realize soon enough that it was not the usual runaround given to the media, the bureaucratic red tape imposed by self-important public officials who avoid questions, especially when my staff was told to send a formal request for an interview with the Secretary.
Unlike in the military, public officials in civilian agencies in the frontline of providing government services are accountable to the people and must be transparent at all times without exception.
Still, the Secretary did not deserve any such verbosity and profanity that I directed to him. I am, therefore, reaching out to Sec. Bautista, his family and friends, DSWD staff and, of course, his band of brothers in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
Let me assure everyone that I share the Secretary’s burning passion and commitment for public service that earned him the trust and confidence of President Duterte.
Again, my wholehearted apology and salute to a true officer and a gentleman, who kept his composure amidst all the noise and anger by the public created by that excessive on air ranting of mine.
Hope for the poor
Meanwhile, we pin our hopes on some 18,000 newly elected officials to boost the quality of living throughout the country for the millions of our impoverished fellow Filipinos, particularly war-ravaged and natural calamity-hit areas.
The public eye will be focused on the freshly-constituted Senate that will assume office on July 1st. Hopefully, the 18th Congress and the Executive Branch will be in sync to advance President Duterte’s economic agenda and social justice programs.
Too many people still live in subhuman conditions, particularly in Muslim Mindanao, despite the gains three years into this administration.
Next month, the President will submit to the joint session of the 18th Congress for his State of the Nation Address (SONA) the National Expenditure Plan, which will be taken up by Congress as the General Appropriations Bill or national budget bill for 2020.
With a stronger bicameral support, we are counting on a less arduous approval of the national budget sans the scandalous, shameless bickering over P95 billion in pork barrel funds in this year’s delayed appropriations.
And, with the enactment of the Magna Carta for the Poor, the many, many poorest of the poor are guaranteed access to government assistance for their basic necessities such as food, housing, medical, and employment.