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The worst ever

I HAVE been a journalist, going full circle from print to  broadcast, and back again to print, for 66 years now. I have  seen the worst and the best of administrations and presidents.  I have never seen an administration as incompetent, as insensitive, as detached from reality and as lacking in empathy for the poor and the needy, as this present one. 

Never in the post-war history of the Philippines have we had an international airport like Ninoy Aquino International Airport labeled as the worst airport in the world, or the most dangerous for its notoriety in planting bullets. Its ceilings collapse and its toilets are filthy.

This itself is a reflection of the utter incompetence of Transport Secretary Emilio “Jun” Abaya and Naia general manager Jose Angel Honrado, a relative of BS Aquino III.

We have a mass transit system like MRT-3, being used by half a million commuters who hope they would reach their destinations safely. This system suffers a glitch almost daily.

And yet, Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya nor BS Aquino III do not seem to care. My gulay, this is not only incompetence of the highest order; it’s criminal negligence!

We also have a Land Transportation Office which cannot even provide driver’s  licenses  and license plates on time. I dutifully paid for my car registration and all the fees some five months ago. But until today, I have not gotten my new license plate and all the necessary stickers. 

The finger of blame points directly to Abaya, who seems oblivious to calls for his resignation.

Worse, our traffic gridlocks are nightmarish, testing our patience. To top it all, Abaya says that traffic is not fatal, and BS Aquino III’s spokespersons claim it’s a sign of progress. This adds insult to injury. 

And to think BS Aquino III wants us to vote for his candidate for President, Mar Roxas, to continue the straight path.

What straight path is BS Aquino talking about?  Graft and corruption continue in all levels of government, as attested to by no less than Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales. Straight path, my foot. How hypocritical.

* * *

BS Aquino III and his economic managers want to mesmerize us with their continued boast of economic reforms and economic growth rate. Still, the best proof that there has been no inclusive growth in the country, notwithstanding the rise in GDP, is a report of the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund that shows the utter neglect of the Aquino administration for the basic need of no less than 7 million Filipinos.

These people still defecate in the open, while 570,000 others use open-pit latrines, buckets and other “unimproved” sanitation facilities.

The Unicef-WHO report also said an estimated 2.3 million Filipinos still drink water from rivers, dams and canals, while another 6.1 million get their water to drink from unimproved facilities like wells and springs. The lack of safe water sources has been an ordinary reason for the prevalence of water-borne diseases, which account for a great number of children’s death annually.

I don’t know what Health Secretary Janette Garin and the administration as a whole are doing about this basic need, if at all. But, my gulay, there should be some effort on the part of the administration to enable Filipinos, mostly in the province and rural areas, to improve their sanitation facilities. Why are our fellow Filipinos allowed to live like primitives? 

This report only shows how a government like the Aquino administration, treats its poorest of the poor.

This is the legacy of BS Aquino III when he steps down from power on June 30.

BS Aquino III could not care less about the elderly and the  children, the most vulnerable segments of our society. When he voted against the P2,000 addition to the SSS pensioners, he revealed his true colors. Why should he care more about providing sanitary toilets and clean water to improve public health and ease the burden of poverty?

Born as an haciendero, BS Aquino III is typical. While he continues to talk about the rising GDP and economic growth, he forgets what the poor and the jobless are going through. After all, when he steps down, he will be still living in comfort.

* * *

It would be interesting to find out how voters are affected by newspaper, radio and television advertisements, and even posters.

I have asked politicians about this, and they tell me that, while to a certain extent, they can sway the minds of those still deciding whom to vote for, generally speaking, people would rather see the natural candidate in person.

That’s the reason why during this campaign period, there are schedules for national candidates to go to the provinces and speak before crowds.

Political advertisements in newspapers, radio and television have more impact on the A & B and the Upper C class of voters. To the “masa,” whoever gives them food on the table and provides them jobs is preferable. To this extent, all elections are local. This is where a national candidate has to rely most on a well-funded grassroots machinery this election period. And Santa Banana, this is where funding becomes critical, especially during the last two weeks before Election Day.

This is where an administration candidate has that distinct advantage. The grassroots machinery is built-in. 

I am told Aquino and Roxas are banking on an administration victory despite the low survey ratings of Mar Roxas and his running mate, Leni Robredo.

But then, there are also voters who have already made up their minds on whom they will vote for. They will no longer be swayed one way or another. There are the “masa” who believe in a candidate who is one of them and knows what they want.

* * *

Speaking of poll surveys, the only survey I can trust is the door-to-door survey of the Iglesia Ni Cristo made by its ministers and “deakonos.” This is given to the general “samba” of the Iglesia ministers a few days before Election Day.

The Iglesia got its hands burned when in 1992, they sided with businessman Danding Cojuangco who lost to President Fidel Ramos. Since then, the INC became a “sigurista,” always going with the winner in their own surveys. 

And that’s the reason that former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo won. The Iglesia supported her instead of movie icon Fernando Poe Jr. The rest is history.

Topics: Emil Jurado , The worst ever , Joseph Emilio Abaya , Jose Angel Honrado , MRT-3
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