Vic N. Sumalinog

FROM Grade 1 up to the last years of our schooling, we had always been taught that in a democracy like the Philippines the government is that “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Simply put every aspect of governance and the reason why it is existing are always geared to the benefit of the people.

     And one primary responsibility of government is to ensure that all activities it undertakes will redound to the benefit of the greatest number. It behooves therefore that whenever necessary governance includes regulations of human and juridical undertakings so that whatever impact of such in society will be tempered with moderation and ends up in still tolerable level by the people.

     But what surprised us lately was the report carried on mainstream television newscasts that it is already our government pleading with the oil companies to stagger the implementation of oil products price increases.  

     Yes, through the Department of Energy (DOE), one of the most despicable acts that our government could have committed was its open plea for the oil companies to make the one-time big increase in the prices of oil products done in several installments instead. Supposedly such “kindness” of the oil product suppliers or processors in the Philippines will be able to give the Filipino consumers some breathing space.

     Wow, all the while we thought that the government through the DOE for that matter is the regulator. How come that with the DOE’s plea it now appears that the regulators are themselves the one that is at the mercy of those that are supposed to be under stringent regulation. In other words it seems our government through the Energy Department, is ceding its responsibility of regulation to the ones that are supposed to be regulated.

     What is our government in power for if it cannot even execute a constitutionally-defined responsibility?

     Only in the Philippines, they say.

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     With the present global economic downturn brought about by two major events over the last five years, it is time for our government to decide to do even radical actions just to save us from further perdition.

     Recent history will tell us that the current administration was coasting very well in its economic journey for the country. This is despite the fact that there were a series of natural phenomenon disasters like the deadly earthquakes, series of strong typhoons, and the Taal volcano eruption that caused immeasurable human suffering in areas surrounding the volcano island.

     But all those phenomenon-induced disasters were nothing compared to the still-raging CoViD 19 health pandemic that actually brings the economy of nations in the entire universe down to its feet. Everything that has something to do with the global economy was put to a standstill. And as indications of the slowdown of the pandemic are now manifesting, here comes another blow which despite its isolation in Eastern Europe, the negative repercussions that it has brought to the whole world is felt far and wide. Yes, the Russian-Uktaaine  War is now on its 19th or 20th day.

     Why then is our government still reluctant in adopting radical measures if our leaders have in their minds our welfare?  Say, why can’t it temporarily suspend the imposition of the excise tax on fuel? Why won’t the President call for an emergency session of Congress to tackle what is necessary to allow the Filipinos to tide over the present difficulties brought about by a war in which we are not even involved in?

     The administration should not even be afraid to put on hold the completion of this and that massive infrastructure project if whatever can be salvaged of the resources allocated for the same can be diverted to the procurement of food items as well as enhancement of income to sustain the survival of the people even in a still indefinite period of time.

     After all, what are scenic multi-billion peso bridges and beautiful wide and long-stretched highways if there will be fewer Filipinos able to use these infrastructures because they do not have the means to travel? Or that transportation for the public will be no more because its owners have converted the vehicles into scraps and sold them to the junkyards so that the proceeds could be used to buy food in order to survive? 

     Yes, we believe that at these very difficult times of our lives, the administration has to sacrifice some of its ambitious gargantuan projects and attend first to the critical needs of the people. Indeed our government must find ways to allow the people to survive first and foremost and think of providing them the grandiose amenities later when the government has the means.

     For comments and/or reactions to any issues we raise here we can be reached through our e-mail address: victorino.sumalinog@yahoo.com; Mobile No. 09392980435 or landline at 2372169.    

 


Source: Mindanao Times ( https://mindanaotimes.com.ph/2022/03/16/rough-cuts-radical-measures-needed-for-survival/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rough-cuts-radical-measures-needed-for-survival)