i hate it when government — anyone in power for that matter – responds to any crisis by falling back on prayer. the only thing worse than that is to have a president that uses prayer to talk about solidarity and “productive actions.” now have the Presidential Spokesperson Coloma say: “While we are praying, perhaps it is good if Filipinos would focus on what they can contribute to make our republic even stronger” and one realizes this whole discourse on solidarity in productivity is really about taking a jab at government critics — the ones who are going out on the streets on January 21 to protest the Meralco price hike, and certainly the ones who remain critical of this government’s inefficiencies / insufficiencies / incapabilities even as we are not out on the streets.
Coloma throws more our way:
“Those who do not believe (the President) are in the minority. We respect their opinions… but it is probably better that instead of protesting, they would be recommending concrete suggestions to effect positive change, and rest assured this government will be ready to listen to their sentiments and suggestions.”
three things, Secretary Coloma, that should teach you how not to go the way of Lacierda and Valte and Carandang who gave the position of presidential spokesperson such a good name.
(1) critiquing government policy and (in)action is not about whether we believe in this President or not — that is a simplistic way of looking at things. i can believe in a person and still be critical of him; in the same way that i can not believe in any president, but agree with his or her actions and decisions for nation. the problem of this government is that it takes things so personally, and PNoy is made to believe that criticism of government policies and his people is about him. it only becomes about him when he refuses to fire incompetent officials, and decides that what they are doing is okay even when the inefficiencies are staring us in the face. it only becomes about PNoy when he falls silent on issues that are important and urgent. it becomes about PNoy when he decides that in the face of a looming Meralco price hike, and the certainty of a more difficult life for the populace, his answer will be prayer.
(2) why thank you for respecting our opinions Secretary Coloma. but in fact we would rather that you were listening to us — reading too! — so that you might know that protest and criticism do not come without suggestions. i could give you a reading list of people who have had the most fantastic suggestions for this government, if not a list of suggestions that the private sector would take on themselves, but that would seem to be a waste of time.
let’s focus on tomorrow’s Blackout Protest: you want to know what they’re saying? they’re saying that the President should be able to protect the people from Meralco’s price hike. we’re saying that this President should be unequivocally siding with the people against the power price hike, and the President should be the first one to say that a price hike is unjust. we’re saying that the President — because he is president — should be able to do something, other than watch Meralco do what it wants. the suggestion is for the President to do something about this Meralco price hike. a national day of prayer ain’t one of those things.
(3) it would do you well Secretary Coloma, to not talk about critics like we’re a minority. in fact since the anti-pork barrel campaign, this number of critics has been growing. and then Typhoon Haiyan happened, and PNoy’s Interior Secretary failed tremendously at doing his job. imagine how quickly the number of critics rose! and then there’s this: we realized that the President will watch as the Senate makes a fool of the Supreme Court decision that the pork barrel is unconstitutional. the President has watched as the Senate made fools of us all and gave themselves the lump sums that is pork barrel, just without that name.
and then the President watches as his National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) awards land claims under questionable and irregular circumstances. in the same way that the President watched as the bunkhouses in the Eastern Visayas were being built, and once completed proved to be un-habitable for humans. in the same way that the President has announced he is against and has abolished the pork barrel, and yet look at that 2014 budget and marvel at how it looks exactly like there is pork barrel.
i’m saying it again: the problem with matuwid na daan is that you guys believe all it takes is to walk the talk. oh no, Secretary Coloma. this is about making sure that each one of the President’s men walks that same road, and the people beneath them do, too. it is about making sure that the Senate and Congress are disallowed from walking any other crooked road. it is about making sure that businesses like Meralco are made to walk on that matuwid na daan, too.
the President need not be critiqued by a majority for him to realize that he’s been doing it all wrong. matuwid na daan is not a line you deliver and which will automatically be followed by everyone. you need to make people follow that line. your President has to have to wield that kind of power, and use it for the people, against all forms of abuse.
the question really Secretary Coloma, is this: in the case of the People of the Philippines versus Meralco, which side is the President taking?
please don’t tell me he has to pray about it.