Philippines: The “Miracle” Country
By Apolinario Villalobos
• It is a “miracle” how the Filipinos could survive the onslaught of natural and man-made tragedies.
• It is a “miracle” how the survivors of calamities could keep the anguish to themselves and just cry out their woes while bidding goodbye to loved ones buried in common graves after natural calamities resulting to hundreds of deaths.
• It is a “miracle” how survivors of calamities could have lived on foodstuff recovered from the muddy ruins of groceries, rotting rice from NFA warehouses, crunchy coconut meat patiently scraped from hardy shells salvaged from roadsides, and roots of yams from the denuded hills, instead of living with even a bit of decency on the goods donated by concerned countrymen and benefactors from other countries, and which are “still” in the “care” of government agencies….waiting to be “stolen”.
• It is a “miracle” how victims of tragedies could survive the sweltering months in tents while waiting for the promised temporary shelters built at a sickening slow pace…due to red tapes as government agencies admit…so they know, but what have they done?
• It is a “miracle” how some survivors of calamities could walk around, soaked to the bone by rain in tattered shirts despite sacks of donated clothes in the “safety” of government warehouses….waiting to be “stolen”?
• It is a “miracle” how survivors of calamities could live on despite hunger and exposed wounds which are left untreated due to the lack of medicine, while pronouncements are made by government health care agencies about the country’s sufficiency in hospital beds, medicines, services, etc….. did they not hear about barangays “sharing” the services of rural health care providers?
• It is a “miracle” how big families could survive on the limited two kilos of NFA rice per purchase, despite boastful announcement from government agencies that markets are “flooded” with such prime commodity as a deterrent to the exorbitantly-priced commercial rice….where are the precious grains that are supposed to be sold in sufficient quantities to Filipinos so that they need not go back and forth to the market and spend precious centavos for fare?
• It is a “miracle” why nothing is heard about the cases filed against hoarders…were cases filed just for show?
• It is a “miracle” how a government official could survive the shame of being a nothing-doing, yet, arrogantly announcing consistently during the last four years that there will be no power shortage, until he realized lately, that he has been wrong, and now desperately asks Congress for an “emergency power” for the President, to finally solve the problem….it is a “miracle” how this energy “wonder boy” is still around, instead of giving chance to others.
• It is a “miracle” how some people could still believe assurances from the government about the influx of investors despite the glaring fact on power shortage which is an important factor in business operation…….the government is hoping for “miracles” to happen when the investors use generator sets for their operation….tourists to wake up in the middle of the night and grope their way to the toilet…tourists getting stuck in the middle of a zip line due to sudden a blackout…tourists “enjoying” their candle light dinner, with sweat trickling down their face and neck.
• It is a “miracle” how some Filipinos believe the report about thousands of kilometers of highways and farm to market roads when for even some promised short-span bridges, only posts are evident.
• It is a “miracle” how the leader could easily rant the “miracle” projects “funded” by lawmakers with money “miraculously” taken from the government coffer, and forgot that these were involved in the ghost Napoles NGOs, hence, some are non-existent…did the government go into the tedious filing of cases against the three lawmakers and their cohorts, just for show?
• It is a “miracle” how village teachers could survive despite limitations on instruction materials, allowance, wage… survive teaching under leaking roofs and rooms with see-thru walls….survive arduous treks to their schools beyond hills and mountains…survive the threats on their lives, without the benefit of even a single centavo of “hazard pay”, while government officials, lawmakers and their families hie-off to vacation lands on weekends to unwind.
• It is a “miracle” how the hardworking Bureau of Internal Revenue could have ever thought of slapping sidewalk vendors, small-time vegetable and fish vendors, lundrywomen, beauty parlor workers, jeepney and taxi drivers with taxes…their pittance “income” at the end of the day, not even enough to buy half a kilo of rice!
• It is a “miracle” how parents of young Filipinos trying their best to learn the ABCs could still afford the high-priced textbooks converted into workbooks.
• It is a “miracle” how the Department of Education can take note of the “excellently miraculous” statistics on enrollees at every start of the school year, and forget to take note of the decline of these statistics as the school year approaches its end, to indicate that the impoverished children quit school because of malnutrition and poverty…yet, the officials do not exert an effort to lift even their pinky finger to remedy the situation.
• It is a “miracle” how “intelligent” ass-lickers could believe the “miracle economy” of the Philippines and clapped their hands as if they were toy monkeys that run on dry-cell batteries, in admiration of the guy who boastfully mentioned it during a very special occasion, complete with his broken and emotion-filled voice.
• It is a “miracle” how the country can survive the shameful raids on drug laboratories by government agencies with their consistent failures in bagging the Chinese drug lords who own them…and the confiscated drugs becoming unaccounted later on.
• It is a “miracle” how the country has still retained its name despite the foreign takeover of its economy…its people slaving it out for these foreign investors as sales clerks, messengers, factory workers, drivers, houseboys and housemaids, on short-term contracts.
• It is “miracle” how this third-world agricultural country could still survive despite the lack of support from the government to improve farming technology…and, instead, rely on importation of basic commodities such as rice from neighboring agricultural countries whose agricultural scientists and technicians got trained at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Laguna, Philippines!
• It is a “miracle” how the rice farmers of the country still survive despite the deadly stranglehold of their necks by loan sharks/ rice traders who buy palay from them at ridiculously low prices and sell its milled form to the consumers at excessive prices.
• It is a “miracle” how some Filipinos can still patiently listen to hollow reports on the “miracle economy” of the country!
Indeed, the Philippines is a “miracle” country. The leader says so as he reads the statistics on a piece of paper – report from his trusted few who rant “miraculous” accomplishments that bloom out of nothing! But in fairness to the government’s effort to “enlighten” the Filipinos, perhaps, yes, perhaps, some of the “miracles” can be true…but then, only some….those which were already part of past reports…and get reported again and again.