The Need for the Overhaul of
By Apolinario Villalobos
The problem with us is that we always look for scapegoats every time we fall into an unfortunate mishap due to irresponsibility.
In the Philippines, March is for the so-called fire “prevention month” during which the government untiringly calls on all Filipinos to be very extra careful to prevent accidental fire. But, despite incessant reminders, and as if taunted by adversity, the said month is pestered with fire almost every week due to carelessness of Filipinos who has the habit of doing what they are not supposed to do, such as: octopus electrical connections at home resulting to power overload, careless use of candles, leaving unused gadgets plugged to outlets permanently, failure to call the attention of children who play with matches and lighters, throwing of cigarette butts into garbage heaped with inflammable refuse, etc.
Most often, when the fire has done its demolition job, the firefighters are blamed due to their late arrival. Those affected refuse to accept the blame for their own carelessness, without which no fire could have ensued in the first place. Worst, only few Filipinos have a directory of emergency numbers such as those of police, doctor, barangay, even fire stations, but they have in their cellphones and landlines the number of their favorite TV stations and radios, pizza parlor, burgher outlets, beauty parlors, and the like! Panicking fire victims then, has no number to call when a fire breaks out. So, who failed in taking extra care?
Since young, we are made to know about the ill-effects of cigarettes and alcoholic drinks. The said vices are also expensive, but not even high sin taxes slapped on these unhealthy products can prevent Filipinos from going on with their “relaxing” habit. Some would even smilingly say that, vice or no vice, we die anyway, so why not enjoy life with a vice? But the problem specifically with smoking is that, non-smokers are affected. They eventually become “indirect smokers” inhaling “second hand smoke” in public places. Irresponsible parents even unknowingly let their children taste the vice at an early age by ordering them to light cigarettes for them, thereby making them have the first taste of the smoke. Some parents even brag about the “boldness” of their kids in gulping down a bottle of beer in a few minutes.
The Philippine government is not free from the finger-pointing attitude. When the “pork barrel” scam erupted, fingers of all supposedly involved lawmakers pointed to Janet Lim-Napoles, who they allege as the “brain”. However, in so doing, they forgot about their “willingness” to participate. How can Napoles jumble budgets if there is nothing to manipulate? Whose budgets are they, by the way? Also, when rehabilitation projects fail after a natural calamity, the Filipinos, especially the victims, get confused as to who let go of the ball with so many finger-pointing of involved agencies.
Such finger-pointing attitude in the government has embarrassingly reached its penultimate height when even the president himself, joined the “mob” of blamers when he unabashedly pointed at Getulio Napeῆas, sacked SAF chief, as the sole responsible for the death of the 44 SAF commandos. Worst, he left out in his blame, suspended PNP Chief, Allan Purisima, a purportedly “best friend” who gave instructions to Napeῆas, despite his (Purisima) suspended status, exposing himself to a clear case of usurpation of authority. Such unpresidential attitude has put the highest official of the land in a very embarrassing situation from which he may never recover, with the dissolution of his credibility! He has practically melted the trust of Filipinos nurtured by his mother, the former president Cory Aquino. The edifice of the “Aquino” as a respectable name has been practically eroded by the attitude of the president which for many is beyond description!
Many lawmakers are blaming Deles and Ferrer, the government representatives in the peace panel for the obviously one-sided draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in favor of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). But why did these lawmakers not oppose the two’s continued role after the Arroyo administration, during which their other draft was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court? These lawmakers had all the opportunities to question the hold-over appointment but instead, they spent their time checking on the activities of their political rivals, exerting their best in different demolition schemes to clear their way towards the 2016 election.
The government blames thousands of graduates each year for choosing courses leading to “white collar” jobs which are mismatch to the demands for skilled and technical workers, resulting to unemployment. But why does the government not impose a control on the courses offered by the colleges and universities? When TESDA with its special courses designed for OFWs came into the picture, the malpractices of its “authorized” NGOs that operated a la Napoles were exposed. So, what other fragment of the government is not yet infected with corruption virus? Such situation makes the government which is not clean enough, inadequate to honestly point an accusing finger to the poor Filipino graduate who wants a high-salaried job.
From both inside and outside, the Philippines is threatened. The island of Mindanao is at the mercy of MILF which in the eyes of lawmakers are even “supported” by the government’s own representatives in the peace panel as they lean on Malaysia, an observer. China is systematically encroaching on the country’s maritime territories while United Nations the caretaker of nation members, looks on. And worst, the country is governed by questionable elected leaders and officials who, with seemingly ease, suck the blood of life from their trusting fellowmen!