The Irony of the Philippine Government’s “Prides”
By Apolinario Villalobos
The Philippines, first and foremost is an agricultural country but the government is insisting on infrastructures to make it at par with other realistically progressive neighboring Asian countries. Mountains are left to unscrupulous and illegal loggers. Rice fields are converted into housing areas. Resources for renewable energy are left untapped. Garbage in cities are not disposed properly. Manila is becoming the dump site of waste from industrial countries. Most towns and even small cities are without drainage systems and clean source of potable and socialized water system. Manila infinitely, is suffering from traffic and flood. Despite all these hurting realities, the Department of Tourism prides in its slogan “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” and the administration of Pnoy with its “Matuwid na Daan”.
The country also prides in its world-class universities where knowledge on economics, industry and more, are supposed to be bred. The first rice-breeding laboratory in Asia can be found in Los Baῆos, Laguna, and which has trained agricultural scientists from other countries….but the country yearly imports rice from the countries of these once “students” of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). We have lakes, and other small bodies of water and rice paddies that can be converted into small-scale fish farm, but foreign financiers keep on strangling tilapia and bangus in much abused Laguna lake using small fish pens…and shamefully, we import even the common galunggong from Taiwan. Meanwhile, the streams and lakes are polluted by seepage from mining sites decimating the fish population, rendering them useless and leaving those who depend on them go hungry.
And the worst irony is the ill-prepared K-12 program that the government is touting to prepare the youth for jobs abroad! Such insanity is true because good-paying jobs for skilled workers are found in other countries. Will K-12 finishers like to work in this country where contractualization for five months is the common practice, and for a take home pay which can barely maintain the daily existence of a family of four? Even if jobs will flood the country, still the pay will be pittance due to the prevailing policies that are unfair to labor! That is the reason why labor unions do not tire of shouting invectives against the government for its failure to remedy the situation, especially, the contractualization. Obviously, the K-12 program has been hastily implemented so that it can be included in the list of accomplishments of Pnoy.
The government prides in the “quality education program”. Still, ironically, the textbooks are so commercialized, obviously making the publishers and conniving government officials, and even schools rich, and making it impossible for the poor to go on with their effort to acquire basic education. I found out that one book for a level of the K-12 program costs 700 pesos, and to think that such book shall be discarded at the end of school year! How about the classrooms without chairs and whose students are overflowing to the corridor or being lectured in gyms, basketball courts, under trees, etc? Lucky are communities with overflowing students than those without schools! Worst, how about the schools without decent toilets, or with decency only good for several months after school opening as maintenance is next to impossible due to the lack of water facilities and fund?
I love my country…but I hate the corrupt system of the government today, and the liars that “operate” it to their own advantage! Nevertheless, I am still hoping that from the coming generations, decent and conscientious leaders will rise to heal the wounds of this ailing country…..