A year of thinking dangerously

How utterly bleak that we are about to end 2006 still entangled in the throes of Chacha debates!

I thought the whole year could have been much more productive had not this selfish agenda invaded the homes of every struggling Filipino. We were fed Chacha rhetoric since January 2006 and we are still having a regular dose of it until today.

This fixation on the minds of a few of our leaders that Chacha is the answer to the country’s woes has deprived the people of actual, concrete solutions to many problems that could have been solved were it not for this patent falsehood.

With so much funds at its disposal, a real percentage of our VAT-generated moolah went to feeding the Chacha frenzy instead of the following must-haves and must-do’s:

1. Making sure that every public hospital has at least a steady supply of free anesthesia, painkillers, and antibiotics for its patients;
2. Investing in R&D via the DOST and Nutrition Council on how best to resolve the hunger situation of school kids – is it rice? is it milk and dairy? what are we to feed them? how do other countries handle their own school feeding programs?
3. Provide notebooks and pens to grade school students who – get this – retrieve old notebooks and erase all its contents from cover to cover – just so they can have something to write on.
4. Put together a premiere content assessment review committee composed of the best minds on three subjects: English, Filipino and History. Are we teaching them the right content in the best way possible? How can we improve/correct/upgrade the contents of our textbooks and teaching materials? How can we modernize this through IT tools such as the use of PowerPoint presentations or CDs? How can the younger generation of today stay connected to the ideals and lessons of our heroes?
5. Invest in an independent study (preferably by a globally renowned research group tying up with a reputable local think-tank) that would look deeper into our migration framework and over-all situation. Are too many of our women leaving? And in what kind of jobs? Who are the Filipino workers that are dwindling in numbers?

There is so much to think about and plan for. With all its funds, every department has a mandate to go beyond today’s politics and start preparing for the battles up ahead. But this has been the year of thinking dangerously, and planning ominously. 2006 will be remembered for plots, conjured and otherwise; for tragedies and disasters, from oil spills to typhoons; for unsolved killings and deaths, from journalists to congressmen and students that disappear from sight; for a major summit that collapsed upon a storm that was weaker than imagined; for a Chacha that won’t quit, and a people weary of having to keep plugging their fingers in holes to keep the dike of our democracy from crumbling.

This is the year when government employees were “permitted” to campaign for Chacha but warned against joining a prayer rally on a Sunday afternoon.

This is the Christmas when America flexes its muscles over an American serviceman caught with his pants down inside our borders, for a rape which he was sentenced to jail by a local judge.

This is the year when an irate executive and House of Representatives wanted the Senate dead and buried, but they so bungled the job that they incurred the people’s ire instead.

This is the year of thinking and writing dangerously, and I am sure glad that 2006 is about to end.

Merry Christmas to the wide-eyed, cheery and straightshooting gremlins of the blogosphere!

Author: Susan Ople

Susan "Toots" Ople is the President of the Blas F. Ople Policy and Training Institute. She's an OFW and labor advocate based in the Philippines.

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