Can we now talk about Charter Change? Chiz says, Yes!
Lately, Metro Manila stumbled once again on an old desire to change the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Some have proposed that the entire charter be changed while others counter-propose the introduction of limited amendments.
Since the presidency of Fidel Valdez Ramos, there had been attempts to overhaul or even only change certain constitutional provisions. After a little over one year of the presidency of Noynoy Aquino, comes again the emerging debate on Cha-Cha.
Is it opportune now to talk about Cha-Cha? The country is threatened with killer typhoons and the impending impact of a collapsing world economy. Should the Filipino people ignore these threats?
From the Philippine Senate comes this authoritative voice of a young man. “It’s ok to discuss” the Cha-Cha propositions.
Senator Chiz Escudero does not object to that, except that he is at a quandary if this is a priority today. “I have no objections to studying and discussing it but I have yet to be convinced that this is needed at this time and should be a priority. While charter change remains and will always be an important political exercise in a dynamic society for such to progress and endure, timing and adequate resources to push for such move should be carefully factored in.’
Do you agree with Chiz? QN does. There are other most pressing priorities. To mention one: The GSIS has not yet completely solved the multiple problems it had faced during the Arroyo Administration. There are, for instance, those who were “forced” to retire but up to now, for about six years already, have not gotten any iota when their pensions could be approved so that they could already starting receiving that mandatory social security benefit. For another: There are thousands of corruption events that have to be stopped, despite the fact that some of them had already been elevated to the Ombudsman and other anti-corruption agencies of government, since the time of Marcos. A Cha-Cha today would be too weak to handle these, for political pressure is still much stronger, unwilling to be tamed and wane.
Doming Oñate, one of the more than 3,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries of Basey, Samar, was surprised by the sudden windstorm (or so was it thought at first) that hit ground last Friday afternoon. A former seafarer, he was used to strong winds that fanned waves at sea and whence they would come, which he would brave fearlessly. On that last Friday of September, 2011, however, he couldn’t readily figure out why there had to be strong winds. It had been hot since morning. The bad weather was just about to enter the Philippine’s area of responsibility off northeast, the next after the exit of flood-bringer typhoon Pedring. It was fair weather all over Eastern Visayas then. Yet, the winds were so strong. Doming left the office where we were planning for the scheduled barrio visits of Baktas Kabub’wason Rural Workers Association, to find out what was happening outside. I followed him out into the highway at Palaypay. “Tornado?” I asked as I darted my sight aimlessly at the cloudy sky to spot for any hurricane. “Kanaway na, kanina, habagat, talaga makusog, delikado kun magwala an kanaway,” he clarified to me as he noted the directions which the winds had taken, at the same time dismissing the hurricane guess. The gusts lasted for about 15 minutes. No damages, even if some GI roofs seemed like being ripped off by the gales.
One just cannot predict the kind of weather ahead for all of us. Some environmentalists attribute this to climate change which, they keep saying, can even wrought havoc on unimaginable vast fields – especially when no one expects.
Last week, I thought the guesswork was right, that temperature would now be much lower because of the onset of the “ber” months. The forecasts were quite credible. After September 21, temperature had not risen above 32 until last Tuesday (September 27), when in fact strong winds buffeted the open-sided covered court of the Basey National High School at about 10:30 a.m., blowing away documents that I brought with me for the orientation-seminar on coco charcoal making and copra production, for members (mostly agrarian reform beneficiaries) of Baktas Kabub’wason Rural Workers Association. The following day, temperature in the streets of Basey rose to 35 degrees Celsius as the festival parade wound up. That high, going up to 37 by noon time. The next day, temperature was also high at 35 until 3 p.m.. It was contrary to our last expectation. In the farm, Villa Aurora rice planters repaired to their shelters last September 14 after noticing that the cracks in their rice fields had become bigger. They thought they could already plant rice on that day. Until yesterday, there was not enough water in the rice fields. In fact, it had been waterless the whole day. In Tacloban, water pressure continued to be low, unable to push water up a meter higher to service home faucets. But, yeah, that had been a normal thing to Taclobanons – water service in the highly urbanized city that claims to be the regional center of Eastern Visayas had always been worst for more than a year now.
When extraordinary or unnatural events get into play beyond human expectation, some (like the followers of Harold Camping) are sometimes tempted to think of that biblical warning about the coming of the world’s end, which comes like a “thief in the night”. They are interpreting climatic changes such as what we are confronted with frequently today as the manifestation of that “thief in the night”. No wonder, there are still those who believe Camping’s doomsday that he has set for October 21, 2011. Of course, that’s only for end-world believers.
“Sometimes the worst evil is done by good people who do not know that they are not good.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
By: Chito Dela Torre
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