TURNING POINT: The Other Side of Midnight

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NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews/12 June) — In every change of administration, the practice to start all over again from scratch is wasteful and unproductive. It will be advantageous for the nation if the new administration works to safeguard and continue the rewarding economic policies and gains of the outgoing administration and corrects the imbalance between productivity and social and infrastructure services.

Notwithstanding the high economic growth of the country under the present Aquino administration, recognized by reliable economic observers around the globe, administration critics dismissed everything as plain propaganda and self-glorification. This is because the repugnant poverty situation throughout the land has not accordingly changed or in fact has even worsened. They claimed that the economic gains if any have not trickled down to the masses but remained concentrated among and enjoyed only by the economic elite

The election is over. It high time to jettison the campaign propaganda line and examine what is really happening around us, the reality on the ground . To continue to walk with eyes closed will lead no one to nowhere.

One concrete and measurable indicator of the advances of the economy that have reached the masses is the available money in their hands that are not primarily used to buy food or basic necessities but on certain luxuries once enjoyed only by the moneyed class.

Consider this. We are not called the texting capital of the world for nothing. I don’t have hard data on mobile phone ownership in the country but if you just look around and judge for yourself. Not just office workers or classy students who are sipping their coffee at Starbucks but even the lowly pedicab drivers and ambulant fish peddlers have cellular phones or celfones in their pockets. We often hear to our annoyance loud ringing tunes in public places and people talking loudly in their mobile phones inside a public transport vehicles or in cinema houses. Parents are aware the allowance proposal of their students are being padded to accommodate the load for their mobile phones and payment for internet services and not for food or snacks.

It was no accident that the brutally tragic Mamasapano incident was documented with the use of mobile phones both by the high-ranking SAF officers and rebel combatants on the ground as well in real time combat. That was made possible because the major communications service providers erected communication towers in such a far-flung place not intended necessarily for such kind of history changing encounters but for farmers and people doing business on agricultural products. The communication firms are in such places because they saw where the money is or the potential of the market.

And talking about internet access, if the current election has become so nasty and toxic because of the active participation of candidates’ supporters and dirty strategists operating in the social media. This unprecedented phenomenon happened because a good number of the population has cash to spend on other concerns beyond food and other basic needs.

The present government has also been tasked   for the nightmarish traffic mess particularly in Metro Manila, the daily infinite queue in MRT/LRT stations, the congestion in bus and airport terminals especially during holidays and long weekends.

Let us examine the other side of midnight so to speak. The long queues in train stations and bus terminals as early as 4 am – 8 am. are made up of people who are reporting to their respective work places. Meaning, there are so many nowadays than before who have got a job or other forms of livelihoods which the transport industry has not been quick enough to respond. The congestion of passengers in bus terminals and ports on holidays and long weekends only shows that people have extra cash to spend on hometown vacations and gifts for relatives. The congestion in airport terminals simply implies a growing number of people who can afford a little luxury in travelling beyond the long grueling bus or boat ride. The heavy traffic mess almost at any given time in the metropolis may also be explained by increasing numbers of private vehicles, implying the increasing purchasing power of a growing middle class.

Even the omnipresent trash we see everywhere have some bright implication on it. It indicates an improved purchasing power of communities whose environmental education is wanting though.

What does this all mean? The economic policies that have brought more jobs and livelihood opportunities to the people ought to be sustained, perhaps reinforced vis-a-vis the building of complementary or corresponding infrastructure and support social services, education and attitudinal change to assure a robust and balanced development.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.

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