WORM’S EYEVIEW: How straight, how level is Matuwid Na Daan?

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/22 June) — It’s been over four years since this administration took charge of our society. But it has passed up every opportunity for everyone to internalize its concept, slogan, or mantra of “Matuwid na Daan.”

Consequently, as a governing strategy, or even as a slogan, “Matuwid na Daan” has been ineffective. As a behavioral guide for the public service, it has merely deepened the cynicism of those who view PNoy’s leadership with skepticism.

As a management concept, it remains a vague notion. What sincerity it claims is neutralized by recalcitrant behavior at the center of power. Its resolve is clouded by indecision or inaction.

For instance, what’s with the Ampatuan Massacre, now five years hanging at bar, twisting in the wind like dirty laundry? And will Edita Burgos ever have closure on the disappearance of her son, Jonas, reportedly at the hands of the military?

How about the agony of the not-so-lucky Mapalad farmers of Sumilao Bukidnon who are yet again on a long, very long, walk to Malacañang to ask PNoy to do as he promised years ago?

If anything, Matuwid na Daan should be about justice—and consistency in its quest. It should also be about honor—regardless of association with the high and mighty, and retribution.

Too, there should be delicadeza—unsullied by nepotism or favoritism shielding kabarkada, kabarilan, kaklase.

Yet all this time we were told that Matuwid na Daan is for real: an earnest strategy for reforms, one embodying PNoy’s vision and mission for our society.

But it’s been over four years, with barely two years left of his term, and so much remains unaddressed. Inaction is draining away a lot of his considerable political capital.

In the field of governance, autonomy remains a pipedream, the locals ever dependent on the central government. The party system remains a shambles while political syndicates disguised as “Parties” dominate the power centers.

Even the Liberal Party, of which PNoy is the titular head, seems unable to cope with intra party challenges. And now the pork barrel scam is joined by the equally if not more controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) which directly implicates PNoy and Budget Management Secretary Butch Abad.

The implications of an adverse Supreme Court ruling on this issue involving alleged disbursements to senators in connection with the trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona promise to be a bombshell of an impeachable issue.

One major opportunity P-Noy continues to pass up is his government’s failure to capitalize on his decree requiring every community or barangay to convene twice yearly, in March and again in October.

It will be recalled that he issued Proclamation No. 260 in September 2011 requiring the holding of synchronized meetings of the Barangay Assembly nationwide. So far, the event comes and goes each time with no impact or significant result, local or national, not even to take up how Matuwid na Daan applies to every community.

This Assembly encompasses every Filipino in every community except under-age youngsters. Because it is “synchronized”—simultaneous in all 42,078 barangays—it is a perfect opportunity for the entire nation not only to straighten out the inner workings of its communities but to reorient or realign it and its activities in accordance with the policy of autonomy and the principle of subsidiarity.

This nationwide event is a momentous occasion by any measure. Except for nationwide elections, tax-filing day, and certain religious observances such as Ramadan or Christmas, there are few such simultaneous events in the life of our nation. Events during which society as a whole can cogitate upon what’s good for the Common Good and address fairly easy but festering problems of the community with laser-sharp focus.

Rarely do the sovereign citizens of a Republic get to address conditions in their respective communities collectively and do something about them right there and together.

In other words, this splendid in-gathering of the totality of our citizenry—to disentangle problems, to tend to what needs attention at the grassroots, at the base of our republic—is treated as a non-event and of little purpose other than as a routine exercise that neither impresses nor moves anyone.

So the situation in our communities remains unchanged in its disorder, unmoving in its soporific apathy, and stagnant in its moribundity.

At the least, any developments resulting from this rare in-gathering of the Filipino community—in all 42,078 of them—ought to be news worthy. Yet it’s as if they don’t take place. When do we get serious?

Manny is former UNESCO regional director for Asia-Pacific; secretary-general, Southeast Asian Publishers Association; director, development academy of Philippines; member, Permanent Mission to the United Nations; vice chair, Local Government Academy; member, Cory Government’s Peace and Development Panel, and PPI-UNICEF outstanding columnist awardee. valdehuesa@gmail.com

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