NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 27 July) – The final SONA was more or less clean; the patented cussing was suppressed to a whisper.
PRRD delivered his last SONA in a record time of 2 hours 46 minutes, in a manner like he was shitting here and there, touching anything glimpsed by his meandering mind, and jumping from one topic to another and back and back again with no conclusion in sight. Towards the end, the drop was on his glorious days as mayor of Davao City, where he cajoled, threatened, and bribed (No mention of any killing this time) to make the city drug- and crime-free. Together, let us rise as a nation from the s…
The swan song was distressing in its narrative of contradiction.
He flaunted of a drug war that claimed thousands of lives of petty drug pushers and addicts, never mind if the big drug lords known to him have remained scot-free, and the nine PNP generals in the drug trade had not been made accountable for their crimes and their whereabouts remain a secret, such that the drug menace has stayed with us at the end of the day; and never mind if the ICC is now posed to prosecute him and company for their crimes against humanity.
A lame duck, and the sword of Damocles over his head, notwithstanding, he had still the audacity to order his underlings to shoot and kill on sight “the enemies of my people.”
He prided of raising the salaries and in expanding the privileges and benefits of state security forces for them to be effective in protecting the people from the enemies and to maintain and secure peace and order. Thus, he said, parents would no longer worry today when their daughters walk in the street at night, forgetting the truth that drug-crazed marauders still lurk in some dark corners and petty criminals still ply their trade to survive, especially in this pandemic.
His free college education program is flaunted as a landmark social amelioration intervention, never mind if only the well-to-do, the middle class can enjoy it because what is free is only the tuition and matriculation; the bulk of the expenses of college education, such as board and lodging, transportation, allowances for projects and other classroom requirements are beyond the capacity of the poor and the needy; and never mind, if there is no match-up between college-learned skills and industry needs, and the number of graduates and job creation.
He flaunted the universal health care as one great social program in his watch, never mind if it has been torpedoed by the humongous corruption in PhilHealth, its financing institution, threatening thereby the delivery of health services to the underprivileged.
He flaunted his great strides in fighting corruption in the Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Correction and in other agencies of the government, never mind if only whistle blowers and no top corrupt officials had been dragged to court and jailed. At the end he admitted he can’t abolish corruption unless he overhauls or abolishes the entire government system.
He flaunted he has asserted in the UN Assembly the sovereignty of the country in the West Philippines Sea, considered the Hague arbitral ruling now a landmark part of international law, never mind if in the past he dismissed it as a mere piece of paper worthy of the trash can; and never mind if the Chinese maritime militia aka fishing vessels continue to mushroom and exploit the fishery resources of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
His Build, Build, Build infra program was supposed to be funded by the Belt and Road loans from China, but those flaunted completed were mostly past initiated Public-Private Partnership projects, past government projects whose schedule of completion spillovers to the present regime, and some new projects funded by current government.
He claimed the government’s compliance with the Supreme Court mandamus to clean Manila Bay, never mind if the best of its effort is the senseless dolomite beautification of one short stretch of beach front along Roxas Blvd; never mind if the dolomite sands have to be replenished now and then after a heavy downpour and flood in the metropolis.
He is grateful to China for responding to his request for vaccine who gave to us gratis 1.5M doses of vaccine, which is a great help in the the country’s fight against the pandemic, never mind if the vaccine is not that free at all considering the Chinese continuing and unabated exploitation and destruction of our marine resources worth several billions of pesos.
At the end, he admitted that despite pandemic control policies and science intervention, the virus persists to stick with us and he therefore encouraged everyone to pray to God, never mind if our God is stupid, so that he will look at our direction and save us and the planet.
(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.)