Handwriting On The Wall For Early 2017
By Popoy del R. Cartanio
It’s only the second month of 2017 and the world so called now the global village faces big problems which never before should frighten anyone. Every new year brings feelings of uncertainties rather than assured progress and peace. From the millennium 16 years had passed with inhabited earth still intact despite occurrences of man-caused or natural calamities. Life seems to have proceeded in improved and sophisticated degrees. This is due PRIMARILY to non-political contributions and advances in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Increased global cooperation likewise weighed in to balance peace and harmony among countries.
The new year began with talk of a big war more destructive than WWI and WWII. Former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev who was catalyst responsible for the demolition of the Berlin Wall and ended the cold war has warned that countries seemed preparing for nuclear war. Stephen K. Bannon who had been appointed member of the powerful US National Security Council by President Trump had been reported earlier to have predicted the impending world war happening in three to five years.
Not all is also peace and quiet in Europe. The leaders of the three big powers namely, US, China and Russia are girding for a new kind of trilateral relationship which may tackle dangerous behavior of rogue North Korea. Middle East power muscles like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other oil nations not to mention Israel constitute delicate variables which could be implicated in any world war.
The Philippines itself had shown hints of good bye to old relations with USA and welcome new friendly relations with Russia. Exchanged state visits between the Philippines President and Japan’s Prime Minister indicate revitalized alliance for war and peace between the two countries. Philippines had also accepted the mantle of leadership for ASEAN whose member countries include Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Brunei. Philippines perforce must demonstrate leadership and competence in regional diplomacy and development.
How the Philippines will traverse 2017 gets its answer from the posturing of the powers-that-be in the government, in media, in NGOs and in other people’s organizations. Their discourse and analysis of the here and now could augur well or be portentous of what’s in store for tomorrow and later. So far my watching, listening and reading here and there tells me unfortunately that there is preponderance of shallow analysis (napakababaw) of seminal actors and political events.
For example, to believe and indicate support for the unprecedented political action of the elected President against illegal drugs powered by alleged extra-judicial killings as justified because of the overwhelming votes of more than 16 million voters could be spurious or weak logic. Unless facts are checked and verification are done as to how the President was truthfully voted into power the claims and justification do not wash. It could likely be that in a corrupt polity that political power resides somewhere else not among the voters. Not voters but political power has-beens or cultist religion were the ones choosing the winners.
COMELEC and media can find that out: how secret money, apart from legal campaign contributions raised are reported and how the loyalty votes (the Ilocano, Pampanga fiefdoms and religious block voting) were delivered could belie the semblance of the democratic process in choosing leaders through popular elections.
The founding fathers of the USA in their wisdom may have seen and provided remedies against subtle aberration of the election process by enshrining in their Constitution the role of electoral college. Ideally (not provided by the current Philippine Constitution), as an example, an overwhelming win in some towns of provinces or whole region under control and influence of a family dynasty should not prevail over the votes delivered in the country’s whole 18 regions. Who won in majority of the Barangays should be the more representative and authentic decision of the people.
Events which are continuing to the rest of 2017 and even beyond; after they began during the last two weeks could be high intensity earthquakes for President Rodrigo Duterte’s person and those of his cabinet members with even after shocks adversely affecting the large majority of the population. To name some in random order: (1) PNP and the murder of the Korean businessman inside the Police National Headquarters, (2) Waking up from deep sleep of the Catholic Church on the issue of EJK, (3) the completion (not the end) of the peace talk and cancellation of the cease fire truce both by the CPP-NDP-NPPA and Philippines government, (4) failed visit of UN official to monitor the drug war, (5) the burial of late President Marcos to the Heroes Cemetery; (6) the investigation and report of the AI (Amnesty International) about EJK (extra judicial killings) as a crime of genocide as sufficient case for trial by the International Criminal Court, and for sanctions by the International Court of Justice, (7) the sudden stoppage or suspension of the anti-illegal drug program and activities; (8) the irreparable verdict by the President of the PNP as a damaged institution; (9) continuing operations against Muslim rebels in Mindanao, (10) continuing loss of lives of AFP soldiers to operations of the NPA, (11) the expected resurgence of guerrilla war against the Communists New Peoples Army and (12) etc., etc.
These 11 specific events I am very sure have been explicated on the pages of Manila and ASEAN newspapers, in TSOH blog, even in BALITA Toronto as the main news source of Fil-Canadians in Ontario. THESE ARE EVENTS, not judgments and criticisms but red flags and wake up calls.
These events cry for focus and study and rehab of policy and action. But the important summative view is that all of them tells something very negative on the administration of Philippines’ President Duterte. And could presume the unraveling of unintegrated pieces of the Duterte program of government.
All events listed could bring about suggestions of incompetence in policy formulation and policy execution. It even suggests extreme need for the bureaucracy for orientation training in the whole gamut of governance paradigm circumscribing clarity and action on : National Goals into National Objectives into National Policy into Programs into Projects into Activities into Tasks. The warning bells are contained in the waffles of a seamless and fluid General Appropriations Act (GAA) first enacted by the current administration. The parts of the GAA should be highly integrated, SOLID.
For example into the paradigm labyrinth of the Illegal Drug Problem, the application of Capital Punishment and EJK should be contrasted and evaluated minutely against eradication of illegal drug production. When there thrive trees that bear poisoned fruits that do not kill eaters outright but inflict untold sufferings, will killing eaters solve the policy problem? Should it not consider efficacious and effective to COMLETELY ERADICATE production by killing the poison bearing trees instead of the eaters.
It should be noted that simplifying issues through its little parts leads to understanding of a complex whole which in the case of illegal drugs also includes importation, transportation and physical distribution.
About training to do a good job, does civilian administration really does NOT know why in the military new recruits and regular troops jointly have regular exercises on many aspects of combat and battle to acquire and maintain competence? The makings of a public service technocrat comes from training and re-training on Macro Problem Solving techniques.
Republished concurrently here with permission from BALITA Toronto (February 15-28, 2017 Issue). Ed.