Change that we can become (Part 2)

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By Dr. Bob Ocio

Isyo ug Servicio

Saturday, February 15, 2014


“CHANGE is not only about changing people in positions of power. It is about changing our way of thinking and actions. It is about doing right even at the expense of losing power, or having to suffer for the sake of those who are supposed to benefit from it.” - OroChange!Org.

EARLIER, I wrote about the situation of our city and nation and the principles we have generally pushed as a guide toward the change that we need and can become. I proposed that we consider the following principles with an acronym (God HEE TAPES). The following then were discussed with the acronyms: G which represents our belief in God and which the PDP-Laban called Theism. The H which is Honesty and Ethics, The T which is Transparency and where I made reference to the necessity of the approval and implementation thereof of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill. Another E stands for Equitability, A for Accountability, P for Participatory, E for Environmental Consciousness and Justice and S for Sustainability. We will never have enough space and so we shall only mention these guiding principles and some examples.

On honesty

The question really lies on our unabated corrupt practices. Take for example how we are screwed up at our water district per COA report. Look at the millions of unliquidated cash advances, the shameless practice of retaining hundreds of millions of intelligence funds which are never subject to scrutiny, bidding and audit, the Sendong funds and many other issues.

These could have been translated into viable entrepreneur and self sustainable programs directly benefitting the poor majority and the flood survivors. Or are we really honest when we insured thousands of people at the PhilHealth but the funds appropriated thereof were never paid?

What if those sick people receiving the cards got sick? Were they able to receive the benefits when their premiums were never paid? That is elementary fiscal management which were never properly addressed. Would it be more honest in fact to buy P200 million worth of medicines, equipments, supplies and facilities for most of the poor out of the 800,000 residents of these city than to pay for the health premium coverage of only 50,000 people? Or would it be fair to pay for the premium for the helpers of an employer/political ally while the majority of the poor are uninsured?

On transparency

We wrote about the Robredos as an example. It is noteworthy to mention that the late Mayor Jesse Robredo was reported to have encouraged the organizing of the people into organizations who are directly consulted themselves on matters of government policy and programs. In contracts, we have noted in recent past the steep pathway toward the mountain of barriers just to be informed about how we are going to spend our city investment Plans. I have also noted that if we are to be really transparent, then we have to practice the example of Jesse and post all development proposals, programs, details of cost estimates, feasibility studies and programs of works together with notices of bidding in a city website. That could have necessarily reduced and or avoided an unnecessary confrontation between the executive and legislative branches of government. For how can we explain a supplemental investment plan for 2013 worth over P70 million submitted to the council after the projects have already been implemented?

On equitability and the Gospel

The PDP-Laban people are supposedly social democrats. The CDP are actually Christian (and Muslim)

Democrats. The PDP believes in social democracy. But what does that mean? Social democracy is the idea that the state needs to provide security and equality for its people and should actively reorder society in a way that is conducive to such developments, but that such changes should be brought about gradually, legitimated by a democratically elected majority.

Real social democracy means simply the equitable distribution of power, resources, wealth, opportunities and benefits to everyone. Equitable means fair and impartial, "an equitable balance of power fair, just, impartial, even handed, unbiased, unprejudiced. As such, the PDP Laban promotes federalism, which equitably divide the country not only politically but also economically.

As such, the proposed law by Senator Koko Pimentel for a "Bigger slice, Bigger pie" for the local government units. As such, the Australians promoted fiscal and development equalization. Therefore, equitability is not just about economic growth. It is about social justice for the majority who has less in life, access to food, services, housing, capital and technology to live decent lives.

In fact, Pope John Paul II called holiness in spreading the gospel in action, the homes, offices and in the fields of social justice and politics. (To be continued)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 16, 2014.

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