Good, bad news

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


PERUSING through the weekend issues of Sun.Star Cebu last Monday, I was struck by the mix of stories that came out. The mix somehow opened my eyes to the reports that bend towards the scary and frustrating.

In last Sunday’s issue, the headline said, “Relief goods stuck.” It said that some 175 containers of donated rice and other relief goods for the survivors of super-typhoon Yolanda remained kept in the Bureau of Customs (BOC) storage unreleased for months after these arrived.

The cause was red tape, and at no fault to the government agencies concerned. The BOC had to follow established processes and thus has to hold the release of the goods unless P14 million in taxes are paid.

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What should have been done is for the government to have exemption policies or laws in instances when relief goods are direly needed. Situations like this should be extended a kind of “courtesy” exemption.

As a result, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) had “to pay P1,400 every day for every undelivered cargo container, and some have been in the Cebu International Port since January.”

This is deeply unfortunate and is quite anomalous and a shame. Here we are extended assistance from foreign sources to help alleviate the misfortune of hundreds of the victims, yet the government is unable to do anything about it. There should really be a way to solve these matters, which hold “captive” public interest, resulting to the loss of opportunities.

Then there is the story about the World Bank consultant who urged “cities to involve the private sector in solving housing problems affecting the urban poor.” The consultant, who is said to be also the general secretary of the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, suggested that we “should also address the problem on a city-wide scale, instead of focusing on a single or few communities.”

These are ideas that are proposed to ease our country’s problems.

Then there is the good news about our “young adults given a voice in the World Economic Forum.” That, indeed, should be welcomed not only by the parents of the young but also by Philippine society for the training our young will be getting.

The group of eight young adults will “serve as Cebu’s front runners of change.” The group members are said to be from diverse backgrounds.

But the bad news is that some 117 Cebu private schools will increase their tuition this year. This is something that should really not happen at this time when we are all saddled with the need for money to enable us to meet the prevailing hard times.

Who is not suffering from the rise of the standard of living in our communities?

The chief of the Quality Assurance and Accountability Division of the Department of Education in Region 7 said that the schools are allowed the increase.

So, what do we do in the face of this reality? Take the news reports without rancor.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 21, 2014.

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