Skewed priorities

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Friday, June 20, 2014


BESIDES corruption, the country is experiencing serious problems in three other critical areas. One is the high, yet slow solution, rate of crime. Two is a sluggish legal justice system. And three is a basic education system that excludes millions of school-age children.

The problem of corruption might be nearing some solution with the filing of cases initially against three senators. Not so the other three which concerned officials resist solving with the worn-out and very lame excuse of “lack of personnel and equipment.”

Because of “lack of personnel and equipment” all the police do when there is an uptick in crime is to set up check points that are nevertheless surprisingly over-manned by seemingly undertrained and obviously under equipped police officers.

Another standard move is to further restrict the possession of loose firearms.

However, again because of “lack of personnel and equipment” they only succeed in restricting firearms possession of responsible owners of guns while criminal elements continue to hang on to their illegal arsenal, acquiring some pieces even from the police.

The same happens in the legal justice system. We have always lacked for judges and so courts are perennially clogged with unresolved cases, delaying and denying justice to many citizens, especially the underprivileged. Yet when people complain of trials conducted in slow motion, the same excuse of lack of courts and judges is given.

Last but not the least, our universal education system has been an oxymoron because every year so many children of school age cannot be admitted into the system because of a perennial lack of schools, teachers, desks, meal support, etc. When are we finally going to have enough schools and desks and teachers for all our children?

It isn’t like we don’t have the money. We have plenty of money to be stolen away by the very people mandated to use it to serve their fellowmen. We have plenty of money to spend on the skewed priorities of politicians.

Has it not occurred to our leaders that the high crime rate might be because people distrust the courts and are taking justice into their own hands?

Hasn’t anybody thought that providing the disadvantaged with schools, desks, teachers and meals might just be what it takes to get them away from a life of crime?

Police inefficiency, sluggish justice and exclusiveness of our schools can be blamed on the skewed priorities of politicians. Ultimately, however, the blame is on us for tolerating and allowing that our leaders pursue their political priorities exclusively. We must work on them to provide personnel and equipment for the promotion of our priorities: peace and order, speedy justice and universal basic education.

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

Opinion

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