What’s happening?

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Monday, July 28, 2014


SOME years back, when then vice president Emmanuel Pelaez was ambushed on the way home to his house in Quezon City in the vicinity of a soft drinks company, he asked rescuers that arrived: “What’s happening to our country?” When I read some reports in newspapers recently, I recalled the vice president’s question, and was tempted to ask the same.

And why could I not? The same question somehow also strikes deep into our current condition, if one should assess closely what the news stories implied.

On the front page of Sun.Star Cebu yesterday, some of Cebu’s northern town mayors were reported as waiting with bated breath for President Noynoy Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) yesterday to find out if their request for rehabilitation fund in their towns, which are still recovering from super typhoon Yolanda, has been granted.

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More than nine months after Yolanda, which even Time magazine devoted ten pages and a cover story in November 25 last year, government officials in the part of Cebu that needs a more thorough rehabilitation are still hoping for the President to approve the rehab plan.

It is said that the plan asking for P12.2 billion has been given to PNoy, and only needs his imprimatur to make it go. Will they wait in vain?

But let’s turn to page 2 of the same Sun.Star Cebu issue. There you go. The page’s headline went: North town flood. “Daanbantayan flashflood destroys 3 houses; 80 families evacuated in Sta. Fe.” Meanwhile, families in Sta. Fe were evacuated “after a sinkhole, with an estimated diameter of 10 meters appeared in Sitio Dapdap, Barangay Langub, Kinatarkan Island.”

And then, below the destructive flood story comes a juicier one, but quite a bit gravely disgusting piece. It is about a public high school teacher who “sold four girls to foreigners for sex.” The “female” teacher of the Compostela National High School was charged before the Office of Provincial Prosecutor for allegedly selling four girls, two of whom are 14, to foreigners.”

So, what’s really happening when even mentor turn pimps?

The Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (RAHTTF) charged the female teacher for violating Republic Act (RA) 9208, as amended by RA 10364, which expanded the law protecting rescuers of trafficked women from counter-suits. In any case, the teacher was said to have brought the high school students to a hotel in the city where the American “buyer” of the girls was waiting. The girls were paid P1-P2 thousand.

The three reports are really among a number of instances that place the Philippines in an unpalatable sort of circumstance that diminishes our sense of respectability and dignity as a people. What sort of a people are we, anyway, that even our mentors can go down as low as pimping for cash? Have we become so mendicants as to bargain human values and self-worth for whatever amount is offered in exchange?

We hope PNoy in his Sona those protesters storming the steel barricade at the National Capital Region, find time to play less politics, and attend to our common problems.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 29, 2014.

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