Noisiest minority

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


THE P12.2 billion rehabilitation budget for Cebu has been approved. No less than President Noynoy Aquino announced this during his State of the Nation Address SONA) last Monday.

How soon will the money be released? If it’s any indication, the rehabilitation plan was approved by the Cabinet in the first week of June yet. Will it also take another seven weeks before the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) starts releasing the money to the implementing agencies?

Hopefully not. As Bogo City Mayor Junie Martinez told “Frankahay Ta!” in an interview yesterday morning, the President’s announcement has brought added pressure on local executives because it raised the hopes of their constituents that the national government’s share in the rehabilitation work will now go full blast.

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Nine months have elapsed since Yolanda ravaged a wide chunk of northern Cebu and while the local governments, either on their own or in partnership with the private sector, have made strides in rebuilding the lives of their people, much remains to be done. And the typhoon victims are getting impatient.

Junie, in the same interview, also said that he would not mind if the rehabilitation work is done by the line agencies provided that there is proper coordination with the local government.

That should be the case not only because local officials know the conditions on the ground better than anyone in government, they are also the ones who get blamed if something goes wrong in the implementation of the rehab program.

***

Last Monday’s SONA, PNoy’s fifth, was the most emotional I have ever seen. At least twice, the President paused to drink from his glass as he struggled to hold back tears. It was by far also his best because he was no longer discussing his plans but reporting on what he has done during his last four years.

The time for drawing up plans is long past this President, who has barely two years left of his term. What I expected him to do and which he did was to submit his scorecard on the programs that he announced he would pursue at the beginning of the administration and then let the people decide whether he passed or failed.

There are, of course, people who have long decided that he failed. They never believed in him and so never gave him a chance to prove his worth as president. Fortunately, they are a minority although they also happen to be the noisiest.

I meet some of them every now and then and while I have always been tolerant of people who hold strong opinions about anything, I can’t stomach intellectual arrogance. And arrogance it is when someone describes another as not intelligent enough or is psychologically challenged.

Oftentimes, I wondered if this negativity is not a manifestation of deep-seated inferiority, whether the tendency to put someone down does not proceed from a feeling of inadequacy.

Thus, I am almost tempted, every time someone refers to the President as Abnoy, to suggest to that someone to take a psychiatric examination himself. Always, however, I resisted the temptation and instead prayed for the guy because in the words of our late San Vicente Parish priest, were it not for the grace of God, he could have been me.

***

Will Pope Francis include Cebu in his itinerary when he visits the Philippines in January next year? Archbishop Jose Palma agrees that a side trip to Cebu by the Pope would be great but as he told me over the phone yesterday morning, he doesn’t want to raise any false hopes.

The Cebu archbishop said that until the Vatican makes the appropriate announcement, any talk about Pope Francis coming to Cebu is only speculation. Those of us who are anxious to see him step on Cebu soil, can only wait. And pray.

(frank.otherside@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 31, 2014.

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