Editorial: As expected, Mindanao is at the tailend-A A +A
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
PRESIDENT Benigno S. Aquino III arrived an hour and a half late for his speech at the Philippine Development Forum held at the Marco Polo Hotel.
Knowing how it is when a President is among the guest, the audience must have been made to sit and not loiter around an hour before schedule and made to sit and not loiter around for the one and a half hour he was late, and sit and not loiter around until he left.
But, who are we to complain? He’s the president.
In his speech, he boasted again of the economic gains the Philippines has been enjoying, the three-trillion tax collection, while urging positive participation.
We would have been more enthusiastic had he arrived on time and manifested a desire to let the people of Mindanao know they matter. Not.
This grates into the nerves even more after the admission of Socioeconomic Planning SecretaryArsenio M. Balicasan in the same forum although a day earlier that Mindanao is still left behind with regards reaping the economic growth the President boasted about.
Balisacan said at present, 60 percent of the country's gross domestic product is concentrated in three regions in Luzon, and this only shows that both the government and private sector have "yet to tap the full potential of other regions, especially those in Mindanao."
That is the very reason why the communist movement was strongest here just before erstwhile President Ferdinand E. Marcos and his family were booted out of Malacanang Palace through the People Power Revolution in 1986.
Similar words to assuage the feelings of a neglected people were spoken by all Presidents who came after. One thing we can console ourselves with is the candor by which Secretary Balicasan admitted this. Let us just hope that that candor is borne out of his unwillingness to feed us more crap rather than the candor of not being bothered by what he admitted.
Just in case we still didn’t get it five Presidents after Marcos: we’re on our own, folks. Paddle on, but let’s paddle on to greater visions of what we want Mindanao to be rather than what the central leadership wants us to become.
By the way, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has just raised the white flag on the Freedom on Information Bill.
"It's very unlikely that it (FOI) will be approved before we adjourn on Wednesday," Belmonte said in an ambush interview in Manila.
But then, we’re not surprised, are we? Like the promise of better economy for Mindanao because of the Philippine’s leapfrogs, daang matuwid is really just a promise to be better than the predecessors as decided and found appropriate by those in power and not as dictated by the people from the information they can access.
It was of no use, anyway, as Malacanang’s version of the FOI is a ridiculous watered down interpretation of freedom of information. So much, really, for daang matuwid. He can’t even arrive on time. That already says a lot.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 06, 2013.