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Monday, January 21, 2019

Mongaya: First 100 days of another war

MANY are focused on the positive and negative sides of the death toll in President Rody Duterte’s war against drugs. But what about the war against poverty?

Before anything else, please allow me to disclose that I’m privy to what I am writing here because Doris, obviously my better half, is the Visayas coordinator of Kilusang Pagbabago Visayas.

It seems even journalists of national broadsheets missed the significance of EO 1 that President Duterte signed on his first day of office, July 1, 2016. This executive order brought under the supervision of Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. 12 national agencies that impact on the poor. The 12 include the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), HUDCC that coordinates the different housing agencies, National Youth Commission, and the National Food Authority (NFA).

Meanhile, Evasco’s team is working on two parallel directions: the formation of the Office of Participatory Governance (OPG) and converting the Duterte campaign machinery into the core of Kilusang Pagbabago, the
administration’s grassroots “partner for change.”

Working away from the media spotlight, many did not see the formation of Kilusang Pagbabago core groups in poor communities nationwide.

One basic tenet pursued by Kilusang Pagbabago organizers is going directly to the masa who supported Duterte during the presidential campaign. The movement moves independent of politicians.

Some political personalities, however, are supporting this ambitious project behind the scenes. Perceptive folk keep abreast by monitoring Facebook.

A picture posted on Facebook of CabSec Evasco and Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña cutting the ribbon during the opening of the Kilusang Pagbabago Cebu-Visayas office last Oct. 1 speaks a lot. This happened on the day Evasco took the oath of commitment of some 10,000 community leaders from Cebu City and the province.

Significant too during this Oct. 1 event was the presence in Cebu of NAPC boss Liza Maza. In a way, one gets a sense of how Kilusang Pagbabago meshes with the agencies within Evasco’s jurisdiction.

To mark President Duterte’s first 100 days, some 30 Kilusang Pagbabago Visayas leaders joined other 70 Kilusang Pagbabago representatives from Luzon and Mindanao during the National Anti-Poverty Summit. This summit that transpired late last week at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) mapped out, among others, the anti-poverty roadmap of the Duterte administration.

It seems the Duterte administration has been preparing during his first 100 days for a more strategic war against poverty.

***

At first glance, I was wondering if that congressional hearing on a bill granting emergency powers to President Duterte to solve the traffic mess in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu had taken a comprehensive picture of local sentiments. This was because of the absence of Gov. Junjun Davide and Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

I was puzzled because the MCIAA was the host of the said hearing and not another office.

Then I gathered from MCIAA manager Paul Villarete that the congressional committee had a separate meeting with Mayor Osmeña. Apparently, I thought, the congressmen are more perceptive of the local political situation.

I suppose Osmeña elaborated, in a more intimate setting with the congressional committee, his proposal to ban cars during rush hours at the two Mactan-Mandaue bridges. Based on news stories, an accompanying suggestion is reliance on buses.

On the other hand, there is this proposal for a six-month study worth P170 million. Naglibog lang ko. Do we need presidential emergency powers to do another study?

The way I see it, we need political will and cooperation among local local government unit leaders to implement concrete projects and less on the PR, please. While emergency powers would speed up implementation of plans, still nothing would happen if initiatives exclude Osmeña and Davide.

***

The Bureau of Customs grapevine is talking about a tipsy Cebu official who approached the customs commissioner during the birthday bash of lawyer Sal Panelo. The official was not exactly happy with a Cebu customs man who is identified with a Cebu mayor. But Manila has reportedly become wary of such kind of lobbying. Wa na makadut.


@anol_cebu in Twitter
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