Monday, August 26, 2019

Carvajal: Positive engagement

IDEALLY, when a new administration takes over, all parties should forget their differences and positively engage the administration on both content and method of strategic programs to promote the greater good of the bigger number.

This ideal has never become real in the past and the negative noise from opposition parties against the Duterte administration that peaked with the declaration of martial law in Mindanao tells us that bi-partisanship is not in the horizon of Philippine politics.

But if our leaders insist on political narrow-mindedness, it should not mean that the Filipino people cannot on their own positively engage their government in what they perceive as the right things it is doing, without of course relinquishing the duty to protest against its wrongs.

On that vein I am recommending JJCICSI’s (John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues) “Light and Shadow, the Duterte Administration from the Perspective of Catholic Teaching” ( and shadow/) to be the platform from which to launch this positive engagement.

“Light and Shadow” was written precisely to promote positive engagement as opposed to the political opposition’s strictly partisan style of looking only for whatever they can use to snipe at and bring the administration down from a selfish motive of regaining control of the country’s seats of power.

“Light” represents programs which not only address the right issues but are also adequately funded and legally and morally administered and around which we can and should, therefore, rally. “Shadow” refers to programs that are off-target and/or inadequate in financial, legal and even moral justification. We can still positively engage the government in “shadow” programs by non-destructive but constructive technical, legal and moral inputs.

The situation is rare where there’s really nothing you can positively support in a government’s programs. If the intent is to work for the common good, supporting one meaningful program can go further in promoting the common good than focusing on shooting down the bad.

Politicians cannot go for this because they are otherwise programmed to advance only their narrow self-interests. Ordinary citizens, however, can because, even if their survival pack hangs from a politician’s patronage belt, they can always be made to realize that what is good for many is good for one while what is good for one is not necessarily good for the many.

In any case, if our political leaders are hopelessly focused only on their dynasties’ ambitions, the citizenry has no choice but, and damn the politicians, get their act together for positive or constructive engagement with government as many are now doing.

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