Editorial: Franchises and privileges

YESTERDAY, jeepney drivers and operators went on strike and in response the government suspended classes and government work.

The City Government of Davao when it first announced suspension of classes at all levels in both private and public schools advised Dabawenyos to "take this opportunity to observe the streets with fewer jeepneys and more buses as envisioned in the High Priority Bus system project for the Dabawenyos."

It was a refreshing sight and drive, indeed, as the streets barely had any jeepney and several buses were plying the routes instead. For a fast-growing city, Davao is indeed in desperate need of a mass transport system that works, and will not replicate the horror that Metro Manila bus system has become. That jeepney operators and drivers are protesting is understandable. They are protecting their interests. But government is not there to protect individual interests but is instead bequeathed with the duty to work for the greater good.

Given the fact that that jeepney operators and drivers have failed to upgrade their services to ensure fast and comfortable conveyance, then government has to step in. After all the privilege to operate jeepneys for public conveyances is but a government franchise, a privilege that comes with the responsibility to deliver. Being a privilege, it can be taken back and should be taken back when things are no longer working. And we say, having tiny multicabs as public mass transport is not a comfortable means of conveyance. Never.

Rebuilding, at last

Two most wanted terrorists are dead, and we are all rejoicing. It is about time that the likes of Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon are taken out of their terrorist existence. Now, real rebuilding in Marawi City will start.

We are praying that the rebuilding will not just be of structures but of values and norms. There will never be peace when families regard guns as a basic equipment at home and that everyone who comes of age should have one. There will never be peace when people regard gunfire as normal, as many Marawi residents thought when the first volleys of gunfire broke out on that dark day of May 23, 2017.

We have to bring these concerns up because this is about the future of our children and their children. This is no longer about us.

In a world that is growing more violent, we have to ensure that the children will still know and value peace, but more than that, that they find it in their collective hearts to actively work for peace.

For this initial victory, we congratulate our Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Now, we call on the people of Marawi to fan that flickering hopes in their hearts and as one community, move forward and rebuild their lives with peace in their hearts. It's going to be difficult, but it has to be done, because we cannot condemn our children to a life of conflict and terror, which will be fanned by whatever it is that we have put in their hearts.


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