THE Armed Forces of the Philippines tell us that there are about 73 armed private armies spread about the country.
They also tell us that in Maguindanao alone, there exists around 42 partisan armed groups -- read hired thugs.
Defense Secretary Norbeto Gonzales tells us that there's about 132 similar groups spread over the rest of the Philippines, all armed with over a million illegal firearms.
This is why the Maguindanao Massacre happened -- and ask yourself what, apart from committees and enquiries, the government is doing about it.
Think of anything? No? Nor me.
Sunday's newspaper was pogi-point for councilors day -- who amongst them stood up quick enough to propose a resolution -- but the more interesting SP news came on Tuesday below the headline "SP passed 15 'landmark' legislations in 2009".
In my book “landmark” means momentous, outstanding, gobsmacking, so what do we have here?
Hmmm... an ordinance prohibiting spitting in public places (Ignored), an anti-littering law (No hope), and a resolution changing the name of the old PTA grounds to 'People's Park'.
Hot stuff eh? Landmark.
Nary a word about perhaps starting on a citywide sewage plan before our gulf turns into the world's biggest cesspool. Nary a word on doing away with Davao's archaic public transport system of jeepneys and habal-habals and trisibots and introducing a decent, eco-friendly bus or tramway system and nary a word about reclaiming the city's sidewalks for pedestrians. That would be a landmark legislation.
Everything, of course, this early in the year, is overshadowed by the coming elections (Which I think will be a shambles and declared a mis-election) so we can forget anything productive coming out of the SP until, say, about September. Even GMA has got into the act (The television station, not Aunty Glo) by bringing our attention to the heap on the hill aka the Artica Sports dome.
The place, unsurprisingly, is falling apart but despite the doomsayers, despite supposedly sitting on a geological faultline and despite the local giant burrowing rabbits, ten years on the structure is still standing.
And the city is still paying off the World Bank loan. What a waste.
Motoring now and doesn't it strike you that the LTO must be the most ill-organised national agency in the country? Doesn't it strike you that maybe they should have worked all of the kinks out of the lately introduced RFID thing before actually introducing it?
I liked the bit about the jeepney group up there in manic Manila complaining of paying P350 plus a P170 'computer fee'. Creative accounting at work there guys -- our lot haven't thought of it yet but no doubt'll get round to it.