Saturday, October 23, 2021

Carvajal: Anesthesia

Break Point

Anesthesia is insensitivity to pain induced by the injection of a drug. The anesthesia of political leaders to the suffering of millions of Filipinos is induced by the drugs of wealth and power.

National anesthesia is evidenced by the refusal of presidential wannabes to form a unity slate against the administration ticket. If they were running to liberate Filipinos from an allegedly disastrous Duterte administration, they would have set aside their personal ambitions and unite to insure the people’s liberation.

Personal ambition, however, seems to be driving them. I can imagine them figuring out that the more candidates there are the better their chances of winning by a mere plurality of votes. Because we don’t have run-off elections in our system our Presidents have mostly (always?) won by a mere plurality and not by a majority of votes.

None of them is running on an anti-poverty platform or on a platform of nationalized industrialization and agricultural productivity, the twin drivers of economic progress. Instead they merely make emotional appeals to voters with immodest claims of personal qualities that make you want to puke.

Local anesthesia is evidenced by the refusal of the Cebu City Hall to empathize with small vendors who worry that developing Carbon into a world-class facility would deprive them of their means of livelihood that thrive in Carbon’s informal business culture.

If the reader wonders why small vendors are worried, the answer is in their profile. Based on Carbon market’s list as of March 15, 2021, there are 1,675 stall owners, 1,117 ambulant vendors with stalls and 2,174 without stalls, for a total of 4,966.

The numbers do not include roughly 1,000 pushcart vendors, loaders, trike drivers and suppliers of ice to fish vendors, plus roughly 500 manicurists, massagers, lantay lessors and, would you believe, seawater suppliers of fish vendors. Finally, Carbon provides a living to many stall-holder helpers and loose vendors who sell their wares in just about every Carbon corner.

Clearly, most of those nga nanginabuhi sa (doing livelihood in) Carbon are informal, casually or even shabbily dressed income earners who have valid reasons to doubt if they can still earn a modest living in a world-class facility. Not just small but also big Cebuano suppliers and consumers would lose the informal, price-friendly business culture of Carbon.

Megawide is in Carbon for the profits. But what about a service unit like a local government unit? Why is Cebu City rushing the project? Why is it so insensitive as not even to honor with a reply the position paper C.A.R.B.O.N. (Carbon-hanong Alyansa alang sa Reporma ug Bahandianong Ogma sa mga Nanginabuhi) submitted last May yet? Who are they accountable to? Not to small folks, I guess.


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