Cariño: Yearender

2016. A rather tumultuous year.

To begin with, our country elected to the Office of the President a one who might be called he who was highly unlikely to make it. We all thought it was Mar Roxas’s year and that Grace Poe was his most serious rival. I don’t think we saw it coming, really – that Duterte would win, and by a landslide.

Then there was his declaration of a war on drugs. With the spate of killings that that brought about and the president’s open, transparent, fearless naming of drug lords and their protectors, many of us opened our eyes to the distressing drug situation we may not necessarily have been aware of. I saw myself suddenly looking at strange incidents with new eyes.

That driver who wouldn’t seem to listen to anything I said till I yelled in his ear. That other driver, same thing. That “drunk” reeling on the road uncaringly blocking traffic. That man who almost accosted Isah and me right in front of Hotel Vallejo. That salesgirl with a ridiculously slow manner, who had me thinking, cattily, that if this was a script, her appearance would read: (in slow motion with glazed eyes). I almost meowed. That other saleslady just sitting in another place, head on her chest, swollen eyes opening with difficulty and only when forced to…

Aside from the promise to clear the country of crime and drugs in six months, there are other campaign promises being met. I focus on one of them here, the promise to raise SSS’s lowest pension payouts from PhP3,000.00 to PhP5,000.00. A promise, is seems, easier said than done.

Budget Secretary Ben Diokno said just a few days ago that there are ways to meet the raise we all agree should be effected. Among the methods bruited about, that SSS premiums be raised by one percent, was it? Personally, I wouldn’t mind this. It isn’t much, that one percent. Of course, actuaries have to seriously weigh in, and the president has indeed to study the move carefully. But if those pensions were indeed to be raised, it would be good for all, methinks.

And so on to 2017. Happy New Year to one and all!

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