Ordinary times
DEMAND AND SUPPLY - Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star) - May 17, 2019 - 12:00am

After the excitement of last Monday’s election dies down, the country will be back to ordinary times. Hopefully with the renewed overwhelming mandate of the administration, there will be no more excuses. If they need emergency powers to fast track projects or fix Metro Manila’s traffic jams, there should be no problem.

Three years will move fast. The last three years did. In terms of building needed infrastructure, three years is not enough. Indeed, we already practically lost 2019 because the onset of the rainy season bogs down infra construction.

The administration ought to use the rest of 2019 to award projects to build among others, airports. The San Miguel airport is one. The NAIA rehab is another urgent project. The Davao airport modernization should get going too.

The planned privatization in the management of the Iloilo and Panglao airports should proceed smoothly. Laguindingan and Bacolod also requires attention and there is private sector interest to modernize these airports as well.

Waiting too long to get these infra projects done can prove politically fatal. Just ask Mar Roxas. Teka teka will deliver disappointment that can damage any politician or political party. The strong vote of confidence delivered by the electorate is premised on Duterte having political will to get things done.

That’s exactly the take of Fitch Solutions on the results of the last election. They see this strong show of support for Duterte giving him the confidence and ability to push ahead with his programs. They think his reforms and fiscal plans including cutting corporate tax rates will face less obstacles.

But even as Fitch Solutions sees an improvement in policy-making with Senate control, they note that “reduced opposition within the Senate lowers the potential for ‘checks and balances’ on Duterte’s administration and may over time see a decline in our Long-Term Political Risk Index score of 65.4 out of 100 for the country.”

But enough about those big issues ordinary folks don’t normally think about much. In ordinary times, there are boring everyday stuff that needs attention.

Over the past week, there was this concern expressed in social media over the quality of table vinegar. The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) had announced results of their recent study which found 15 out of 17 vinegar brands being sold at major supermarkets were made from synthetic acetic acid.

Vinegar should come from the fermentation of natural ingredients to be safe for consumption, a PNRI official said. Concern was expressed that synthetic acetic acid, being a by-product of petroleum, could cause various diseases including cancer.

Then there is the quality of steel bars used for reinforcement in construction. There was a report that out of 115 steel bars purchased across the country for testing, 46 turned out to be substandard. I got further reaction from an expert on this matter.

“Reinforcing steel bar needs to be tested to ascertain quality. I am familiar with steel bar standards and manufacturing but I cannot distinguish a substandard steel bar if I buy from a hardware store. Specs like yield and tensile strength, elongation, mass variation and deformations require measurement and testing in a certified laboratory.

“This is why the government needs to regularly conduct market monitoring and mandatory standards enforcement of products to protect the ordinary consumers and the general public from harm.” This is DTI’s responsibility.

Then I received this letter from a reader: 

“I’m a consultant to a company in Mandaluyong City and as part of the city’s program of raising annual revenues, the LGU requires all employees working in Mandaluyong to secure an individual mayor’s permit. It costs P400 each and the lines start at 4 a.m. because of all the employees trying to secure the permit. It takes a whole day to get one.

“I understand that before, this permit was required only for bars and restaurants (we don’t belong to these categories) but have now expanded to all businesses.”

That doesn’t sound right. That should attract the attention of DTI for ease of doing business, DOLE for possible anti-labor implication and DILG to reach out to the officials of the City of Mandaluyong.

Where was God?

Some people complained that they prayed hard to get better election results but their prayers were not answered. I hope they don’t end up having a problem with God.

Assuming the quality of our prayers is acceptable to God, we have to be ready for three possible responses: our prayer request will be granted; our prayer request will be denied or God will give us something better in His time. We have to learn to wait and be patient in the knowledge that God is always on time anyway.

My friend, Ed Gatchalian has a good explanation:

“In the Book of Habakkuk, the prophet was begging the Lord to help the Hebrew nation from many problematic and painful situations happening. There was violence, iniquity, wickedness, destruction, strife and contention. The law was ignored, justice never upheld. The wicked surrounded the righteous, and therefore justice came out perverted (Habakkuk 1:1-4).

“Check out God’s reply. God said that He is doing something. But it was not what Habakkuk expected. God solved the internal evil of Israel by letting an ungodly, evil Chaldean people rip them apart. Why?

“Read the book. It is a short one (only 3 chapters). But make sure you read the last verses (Habakkuk 3:16-19). God is not done yet. He is cleansing us individually. Wait for His next moves. Keep alert. God bless the Philippines.”

Indeed, the Maxwell Leadership Bible explains that the prophet Habakkuk learned four lessons about God’s leadership in the world: 1) Not everything that happens conforms to God’s will and wishes; 2) Nothing that happens gets overlooked by God; 3) Everything that happens will ultimately be addressed with justice and 4) Nothing that happens should distract us from continuing to respond faithfully.

Boo Chanco’s e-mail address is bchanco@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @boochanco

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