Joseph’s wisdom could save us
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2014 - 12:00am

I don’t know what sort of dreams President Noynoy Aquino may be having these days, but I pray to God that they are not the sort that the Pharaoh of Egypt had in the book of Exodus. In that time the Pharaoh dreamt of 7 fat and sleek cows being eaten up by 7 scrawny, very ugly and lean cows. Then 7 heads of good grain being swallowed by 7 heads of thin withered grain. As the story goes, Joseph the prophet explains to the Pharaoh that there will be 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine and that the best thing to do is to prepare for this. As a result, Joseph saves the nation and is promoted from prisoner to Prime Minister (Exodus – chapter 41).

All this come to mind after watching a Discovery Channel documentary that explored, explained Typhoon Yolanda and forecasted what lies ahead for the world in terms of global weather and typhoons. To be brief, the scientists have consistently and correctly predicted that typhoons (and perhaps even earthquakes) will continue to get bigger, get worse and will be of “Biblical proportions.” The documentary pointed out how the top 5 strongest storms in history have occurred in the last 10 years. I remember how some local forecasters predicted in 2012 that there will be fewer storms but they will be far stronger than in the past. All the scientists were in agreement that all governments as well as people need to take the matter seriously and prepare for them.

When one of the scientists classified the destruction in Eastern Visayas to be of Biblical proportions it reminded me of how Joseph in the book of Exodus implemented very radical measures to prepare for a catastrophe and how as things got worse he got tougher in order to insure that the kingdom/government remained strong and able to manage and provide for the people.

At the moment, we are already in a new year but still stuck with last year's problems, most of them unresolved or unsolved. People talk about moving on, about reconstruction and rehabilitation, but the sad fact is we still have to bury the dead while government still needs to get its act together. Not to be petty but the giant waiting shed formerly called an airport in Tacloban sticks out as a sad testament that the government is also stuck in the mud. What happens six months from now when the rains come and the typhoons begin to beat on us? Right now there is a serious shortage of flights into Tacloban but it can’t be addressed until the airport has 24-hour landing capability. Before Yolanda they had more than 10 flights a day. Now it’s down to half or less.

Perhaps the President should consider the attitude of the Pharaoh who did not sleep well or find peace until he understood what the situation meant. He prioritized the matter. He sought out answers to the question. He went outside his circle of trusted “Magicians who could not explain.” He considered the counsel and recommendation of common people, and He entrusted the matter to someone he recognized was used of God and had the mental faculty to deal with the matter. He knew how to delegate.

Whether he admits it or not, the President has to acknowledge that his “Magicians” are no longer able to pull off their tricks or entertain the public. The gimmickry of spin-doctors putting up amateur shows like teaming up Pacman with the Tax Madam at a shootfest or “unbelievable” surveys not to be believed, simply add insult to injury. Invoking the name of God is annoyance rather than publicly honoring him with praise, courts disaster and draws contempt from those who hold the name of God sacred.

With each New Year, Filipinos generally wipe the slate clean as we all remember our own failings or shortcomings. Being Christians we are willing to forgive as we pray for our own forgiveness. It would be safe to assume that Filipinos would also be willing to give P-Noy a fresh start, if he took it upon himself to show the desire and the sincerity that must come with it. Be like the Pharaoh, who publicly recognized God in government, who had no qualms bringing in someone outside his Magicians’ circle, and taking action.

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I’ve been told (or was it a “warning”) that the Crame Hilton is currently being refurbished with new beds, paint and furnishings. In the same gathering a lawyer added that even the Sandiganbayan holding room (detention facility) was also being spruced up for 2014.

Those in charge of the facilities refused to comment or speculate as to why these detention facilities are allegedly being made to look nice. However, there is a lot of speculation going on that the first quarter or at the latest the second half of 2014, will be a time when several legislators and associates will be guests at the Crame Hilton in relation to the pork barrel scam. Those knowledgeable in the art of political diversion speculate that sending Senators to the PNP Custodial Center would do wonders for the waning popularity of the P-Noy administration and will instill newfound fear among political enemies and critics of the government.

Given that possibility, will history repeat itself as it did during Tita Cory’s time when her enemies decided to “Save the Queen” by trying to kick her out of office? It was George Santayana who wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I wholeheartedly support all efforts of this government to throw corrupt officials and politicians in jail. I just hope that those planning to do so realize that desperate men who can lose it all are prepared to bring others down with them. Unlike war, political battles and firefights always hurt innocent civilians and not combatants.

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