‘Time first’

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star
âTime firstâ

Before we learned the rule of calling a “Time Out,” most of us used to yell “Time First” in order to reset a game, make a clarification, or simply to catch our breath. Unfortunately, many of us completely forgot the tactical benefits of declaring “Time First” in life. We simply plod along in compliance or to meet deadlines, on occasion some die along the way or wish they did instead of having to own up to their shortcomings or experience humiliation and defeat.

Right now the Office of the President or OP in Malacañang could use a “Time First” to reset things because they are in the middle of the worst possible case of “Executive Disorder” where a Presidential Directive came first and the necessary justifications and data are only now being gathered, and the technical working groups being formed a day and a half ago! I learned that the Office of the President called for a meeting of all concerned agencies last Monday afternoon to figure out what to do about all the unforeseen problems that the Boracay closure is causing and costing the republic.

One official from the OP called the entire thing the equivalent of “Reverse Engineering” because it is only now that agencies and officials are trying to sort out the complexities and find solutions. If my information is correct, the agreements reached are as follows:

DBM to accept Tier II submissions of programs, projects, and activities for Boracay Island up to 15 May 2018

All Agencies to submit the respective Tier II budgets on programs, projects, and activities for Boracay Island to DBM by - 15 May 2018

DOLE, DSWD to submit final profile of formal sector workers in Boracay Island by - 23 April 2018

DAR, DENR, DOJ, OSG, OCPL to form a working group to study the policy declaration of the President that lands in Boracay will be distributed to farmers- ASAP

Form the Boracay Emergency Employment Program – Working group to provide social safety nets to all displaced workers and MSMEs - ASAP

Form a Working group to rehabilitate Boracay’s drainage system and upgrading of the sewer lines - ASAP

Provide the DPWH with the sewage plan of Boracay – 16 April 2018

Form a working group to look into (a) imposing punitive measures against erring establishments; (b) instituting reversion cases for fraudulently issued titles; (c) filing of administrative and criminal charges against erring local government officials and national agency personnel.

DENR – “Complete the study on the carrying capacity of Boracay Island by - 30 April 2018”

Provide the PCOO with the names of agency point persons for the Communications Working Group” – 20 April 2018

DENR, DILG, DOT, DND-NDRRMC to provide the Office of the Solicitor General and the Office of the Executive Secretary with the scientific and legal basis for the declaration of the State of Calamity by - 17 April 2018

DTI (Lead), DOLE, DENR, DOT, DILG, DSWD - Establish an operations center / One stop shop in Boracay Island with representatives from all concerned agencies.

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Is it just me? or do you get the impression that the Boracay closure is similar to declaring war and then organizing your army afterwards? I also learned that while the OP was playing catch up along with agency representatives, not one of the three Cabinet Secretaries – DOT, DENR, and DILG attended the meeting. Meanwhile the DENR is reportedly consulting with the Office of Solicitor General Jose Calida on how to pre-empt or minimize the possibility of the islanders getting a TRO or Court Order that would prevent the DENR from demolishing targeted establishments or structures.

It would have been a lot simpler if the DENR asked helped from the DOJ to put up a beachside courtroom to hear and decide on every case or property the DENR has set for demolition. At least that way, everybody gets their day in court. There is enough jurisprudence about properties, environmental laws etc. and all the judge has to do is bring a really long tape measure and send two beach jocks to measure distances and location based on markers etc.

Something that only came to the surface last Monday was the concern on how the many businesses and owners will be able to pay debts, mortgages and loans during the four- or six-month closure. Politicians and DOLE were so busy preventing employers from laying off employees that everybody forgot that many investors and operators on the island have huge loans, mortgages etc. that could get them laid off permanently.

In case you think they’re all a bunch of headless chickens running around, don’t be dismayed. I was told that a certain Undersecretary Ferdinand Cui was quite transparent about his assessment of the situation and told the group what he thought of the people who complicated matters. Usec Cui was reportedly annoyed about the comments of a DILG official carelessly commenting on TV that tourists were partly to blame. Cui also expressed disbelief that someone would suggest registering and restraining the presence and movement of the media and was exasperated with the fact that the original intent was to widen the main road of Boracay and fix the sewage, until somebody from the DOT released a video pointing out six major problems on the island that forced government to go all out.

There is no doubt in my mind that EVERYBODY would give a sigh of relief if the Office of the President would declare “Time First” because there is just too much studies required, logistics, coordination and legal paper chase needed and all these can’t be done in under a week or two. President Duterte has nothing to lose by calling “Time First,” but insisting to do things via reverse engineering will be dangerous and disastrous to the country and to Duterte’s government. I sincerely pray and hope that some brave soul would share with President Duterte something from Winston Churchill:

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

Please Mr. President, Time First!

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Email: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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