Cleanliness is next to godliness
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - June 18, 2019 - 12:00am

Yesterday morning, as I drove to my office, I couldn’t help but notice the numerous uncollected garbage bags alongside the streets of Cebu City. It just makes me wonder if this is also happening in many places in Metro Cebu. Then a few minutes later, I read a news report that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has one advice for new mayors who will be assuming their posts on June 30: Clean their cities or he will force the government’s present mindset on them. This was during an interview with the President last Saturday in Davao City. We all know that the President was mayor of Davao City before he became president. DU30 pointed out that being mayor is just about making sure that the city is clean.

If there is anything I saw in the Scandinavian cities that I visited last month, it is that their streets are very clean and spotless. Even in St. Petersburg, Russia where we went it was spanking clean, which gives you an idea what Filipino tourists feel when they return home… to see for themselves how dirty our streets are. Indeed, despite our Christian heritage where we are taught that cleanliness is next to godliness, Filipinos don’t mind their dirty surroundings. Sure we may clean ourselves by taking a bath even twice a day (that’s if water is available), but within our homes we are still a very dirty people.

As President Duterte said, “It’s just about cleaning the city, imposing law and order, and especially drugs, and try to limit the movements of criminals from other places.”  He added, “These are the things we would like to do which in the past had been there in the government agenda. It’s either they accept the present mindset of the government, or if not, we will force it upon them. There’s no other choice.” According to Pres. Duterte, the Philippines is still a democratic country, but noted that democracy has good and bad effects on society.

But now, Pres. Duterte has three more years to go. Sure, he may have said that he regretted his decision to run for President but then this is the problem with Pres. Duterte who always talks when his mind is open and you get it regardless of its consequences. In effect, Pres. Duterte is a very honest person to a fault that he tells us what lurks in his mind. For instance in the social media too many Netizens question the President’s silence on that raging issue of a Chinese fishing vessel supposedly ramming a Filipino fishing boat in the Recto Bank. People are saying that Pres. Duterte is scared of telling the Chinese President about this incident.

To add to the noise in the social media, Sen. Franklin Drilon demanded that China issue an apology to the Philippines on this maritime incident. An apology? How conveniently Sen. Drilon forgot that when he was Senate President, on Aug. 23, 2010, during the presidency of Benigno Aquino III ,a hostage taking incident occurred in Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park where a multi-awarded police officer Rolando Mendoza took hostage Hong Kong tourists on board a bus and at the end of this ghastly incident, eight tourists were killed.

Worse, Pres. Aquino was seen and photographed in the front pages of our newspapers smiling while he inspected the ill-fated tourist bus. Now, did the President of the Philippines issue an apology to China for that mishap? I don’t think so! As columnist, I reminded P-Noy that as President he is on top of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and it was a police officer that did the hostage-taking. It was the poor implementation of an attempt to rescue the Hong Kong hostages that resulted in the deaths of the hostages. Yet Pres. Aquino did not apologize for that incident. So why should Sen. Drilon demand it from China?

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With the loss of Mayor Tomas Osmeña against Vice-Mayor Edgardo Labella, this is the second time that Mayor Osmeña tasted defeat. The major difference however was that this time, he wasn’t alone in his defeat. His brother Sen. Serge Osmeña also failed in securing another Senate term, while their estranged cousin, former Senator, Toledo City Mayor John “Sonny” Osmeña was also defeated in the Congressional race against PJ Garcia, the younger brother of Governor-elect Gwen Garcia.

In an interview with Councilor Margot Osmeña, a three-term Cebu City Councilor and Cebu City First Lady as she is Mayor Osmeña’s wife, she told the media that the Osmeñas may no longer seek a political position in the 2022 elections. Wait-a-minute! This interview was done when the Osmeñas were still nursing from  hurt of a political defeat. But we should not give this report any importance because we cannot tell what will happen in Cebu City three years from now. However that statement comes from the wife of Mayor Osmeña, but in truth, the decision maker in the Osmeña family when it comes to politics, is Minnie Osmeña not Margot Osmeña. But so far, Minnie Osmeña has not issued any statement on their political defeat.

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