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Opinion

No retreat, no surrender – just replace

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

 

Senator Bato dela Rosa said that he was told by a Cabinet member/party official to file his certificate of candidacy for president, three hours before the official deadline. Imagine that: an elected senator being told by a Cabinet member what to do with his political life. That is worrisome because it shows the degree or extent of how damaged the independence of the Senate is and how some senators are unaware or have set aside the protocols of respect for elected national officials and their institutions.

On the other hand, I really appreciate Senator dela Rosa for being so transparent and having the “What you see is what you get” attitude in life, because his innocence is refreshing.

Prior to the final hour filing of his COC for president, Dela Rosa had never in any form or manner expressed or even by way of wishful thinking told the media that he aspired to be president of the Philippines, especially in the 2022 elections. What he did say was he would be willing to be replaced by a substitute, namely Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. In my interview with Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, I learned that this could lead to the Comelec questioning if Bato dela Rosa has a “bonafide intention to run for president.”

I looked up the definition of “bonafide” and judging everything based on dela Rosa’s pronouncements, we could assume that his candidacy on paper is not authentic/not genuine/not real/not true/not actual/not sterling/not sound/not legal and neither sincere nor without intention to deceive. These are all of the similar words to “bonafide” and unless the Comelec chickens out or finds a political back door, there is no way they can excuse themselves out of this issue and the decision it entails – unless the Duterte camp and political parties decide to field the substitute to Bato dela Rosa who said that if nothing changes, his position is “No Retreat – No Surrender,” only replacement.

If no one replaces Senator Bato, he has only two prospects: run and lose miserably as a presidential candidate and go back to the Senate, or withdraw from the race and be disgraced for backing out and be labeled as a placeholder and a fraud. Welcome to the real world of politics and “user friendly” politicians.

*   *   *

After the article “Pirated version of Duterte” came out, I received an unusual amount of messages from different groups and persuasions as well as would have been supporters of Isko Moreno. It seems that Filipinos, in general, have grown sick and tired of combative and insulting public figures, so much so that even those who had initially liked Isko Moreno have gone in search of other more viable and circumspect presidential candidates who are representative of GMRC or Good Manners and Right Conduct that many of us are trying to revive or impart to others, especially the youth. I also received messages from Pampanga, Bulacan, NCR, down to Batangas asking if the article could be translated into simple Tagalog so that more Filipinos in the D & E segment of society or economy can read and learn from the lessons I shared.

I might eventually get around to doing it but for the moment, I challenge readers to launch their “Oplan D&E” which is, for those who have more time, better access to information and are patriotic enough to help fellow Filipinos to Discover tools and platforms through their mobile phones in order to Educate themselves about candidates and the platforms they should demand from politicians. The suggestion to translate an article about one candidate, to be honest, might end up making it all about the candidate and make it a personal attack. It is too self limiting.

Our children are already putting up their own YouTube channels, video blogs, podcasts where they share their ideas, likes, products, etc. We should therefore be doing, creating and running our own versions to better inform people in the C-D-E about candidates and what their actions and pronouncements and alliances and alignments could mean in terms of government priority and spending, inflation and quality of life.

The simple formula where you cite action equals consequence is impersonal and apolitical. Talk about candidate claims, promises and positions then put them next to news items, data or photos and past performance. You don’t have to talk trash or be a troll. Let the candidates’ past and present speak for their future! Your first audience can be your employees, domestic help and people in your barangay. Don’t just create content, find your audience and reach them in their language and culture.

*   *   *

The vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez has more vaccines than people to vaccinate and this has forced the government to pressure local officials to herd people to vaccination sites.

I find this state of affairs ironic because many people have long wanted to get vaccinated but were prevented from doing so because of lack of information and consistency of programs, as well as the ID requirements. Out in the provinces and barangays, everything about the availability of vaccinations remains largely by word of mouth. LGUs could simply use the “good old fashioned” portable public address system mounted on jeepneys and tricycles to announce ongoing vaccinations. Tanods can also be sent house to house to announce an upcoming vaccination.

The next major obstacle is the requirement for identification cards that many people in the lower economic levels and outlier areas don’t have. If the government simply did away with the need for official government IDs, chances are more people will troop to the vaccination centers. Many LGUs even ask for voter IDs in spite of the fact that Comelec has not issued voters IDs since 2012.

Because two-day mass vaccinations are usually 15 days apart, it results in people flocking to a mall or the City Hall where thousands of people fall in line for two to four hours. If the government did the vaccinations for three to five days straight, more people will probably go if the lines are not too long.

It would also help if every barangay did its own vaccination activity inclusive of “hakot rides” for seniors, PWDs, etc. The government could also declare “borderless vaccinations” for anybody who walks in. The CHED should also require all colleges and universities, private and public, to set-up vaccination during enrollment.

BATO DELA ROSA
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