EDITORIAL - The mayor
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Freeman) - October 29, 2013 - 12:00am

A mayor who turns away relief for his town that has just been devastated by an earthquake must have been acting on the wrong set of priorities or worse, proceeded from the wrong set of principles. That he is now to be investigated for his actions cannot even begin to paint a picture of how wrong he was.

Granting that the mayor was only acting in the best interests of his constituents, still his action begs disagreement and disapproval in face of the circumstances he and his constituents were in. No interest can be better than to secure immediate relief for a constituency that has just lost everything.

The bitter truth about life is that principles, granting the mayor was acting out of strict recognizance of them, matter only when choices present themselves in a situation. In such a case, then naturally principles should prevail over any other factor present in the choice.

But choices were not available in Bohol after the quake. There was no food, no water. People had no homes. They needed to get help from wherever and however it came or else they die. If somebody comes with these urgently needed things, a principled mayor would have only one thing in mind -- get these to his people fast.

If the deliverers of aid insist on doing the distribution themselves, why should any principled mayor argue with the owner of the goods? Who gets to distribute is only secondary to the distribution itself. If the owner of the goods insist, then let him, for as long as the constituents get to survive.

But the mayor, proceeding from his lofty principles and convictions (hopefully it is just that and not something else baser) would rather that the deliverers of aid leave his town, thereby ensuring that badly needed aid pass up his hungry constituents. It is just too much for him to give in.

Now the mayor could be right in his own conviction. But a thousand angels proclaiming he is right will not alter the fact that his people got deprived of aid in the process. In the end, the mayor gets to sleep well at night on the thought that he did not compromise his principles. But pangs of hunger keep his people awake.

There is a time for principles, when God seeks an accounting of our deeds. After the quake in Bohol was not a time for principles -- at least not in the sense that we are being made to choose between our country and an invader, or between a cow and our mother. The choice was simple -- who distributes aid, you or I?


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