New Year's resolutions for our country and people

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty Josephus Jimenez - The Freeman

Dateline: Luxur City, Egypt. Done with the pyramids and the Sphinx, the tombs of pharaohs and the great museums and churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues, I find myself thinking of our country and people. On the first day of 2016, it is apropos to propose a set of reforms in the directions of national leadership and in the behavior of our people. The task of nation-building and the mission to lead our people should not be left to the government alone much less to the politicians. It shall take the whole country to move this nation forward. It takes all sectors to prepare ourselves for the emerging challenges ahead and to be ready to compete in a highly demanding era of ferocious competition. Thus, we suggest that we outline a set of reforms to be adopted by our nation and people.

First of all, we should choose the right president and vice president in 2016. We should issue a job description of the presidency. We need a competent, committed, daring and bold, but compassionate leader. We need one who can inspire and unite us and galvanize all people to action pursuing a common aspiration of a just, humane and progressive nation. A nation that shall be respected in the family of nations, never to be bullied by superpowers or threatened by any external terrorists or domestic rebels. We need a leader who knows foreign affairs, national security, who understands the economy, and is mindful of the best interests and welfare of the citizenry.

Second, we need to amend the Constitution, not to open the floodgates for the entry of foreign powers and economic predators who shall rob our posterity of our national patrimony, but to make us competitive in a global village that has a level playing field. We cannot forever close our national doors in the face of the ASEAN integration in a globalized economy. But we should continue to be vigilant in safeguarding our national wealth against the schemes and machinations of foreign powers. Third, we need to overhaul the Labor Code, to call it Code of Human Capital to conform to contemporary realities and aligned with the demands of the times. We need to elect senators who understand the urgency of this draconian initiative.

Fifth, we should make our economic development truly inclusive, not through dole-outs but via a strategic master plan that shall unite all sectors and all classes. What profits the nation if we increase our Gross Domestic Product when millions of Filipinos are hungry, angry, and without hope for equal opportunity to move up the socio-economic ladder. There should be a genuine social mobility. Agrarian reform should be for all, including Hacienda Luisita and all the landed estates in Negros and elsewhere. Minimum wages should be higher or at least at par with living wage. Contractualization should not be abused to perpetuate casualization. The wealth of the nation should be diffused and removed from monopolies and dynasties.

Sixth, the government should not allow the dismemberment of the Republic. The BBL should not be allowed to pave the way for secession under the guise of self-determination. No president, no rebel group, and no foreign prime minister should ram into the throat of the body politic a law that shall violate the indivisibility of the sovereignty of the Philippine state. Seventh, the government should upgrade our capability to stand up to superpowers who are inclined to bully us, whether it is China, Russia, or the USA, whose forces and military personnel should not kill our citizens simply, as in the Pemberton case, for looking like a woman.

Eighth, we should pass the Anti-Dynasty Bill and the Freedom of Information Law. We should not allow a husband to run for governor while the wife is running for congressman, the son as mayor and the daughter as senator. Politics and governance should not be treated like a family business or a family corporation. All date, information, statistics, and reports emanating from all agencies should be accessible by all citizens with the only highly exceptional case of national security matters whose revelation may pose a grave and imminent danger to the security of the state and the people. In 2016, let us clean up the government and resolve to move the nation forward, mindful of the best interests of the greatest number of people.

Without all these, nothing else shall matter most.














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