The Philippines’ strategic imperatives for 2019
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - January 1, 2019 - 12:00am

Looking at the horizons for 2019, there are four strategies that the government should focus on to make this year a better one for Filipinos. First, the economy. Second, intensify the peace and order campaign including preventing election violence. Third, concentrate on food security for our growing population. Fourth, brace for natural disasters and calamities.

On the economy, our national planners should address the high unemployment and underemployment rates. Job mismatch should be addressed by making education and vocational and technical officials draw a common strategic plan with industry leaders and businessmen. Limit access to college courses that are irrelevant to national development. Regulate courses that would only drive new entrants to the labor force by becoming migrant workers.

Direct DOLE officials to balance the need for labor standards and the imperative to preserve decent jobs and employment opportunities. Stop DOLE inspectors from their oppressive and confiscatory orders to regularize contractuals and casuals. If the government cannot regularize its thousands of job order workers, why force private sector management to do what they can’t implement?

On peace and order, there should be an intensification of the drive to curb crimes and dismantle criminal syndicates involve in drugs, robbery, kidnapping, extortion, and terrorism. Pulverize the NPAs and all criminals. Prevent election violence. Reshuffle military and police officials to avoid political fraternization. Policemen should stop moonlighting as security escorts of political candidates. Dismantle private armies and jail all political warlords.

Police scalawags and military rascals should be dismissed, prosecuted, and imprisoned. Improve the justice system and speed up resolution of cases, especially those involving high-profile criminal cases. Arrest police officials, prosecutors, judges, and justices who sell their decisions to the highest bidders.

On food security, the agricultural sector should focus on intensified production of rice, corn, and other crops to stop importation of rice and other foods. Stop over-development of our countryside by disapproving new applications for subdivisions, golf courses, resorts, and other less essential needs. Focus on food. With our runaway population, it is glaring that the volume of rice production annually is not able to cope with the rising needs.

We should stop importing rice and give impetus to irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides, farm-to-market roads, harvest facilities, and credit facilities for marginal farmers, With too many natural disasters and calamities, we need to support and assist our agricultural sector to grow and prosper.

Lastly, there shall be at least ten serious calamities and disasters in 2019. We need to intensify our disaster-preparedness programs and stop using schools as evacuation centers as this disrupts education.

Government should construct a concrete and strong evacuation center for every barangay. We should educate our people on search, rescue, and rehabilitation. We cannot forever rely on foreign aid and donations. We should paddle our own canoes. We should train our people on survival techniques and always instill in their minds the need for self-reliance and disaster-readiness.

2019 should be a better year for all of us. But both the leaders and the people should be prepared for any eventuality. There is no substitute to complete preparedness.

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