Several weeks back in February, The Manila Times’ columnists had lunch with the Vice President. While we were waiting, a tour of the infamous Coconut Palace was made.
PolWonk is a conjugation of three words policy, political and wonk which, in various aspects have been associated with the career and training she had over the years. PolWonk sums up her interests and advocacies. It is a weekly column, appearing every Fridays, in The Lobbyist.
I was in in Duterte country over the weekend and again, I was treated to what can be. The Davao International Airport was a lot better than NAIA I, cleaner and more user-friendly than NAIA II, with functioning escalators compared to NAIA III. There was order in the taxi queue. There were no individual transactions on how much the fare would be. Before the taxi can go out the complex, the security by the gate logs the number of the taxi and the name of the rider.
Skyway Stage 3 began yesterday. It also ushered in the rehabilitation of EDSA, north and south, which is said to end by 2016. The 14.8-kilometer Skyway Stage 3 project aims to connect SLEX to NLEX from Buendia to Balintawak and aims to decongest EDSA, C-5 and other major thoroughfares in Metro Manila. It also aims to reduce travel time from Buendia to Balintawak from two hours to 20 minutes or less. Its estimated cost: P26.5 billion.
How long would it take before government acts to prevent breakdown on basic services? How long will it take for people to seek redress of their collective grievances? How long would the People Surge that began in Samar-Tacloban last week hit the metropolis? It appears that in the last two minutes we just might be in an official meltdown. Why? Allow me to count the ways.
As we entered the weekend, social media was buzzing about a Filipino by the name of Michael Christian Martinez, born November 4, 1996, that makes him 17 years old. Michael is a Filipino figure skater. By Sunday, netizens were getting mad because of the sad tale told by the mother of Michael on the lack of support by the Aquino administration for his son's training. Truly sad!
In urban dictionary, the word bunked means to skip something, such as an event, school, or work. That was what I thought of the news on the overpriced, substandard bunkhouses built by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Nothing new there especially then the secretary, together with the DSWD Secretary and BSA3 themselves visited the area and saw the 126 bunkhouses build in December of last year. They didn’t notice anything wrong. It was through a leak to the media that we got wind of the anomalous construction.
Three years and then some, we have accepted that substandard is the norm in public service. From the bunkhouses to the “burned out” Cabinet, to the critics making a living from being critical to the need to rest. When it used to be the best and the brightest served government, today, we have barkada lording it over technocrats simply because proximity to power is the virtue some people in this administration requires.
When there is no closure yet on the so-called faked Special Allotment Release Orders (SAROs), the Php879 million farm-to-market roads with bogus signatures and PDAF releases from 2010 to 2013 have not been fully reviewed by Commission on Audit (COA) and the Department of Justice cherry picking on whom to persecute, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is at it again, sweeping the dirt under the rug.
When two former Supreme Court Chief Justices formally take a position and make the same public then something is truly screwed in our beloved Philippines. And when a president says “taking this into account, such projects by the legislators made up a mere 9 percent of the program. Why, then, is the DAP being made an issue?" then one gets the impression that the one hand does not know what the other is doing. Truly sad for the son of Democracy's icon and the Partido Liberal who I thought would be a lot better as a party-in-governance.
Boston, MA -- I was so impressed with the JFK Library and Museum that it practically defined my New England trip with former colleagues from the office of then Sen. Rene Saguisag. The JFK library by Boston harbor and the richness of its collection left me totally awed by JFK, his family, RFK and Jackie as well as their kids. We stayed for hours thereby requiring another trip someday to Boston to visit another Ivy League.
New York -- 2016 is 31 months away. Immediately after 2013 a clearing operation was made and continuous to be so up to today. Dismantled in the process, depending on one's political affiliation, is the noted "opposition's" Three Kings save for one who was tentatively been sidelined. It would have been attack season for the Vice President immediately after 2013 as some operatives have intimated but was tentatively set aside because of the PDAF which got Revilla, Estrada and Enrile on the deck. Binay would have been a tactical delay because of the easy victory of Nancy. Besides the VP expressed his total and continuing support to the Chief so operators had to backed out, for a while.
Washington D.C. -- By the time this gets printed, the federal government will probably be shutdown since the U.S. budget didn't pass. The first after 17 years. A continuing resolution was issued by the House but the Senate will be back only Monday afternoon. The interesting quid pro quo happened, budget or Obamacare was the proposition considered. Obamacare is already a law but Republicans would want to defer, if not totally scrap it. The next best wedge is the federal budget and last minute backroom negotiations may not result in a bipartisan consensus. Shutdown begins Monday (September 30) midnight.