Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Political Props

Back in 2001, GMA used as her props, three boys from the Payatas dump site. They were promised scholarships, employment and housing. The first two were fulfilled while the last is yet to materialize. The boys also asked for the rehablitation of Payatas which up to now remained unfulfilled as dumping there continues. Justice for those who were killed in the landslide is left unanswered. Her seventh SONA was no different. She once again used political props to highlight her supposed achievements.

For the agrarian reform, she presented several farmers who benefited from the program. But she never lifted a finger on the plight of the farmers in Negros. Members of Task Force Mapalad have been trying to claim land awarded to them. Several farmers have been killed. To this day, Hacienda Velez-Malaga has continued to defy orders from the DAR to hand over 5 hectares to farmer beneficiaries.

She paraded students who won in international academic competitions to show that our education system is working. The problem is that she never addressed the current problems besetting the education sector. Lack of classrooms is still the number one problem. The high dropout rate and the lack of teachers are yet to be addressed. She also bragged that there is now a 1:1 ratio for textbooks for our public school students. What she said is true but she forgot that these books are riddled with errors that would mislead our poor students.

She has this penchant for using political props to make her look good. A handful cannot represent the entire picture. The 3 boys from Payatas is but a speck in the millions of young kids who have a harsher life. The level of poverty that prevails in our country has pushed more youths to seek employment. Child labor is now a growing problem as many face hazardous conditions just to survive.

The push for industrialization has displaced farmers and fisher folks and deprived them of their livelihood. Mining firms have taken over areas and had caused environmental catastrophes that would take years to rectify. In its bid to generate revenue, permits have been issued left and right much to the detriment of the locals and the environment.

Never were the stakeholders considered. The get-rich programs of this administration is no different from the pyramiding scams of certain individuals. GMA can boast all she wants, but all these amounts to nothing as the reality on the ground paints a different picture. In the end, its mere rhetorics once again and individuals were used as political props.

I hope the SONA will never be presented in such a restricted place like the Batasan. I hope the SONA is held in an open space where even the ordinary man can witness it delivered. I hope the SONA will not be restricted in attendance by cronies and political lackeys. I would rather hear the genuine applause or resounding boos of the ordinary Filipino than hear the scripted claps and chants of ass-lickers.