Government’s insecurity is bad for the nation

By Atty. Farah G. Decano


THAT Vice President Leni Robredo incurred the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte for helping the victims of typhoon Ulysses last year and for assisting the riding public in Manila during the early parts of the pandemic, was understandable, not that I am saying Malacanang’s reactions to her charitable activities are reasonable. VP Robredo is in politics and, she is obviously a potential threat to Pulse Asia’s consistent top choice for the highest post in the land, the presidential daughter herself, Mayor Sarah Duterte.

For the present government to feel intimated by the surge of Community Pantries to over 350 areas in the Philippines, is the height of insecurity. In unison with the National Task Force To End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) that linked the organizers of this noble drive to communists, the Department of Interior and Local Government added to burden to these organic initiatives by requiring permits and clearances. Some known bloggers for the DU30 government went to the extent of calling these endeavors as fake and insincere.  The timing of the attackers against this popular voluntary aid scheme is curious – almost simultaneous.  Was there any secret directive from the top to discredit the community pantries?

Obviously, the ineptitude of the present administration is highlighted by these initiatives. What with its trillions of funds, the government constantly fails to assure the citizenry that there is someone on top of all this mess brought about by the pandemic. The intermittent absence of Mr. Duterte is not helping. If Senator Bong Go finds posing with the president as proof of life as cute, well, he is very wrong.  Enough of the selfies, Senator.

There is a theory in psychology that when a leader is weak, one from the followers take over. I am reminded of the 1993 American film, “Alive,” which was based on the true story of Uruguayan rugby players whose plane crashed into the Andes mountains on October 13, 1972.  Some of the rugby players survived including the team captain, Antonio.  On the latter’s shoulders was the burden to keep his fellow players alive while enduring the cold breeze of the snow-capped mountains. But, when some of the survivors were dying on him, the captain fell into desperation and helplessness. Nando, a survivor who had a can-do attitude emerged and took over without wrestling power from the captain. He worked with the Antonio who had no qualms in receiving assistance.  They agreed that Nando and another companion would risk themselves out of the mountains to seek help while Antonio stayed in the cold wilderness with the others and kept them alive. After more than 10 days of trek, the optimist Nando eventually found rescue and led the survivors out of the mountains.

We can say that the Community Pantry organizers are like Nando, whose objectives are to inspire charity and solve hunger.  They are not aiming for a power grab. They just want to feed the hungry in these times of great need.   If only the government behaves like Antonio, then we could have accomplished much more as a nation.  Antonio’s eyes were never removed from the goal – to lead the survivors out of the mountains even if his ego has been severely crushed by the deaths of others.

There is no harm for the government to behave like Antonio.  May government be confident enough to allow the citizenry, like Nando, to help too.

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