Approximating the deal

By Farah G. Decano


“HAYAAN mong magkamali.” I heard that directive from a senior politician whose opponents were doing things wrong. I knew what he intended. He would use the rivals’ error or mistake as an electoral issue later.

With the ongoing DPWH road elevations and drainage installations in Dagupan City, the residents cannot apply this intentional apathy, only to raise their complaints and findings of defects and non-compliance with the program of works, sketches and designs later.  Tayo ang lugi sa pagsasawalang bahala.

We hope that the City Government led by Mayor Belen spearhead the organization of a Citizens’ Participatory Monitoring and Audit Team.  Ms. Janice Hidalgo informed me that a similar association was formed by Dr. Salvador Duque in order to ensure that the rehabilitation funds for then earthquake damage city were properly expended.  Why can’t we have a similar association?

Oh well, Mayor Belen’s  proposed 2024 annual budget is not yet approved.  So, we do not want to pressure her with this humble proposal. Hmmmm… can the universities in Dagupan step up, instead?

Those universities offering civil engineering and accountancy,  law, political science and journalism courses can perhaps design a program integrated in one of their subjects wherein the students, as part of their training, suggest, assess, evaluate and critique government projects.  Through these programs, our young Filipinos will experience first hand what is to express concretely our genuine concern for our community. Their evaluation of government projects will be more learned because they are under the guidance of experts.

This suggested exposure in governance by the young,  while still under the tutelage of their  universities and colleges,  would  instruct them to be  scholarly observers, supporters or critics of our government.   They would realize that merely calling out wayward public officials with motherhood tags such as “corrupt, incompetent or negligent,” is not enough; that denunciations must have bases in fact; and that the manner of conveying our disapproval is as important as  the content of our messages.   The interaction of our youth with public officials and employees in this proposed guided monitoring and audit activity would  also help them understand that public service is not a walk in the park.  They would have a greater appreciation of the efforts of sincere officials.

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We must shield our young from political activities that will corrupt their values.  I am speaking of the Sanggunian Kabataan, by the way.  The older political leaders should not whet their appetite for money and luxuries in exchange for loyalty to some party or faction. In the past, we have heard of some SK officials who got spoiled with quirks of an elected public official. They go on junkets here and there.  Worse, they get commissions, too, from projects.  When the drafters of the Local Government Code included that the youth in electoral activities, they did not envision the SK to be mere conduits and extensions of the trapos.  

I hope that the present SK officials realize that they are expected to transmit to our jaded public officials their energy, innocence and idealism.  Perhaps,  they can even be the initiators of a Citizens’ Participatory Monitoring and Audit Team.

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Lately, I was told by someone, “bata ka pa kasi.”  She must have said this because she felt my antipathy against what was unfolding before my eyes.  “Come on, Farah, politics is everywhere,” she said.  Was she disappointed that I still  expect much from those whose positions must have the highest boundaries against unwanted influence?

Well, I have three comments  towards her, “bata ka pa kasi.”  First, I am no longer young. I am old enough to know the undercurrent and the pitiful charade on the surface of our present reality.  Secondly, I am flattered because to her,  I look younger.  And lastly, I felt sad for her because she didn’t realize I was as old as she.

She was probably more disappointed with herself because she was quick to give up the struggle for the approximation of the ideal. Sorry na lang for her.

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