Sweet but nothing


The recent visit of two politicians of national prominence merited a thoughtful gaze on account of our community-living in our province: House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senator Risa Hontiveros.

The Honorable Speaker led the mass oath-taking of our local officials. They jumped ship to the the already-loaded tanker named PRDD. Reason? For the sake of all Palawenos. Further, the Speaker hinted about a possible railway that will connect Bataraza in the south up to El Nido in the north. Really?

Two things are in order here, we suppose. One, the meaning of oath. And two, well, the railway.

Oath has the same collar as allegiance, vow, promise, pact, contract, covenant, pledge, among others. They all connote being sacred and enduring through time. In fact, time enhances the sacredness of an oath. Conversely, the idea of being sacred necessarily involves chronological time. In fact and in truth, some oaths must last forever, for better of for worse.

How does this apply now to the mass oath-taking? Simply put, “wala talagang forever”. Wait for some time and for another voyage. It was Yellow Submarine then, it is Titanic Duterte today. Hence we ask, is it still a matter if we take oath? And if we really do take oath, to whom do we swear allegiance at all? To the party indeed or to a personality? How about this line? “Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.”

And, the railway. I wonder how did the Speaker come up with the idea. Has he actually traveled to both ends of our mainland? We have yet to fix our power supply… and this railway now? We are still in the process of developing our roads…and this railway already? Making it six lanes…plus this railway? There is now an ongoing petition to preserve the century-old Acacia Tunnel…how will it be come the railway?

My guess is that we, Palawenos, could naturally think brighter than this. And our local leaders must know better than this as well. Matter-of-factly, Plato, in his famous work “Republic”, would consider all those who take part in politics as “philosopher-king” because they “love the sight of truth”. And yet, several of our officials are actually biting the dangling called railway. If this is not politicking then what is?

Then just over the weekend, Senator Risa Hontiveros, as guest of honor of a local radio station, flaunted the new law she authored, the “anti-hospital deposit”. She explained that “any private and public hospital that will ask for any form of advance payment or require money deposit before treatment of an emergency patient will be liable.” No doubt, this is rather more doable and laudable than the free-tuition-for-all law. Economists cannot seem to agree with “free tuition” but this too needs another piece of our mind. Going back to “anti-deposit”, we must pray and push further for better health care financing through health insurance so that even deposits would not be a problem anymore for all. Free tuition for all or free health care for all? Again it deserves another mind grinding. Meanwhile, cheers to the new law!

Back to Palawan’s specific concern again. The lady senator said she agreed that our province must be excluded from the BBL. Then?…. And so?

We hear it over and over again. Every time we have visitors (politicians at that) of national prominence they would automatically give in and support to whatever-is-good-for-Palawan concerns. Every election period, all candidates, without exception, would say that Malampaya belongs to Palawan because of this and that, and all. But where are they now? Has anybody care to remember us at all? Nakakasawa na rin. Or, in a more popular expression these days, “paasa pa more”.

Words could indeed be empty. They could indeed be very sweet… but still nothing without any doing.

Meanwhile, the Vice-President is also in town. Let us see how she will be–sweet or nothing just the same?

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