IN order for the country to move forward and build from the concrete achievements that were accomplished by the current Aquino administration, the next leader of our country must adopt specific programs that will solve our perennial problems. Such programs must be officially pronounced as solid commitments and bind the next president to a social contract that must be fully honored.
In a political system where rhetorical propaganda and popularity virtually dictate the outcome of elections, the electorate must demand for specific development programs in lieu of the distinct party platforms that political parties in other democracies of the world adhere to and pursue. Let’s realistically accept that in the short term, our political parties have no clear fundamental differences in terms of philosophies and framework of governance. Thus, we must instead just have a list of concerns and possible solutions that the next administration will hopefully address.
The economic provisions of our Constitution, at least, must be reviewed immediately when the next administration takes over the government. And when necessary, we must amend some of those provisions that influence and determine the level of progress of our economy. Shall we now adjust the percentage of corporate ownership of foreign capital? Can land ownership be opened to foreigners?
Almost all our cities and provinces have experienced the havoc caused by typhoons and relentless monsoon rains. Billions of pesos worth of properties were ruined and thousands of lives were lost due to the onslaught of nature. The trauma caused by natural disasters linger in the minds of our helpless citizens.
For example, what will the next leader do to manage the annual flooding of Marikina River? There must be a comprehensive plan to finally mitigate the effects of the regular inundation of this river, which affects many parts of Metro Manila.
Can we expect that laws will be passed to safeguard urban planning programs that will prohibit our people from residing in the so-called permanent danger zones? Will local governments be restricted from adjusting zonal plans without any sound basis? We have been notorious in forgetting the cruel lessons learned from every aftermath of natural disasters.
The next administration must commit to the policy of consistent and strict enforcement of the rules that intend to protect the public riding sea vessels. We have already seen enough senseless loss of life, when people drown in sea tragedies that could have been prevented had our law enforcers ensured strict compliance to safety regulations. Most recent of which is the MB Nirvana tragedy where the boat that capsized had a
second deck, which should not have been allowed. Passenger overloading has been the norm for public maritime vessels servicing our archipelago.
Bangsamoro basic law
The chance of the Bangsamoro basic law (BBL) being passed by Congress is reasonably high. I believe that this will be done, but the said law will be revised in a more acceptable version. An imperfect BBL being signed into law is the better move, which can serve as the necessary first step to help end the long history of internal war in Mindanao.
No winner will emerge in a war where Filipinos slaughter each other in an endless conflict or struggle. Truly, there are no real victors in any armed conflict.
However, our national candidates must openly reveal their plans to improve whatever BBL version will be approved by the present Congress.
West Philippine Sea dispute
WE must fight for the sovereignty of our country, including the disputed islands within our territory in the West Philippine Sea. But what will the strategy be in protecting our territorial claims? Shall we just fully rely on the US to defend us? Or shall we have a clear blueprint to build our military capabilities?
How do we strengthen our rights and secure the rich natural resources believed to be abundant in these disputed areas.
The tasks for our next president are endless. The next leader’s prime responsibility to improve the lives of our people comes with the coveted mandate. People give their vote to the next president with the trust and confidence that their future will be in good hands. Thus, specific programs must be thoroughly discussed during the campaign period, which will serve as the candidate’s covenant with the people. This will help guarantee that our next leader will deliver what has been promised to the people.