Reality check

ariel nepomuceno_1The ultimate dilemma of our present government is the fact that we are confronted with many problems that cannot be resolved in six years. Strong political will nor sincerity would not be enough to alter the consequences of gross mismanagement committed by some of our leaders and the fundamental weaknesses in the structure of our politics.

We should, therefore, be prepared to sacrifice in order to correct the mistakes that we, as a nation, have, inflicted on ourselves. Meanwhile, we have to build on what we have and overcome the challenges of what we have been deprived of for so many years.

Inadequate infrastructure and poor urban planning

Our road network is not enough to accommodate the vehicles that traverse our roads. Edsa alone has to squeeze in the 70,000 to 100,000 vehicles that exceeded its daily maximum capacity of 280,000. We constantly hope that mere road discipline and strict enforcement of traffic rules would untangle the monstrous mess in almost all our streets. What we need are long- term engineering solutions that would provide us with world-class elevated roads, dependable mass- transit system, such as conventional or subway trains.

We have to decongest Metro Manila by utilizing Subic airport and Batangas international seaport. We must build a national railway system that would encourage the transfer of goods and passengers away from the traditional trucks and oversized jeepneys. We must also wisely use our rivers as a major route for transport.

The traffic situation has been worsened by the sudden construction of huge shopping malls along our main city arteries. Unlike in other countries, centers like these are mindfully located away from the national roads. A significant distance for easements are provided between malls and roads. Or, in countries, such as our neighboring Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and even Hong Kong, the mass-transport system is proudly in place, which mitigate the existence of commercial areas along the roads.

Poverty across the nation

The economy has shown an encouraging annual growth of 5 percent to 7 percent in terms of GDP. However, we still have to contend with the plight of at least 25 million to 27 million Filipinos who are struggling daily for survival.

The improvements in our quantitative economic indicators must be felt inside the homes and on the tables of our people. At least 12 million are still homeless and could not predict even their immediate future in the midst of their sub human existence in urban slums or streets.

Our agricultural workers or farmers, about 10 million to 12 million according to the latest data, are themselves victims of extreme poverty. Their livelihood is trapped in the perpetual cycle of poor harvest, high cost of fertilizers, bondage to loan sharks and virtually manipulated low market prices.

Glimmer of hope

The present administration of President Duterte focuses on the aggressive campaign against the menace of illegal drugs and criminality. At this early stage, we are confident that the government is winning on this battlefront, notwithstanding some issues on legal procedures. The war on drugs can be won in six years or less.

If an equal intensity and dedication would be given to address our other problems in the economy, infrastructure, politics and other social ills, then the pillars for a strong and vibrant nation will be slowly built for the long term.

We cannot expect that the full results will be realistically achieved before 2022. However, we can hope that by then, we are on the right path away from the mistakes of the past.



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