Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ps Be With You

“PEACE BE WITH YOU!” Every Sunday at church during mass and every mass that I attended ever since I can remember, I have never missed saying these words.  So do hundreds of millions of other Catholics worldwide as each repeat what Jesus said, “Sholam alay kum” (Luke 24:36) when he was talking to the Apostles.
Muslims also say it (Salaam Alekem) on a regular basis and so do the Jews (Shalom Aleichem).

Yet peace is precisely what eluded the Philippines, a country where over 90% of its population is Christian and a certain percentage is Muslim. The only times when there was virtually complete peace was when Pacquiao had championship boxing fights because the military, the Muslim rebels, the communist dissidents, the police and the criminals stopped to watch the bouts.       

Philippines is indeed beset with numerous problems. Enumerated in a brainstorming session that I chaired are: Patayan (crimes and rebellion); Poverty; Payables (debts); Paychecks (unemployment); Pagkain (food & hunger); Population explosion (unwanted pregnancies); Peddling of influence (graft and corruption); Pork; Pollution; Puppetry; Patronage; Patay-patay (slow and ignorant) and among others.

Provided as solutions to the problems are: Prayers; Panacea; P-Noy; People with Power;  Pacquiao; Prelates, Priests and/or Preachers; Passionate people; Point men; Plans; Programs; Projects; Proposals; Policies; Procedures; Preparation; Perspiration; Parental authority and responsibility; Patents (creativity & inventions); Peace; Poverty alleviation; Patriotism;  Pedagogy; Portable computers & phones; Pens; Pencils; Paper; Pilots; Patrons; Papal and/or Pastoral teachings and others.

I learned at an early age that there are really no problems. There are only challenges.  What the Philippines faces as challenges require passion, preparation and perspiration.  Pre-requisite is knowledge and familiarity of the Ps described as problems or challenges.
P-Noy and other people of power and influence must absorb and inculcate in their respective minds and hearts the immensity of these Ps that they, and the people  they serve, are facing.

It should be noted that while the problems enumerated in the brainstorming session are all Ps for a purpose, the provisions to solve them as mentioned in the same session are all Ps as well.

God helps those who help themselves. While prayers always accompany our endeavors, thus requiring mass participation led by priests, preachers and/or prelates, the Philippine political and socio-economic pilots must develop and implement efficient and effective plans, programs, projects, proposals, policies and procedures that would lead to a more peaceful and prosperous society.  A panacea is unattainable but as Catholics, many of our leaders and their followers are guided by Papal and Pastoral teachings which when adhered to create an environment where “miracles” could happen.

Poverty alleviation is a priority program. P-Noy ran for and won as President with this as a platform. In his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York he said, “We will not be passive players in our quest for development…… This is what our people put us in power for. This is what the world expects of us as leaders—to be exemplars of what it is to be compassionate human beings, and vanguards of hope for our common humanity.”  

In an article former NEDA Secretary Cielito Habito wrote, “As of last count in 2006, there were close to 4 million poor Filipinos. The poor make up one of every seven (14 percent) Americans; for Filipinos, it’s one of every three (33 percent). But even that may be underestimated: Social Weather Stations (SWS) tells us it’s close to one out of two (43 percent); Ibon Foundation says it’s two out of three (66 percent)…….We know of course that poverty is much more than simple lack of income. To be poor is to be deprived not just economically, but deprived in the social, environmental, cultural, political and spiritual dimensions as well. Recognizing this, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, in a summit of world leaders held in September 2000, adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aimed at cutting extreme poverty in half by 2015.”

P-Noy pledges to the United Nation “to channel the gains we might reap from Public Private Partnerships into social services, like those in health, education, and poverty alleviation.”
Pictures of Poverty in the Philippines - 1

Pictures of Poverty in the Philippines - 2

Pictures of Poverty in the Philippines - 3

Secretary Habito proposes that we look “to private finances as a potential source of funds for poverty reduction…. What’s needed are more creative ways of harnessing private sector finances to support the fight against poverty. One such creative mechanism has been the controversial PEACE Bonds whereby civil society organizations under the CODE-NGO network managed to raise a substantial endowment fund of P1.3 billion to provide sustainable financing for poverty-reduction initiatives by the non-government sector.”

Peace is a precondition to achieving prosperity. Programs and projects are hard to implement in an atmosphere where there is a lot of “patayan”.  Let us hope that the newly designated peace negotiators are patriotic enough to find the pathway to peace.

Portable computers and phones, pencils, pens and paper should be made available, accessible and affordable to the e-generation from which come the “digital natives”. They are the best hope for the creation of new, innovative and patentable products and technologies.

Payables or debts, be they foreign or domestic, sovereign or non-sovereign, remain a challenge for the country’s leadership. A plan to reduce the principal and correspondingly reduce the servicing of the same must be added in the list of priorities.

As shown, Ps come aplenty. Many of the problem Ps are self-explanatory but the solution Ps would require a lot of thinking, preparation and planning to explore and implement.

To P-Noy and all people concerned, as you appreciate how serious the challenges are and as you strive to tackle them with all the resources at your command, Ps Be With You!

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