No moral authorityBy Ramon Tulfo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Sen. Edgardo Angara has called on today’s youth to build a strong middle class in a speech at the commencement exercises of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City.
Most of the graduates of the UP System belong to the country’s middle class, although the aim of UP is to give intelligent students of poor parents the opportunity to be a “iskolar ng bayan” (people’s scholars) in the government educational institution.
If Angara’s call for building a strong middle class becomes a reality, political dynasties, to which he and his family belong, will no longer exist.
People belonging to the middle class, which is still a minority in this country, vote according to issues because they are educated.
Politicians want to perpetuate ignorance among the masses so they can be herded like cattle especially during elections.
But Angara, whose son Sonny is running for senator and is likely to win, knows that his call for a strong middle class is still unattainable.
Until then, he and his family get to enjoy the power that comes from being part of a political dynasty.
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Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr., commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division based in Capiz province, says politicians who pay a “permit to campaign” fee to the New People’s Army (NPA) are committing a criminal offense.
The money that politicians pay the NPA, says Mabanta, will be used to buy arms and ammunition.
It’s easy for Mabanta to tell politicians not to pay up.
But can he assure their safety when they campaign in areas controlled by the rebels?
If Mabanta and the entire Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police (PNP) can protect all politicians who campaign in NPA-controlled areas, then he has the moral authority to tell candidates not to pay the rebels for campaign permits.
But the military is so inefficient it cannot even protect itself as many soldiers have died in attacks from insurgents.
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Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje has called on countries surrounded by oceans to protect the seas to ensure the sustainable use of underwater resources.
Paje made the call at the Sustainable Ocean Summit held in Washington, D.C., on April 22-24, which sought cooperation and collaboration among countries to the safeguard marine environment.
Paje is all talk, less action.
He can’t even protect the country’s forests from illegal loggers, and now he’s calling for the protection of our seas when the country is surrounded by vast oceans.
The illegal-logging activities in the mountains of Baganga and Cateel towns in Davao Oriental province were known to officials and employees of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources that Paje heads.
If not for Typhoon “Pablo,” which spawned floods that sent felled trees cascading down the mountains of Baganga and Cateel, illegal logging activities in the province would have remained a secret.
More from this Column:
- Thoughts on Holy Week
- Why college grads end up in the PNP
- The resilience of Boholanos
- It was difficult having Japanese blood
- Public stands to lose in Dellosa-Nepomuceno feud at Customs
Tags: Edgardo Angara , Education , Elections , Environmental Issues , Graduation , Illegal Logging , Jose Mabanta Jr. , Middle class , Military , New People's Army (NPA) , Permit to Campaign , Philippines , Ramon Paje , UP Diliman