• Rehabilitating the uninhabitable and Senator Lacson

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    Ej Lopez

    Ej Lopez

    After the storm, agony and nightmarish experience the Eastern Visayas has gone through on November 8 now comes the government’s design of bringing back the old glory that the place was known for. The intention was for the ruins to be transformed back to what it was prior the storm; tourist attraction, employment-conducive, and rich in natural, particularly in aquatic, resources. In so doing, it could attract people back to its old fore and occupation that befit their needs.

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    Prior to that monstrous storm, that place in the Visayas, especially Tacloban, was a place to be, because of business opportunities and ecological symmetry rarely found in other places. Perhaps brought about its by strategic location, not to mention the political patronage during the Marcos rule, the place has become fully developed and one of the firsts to become highly urbanized and a place of commerce among a mixed of diverse entrepreneurial interests. Despite the place inevitably being the passageway of many typhoons that traverse the region, it weathered and preserved its stature as one of the most progressive areas in the country.

    But is it worth the effort of rehabilitation considering the tradition of natures’ actions that seem to have accelerated in time? Are we hoping against hope, or just giving false hope to the people that everything will be fine and such nature’s fury comes only once in our lifetime? Or perhaps, are we willing to risk the fact that the next time a typhoon of this magnitude will occur, we already possess the essential dexterity to evade its immense power?

    Year in and year out, we are a witness to massive ecological imbalance brought about by man’s effort to provide himself temporary relief by way of destroying natural habitat like deforestation, air pollution and the likes. Although there is no direct proof that a typhoon of Yolanda’s power was brought about by these environmental maladies, the continuous indifference of the people on matters concerning these “life-wrenching” issues could provide more problem than solution to man’s future, that inevitably results in nature’s fury never before experienced in our lifetime.

    Lacson as rehabilitation czar
    The appointment of former senator Panfilo Lacson as the rehabilitation czar in Eastern Visayas is a welcome development in the government’s effort to bring back a semblance of normalcy in that region of the country. Lacson’s appointment comes on the heels of the tarnished image of the government bureaucracy, brought about the widespread commitment of graft and corruption. Lacson was one of the few that did not avail of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) during his incumbency as legislator for a maximum term of office. As such, the issue of fund diversion or malversation was never an issue against Lacson.

    The enormous amount of money that will be made available in the rehabilitation of Eastern Visayas needs proper disposal to come out with good results. And this will require people and individuals who possess the dedication, leadership and experience to handle a task of this magnitude.

    Despite some misrepresentation about his political personality and image, his unblemished record in the area of graft corruption and the likes remained spotless after more than three decades of government service. He may have some misgivings on some areas of concern, but these did make him unqualified in a position which should put him in the spotlight in the next three years or so.

    His new-found job should anchor him and should be an avenue to mount a political comeback by 2016. Depending on what will be the outcome of his job, which hopefully should benefit the majority of the affected residents, Lacson can be again a political force to reckon with in the next election. With his no nonsense political and leadership acumen, we should expect Eastern Visayas to get back on its feet sooner than expected.

    These enormous tasks ahead of Lacson should yield significant results at least and until before the end of term of President Benigno Aquino 3rd. Results should not only be confined on the revival of infrastructural facilities and housing, but more of economic foundations.

    We may have rebuilt the physical facilities that can withstand a repeat of nature’s fury; but more importantly the sustenance of economic activities and commerce that brought the region in the thick of growth and development in recent years is the more challenging tasks that await the government. With the threat of yearly weather disturbance that enters the country at an average of 20 to 25 per annum, are the investors willing to risk their investment and life as well? This is the biggest challenge that faces the people behind these gargantuan tasks ahead.

    Spotlight in the Senate
    The recent “thriller” in the tradition of “Alfred Hitchcock” suspense series between Senate Minority Floor Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago has become more of an epic soap rather than a battle of wit and principle. Although the said “legislative sojourn” has placed the Senate again in the spotlight of fame (or shame), it nevertheless provided us with information not too many of us is privy to before these “divine revelations.”

    Just like any Hitchcock film that leaves the viewer hanging on the real conclusion, who among the two legislators is saying the truth? Or better still, who is the lesser evil?

    For comments, email: doc.ejlopez@gmail.com with cc to: opinion@manilatimes.net

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