TODAY is “Boxing Day” in WASP (Western Anglo-Saxon Protestant) societies. Children put in boxes most of the gifts received for storing or for giving to children in poor families. But it is also the day when children of all societies, including ours in the Philippines, realize sadly that their parents, ninongs and uncles did not fulfill some of their Christmas-gift promises.
It is also the same with the promises made to us Filipinos by President Rody Duterte. The promises he has failed to begin fulfilling or has actually failed to do is making many of us sad like children.
At the rate the President’s men have been falling down flat on their faces butt up, Rodrigo Duterte might as well create an oversight department whose predictably thankless job would be to clarify, correct or “put in proper perspective” — or confirm or deny whatever statement, and promise, he might have made the night or the day before.
The department, of course, would be headed by an oversight spokesman who, mercifully, would not need to later clarify, correct or “put in proper perspective” what he had clarified, corrected or “put in proper perspective” the day or the night before.
The President seems to have an inexplicable problem with putting his money where his mouth is.
Take, for instance, an announcement made on December 20 by his fair-haired boy “Bato,” the Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa, that some policemen would get as much as P400,000 in Christmas bonus as a reward for their role in the “aggressive” government crackdown on illegal drugs.
It turned out to be a dud of a good news and dela Rosa was embarrassed no end although he did not brag that he had one-upped Steve Harvey without even really trying.
Neither did the nation’s top cop say who had authorized him to speak on the bonus but that would be a no-brainer because only the President could have told him to do so.
Meanwhile, those among the 160,000-strong PNP who were promised that they stand to get a lower bonus of P50,000 were probably as livid as those who were conned into believing that they would get P350,000 more.
Not to be outdone by Bato, the President himself on December 21 also announced that he has released P1 billion in government funds “to help sick Filipinos who are too poor to buy the needed medicines to nurse them back to good health”
The P1 billion, however, is apart from the P1 billion that he had also ordered released for the medical bill of drug dependents, according to a report.
The report said he is contemplating releasing another P1 billion more to help rehabilitate the drug dependents.
And then the President dropped the bomb: He had requested the Department of Budget and Management to look for the billions needed by sick Filipinos who are too poor to buy the medicines.
Still, the President insisted that the sick can just go to the Department of Social Welfare and Development and present their medical prescriptions.
This advice hits a discordantly painful note because it assumes that the kawawang Pinoy had visited a private doctor [which should explain the prescriptions]before lining up in front of the usually doctor-less barangay clinic.
Besides, it would be almost impossible for the ordinary cigarette vendor or domestic servant to drop by the office of a medical practitioner whose consultation fees could be anywhere between P300 and P500, an amount that the kawawang Pinoy simply does not have.
Well, he can raise the amount if he works sleepless nights for a week and then drop from exhaustion and promptly get sick.
Populist announcements are better made at electoral campaigns but then the President is not barnstorming anymore.
According to a recent survey, he is still greatly trusted by the people to do the right things for them but he is not trusted only for them to be betrayed by the President reneging on the billions that he had committed to their good health.
If the President does not restrain himself from making promises on which he will not be able to deliver, then the kawawang Pinoy, who apparently loves him to death, will eventually see him as the boy who cried wolf.
Well, promises are made to be broken. But we and the millions of others who have faith in him do not expect the President, of all people, to break them.