Passports and copy paste politics
This week, more than most, I have been approached by or read of people seeking help or lamenting the almost impossible situation to get an appointment for passport renewal from the Department of Foreign Affairs. In defense of the DFA, they have already explained time and again that contrary to our general impressions, the DFA is not and has never been exempt from the quarantine and health restrictions imposed by the IATF. Whether it’s ECQ, MECQ, 30 percent capacity or 50 percent capacity, etc, the DFA reportedly has to abide by the IATF rules.
I recently heard of mobile passport vans setting up one day appearances in private villages because of the established health protocols in existence and upon requests of congressional representatives as a temporary solution. Along this line, may I suggest to Secretary Teddy Locsin and President Rodrigo Duterte to take similar steps done in the United States in order to address the supply chain disaster they experienced this month when thousands of cargo-laden ships could not unload in US ports. US President Joe Biden implemented a two-step solution: first, to hire more than double the number of required personnel and second, authorize 24-hour port operations.
Malacanang should initiate similar emergency measures to help the galant efforts of the DFA and roll out renewals outside of the DFA, simplify process and do something like combinations with National ID registrations or vaccination programs by using the “Two For One” strategy. Instead of making people line up for a single service such as vaccination where data gathering and queuing is SOP, bring in the DFA and the PSA so they can do everything in one go. This will maximize results and make it well worth the financial loss of being absent from work or inherent risk of going to malls or city halls, etc.
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After the initial excitement over the filing of COCs and announcements of presidential and vice presidential candidates, we are now experiencing the morning after regret upon seeing that the list of presidential candidates leaves nothing to the imagination and are all drawn from the same pool and, to make matters worse, at least three political groups have adopted or announced five common candidates for senators. All it took was one week for most of them to fumble in speech or expose their true political character or vested interest. Not even the saying “The more things change, the more they remain the same” because from the looks of it, nothing has changed. We are back to “TRAPO Mode” or Traditional Politics.
Based on the “5 Common Candidates” decision, it is obvious that many political groups were traumatized by the 8-0 disaster in the last senatorial elections where the administration party wiped out the opposition without a single one making it to the winners’ circle. By fielding the five common candidates, the presumption is that the parties can insure that they won’t be blocked out in 2022 and can claim to have a winning candidates or candidates as the case may be. Agreeing to field the same five for senators also reduces the loss of votes, waste of time and energy in the campaign and ensures a lower cost to operate during the campaign period. The presumption is that the five have a higher chance of winning and that gives the respective parties some space to push or give more effort to their own talent or party candidate. Politically speaking, it is a pragmatic approach, especially during the pandemic where physical campaigns and expenses won’t be as easy to put together as they used to be. It will be harder to beat or sabotage five common candidates fielded by three political groups.
However, in terms of political maturity, generational development and training of future leaders, legislators, as well as the political landscape of the country is concerned, what we now have is a system where politicians both local and national have to die, become an invalid or be barred from running from office before new talent or fresh blood ever gets a chance to get into politics. I’m almost tempted to settle for their offsprings if they are young enough, idealistic enough and more modern than the majority of aging politicians in the country. Come to think of it, I just realized that if we dressed up all the politicians in the country in the same military inspired outfit and color and got a huge group picture, we could probably simulate an image similar to the photos of party leaders of China or North Korea. Elderly, gray haired, stooped and tired folks propping themselves up! Perhaps now is the best time to quote a passage from the Bible that tells of the greatest failures in Bible history:
“And also that generation were gathered to their fathers (died): and there rose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt (slavery) and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them and provoked the Lord to anger.” (Book of Judges chapter 2 verse 10-12)
After 40 years literally in the presence of God, the Jews failed to raise up their children into a generation who knew and lived their lives around God. And because of this, the Jews copied from the people and cultures they interacted with. As far as the copy-paste politics of today is concerned, we can already see how leadership, governance and civil society have slowly but surely deteriorated. Selfish or self-centered agendas have become the driving force and vision and platforms have become nothing more than mandatory topics for utterance and social compliance but void of truth or structure. Copy-paste politics is the tactic of the shortsighted and the visionless TRAPOS.
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