"Securing the peace and cleaning up the bay are two of those matters requiring the utmost in bipartisan support."
It is understandable that critics’ bashing of President Duterte and his administration is par for the course. They have to scour (scrape the bottom is how some die hard Duterte followers call it) to find some lapses, broken promises and missed opportunities in the administration’s governance. Nothing wrong with that.
But to propagate false news and fear, or otherwise fanning the fires of discord is another matter. That is already bashing for bashing’s sake. That is politics at its lowest. That is politics for power’s sake, never mind the country’s interest. That is the kind of politics which our people should expose and do away with altogether. That is the politics which the political opposition seems to be practicing to the hilt if we go by the latest pronouncements of their most visible leaders in the wake of the developments just over the past week or so.
Take the reported statement of “LP/Otso Diretso/Team Pilipinas” senatorial bet Samira Gutoc.
The lone female and Muslim candidate of this group, Gutoc reportedly bashed President Duterte for being the“inspiration,” as it were, of the deadly twin blasts at the Mt. Carmel Church in Jolo causing the death of 23 people and injuries to at least 65 others. Gutoc’s exact quote was garbled but in effect she was saying that PRRD’s demonization of the Catholic Church and its leaders may have led the bombers to do this dastardly act. Wow. How far out can that be?
So, without any kind of proof and while the investigation is still ongoing, Ms. Gutoc is convinced that the bombers are cold-blooded fanatics and are part of the network of “Dutertards” who will do the kind of grave, outrageous thing like bombing a church full of people just so the administration can be put to shame. What an illogical, disjointed stream of thought that is. But that’s Ms. Gutoc.
After all, she was also quoted early on during the Marawi siege which led to the declaration of martial law in the entire Mindanao that there was need for its imposition as there was no ongoing invasion or rebellion in Marawi or elsewhere. What again? And what did the siege and takeover of Marawi by Islamic State adherents look like to her—war games?
And then this statement from my friends in the Makabayan bloc demanding that the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Project be stopped as it will only lead to more reclamation activities and, get this, the displacement of informal settlers living along the banks of the Pasig River and its tributaries, esteros and even along the bay itself.
I can’t get over this reported statement from people who should know better. The bay as we know it is no longer swimmable, to say the least. Its rehabilitation is long overdue. Long before the mandamus ruling for its total cleanup was issued by the Supreme Court in 2008, there was already a clamor for a massive clean up which includes a total, comprehensive redevelopment of the Manila Bay area and an inventory of all the Manila Bay “pollution contributors” from lack of a metro-wide water treatment and sewerage system, land use and air control to relocation of all informal settlers, among others. How can our Makabayan friends raise any objections to this laudable undertaking?
If the beef against the rehabilitation is reclamation, they should be advised that such is a separate issue altogether. The cleanup should proceed even as the matter of further—and I emphasize further, since a good part of the Manila Bay frontage is reclaimed land—action is under consideration. In fact, experts now concede that a well-designed and engineered reclamation plan can complement, not obstruct, the cleanup as it will give planners a lot more leeway by providing for more spacefor the installation of basic services such as sewerage systems, canals and the like and of course more breathable places of work and living as the metropolis does not have any more leg room to grow inwards.
Bashing the President and his development agenda is par for the course. But such an opposition “sport,” as is now on the upswing should not stand in the way of helping enhance the country’s standing and our people’s welfare. Securing the peace and cleaning up the bay are two of those matters requiring the utmost in bipartisan support. It’s not simply a matter of bashing a leader and his administration regardless of the greater national interest.