The need to define our national vision PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 17 October 2014 11:12

By REMEDIOS F. MARMOLEÑO

 

A JICA report of its study of the Manila traffic situation came up with the finding that the government is losing PhP2.4B each day as a result of the delays in moving goods and people in the horrendous traffic of MM.  I don’t know how JICA came up with the number it did but suffice it to say that JICA knows its business. And yes, the number is PhP2.4 billion.

When you join  our culture of kleptocracy   which sees the  “secret transfer of public funds into secret personal  bank accounts”  of public officials  with the economic losses caused by the traffic situation you can imagine how rich the Philippines might be otherwise. PhP2.4 B daily translates to PhP72B a month.

Another news item has the Sec of Energy Petilla saying that by the summer of 2015 we can expect a shortfall of 900MW in the  energy requirements of the country.  The item I read did not mention how the problem is to be addressed, Rather it considered what this would mean in hours of electric outages every day in the areas looked at.

I take up these two points of the traffic problem and the insufficiency of the power supply in the Philippines as two excellent examples  of long-standing and recurring problems of the country which have not been adequately resolved over the many years.  Without  putting blame on any one person or agency we still need to ask: Why has this been so?

Even when we consider that persons or agencies  are “sincere” in  wanting to solve  these problems why have they not been solved  over all this time?

From the perspective of an outsider it is my take that a lot of factors enter into this situation.  One is that in the Philippines we tend to take so long  to  address a problem and   one reason for this is  that  we still have not arrived at identifying  our vision for the country.  If we already had this vision we would be more proactive, pursuing those development projects that are align with our vision rather than simply reacting to situations as they come up.

Take the case of flooding of the streets of MM.  This has been a problem for goodness knows how many years until things have gotten  even worse because climate change caught up with us.  So we are now 2014 and each time we enter the rainy  season it is the same old story.

Our undefined vision for our country is one factor to consider. Another factor of course is the unending bickering among political blocs as to the soundness - or lack of it - of a plan being considered. The stand of each block on the matter is not always motivated by what is  the “greater good for the greater number”. More the opposite in fact most of the time.

A vision for one’s country will always have to consider ease of movement for the greater proportion of the population. Over all these years how come we have not come up with a plan for an efficient and effective mass transit system for the general population in places like Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and similar places ?  Has our own ZC developed a plan or are we to stay with tricycles and pedicabs for the next generation or two?