Why Reform is Badly Needed
Most of us may be in agreement when I say that reform is badly needed by our country. But we are so used to the rotting system that we refuse to let go of it – especially those who are benefiting too much from it.
The bitter and ugly truth: Let’s face it, there are many of our politicians who are willing to circus in front of you, sing, dance, give you money, promise you heaven and earth (with hell in between the lines), and whatever antics they have up their sleeves just to get you to vote for them. In which we do. Then we end up the way we are today, the circle of rot.
Let me tell you two stories of how frustrating it can be at times – whether you are here in the Philippines or you are abroad, as long as you are dealing with the government sector. Okay, paraphrase, some of the people in the government sector.
Story 1: The Perpetually Noisy Bar
We have three bars nearby. Make it four if you will count the carinderia that transforms into a videoke place at night.
Let’s establish the “characters” to my story:
Bar #1 = Very near us
Bar #2 = Just a floor above Bar #1
Bar #3 = The bar at the back of the house, located at the street perpendicular to ours.
Bar #4 = Carinderia-turned-videoke at night
Before Bar #1 and Bar #2 opened, we were worried that we will be plagued by too much noise every night that they are open. Luckily we weren’t. They are soundproofed well.
Bar #4 is located across the street, in a different barangay and I commend their barangay for calling the attention of Bar #4 when they were causing public disturbance.
Now, I’m saving the best for last – Bar #3: the root cause of my sleepless and stressful nights. Luckily, my Sundays are spared. Ever since Bar #3 has opened, they have been making a lot of noise, which is normal for a bar. But when you are making noise from 10 pm onwards, with utter disregard to your neighbors who want to rest because they have work the next day, that’s another story. They have a very loud bass and the thumping sound can be heard all the way to my room even with the windows closed, the AC and TV on.
Here are the things that I did:
1. Complained to the barangay verbally.
Action: They said they will investigate. Brought owner to the scene and owner admitted music’s indeed loud.
2: After a week, I texted barangay that the bar is still noisy, what’s being done?
Action: Barangay: Let’s give the owner/s time to renovate.
3. Called police numerous times about the noise.
Action: Said they’d send a mobile but noise never really died down.
4. Complained to a higher official and asked about curfew.
Action: Official replied and asked details about the cause of the noise, location etc.
5. Sent a formal letter to the barangay.
Action: Had an audience with owner, said he’ll do something about it because according to him they have “already soundproofed” their bar.
6. After a month or so, I texted barangay again because bar still has a loud bass and thumping sound is irritating.
Action: Barangay: no reply.
As I was asking the higher official about the curfew of the bars, it suddenly dawned on me that the barangay should have imposed the curfew on the bar instead of telling us to give the owner time to renovate and fix whatever needs fixing because as far as I am concerned, the thumping sounds continue. Oh and that “Put your hands in the air!” line of the DJ every night is so irritating. It’s like there is a street party every night.
This simple matter can be resolved at the barangay level if only they exercise their power appropriately; if they are genuinely concerned with their constituents.
We live in a society where the concept of padrino is very strong and we have some people who take advantage of the situation because they are lost in their own bubble that they are above the law.
The simple point that I am driving: Next time we elect someone to office, please let us not be blinded by the Peso bills stapled with a candidate’s name. Instead, take a look at the track record of the candidate if he or she will be able to truly put service above self. Let us take “vote wisely” into heart.
Story 2: The Perpetually Unreachable Phone at the Philippine Consulate General in Vancouver
I have a good friend who is now living in Canada. She has some paperworks to be done and other applications to comply. Now that she’s married there, she has to change her name and all those stuff.
Being the first time to apply for such things as change of name, declaring her marriage, and her adorable daughter, she has some questions. The problem is that every time she calls the Philippine Consulate General in Vancouver, there is no answer. All the extension numbers keep on ringing, and voicemail is full. According to their website, they will answer your email in 2-3 days but, as expected, there is still no answer after a week. I doubt her email will be opened at all.
Out of desperation, she called the emergency number and an irritated person on the other end of the line answered. That was the time she got the answers she need for her application.
- How busy are the people at the Philippine Consulate in Vancouver?
- Are they swamped with piles and piles of documents?
- Why is it that they aren’t answering emails?
- Why aren’t they emptying their voicemails?
Is this how the Philippine Consulate General works in other countries? Or are we missing something here? There must be a logical explanation for the unanswered phone calls, emails, and full voicemail.
I am not saying that I am not part of this rotting system, because I very well know that I am. You are too, whether you like it or not. I still have hope for our country that maybe, even if not in my lifetime, there will be changes for the better. I dream of a Philippines that has a very low or no poverty rate at all. I dream of self-sufficient individuals, of zero crime rates, of no corruption, and of peace.