Late in afternoon yesterday, as I went out to buy some RTE (ready-to-eat) viand for my dinner in the little Coop Eatery in my purok, I overheard this conversation among village folks –
ESPER: Naunsa man ning abri sa klase karon oy! Daghan kaayong kapalpakan!
TELLY: Grabe bitaw no? Murag kulang sa pangandam ang gobyerno bah!
RENREN: Di kay kulang! Wa gyud tagaig importansiya kaayo ang edukasyon! Kulang sa badyet!
TELLY: Ang problemado tawon kaayo didto gyud sa katong mga dapit nga na-igo sa kasuko ni Manang Yolanda, bah!
ESPER: Dili lang oy! Daghang mga lugar nga wala mabiktima sa kalamidad ang naproblema ! Kulang sa klasrum! Kulang sa titser! Kulang sa mga libro ug uban pang pasilidades! Basta palpak lagi kaayo ba!
RENREN: Hahaha. Asa na man diay ang gipanghambog ni Noynoy nga mi-asenso na ang atong ekonomiya? Wala man tagda ang importante kaayong kabilinggan sa gobyerno—ang edukasyon?
ESPER: What a phenomenon of failure this school opening this year!
TELLY: A big mess indeed! It seems the government is lacking ample preparedness!
RENREN: No! It’s not lack of preparedness! Education has not been given importance at all! There’s a lack in budget!
TELLY: The most problematic are the places hit by Madam Yolanda’s ire!
ESPER: No, not only them! So many other places that were not victims of calamities have also messed up school opening! Lack of classrooms! Lack of teachers! Lack of books and other school facilities! It’s really unspeakably a failure!
RENREN: Hahaha. What has become of Noynoy’s big words that the country’s economy is improving? Why is education–a very important government function— neglected?
Well, has there been a time in our history as a Republic that the prime duties of the government were afforded the needed attention or priority they deserve? Next to the health security of its citizenry, education ranks next in the primordial obligations of government. But since time immemorial, the primary social services that ought to have been priority items in the national agenda have always been peripheral concerns.
This deplorable fact can easily be seen in the comparative salaries and benefits provided for the service workers between departments and agencies of the government. Those whose services involve the most significant aspect of social life are supposed to be the public health workers—doctors and nurses, midwives and other health workers.
But almost parallel in importance should be the contingent of teachers and other service providers in the public school system or in the Department of Education. In truth, the different departments charged with the delivery of social services to the citizenry are in mutual service to each other. Nothing works without the other for the over-all uplift of the society.
As it is, the biggest slice of the “budgetary pie” seems to accrue to the so-called “State Security Forces” – the AFP, the PNP and para-military forces. And what constitutional duty (ies) do these forces render society? Supposedly, the safeguard of the State—in all its aspects— which encompasses the integrity of its sovereignty [or physical/territorial domain], and its natural and human resources!
Ay, mga langit! O sweet heaven! Have these fundamental duties been fulfilled since the beginning of time in these wondrous tropical isles of the planet? Recall the “Amendment or Agreement Appended” to the Constitution synchronous with the birth of the Philippine Republic, favoring the American nationals in the exploration, utilization and exploitation of our natural resources. Recall the occupation of American soldiers on the US Military Bases at Subic and Clark, virtually exempted from the application of Philippine laws! Recall all other encroachments and intrusions of foreign troops and the sop-called development aggression on Philippine land and mineral resources during the incumbencies all the Philippine chief executives.
And today—before our very noses! Behold the inutile armed security forces of the Philippine State vis-à-vis the bullying acts of China? For all intents and purposes, has not President Noynoy entrusted the defense of Philippine sovereignty to the American armed forces under the EDCA? And he has proclaimed the increase of the salaries of Filipino soldiery!
It would seem the only major Department which has been smooth-sailing in its efficient delivery of service to the country is the military with its consistent splendid performance in violating the human rights of our people! Isn’t it amazing—I mean amusing— that President Noynoy has now adopted zealous concern for the recognition and reparation of victims of human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship? As if he has no knowledge of the human rights violations perpetrated by soldiers on a daily basis, NOW, under his very own command?
Going back to the Kapalpakan observed by village folks in the messy school opening in many quarters in the country, it is not hard to discern the “postmodern” happenstance obtaining in the different areas in the country. It spells the deplorable outcome of the misdirection of priorities in the national agenda of Government which, in its turn is the consequence of this government’s utter puppetry to American imperialist interests.
Under no justification should this government pass the blame to Madam Yolanda, or to the critics, for all this mess and failures of the Education Department in its delivery of so primordial a service to the citizenry. This will certainly come to pass as a tribute to the unbridled accommodation of President Noynoy to the interests of US imperialism and its local cohorts over and above the welfare of his own people.