Press Release
April 17, 2018

Dispatch from Crame No. 285:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Statement on the government's flawed policy towards Boracay rehabilitation


There is something inherently wrong about a so-called "leader" - one whom some even call "tatay" - who puts so little thought into the welfare of his people, especially the most vulnerable.

But that, it seems, is exactly the kind of President we have in Malacañang right now. Someone who projects himself as anti-elites, but whose actions nonetheless show he is chronically and pathologically anti-poor.

This is apparent, not just in how he had designed and conducted his so-called "war on drugs", but also in the ways he arbitrarily makes decisions that unnecessarily pile on more hardships on his people.

Take, for instance, the closure of Boracay.

While it is not disputed that the island and its immediate environs need immediate attention to restore and preserve its beauty and economic longevity, the erratic decisions regarding how to go about its rehabilitation - which are less like "plans" and are more like "whims of the old tyrant" at this point - show how little thought, regard, empathy and care he has for those who will be affected.

After all, if there is one thing that families and businesses alike value, it is predictability in their income stream. That is what people are being robbed of - the ability to plan for themselves and have control of their daily lives - when the Administration makes whimsical and ever-changing plans on the closure of the entire island of Boracay. They lose the ability to ensure that their needs, the needs of those who depend on them, their obligations and their plans for future growth are adequately provided for.

Worse, this loss of predictability affects the ultra-rich differently than it does the poor and the less well-off. While the ultra-rich might only need to forego profits for a relatively brief period of time, the poor and the more modest businesses might not even survive the ever-changing capricho of the Tyrant-in-Chief.

Nakapangangamba rin ang isinusulong na "solusyon" ng pamahalaan: ang pagpapautang sa mga apektadong pamilya at negosyo para maitawid sila sa panahong tuluyang ipasasara ang Boracay. Hindi malayong isipin na ang pagpapautang na ito ang tuluyang babaon sa kanila sa kahirapan, at baka kailanganin pa nilang ibenta o isanla ang kakarampot na ari-arian na kanilang naipundar.

Pero yan ang napapala natin kung ang mga opisyal ng pamahalaan ay hindi lamang naghahari-harian, kundi tamad pang mag-isip: puro na lamang mga shortcut. Hindi naman sila ang magdurusa kundi ang ating mga kababayan.

To think, all this uncertainty is not even necessary. Concerned cabinet officials came up with more reasonable and less disruptive approaches to the problem. But, apparently, this Presidency has an aversion to well thought-out plans. It prefers to make grand gestures that demonstrate power, rather than wisdom.

And that is not even the most disturbing part.

This arbitrariness and unpredictability could be masking something more sinister. As people become used to ever-changing "plans", they might not notice that the plans are changing in order to favor or carve out exceptions that would benefit special interests: or those who can afford the ears of the influential and powerful.

Thus, it may be that, while the livelihood and survival of poor families and modest businesses are hanging in the balance, corrupt elements and influence-peddlers might be exploiting the situation in order to gain leverage to pad their own interests.

It is even more suspicious given the announcement of putting the island under land reform.

Ano na naman kaya ang niluluto ng mga taong nasa likod ng mga pabago-bago at pabigla-biglang pananalitang ito?

Bakit land reform? Iyon ba ang tunay na pinakakapaki-pakinabang na paggagamitan ng lupain sa isla ng Boracay?

O baka naman pambobola at pananakot lamang ito? Baka naman pinaaasa na naman ang mga tao sa mga salita at pangakong palagian namang napapako, habang tinatakot, pinipiga at iniipit ang mga negosyante sa Boracay? Lagi na lamang ginagamit ang taong bayan at, sa dulo, ay bibiguin at pahihirapan.

While it is true that Boracay needs urgent attention, we nevertheless have to demand transparent, participative and rational decision-making because there are real needs and interests to be balanced, that should neither be ignored nor exploited.

Kaya kailangang mas laliman pa natin ang ating pag-analisa sa bawat galaw ng gobyernong ito. Baka ipinagkakanulo na nila ang buhay at kabuhayan ng ating mga kababayan kapalit ng mga piraso ng pilak at ginto.

News Latest News Feed