Will ‘Build, Build, Build’ yield any results? Inquirer.net

Will ‘Build, Build, Build’ yield any results? Featured

The Senate and the House of Representatives are on the clock facing an extremely tight deadline to resolve their differences over the proposed P3.7 trillion national budget. With the clock ticking until they go into recess for the election period it seems almost impossible for them to come to an agreement. I think that they should focus on getting it together and go through the amendments and insertions systematically finding the best happy medium for everyone.

Of course that is easier said than done and with so many politicians with their hands in the proverbial honey jar it’s no wonder they can’t lock down a proposed budget for the president’s approval. It’s sad that not much has changed despite the current administration’s promise to “clean house”. With pork barrel now even higher than years passed it seems that not only have things not changed they have only gotten worse.

Honestly, most of the time it seems that our politicians are more focused on protecting their revenue streams and protecting themselves than they are on making the changes necessary to benefit the country. If they fought tooth and nail for the people the way they did for their budget allocations imagine how much better off the Philippines would be?

What a pipe dream. Promises are great but results would be much better. President Duterte was elected on the premise of his honest and aggressive political platform. He said he was going to rid the country of the notorious drug problem (hasn’t happened), that he was going to rid the government of political dynasties and corruption (also hasn’t happened), and that he was going to invest in the country by building necessary infrastructure and investing in an aggressive “Build, Build, Build” agenda. Sadly that doesn’t look like it has happened (or is about to happen) either.

My daughter recently went back to Japan to celebrate her birthday and she can’t stop talking about how efficient they are there and how things just work so easily and seamlessly. She laments that we can’t have the same good things in the Philippines. Understandably in order for us to enjoy the same efficiency the Japanese do we need to be far more disciplined as a people but it has to start somewhere and improved infrastructure is as good a place as any for that first step.

Here’s hoping that the delayed projects will finally get clearance and take off. It isn’t for lack of investors or proposed partners. They are there, the government just needs to remove the maze of red tape and get things moving. After all this time we still have nothing to show for the new administration and it’s quite sad. Promises were made that lives were going to improve in the Philippines and so far all that seems to have happened is that prices have skyrocketed. No one’s life has improved yet.

I honestly believe that the government should place emphasis on addressing our public transportation. If there is any infrastructure project that needs to be fixed it’s that. Traffic has been getting worse and worse and the answer is not to limit cars or count garages it’s giving people better transportation options. I honestly believe that no one actually wants to drive in Manila with the traffic and lack of parking. They just do it because they don’t have any other choice.

If our railways and subways were anything like the ones abroad I think we would definitely be lessening the cars on the streets. In places like Japan and Singapore and even Hong Kong, public transportation is the every day way of life for so many. People take the buses and trains to work day in and day out and they can rely on them. This helps lessen the cars and traffic on the roads and the consumption of gas at the same time. It’s win/win for everyone.

This is what we need to invest in in the Philippines. Changes to our public transportation (ease, cost, efficiency, etc) could really make positive changes in our economy and for our people. Hopefully the government – as they close the book on their upcoming budget – takes this into consideration and take the steps needed to make it happen.

* * *

I hope the president signs the bills seeking to increase maternity leave. Other countries have recognized that a new mother needs more time with her newborn child and should be given the rights and protection to do so under the law. The new bill provides for 105 days of paid maternity leave to all working new mothers in the government and private sectors, regardless of marital status – this is important because single moms need that leave more than ever.

And the most important part of the bill is that this shall be granted to all female workers in every instance of pregnancy, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy. In cases of miscarriage or emergency termination – expectant mothers will get 60 days of paid leave benefits.

This is an important piece of legislation for all women and should be passed into law. Perhaps there are things outside of the president’s hands when it comes to making big changes for infrastructure or international relations, but if he wants to find ways to help Filipinos there are so many bills like this that can already help change lives for the better.


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