Nothing to rile the establishment
By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas
I was reeling from pain when the Leaders Forum for mayoralty candidates organized by the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB) was underway at the Baguio Country Club. I thought I was going to hear things that will rile the establishment and provide a better future for ordinary people, but nothing of that sort were in the platforms of the candidates.
As the unknown candidate, Kalingayan aptly said, “amin dagitoy kalaban ko ket suportado ti babaknang.” So the status quo will continue where the rich will continue getting richer, while the poor will remain poor, or even become poorer. Of course, some will be able to breach the great divide by being lucky or through education. But these will constitute a very tiny portion of the population.
What sort of things am I talking about? Measures that will lessen to the barest minimum the gap between the rich and the poor. Things like requiring big businesses, those earning millions of pesos in net profits every year must be required to give part of that to poor but deserving students as scholarship grants. Some are doing that right now, but they are only giving away a teeny weeny part of a droplet of their revenues. “Hindi lang barya. Malayong mas maliit pa kaysa barya.”
Along with that, such big businesses must share their profits with their workers. I am talking about legislated profit sharing schemes. After all, they would not have made money without the “sweat, tears and blood” of their workers.
Another things is the amount being given by extractive industries to communities. There are legislated amount but these are very small. If memory serves, mining companies are required to give only one or two percent, or thereabouts. Why not 25% or even 30%?
Then there was the question on the solution for Baguio’s being overpopulated and its supposed urban decay. Several of the candidates mentioned about involving the BLISTT areas to share from the over development of the city.
Well and good, but that is not enough. I know I am sounding like a broken record here having mentioned this several times in the past, but I think it is still worth it, being so relevant.
Not just the BLISTT areas that should be involved. Also farther areas like Rosarion, La Union and Abatan, Buguias, Benguet. If these two areas can develop into cities, they will absorb a lot of Baguio denizens looking for economic opportunities. Thousands of people would not come to Baguio, even now if they can help it.
It was on this issue that I expected candidate Leandro Yangot Jr. to make the most, or to exploit to the hilt his being an urban and regional planner having obtained a master’s degree in that field, but I guess there were important things in his mind during that time. Only him has that qualification amongst the candidates yet it was just mentioned in passing.
The candidates or their handlers might have thought about how to package their bets and some came up with good ones. Candidate Magalong’s “A breath of fresh air” was a good one. Also Avila’s “Agila ng Baguio.”
All the rest just had overused phrases or clichés like “Madaling kausapin, madaling lapitan.” How about “The Urban Planner, Baguio’s Hope.”
The reason why I was reeling in pain while watching on Facebook the forum was I just took a bath so I could be present for the even for a better “look and hear” of the candidates. On my way out of the bath, however, I slipped and the side of my back, just below the armpit, hit the 8 inch concrete dividing the bath and the portion where the toilet bowl was. My “heavy” weight, all of 80 kilos, came whooping down and I thought it was the end of me as I could not breath. After almost one minute while lying down helpless on the bathroom tiles, stark naked, suddenly I could breath a little. The breathing became better and better, very slowly. Then I started hoping and praying that no ribs or a part of the spine was broken. Perhaps the fat cushioned my fall. While there is still some pain, perhaps there are no broken bones. God willing.
Then I remember my old yoga meditation teacher long ago: “One of the benefits of meditation is you will suffer for your bad karma in installments. Not in one major event, for instance, that can cause total paralysis.” Well, perhaps an installment, as far as I am concerned, is now over and done with.**