Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Updated 03:17am (Mla time) Jan 01, 2005
By Isagani Cruz
Inquirer News Service

Editor's Note: Published on page A12 of the January 1, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

TODAY is the first day of the New Year so I shall begin on a happy note. These are the things I expect in 2005.

There will be more harmony among our people, a national resolve to work together in solving our common problems. Unity will replace artificial hostilities and the social and financial lines that divide us. We will strive harder to improve our status in the international community, particularly in our own continent. None of us will be ashamed to be known as Filipinos.

Our economy will improve tremendously. The Philippine peso will recover and gain new strength. Our exports will outpace our imports, and even our cottage industries will grow. Foreign investments will enter but will not replace or control local enterprises. Authentic Filipino businessmen and women will compete on equal terms with the no longer dominant taipans.

The mining industry will receive a boost and increase employment and the GNP. Oil will be discovered to give us added revenue. We will no longer be called a nation of domestics but can provide our offshore workers a prouder and more gainful living in our own country. Even our doctors and nurses will stop seeking a better life abroad and can stay here to care for their own people.

Social justice will cease to be a mere placebo but become an efficacious remedy against the unconscionable separation of the rich and the poor in the enjoyment of life's benefits. Labor will at last be an equal partner of capital in their joint venture for prosperity. Women will have the same opportunities for work and wages as men. Adequate compensation and humane working conditions will be strictly enforced.

Peace and order will be maintained and all major crimes will be drastically reduced. Even the usual molestations in the streets will become pass‚ in the now well-ordered communities. The Abu Sayyaf and other bandit groups will be captured or destroyed, and the NPA will be finally subdued. Provincianos who have escaped to the urban centers can now go home to become productive farmers again.

The electorate will be more intelligent in the exercise of their suffrages. Even the bakya crowd will no longer be seduced by tinsel attractions but will seriously consider the credentials of candidates for public office. These need not be post-graduate degrees abroad; ordinary intelligence will do and, of course, an altruistic concern for the public interest. Election irregularities will be better prevented and political dynasties effectively rejected.

The flawed political leadership will be repaired and elevated. The hypocrisy of the present government, from Malaca¤ang to Congress and the local offices, will make the voters more selective. They will discuss serious issues with the candidates instead of merely watching them sing and dance and exhibit their martial arts. They will guard against presumptuous pretenders like the misfits in the Senate and the nitwits in the Lower House.

Graft and corruption will be considerably diminished. The generals and other officers who have betrayed the PMA with their massive thieveries will be convicted and severely punished. So will their equally guilty spouses. Crooked executive officials, dishonest legislators and miscreants in the judiciary can no longer use the small fry to condemn as their convenient scapegoat.

The militarization of the government will be stopped. The president now (and even before) seems to be so terrified of the retired members of the armed forces that they have to be accommodated in civil positions to keep them employed (and not whistle blowers?). The practice will be discontinued and only qualified civilians will be appointed to non-military offices. The executive secretary, as the Little President, will never be a former soldier.

The administration of justice on all levels will be purified and expedited. Cases that have been hibernating in the courts will be decided within the mandatory periods fixed by the Constitution. The Marcos and Imelda cases that have been intentionally delayed for decades will be finally resolved. To the relief of confused practitioners, the Supreme Court will observe its own Rules rather than the exceptions it chooses to apply as the mood strikes it.

The entertainment industry will be sanitized and educated. Cheap shows, lewd jokes and gaudy attire will be banned. The producers and directors will learn from their foreign colleagues but will not imitate their works (like Gagamboy from Spider Man and Pinoy Pie from the American original). Actresses will not give bad examples to their fans with their sexual promiscuity and publicity. The box office will not be a ridiculous qualification for public office.

All these may be wild speculations but they can be attained if we try hard enough to improve our troubled country. We owe it to ourselves to continue helping it, but with more serious efforts this time in this brand New Year of 2005. We can't just excuse ourselves and say in feeble surrender, "We can dream, can't we?" These objectives, though difficult and distant, are not impossible dreams.

Happy New Year, and God's blessings to one and all!


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