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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The situation in CAR, SONA, MDG etc. etc.

The past week, articles by media advocates have been written re: the poverty situation in the CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region) areas. An earlier report spoke of prevailing "hunger and malnutrition" in Desiree Caluza's article whereas Vincent Cabreza's article reported the dissenting opinion of a certain MalacaƱang official.

Should there really be varying standards for "hunger and malnutrition"? When did hunger and malnutrition become a relative-term? I know that in Life, things are not always black and white especially where culture, religion and tradition is a consideration, but when you talk about existence of hunger and determine malnutrition, science intervenes and lines can clearly be drawn. HELLO! It's either people are hungry and suffering from malnutrition or not! It is that simple really.

When will this government deal with the country's concerns staring them up front? No amount of ADS and Publicity Gimmicks will fix the poverty situation in the country. Not even a "strongly delivered" SONA will appease things. We've been in "denial" for too long. In Psychology, that is the first stage of grief. Despite GMA's latest declarations that various projects are already completed or are in various stages of development in the "Super Regions", as blue prints for building our future, the country's present socio-economic situation is STILL something to grieve about. These developments are hardly felt by the masses with prices of commodities continuously rising. As such, people have been "angry" (second stage...). On the other hand, politicians have "bargained" (third stage...) here and there in the recently concluded elections. More importantly, most of us have been "depressed" (fourth stage...) with all the empty promises made. It is high time that the government get past the first stage and move on to the "acceptance" phase, the final stage as well, so that programs and projects relevant and directly addressing these concerns will be formulated and implemented. Instead of engaging in band-aid initiatives and meaningless rhetorics, concrete efforts that are sustainable should be in place in areas where there is extreme poverty and hunger.

In an article posted in the Official Website of the Republic of the Philippines, a list of urgent bills that PGMA wants this 14th Congress to approve was laid down. From experience, these are the bills prioritized in the Congress' order of business during their sessions. All other bills, even if pending for years and years ago like the RH/PopDev bill, will have to take the backseat as they are not certified by the president as "urgent", by her own definition. Except for the cheaper medicines bill, a cursory perusal of these bills revealed that none of them directly answer the needs of Juan Dela Cruz or somewhat help alleviate his quality of life.

Until the government accepts the fact that we are getting too many with too little to go by (read as: more demand, less supply), hunger will continue to exist, not only in CAR but in all parts of the country, children and adults alike will be malnourished, women will continue to die due to pregnancy-related causes, various diseases and illnesses will plague the country, our natural resources will continue to dwindle, and the "super regions" will turn out to be a blue print for a construction that will eventually crash because of weak foundations.

As UN Sec. Gen Kofi Annan said, "The Millennium Development Goals, particularly the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, cannot be achieved if questions of population and reproductive health are not squarely addressed. And that means stronger efforts to promote women's rights, and greater investment in education and health, including reproductive health and family planning".