Well, during the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday there was one revelation that was not expected by the Filipino people. And that was President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s admission that the shift to Federalism that he had been espousing in his Presidential run and into the first three years of his administration, is not anymore feasible in the remaining years of his term. The President though did not categorically mention whether he is also giving up plans of amending the 1987 Constitution. After all, the Charter can be amended sans shifting to a Federal form of government.
We can very well understand where the President’s apparent change of heart came from. For sure he knows the sentiment of the majority with regards to Federalism; that it is not a fool-proof solution to addressing inequality in the socio-economic development of regions as well as in putting an end to the control of regions and its component provinces and cities by only a few political and business families.
This early the members of Congress are already more inclined at entertaining a draft of a new Charter that does not prohibit political dynasties and allow the lifting of term limits for lawmakers.
Even the President may have a difficult time presenting himself as model of a politician not in the line of dynasty. For how can he when three of his children are holding different elective positions in the local government of Davao City?
Of course he can always say that until such time that the ban on political dynasties is fully enshrined in the Constitution he does not have the power, even if he is President, to curtail the rights of his children to offer themselves as public servants. And no one can argue against this justification.
With this in mind, our hunch is that the President could just be preparing the ground for members of his family to continue pursuing their individual political ambition minus any bar that may be set at his initiative — the ban on political dynasties under a Duterte-pushed new Constitution.
It looks like Davao City third district congressman Isidro “Roy” Ungab has gotten back the powerful House Committee he used to chair during his previous stint in Congress — the House Committee on Appropriations.
Ungab’s steering of that powerful body in the Lower House for several years has not been marred with even a single controversy. It could only mean that all the members of the House were contented with what was appropriated for their respective districts. Even the persistently complaining activist members of Congress were never heard saying derogatory words against Ungab when he was on top of the committee.
In other words, Ungab had fairly considered every lawmaker’s request for appropriations of projects they have promised for their constituents in the district they represent.
We see this development as another opportunity for the different districts in the Davao Region, specifically the three districts in Davao City, to recommend projects to their congressmen who will then work out for its inclusion in the national development plan in the coming years.
As we can clearly observe in the region there are completed and ongoing infrastructure projects mostly highways widening, construction of new roads and multi-story school buildings.
Right in Davao City’s three districts the products of the national government’s “Build, build, build” program are as visible as day. These are everywhere and are now put to use by the residents of the city, especially school children., in cases of school infrastructure, and by the riding public (for new and expanded roads).
So with Congressman Ungab back in harness at the House Committee on Appropriations funding of projects for the city’s various districts may not be meeting any difficulty.
We are again calling the attention of Davao City Water District (DCWD) through our friend lawyer Bernard Delima for what appears to be long unacted complaint of a resident of Pag-ibig Homes Subdivision in Catalunan Grande. More than three months back the water firm’s secondary distribution line in front of the residence of one Jaime Curato along Aries st. busted off. After several calls a crew from DCWD arrived and fixed the busted pipe. However, they have to destroy first the concrete cover of the underground drainage of the subdivision road since the damaged portion of the secondary distribution pipe crosses the upper level of the canal.
After the busted pipe was fixed, the crew left leaving the concrete debris piled on the road side. Before the crew’s departure its leader was asked who and when will the destroyed drainage canal cover be fixed. The answer was simple. Another team from the water firm will come and restore the destroyed concrete cover.
It’s been more than three months since then, but no DCWD crew has come to fix the destroyed portion of the road side. According to Mr. Curato he has already made several follow-up calls to the DCWD office. And as always, the answer he got was that a team will come and fix the same.
Meanwhile the open hole that resulted from the destruction of the concrete drainage cover continues to pose danger to unknowing children who may be playing or simply passing by the area.
Shall DCWD wait for an accident to happen before it acts on the complaint?