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Señor Moments | Water concessionaire contract – Onerous?

Calma na muna – after the storm, the calm. Digong shoud STOP(?) demonizing Ayala (MLA Water) and M.V. Pangilinan (Maynilad). Remember that this contract was drawn up – and first approved by FVR, the solicitor general then – BEFORE this was approved by the two concessionaires. If you were Ayala or MVP, would you not approve a contract very FAVORABLE to your companies? Common sense, yes. So why blame THEM? So if Digong is going to play the blame game, he should aim this at FVR – and at GMA (for extending it from 2022 to 2037). For now, while the DOJ is investigating, let’s STAY CALM and await the results. In the meantime, let’s give the benefit of the doubt to FVR, GMA, Ayala, and MVP.

Let’s put this agreement within the context of 1996/7 – when Metro MLA’s water supply was dry – and the government coffers were practically nil as the Asian Financial Crisis (AFC) was rearing its ugly head. FVR’s team was looking for a quick solution – and they found this in “privatizing”. The problem was, none of our big companies were not interested because the AFC-business climate did not encourage big investments then.

So FVR’s team had to really SWEETEN the deal – thus, the so called “onerous” provisions were included. What are “onerous” now may have been NECESSARY then. And why did GMA EXTEND it? So that the water rates could be LOWERED since the massive INFRA-cost could be amortized over a longer period of time.

But let’s all wait for the results of the DOJ or congress investigations.

Garbage and trash crisis

I’ve lived and worked in California for close to 30 years, coming back home for good to Davao in the mid-90’s. I’ve also traveled and visited many cities in Asia and Europe then and now, and it truly SADDENS me to finally say that our country is one of the DIRTIEST, and our hometown, Davao City, is one of the DIRTIEST city in the world, and my own neighborhood, JUNA, is one of the dirtiest in our city. Every morning, I walk around my neighborhood in Juna and it appalls me to see so much trash just carelessly strewn about. Our streets, sidewalks, canals, esteros, beaches, are garbage-filled – and somehow we’ve become immune accepting this situation as our new normal. Unacceptable!

Our government – national and LGUs – talk about a ban on plastic, perhaps, we should be considering a war on litterers. Throw them in jail or have them do community service – cleaning up our city. We talk about our students doing poorly in PISA – they are doing worse in “value formation. In the meantime, let’s be responsible for the streets or canal in front of our homes.

Catholics – Quo vadis?

Having been educated by the Jesuits from grade school, high school, college, then grad school, I’ve been raised a Catholic all my life. That’s why I think I have the right to openly question whether my religion – and her religious leaders and her lay organizations (BCBP, Knight of Columbus, Women’s Catholic League, El Shaddai, etc.) – remain relevant in our times – and in my own spiritual life. Here’s where I’m coming from: the other day Sun-Star DVO has a front page about the Diocese of Tagum’s bishop ex-communicating 26 priests and 18 more undergoing investigations for sexual misconduct. That’s a lot of priests from a smaller (than Davao) diocese. I wonder what’s happening to our priests here. But perhaps they are shielded by “Omerta”! These cases are isolated situations since there were news reports about sexual offenses, pedophilia in the Vatican(!), Argentina, Australia, the U.S., and other countries. Perhaps, priest or nuns should be allowed to marry. I think the BCBP – and the other lay groups – should take a very strong stand and demand reforms against these abuses. But maybe, “OMERTA” also engulfs them. An exemplary catholic leader I’ve met personally and greatly admire is Mother Teresa, now a Saint. She was genuinely helping the downtrodden poor. I don’t see this quality in our bishops or cardinals who dress up in costly vestments and get driven in expensive SUV’s.

There is so much poverty, drugs and corruption in our country – but I don’t see the Catholic Church and her lay organizations having concrete programs in winning the wars. There is so much more they can do to help the poor in our country.

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