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ROUGH CUTS | This culture of social engagement




Vic N. Sumalinog

INDEED it is only in the Philippines that there exists an overly vibrant politics that it seems critics of administration or its officials never run out of issues. And the fault-finding continues even at this worst of times the country is facing.

One glaring example of unbridled bashing is the continued tirades of the opposition that the present government does not have a clear plan in its fight against the corona virus disease (CoViD) that is now crippling not just the physical health of the Filipinos but also the economy of the country as well.

The most vocal critics from the opposition is Vice President Leni G. Robredo. Understandably of course, because she is the most logical person to be fielded come 2022 presidential election against whoever is running under the administration’s team.

Two others are Senators Franklin Drilon and Kiko Pangilinan, most likely also hopefuls for getting the nomination to lead the opposition ticket.

Robredo has been hammering on her claim that the administration lacks the concrete plan to fight CoViD 19 and that she could not even figure out how its massive vaccination program, once the vaccines are available, would be carried out minus what she insinuates as possible exclusion of some sectors of the population because of political consideration.

On the other hand, here comes Drilon who still thinks that the administration is not preparing the money needed to procure the vaccine. Meaning, that the P75 billion pesos allocated for the procurement of the vaccine in the 2021 national budget is not existent or that it is not certain where to source the money.

Meanwhile, we have Senator Pangilinan who has kept his rhetoric on the ready at any given opportunity to hit the administration even if he knows most, if not all of his observations are far off the reality.

Ironically – and sadly for this administration – it also has in its fold, and those claiming to be working in close collaboration with the present Malacanang tenant, persons who are acknowledged to be maverick; they who have no qualms to speak their minds out if they feel the issue is for the common good.

These officials however, while known overly brave in their pronouncements, had their tails drooped down when they claimed that there was this senior government executive who shot down an agreement between the Philippine government and the vaccine producer Pfizer of the United States.

Supposedly, under the agreement worked out by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy “Boy” Locsin and Philippine ambassador to the United States Babes Romualdez, the pharmaceutical company would have delivered by this very time several million shots of the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer. But according to Locsin himself the high ranking official interfered resulting to the drug firm backing out from the delivery commitment.

For some reason Secretary Locsin refused to name the official. And comes Senator Lacson, another guy who is quite ambivalent in his position in the political spectrum. At times he looks collaborative of the administration but there are times that he sounds more opposition than the real ones.

Lacson has the reputation of a no-holds barred tongue when the subject is on government shenanigans. But it was surprising to hear him joining in the intrigues created by Secretary Locsin merely giving some clues who the person is. His clues given during a virtual Senate hearing, was in fact another manifestation of his personal courage melting into cowardly insinuations.

And woe unto Sec. Francisco Duque III who felt he was the person being alluded to by the two gossipy and ungentlemanly gentlemen. He had to come out and present his side on the issue.

Perhaps Duque realizes that any ignored allegations can become one uncomfortable truth over time. Now, how come Locsin and Lacson suddenly developed cold feet that seem to rub in on their tongues? For such a sensitive issue as interfering in the implementation of an agreement of such import at this time of the pandemic, the people deserve to know the truth. The person alluded to, has the right to be heard his or her side.


We cannot help but be happy that there are people and organizations who cannot act as if they are watching a sail boat passing by, especially if that sail boat is this highly disastrous pandemic now bringing the entire world to its knees.

Yes, we are referring to corporations, private individuals and non-government organizations that are just too willing to contribute and pool resources to help people see through in these hard times. We heard of that conglomerate that is first to offer the government to buy the first 2.5 million dosages of vaccines from a British pharmaceutical firm.

Half of the volume the corporation will donate to the government for the people’s use while the other half is to be injected to the conglomerate’s thousands of employees all over the country.

And here is this other new corporate group led by one of the owners of a large conglomerate that is into power generation and distribution, banking, property development, construction and many others.

The new organization names itself GET Philippines. It is a collaboration of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, (AEV) Inc. and a business unit of the Tinga family in Taguig City, Metro Manila. For now we have no idea what business the new group will focus its engagement on. However, this early, it has already shown that what is top of the minds of the organization leaders is social engagement.

Late last week GET Philippines, AEV, Davao Light and Power Co. (DLPC), and the local government of Davao City signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) providing for free transportation services in selected routes in the city’s downtown. DLPC’s involvement is due mainly to its being the face of the Aboitiz conglomerate here.

Initially, seven units of the modern and environment-friendly e-vehicles (e for electric operated) being fielded under supervision by Davao Light. The project’s pilot run will be for six months and innovations on the operating scheme may be introduced during the other half of the 12-month period.

Four of the units have routes from DLPC’s C. Bangoy grounds up to SM in Lanang passing through R. Castillo in Agdao. The other three units will serve the shorter southern route up to SM in Matina. No fares will be collected from passengers vice versa. However, we learned that in order to comply with the social distancing protocol under the present pandemic situation, only a maximum of twelve passengers can be accommodated in each trip.

Indeed this Aboitiz Group’s culture of giving is one that perpetuates the virtue of giving and it seems to have rubbed off on other organizations as well.

We are certain that for those who will benefit from this social engagement, will likely learn to share with others in whatever way they can the benefits they may have enjoyed from the privilege.

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