THIS week the Catholic Church all over the world commemorates the passion and suffering of Jesus Christ so that man can be delivered from the wages of sin. Catholics are this week given every opportunity to remorse for his sinful ways. Or, they may seek the intervention of the Christ in giving them the will to resist any temptation to commit omissions that are strictly prohibited in the Christian doctrine.
Unfortunately in the Philippines the Holy Week falls in this month of April where campaigning by those who are running for the various elective positions is at its peak. Personal attacks are waged by protagonists backed by trolls, and issues are mostly “manufactured” and made to appear as true just for one candidate to gain the upper hand over his or her opponent/s.
The present situation is actually comparable to the people during Christ sham trial when the people during that time were the ones who brought Christ to Pontius Pilate and bringing concocted charges against Him, demanding from the Roman Governor that he condemn Him but in the end put the law in their own hands and decided among themselves to crucify the Lord.
The difference though is that today in this election season, the people are factionalized. A faction belongs to one group allied with someone they believe could lead them away from perdition while others also align themselves with those they believe is the better man. In the process however, the different factions are throwing their stones or mud and whatever to the other groups hoping that they can destroy the person each group idolizes hoping in the process that they can make their man appear the best among those who offer themselves to lead the country.
Can the factionalized Filipinos hope for some kind of a break in the mudslinging and creating enmity even for just during the last three days of this year’s Lenten Season? Can those who have been judging people or creating the means for society to erroneously judge people, more specifically those that offer themselves to become public servants, using deceitful ways?
We can only hope but not totally expect. Previous Holy Weeks’ experiences tell us.
Speaking of Christ’s passion in this Holy Week we cannot help but believe that the first nail of the crucifixion of Davao City residents is about to be driven. Yes, we will soon be starting our own “Way to the Cruz” with the announced petition for a 60 (SIXTY) percent increase in water rate charges by the Davao City Water District (DCWD). The only thing holding the first hammer blow is the decision of the government’s water use regulator on whether or not to grant the petition or not.
But history of petitions for increase in water rates however, will tell us that the regulator agency has been generous enough to the petitioner. Therefore, if the requested hike of 60 percent from what is being charged now, is not granted in full it surely will be given most likely on a slightly lower amount by the concerned government agency.
We could hardly imagine how the over-all rate will impact on the water consumers whether they are in the residential, commercial or industrial category. And we are certain that worst to be affected by this kind of crucifixion are of course the residential consumers. They will suffer the brunt because both the commercial and industrial water consumers will just pass on the add-on in their water bills to the public that patronizes their products and services.
So, when the petition is granted by the regulator then the hammer drops on the nail and completes the initial phase of the intense tragedy. And this will have its second and third nail driving phase on the second and third year after the approval of the rate hike increase.
We also do not have any idea so far if the DCWD has already factored in their rate hike petition the increase in its charges the additional cost of the semi-government firm’s operation when it starts to receive the delivery of bulk water supply from the nearly completed Apo Agua Infrustructura, Inc. If the additional overhead is not yet factored then Davaoenos have to brace themselves for the spear that will be driven on one side of their rib cage to complete the crucifixion process.
What makes us wonder a lot though, is how come the increase in water rate usage appears to be unabated when in fact water is one of the most basic needs for people to survive. And to think that the agency providing this commodity is a quasi-government corporation!
We believe that this is one area for our city’s representatives to Congress to look into and possibly introduce measures for intervention like giving government subsidy if only to deter seemingly unreasonable rate hikes, or simply by putting a cap to rate hike demand.
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