Monday, July 25, 2005

17 lawmakers, one legislative body|Ghost sound bytes| Proof in the eating (PJI editorials 24-26 July 2005)

IN the not so distant future this scenario might unfold, if ever the 1987 Charter is thoroughly overhauled.

Fed up with the dalawa-sampera quality of the lawmakers who get elected to the Senate and House of Representatives, irate taxpayers invoke every deity and demon available for a miracle shifting the current presidential form of government to a brutally pared-down parliamentary system.

The miracle comes to pass. The bicameral lawmaking body is fused as one national parliament—one solon for each region. As of 2002, there were only 17 regions. So, 17 lawmakers are elected to the parliament. 17 lawmakers will slug it out for the plum post of the prime minister. Omit the spare tire, please.

So the nation’s steward emerges out of the illustrious 17 solons representing the best highly skilled minds the regions can turn up. After the prime minister is elected, 16 lawmakers stay behind in the national assembly to do the business of lawmaking.

Isn’t that a preposterous scenario? Tell that to the taxpayers whose pockets have been bled for ages cranking up zillions for nearly 300 lawmakers’ pork, perks, and pay.

Taxpayers can heave a colossal sigh of relief at such pocket-friendly scheme of things. Why, it didn’t take hundreds of razor-sharp legal minds working for the late strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos to craft letters of instruction, presidential decrees, and such.

We have enough laws to-date. It’s in the implementation of those laws of the land that we don’t have enough.

With such a system in place, taxpayers would drool over the gargantuan savings that can be generated and realigned to more worthwhile pursuits, say, bigger budget allocations for hiring, paying and skills-retooling of the nation’s army of public school teachers. After all, education is more effective than legislation in charting a nation’s destiny.

For ages, we have been bowled over with quantity. We can try quality for a change.

“A thinking human, that does, is worth 50 that just eat.” So wrote editor Richard Perez of Home Power Magazine—and he wasn’t even referring to the excess of lawmakers that merely chomp on taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

---------------------------
17 mambabatas, 1 batasan

MAARING maganap ang ganito sa hindi malayong hinaharap, kung lubusang mababago ang Saligang Batas ng 1987.

Nagsawa na sa dalawa-samperang kalidad ng mga kinatawang nasasalpak sa Senado at Kamara, kaya nanawagan na bawat bathala at maligno ang mga taxpayers para maganap ang isang himala—mapihit ang kasalukuyang panguluhang anyo ng pamahalaan tungo sa todo-tipid na parliamentary system ng gobyerno.

Naganap ang himala. Naging isa na lang ang pambansang batasan—isang kinatawang mambabatas sa bawat rehiyon. Batay sa taong 2002, 17 lang ang bilang ng rehiyon sa bansa. Kaya 17 kinatawan ang inihalal. Silang 17 ang pipili ng magiging punong ministro ng bansa. Wala nang bise sa kabise.

Mahuhugot ang uugit ng bansa mula 17 kinatawan na pinakamahusay sa kani-kanilang pinagmulang rehiyon. Matapos mahalal ang punong ministro, maiiwan ang 16 sa pambansang batasan para bumalangkas at bumuo ng mga batas. Iyon ang kanilang takdang gawain.

Kagulat-gulat ba ang ganoon? Sabihin iyan sa mga tagabayad-buwis na ang mga bulsa’y napakahabang panahon nang nalalaspag para tustusan ang may 300 kinatawan at senador sa tinatawag na pork, perks, at pay.

Kulog na dadagundong ang buntong-hininga ng labis na ginhawa mula sa taxpayers kapag natupad ang ganito. Aba, hindi naman daan-daan ang kinalap na mga mahusay na abugado ng dating diktador Ferdinand E. Marcos para bumuo ng mga letters of instruction, presidential decrees, at kauri nito na pinairal bilang batas.

Ang totoo’y napakarami nang nasulat na batas. Laging sa pagpapatupad ng mga naturang batas nagkukulang.

Sa todo-tipid na sistema ng gobyerno, tiyak na dambuhala ang matitipid sa gugulin—na maisasalin sa mas makabuluhang gawain, halimbawa’y mas malaking pantustos sa pagkuha, pampasuweldo, at paghahasa sa mga guro sa paaralang pampubliko. Madaling matanto na higit na mabisa ang edukasyon kaysa legislation o pagbuo ng mga batas para mahubog na matino ang tunguhin ng bansa.

Sa napakahabang panahon, pulos sandamakmak na bilang o quantity ang isinungalngal sa atin. Panahon nang subukan ang kalidad o quality.

“Ang nag-iisip na tao na gumagawa ay higit pa sa 50 na kumakain lang.” Naisaad iyon ni Richard Perez, isang editor—at hindi niya tahasang tinutukoy ang napakaraming bilang ng mga mambabatas na lumalaspag lang sa salapi mula taumbayan.
---------------------------------------------

Ghost sound bytes

ENGAGE yourself in hands-on work-- a bevy of simon-pure journalists from an exclusive school were told at Journal-- to get a full grasp and pack more substance than empty air into writing.

Take a hike, chop wood for kindling, mince onions, garlic and tomatoes for ginisa, pump water from a deep-well, climb a tree, play piano, knit a bikini or do cross-stitch, plant camote cuttings, shovel dung, launder clothes by hand, wash dishes—the key is full hands-on engagement to turn up palpable achievement that need not be told or written out. Substance easily flows from doing.

“I am sorry” so once sounded President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It looked like lousy lip service-- her body English didn’t affirm whatever was said. It connected to listeners as sorry empty talk, devised for her by a crew of ghostwriters who supply verbiage (does rhyme with “garbage”).

It’s probably the same crew that cobbled a package of sound bytes tabbed pompously as “State of the Nation Address” or SONA. Cued: the President will simply read-- no lapses in judgment, nothing to be sorry for this time-- maybe ham it up a bit, off a typescript of that SONA. Words hollow will flow as supplied—dadanak ang laway na sandamakmak.

Paid claques and paying cliques will cheer. Irate throngs will jeer.

Myriad versions of an assessment of the nation’s lying in state will soon be sprung upon the populace. Already, Ping Lacson had jumped the gun as he aired his TSONA or “True” SONA. The noisy Left is expected to beat their chests with something called SODA for state of damnation assessed.

Street pundits, barbers, fishmongers, sidewalk vendors, and cab drivers should come up with their own. So would coffee shop habitu├ęs and professional fence sitters trot out their versions. Everyone will have their turn to yak the yucky, talk the talk. So who’s walking the walk?

All told, that’s a lot of spittle that ought to irrigate a few thousand hectares of rice paddies anywhere in the country.

The surfeit of irrigation won’t be enough. Sowers of wild oaths need to be hauled there to do back-breaking tasks. The key is full hands-on engagement to turn up palpable achievement. That need not be told or written out.

Substance easily flows from doing—skip the verbiage, please.

----------------------------------
Dadanak ng laway

TAHASANG isalang ang katawan sa gawain—ganoon ang payo sa ilang kabataang peryodista mula isang exclusive school na nagpanayam sa Journal – para lubusang magagap at masalinan ng laman sa halip na hangin ang panulat.

Maglakad, sibak ng panggatong, hiwa ng sibuyas-bawang-kamatis panggisa, igib ng tubig, akyat sa puno, tugtog ng piano, gantsilyo ng bikini o magburda, tanim ng kamote, pala ng pataba, laba ng damit, hugas ng pinagkainan— pangatawanan talaga para lilitaw na may ginawa na hindi na kailangang ipangalandakan o isulat man. May lilitaw na katotohanan mula sa ginawa.

“(Ikinalulungkot ko)” busina minsan ni Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Parang nagbuka lang ng bibig—kaiba ang isinaad ng katawan para igiit ang bulalas. Iba ang dating sa mga nakinig, hindi sa puso bumukal ang pagsasabi, isinalpak lang ng kanyang tropa ng ghostwriters o tagasulat ng talumpati na naghahagilap lang ng matunog na palabra (katunog ng ‘basura’).

Baka ang tropa ding iyon ang sasalsal ng tala-talaksang salita para makabuo ng tinatawag na Sate of the Nation Address o SONA. Sa hudyat: magbabasa lang ang Pangulo—walang kapalpakan o lapses in judgment, walang dapat ikalungkot sa pagkakataong ito—umarte nang konti sa nakasulat na manuskrito ng SONA. Muli, dadanak ang laway na sandamakmak.

Papalakpak ang mga binayarang miron at nagbayad sa miron. Manunudyo ang mga naiinis.

Santambak na kauri ng SONA ang lulutang para iparinig sa balana. Buena-mano na nga si Ping Lacson nang ihirit ang kanyang TSONA o Totoong SONA. Inaasahang bubuga rin ang tambutso ng Kaliwa, baka tawagin nilang SODA o state of damnation assessed.

Didighay din ang mga taong lansangan, barbero, tindero, at mga tsuper. May ibubulaga rin ang mga mahilig humigop-kape sa kapihan pati mga sampay-bakod, dalahira’t intrigera. Bawat isa’y ngangawa ng kanilang ngawa, kakatsang ng kanilang katsang. Sinu-sino naman kaya ang gagawa ng kanilang gawa?

Sa huling tuusan, sapat ang dumanak na laway para patubigan ang ilang libo ring ektarya ng palayan saanmang panig ng bansa.

Pero kulang pa rin ang patubig-laway. Kailangan marahil hakutin ang mga nagngangawa para isalang sa gawa. Pangatawanan talaga para lilitaw na may ginawa na hindi na kailangang ipangalandakan o isulat man.

May lilitaw na katotohanan mula sa ginawa—maaaring itigil na ang todo-ngawa.

---------------------------------------------
|
Proof in the eating

A German scientist has pricked the curiosity of colleagues after he claimed that he ate nothing for four years. The oddball Dr. Michael Werner, a cancer researcher claims to get all his energy from sunlight—but he doesn’t exactly do photosynthesis as plants do to stuff up on calories.

Werner claims he drinks only water mixed with a small amount of fruit.

As a wayward report has it, Werner has written a book about his experiences. He says that he even put on weight when he started the experiment.

In his book Living through the Energy of Light, Werner asserts: “I can’t really explain what is happening on a scientific level in my case but perhaps just a little bit of faith is all that is needed.

Werner’s colleagues who are investigating the source of his energy aver that only plants can harness energy and process carbohydrates from the sun (using water and carbon dioxide) but they are at a loss to explain how he is managing to stay healthy.

Werner’s self-tests need not be swallowed hook, line, and sinker. But if conclusive proofs be trotted out that a human being can really live off sunlight, some water with a bit of fruit in it, why, Werner’s how-to-do-it book is badly needed in this horribly starved neck of the woods.

Using the global poverty standard, every Filipino ought to have P55 a day to meet basic food requirements and other non-food basic needs. This means that a family of six should be earning P330 a day.

However, the daily minimum wage is only P250 in Metro Manila, even less in areas outside the national capital region. With a little arithmetic, we find out that the minimum wage is short by about P130. As such a wage falls below the global poverty threshold, we’re no longer surprised that many Filipinos are starving.

For daily sustenance, Filipinos have previously adopted the less-costly P5-a-pack instant noodle boiled in a pail or two of water.

These days, another food staple has replaced instant noodle as national food,

At P1 a packet, the fish-flavored extender-blended kropek is easily voted as the national food item to appease growling empty stomachs.

That sums up the current state of the nation.
-----------------------------------------

Sa pagkain ang katibayan

NASUNDOT ang tuktok ng mga kasama sa gawain ng isang German scientist nang sabihin niya na wala siyang kinakain sa loob ng apat nang taon. Iginiit ni Dr. Michael Werner, isang cancer researcher na kumukuha lang ang kanyang katawan ng lakas mula sikat ng araw.

Sinabi ni Werner na umiinom lang siya ng tubig na hinaluan ng katiting na prutas.

Idinagdag sa kakatwang ulat na sumulat na si Werner ng isang aklat ukol sa kanyang mga karanasan. Sinabi niya na nadagdagan pa ang kanyang timbang nang simulan niya ang ganoong eksperimento.

Sa kanyang aklat na Living through the Energy of Light, iginiit ni Werner: “I can’t really explain what is happening on a scientific level in my case but perhaps just a little bit of faith is all that is needed.”

Sinabi naman ng mga kasamahan ni Werner na nagsisiyasat sa kanya na tanging mga halaman lang ang nakakakuha ng energy at nakakalikha ng carbohydrates mula sa araw (gumagamit ng tubig at carbon dioxide). Hindi nila maipaliwanag kung paano nananatiling malusog si Werner.

Hindi naman dapat agad paniwalaan ang natuklasan ni Werner. Pero kung may mailalabas na katibayan na kaya nga ng tao na mabuhay sa sikat-araw, tubig na may katiting na prutas, aba, kailangang dalhin agad sa ating namimilipit-sa-gutom na lupalop ang aklat ni Werner.

Batay sa pandaigdigang pamantayan, dapat na gugugol P55 bawat araw ang Pilipino para matustusan ang pagkain at iba pang batayang kailangan. Sa anim-kataong pamilya, dapat na kumikita ng P330 bawat araw.

Pero P250 lang ang daily minimum wage sa Metro Manila, mas mababa doon sa iba pang bahagi ng bansa. Kapag tinuos, matutukoy na kulang ng may P130 ang daily minimum wage. Dahil kulang ang kita, hindi na tayo magtataka kung bakit namimilipit sa gutom ang maraming Pilipino.

Bilang pantawid-gutom sa araw-araw, nahirang na pambansang pagkain nitong ilang nakalipas na taon ang murang P5 sampaketeng instant noodles-- na sasabawan ng isa o dalawang balde ng tubig.

Napalitan na ngayon ang instant noodle bilang pambansang pagkain.

Piso lang ang sampakete ng kropek—ang pambansang pagkain na nagpapatahan sa mga humahagulgol na sikmura ng mga maralita.

Sa ganyan matutuos ang tunay na kalagayan ng bansa.






No comments: