Shunning goodwill

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    ‘Some people still forget that so much money doled out by local officials come from the taxpayers’ own pockets, who would gleefully repay the favors by voting the politicians again in office.’

    PASIG has “allocated almost P1.3 billion for the purchase of tablet computers and laptops for students and teachers in support of the distancing learning setup this school year.” But Mayor Vico Sotto tells students “that they do not owe anyone a debt of honor, especially to politicians, because public funds were used to support their studies.”

    Most politicians will likely scoff at the young mayor’s single-mindedness in denying himself the gratitude of his constituents which politicians will surely translate into political goodwill – and votes. Sotto feels uncomfortable, or “naiilang” as he puts it, whenever his constituents thank him because he seems headed towards a renewal of political lifestyle very rarely seen for the past five decades in our country.

    It is the Christian work ethic of selfless service and integrity undoubtedly embraced by Sotto that seems to surprise everyone; his mean feat of saving over P600 million a year for Pasig by complying with the government’s procurement process was met with nearly stunned silence by his colleagues in local government.

    Sotto, a devout Christian well-grounded on Biblical principles, does not separate his personal values from his work and its tempting pleasures and pressures that, for him, are easy to ignore. Remarkably, at a young age, for him and as the Bible says, “The things of this world have grown strangely dim in the light of God’s face and glory.”

    “ Working heartily for God,” above all, as the Bible declares, has made Sotto raise openly the moral standards for a public servant, acknowledging what his peers cannot fathom or live with – that it is God’s rewards that the mayor desires, and not man’s favor and recognition.

    Some people still forget that so much money doled out by local officials come from the taxpayers’ own pockets, who would gleefully repay the favors by voting the politicians again in office. Many others relish being bought during elections but vote for the opposing candidate.

    ***

    The landmark EPAL bill would have extinguished any signs of the politicians’ faces or names from billboards and posters that still littered the countryside. In character, the Lower House repeatedly shunned the late Sen. Miriam Santiago’s bold move to preserve and promote the institutional fallacy that the people owe their mayors, congressmen or governors the projects and assistance in their localities.

    ***

    It may be that only lights and glitter will mark this year’s celebration of Christmas, indeed an extremely dismaying period for fun-loving Filipinos. The IATF should not be misled by figures of COVID infections slowing down to signal the easing of quarantine restrictions even if the deadly virus is still everywhere.

    Several countries in Europe have been experiencing virus spikes due to relaxed protocols.

    This is the time of the year when the IATF has no recourse but to exercise strict enforcement against public and private gatherings, local travels and reopening of more restaurants and eateries.

    Definitely, videoke singing, which is a common inducement for drinking liquor and merry-making to ensure COVID transmission, should remain banned. This Christmas should be the quietest of all since the first year of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. Otherwise, it would be back to the trenches for more medical frontliners to save the lives of idiotic holiday-makers who can’t do with just one Christmas season in 60 years.