The road to the Senate

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    ‘Well, if we seek a fresh breeze of air to sweep through the halls of our legislature we need to bring fresh faces every now and then. And not just vote for them, but even encourage them to come forward in the first place…’

    BELATED Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone for whom VD is a special day. That includes former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Kris Aquino, Heart Evangelista and Atty. Val Dionela, four of those who celebrate their birthdays on February 14. I hope those who took time out to celebrate the day of hearts found their hearts brimming with love, even if it may have hit the pocketbook a little. That’s exactly why I’ve always found it appropriate that love is “mahal” in Filipino!

    It was an easy drive for me from Laguna back to BGC yesterday, not only because I left when the sun was just beginning to rise but maybe also because many people were still in bed after their dinner dates. The drive was one of progressive improvement: from a two-lane dark part of the national highway within Alaminos to a four lane version with some street lighting within the jurisdiction of Sto. Tomas, Batangas, until you get to the entry point of the STAR tollway at St.o Tomas, after which it is usually a breeze all the way to BGC.

    There are positive developments to look forward to: work on the extension of the SLEX from Calamba to Lucena has now reached Alaminos and soon it will take maybe just 60 minutes for me to get from BGC’s 32nd Street where I work to Alaminos’s Baylon St. where

    I live (yup, the street carries my family name) and by that time it’s bye-bye city living for me.

    Meanwhile, the Maharlika highway itself is being expanded to four lanes (two on each side) and that’s a relief.

    But I still can’t understand how the DPWH can “complete” road widening while keeping trees and lampposts smack in the middle of the outer lane! Maybe DPWH secretaries don’t drive down these roads with themselves at the wheel, yes?

    I also don’t understand how it’s taking a century to finish that toll booth at Sto. Tomas for northbound entries into the STAR tollway. Maybe the contractor is trying to set a Guinness Book record here. But check it out during work days and no one seems to be at work there.

    Then again is that par for the course for DPWH projects?

    Sec. Mark Villar won’t get my vote for the Senate if the only roads he is able to inaugurate that are in world class conditions are Skyway extensions within Metro Manila. I’ll bet that for every world-class kilometer stretch of the Skyway there are a hundred other kilometers of our Pan Philippine highway that are in poor condition and these are in the provinces where there are voters too! Don’t neglect them, Sec. Villar, lest you find your road to the Senate a bumpy one.

    Speaking of the Senate: with 12 seats up for grabs next year, would you, if given a chance, cast your vote for a set of candidates that does not consist of “the usual” names we get to see every six years or so?

    In fact: Are you open to the idea of radically changing the face of leadership in this country in both a figurative and literal way?

    Think about it: how often have we in this country complained that things never seem to change much? How often have we griped our lot improves but only over glacial periods of time? Too often, yeah?

    Then think about it: how often do we engage in “platoon substitution,”, something that a basketball coach does when he takes out the five men in court and sends in a fresh set of five? Hardly, right?

    And hardly, in part because very few men and women outside of the usual names ever propose themselves – or are proposed – for higher office like the Senate. Well, if we seek a fresh breeze of air to sweep through the halls of our legislature we need to bring fresh faces every now and then. And not just vote for them, but even encourage them to come forward in the first place and work with them to overcome the enormous “barriers to entry” that newcomers face.

    That’s what the group Kapatirang Juan Bautista is sworn to do for 2022. Kapatiran is tired of complaining and bemoaning and griping, you see. And that’s why it is in search of a new breed of leaders.

    Watch this space!