Monday, August 14, 2006

Dreaming Double

PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO must have been out of her mind when she made the following statement during her recent state of the nation address: “Local governments must get their rightful share of revenues. I ask Congress to pass a supplemental budget to effect this.”

In the case of Palawan, it would not need an act of congress to pass a budget for the province to get its “rightful share of revenues.” She does not need to pass the buck to lawmakers to make a major turn in the history of this province in terms of revenue shares from the controlled plunder of its natural resources. It only takes a verbatim order from Arroyo to her cabinet members to make the pipe dream come true.

Palawan has long been waiting in the wings to take its rightful share of Malampaya’s revenues. But, as of today, there seems to be no sign of any executive decision that will allow Palawan’s local governments to finally drink from the overflowing cups of resource extraction taking place in its backyard.

After tolerating and participating in the act of environmental rape in the province, the chief executive adds insult to injury by taking a high-nosed stance – denying any acknowledgement of the backyard from whose resource her government is now trying to fuel its stratospheric dream of “Philippines 2010.” Double murder indeed, in the face of her dreaming.

But what else can we expect? Reading through the President’s SONAs in a chronological order brings out the glaring truth – the SONAs are not interconnected in any way. President Arroyo’s SONAs do not in any way build upon her blueprints in the preceding years, in much the same way that she reneged on her earlier words of acknowledgement of Palawan’s gas wealth. She’s a perfect example of the politically incorrect line “women do change their minds.”

In 2001, Arroyo dangled the Malampaya dream in front of a Palawan suffering from the lack of tourism and business in its shores. Now, in 2006, the winds have probably changed inside Arroyo’s mind. She is dangling the prospect of big bucks from a culture of tourism in the Central Philippines supra region. Roads and airports are the bywords for Palawan nowadays.

We can only pray that the big money from tourists will finally reach Palaweños, and not just line somebody else’s pockets. Also, we need to pray that we will still have enough natural beauty to show tourists when they come. We need to pray that her dreams of tourism will finally come head-to-head with her never-ending quest for the plunder of minerals in the province.

Editorial written by Sergio Pontillas and published in the July 31 – August 6, 2006 issue of Bandillo ng Palawan


At 12:49 PM, Blogger Elayne2006 said...

Thank God, there are still people like you Sergs. I'm originally from Palawan and I knew about Louie. BAD!


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