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Era of young politicians




Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ

Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ

Baungon, Bukidnon’s newly elected Mayor Giovanni  Dahino is excited with his new post.  He has been vice mayor for some time with the death of the old mayor But I think he did not expect that he would win. He came in a wave of young pols being elected instead of the old pols all over the country. Manila, Pasig, Gingoog, and many other places seemed to have favored the young unrelated to the party to which they belonged or the family dynasty that dominated the place before.  Not all the young people were elected but more than half got through. It seems that the dynastic appeal was not able to carry through the old politicians.  Many of them were sincerely concerned with the welfare of the people.  But the electorate wanted to try something new.

Giovanni’s mother happens to be also a politician, the first councilor of Cagayan de Oro. But that would not have helped the election of Giovanni in Baungon. His priority before and now is education and the development of youth, together with empowered the community.  Being young and still in his studies in law, Giovanni is aware of corruption and the difficulties of the bureaucracy.  He was telling us that the bureaucrats in their place do not want to spend more than about 90% of budget allocation because at the end of the year, if there are savings, they get a bonus. But these are minor problems.  What is important is if they can accomplish a target and be able to stick to that target.

The older politicians were more adept in working with budgets. He tells of going to a heavy equipment dealer for a back hoe.  As a civilian unknown, he was quoted P3.2 million for the back hoe.  He figured that was a good price.  A week later he came back and identified himself as a vice mayor and the price was P6.4 million for the same back hoe. He asked the reason for the  high price.  They explained that they had to give the other half to the politicians. So the corruption is ingrained in the system.

There were many surprises in the last election which turned out to be quite peaceful. Filipinos like to vote and the voting precincts were full most of the voting period. The Otso Diretso turned out to be a mistake.  By not filling the slate, they allowed other people to put in their candidates which meant that they received the votes of the Liberal Party plus their own party so that they had more votes than the Liberal Party candidates.  I was also surprised that my friend Fr. Evasco lost to Mr. Yap in Bohol. Again the people might have wanted the younger candidate.

I am happy and praise the Lord that we have a working democracy. Our new rulers are excited and I am also excited for them. There is the common good for all. But they must keep their targets in view because time is also an enemy. It can pass them by.  And the targets they have will still be targets at the end of their terms. Hopefully they will be accomplishments.

We have problems of poverty, unemployment, and need for housing . I have a friend, Uncle Robert, who regularly goes to Malaysia.  And he asks why there are no squatters in Malaysia.  Somehow they have been able to provide some housing for their people.


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