From less crime, less concrete to less doctor visitsBy Lito Zulueta
Philippine Daily Inquirer
For the national crime wave to stop. Filipinos may have gotten used to crime and violence that not many seem to have noticed there’s a crime wave sweeping the nation for some time now.
As expected, crime is at its worst in Metro Manila. In the first half of 2012 according to the National Capital Region Police Office, crime in Metro Manila rose by 36 percent: There were 29,231 reported incidents, from last year’s 18,671. The Manila Police District accounted for the most number of crimes at 4,073, followed by the Southern and Quezon City Police Districts, which registered 4,047 and 3,692 crimes, respectively.
The NCRPO has identified the 21 crime-prone areas in Metro Manila that posted the highest cases of robbery, theft and physical injuries in the first semester. Among them were Stations 3 and 4, or the Sta. Cruz and Sampaloc districts, respectively. These areas cover the University Belt.
These confirm my impression that crime may have gone a tad viral lately since, as a teacher at the University of Santo Tomas, I have had colleagues and students who have been held up, robbed, mugged, stabbed, shot, or worse, killed.
And it’s not Manila alone where the crime wave is at its highest. Many U-Belt students from the other cities and provinces around Manila have experienced being held up on the way to and from school.
And perhaps the most celebrated crime in 2012—the brutal rape-slaying of Cyrish Magalang, a 2012 cum laude Tourism graduate of UST—took place in Cavite allegedly at the hands of drug-crazed men.
But how can the crime wave be stopped when the Philippine National Police leadership is busier with public-relations gimmickry than with crime-fighting? The PR offensive is meant to tidy up the image of the PNP as a corrupt and incompetent organization, so why not just work on substance rather than appearance?
The PNP is near-hopeless. The high crime statistics hardly reflects the actual truth since many victims do not bother to complain to the police because they don’t trust them. How could they, when even the son of NCRPO Leonardo Espina had complained that cops themselves tried to fleece him!
For gun control. Filipinos are mourning the Connecticut incident and before that, the “Dark Knight” shootings in Colorado, and generally condemning the US as a sick society for romancing the gun. But they don’t have to look far to learn the evils of untrammelled gun traffic.
In late 2011, deadly shootings at SM malls in Quezon City and Pampanga came one after the other, involving a woman shooting her philandering husband, and a gay minor shooting another gay minor over their troubled relationship. Where did they get their guns and how were they able to bring them inside the malls despite the largely Philippine praning security innovation of putting checkpoints in just about everywhere—from communist-infested hinterland roads to posh shopping centers?
As statistics of gun accidents should show, illegal-discharge cases involve guns from homes. In the Philippines, this has contributed not only to domestic violence, but also to deadly traffic altercations and mall shootings (which may also be instances of domestic violence since the shootings were crimes of passion).
Where did the guns come from? The PNP put the number of loose firearms at one million. What is the PNP doing about this? Your guess is as good as mine.
For Metro Manila to shed its ugly concrete. Manila has become the ugliest metropolis in the region not only because of its tacky harlequin street lights, but also because of its ravenous appetite for concrete and steel.
Floods are stemmed by elevating roads and further concreting them over. Traffic jams are relieved by the construction of flyovers, which means putting concrete on air, and since their foundation would require more space, widening the roads and narrowing further sidewalks and cutting down trees which grace them. Public-work solutions are always pro-motorist and anti-pedestrian and anti-majority.
The incredible monsoon flooding last July and August has not led to any rethinking of public-works strategies. Now, the DPWH is thinking of building a concrete dike around Laguna de Bai to stop its water from flooding the lakeshore towns and Metro Manila, when the first consideration should be to dredge it and rid it of illegal fish pens and other encumbrances. Such would be wiser and less expensive.
But no, DPWH wants to build an expensive dike because, obviously, that’s more lucrative for government officials and their pet contractors.
I’m talking to you, fashionista with no conscience
By Alya B. Honasan
That the world becomes a more peaceful, loving place, seriously, and people would stop killing each other, whether in drunken street corner brawls, school shootouts or all-out wars, for whatever reason. Enough already.
That more and more people will champion animal rights and support animal welfare, both politically and financially. Dogfighters, animal abusers, and people who still eat dogs and make fashion accessories and bags out of exotic animal skins are among this generation’s biggest criminals.
Yes, I’m talking to you, fashionista with no conscience. If you think that stingray bag will make you more beautiful, you couldn’t be more wrong. Corollary to this, I wish for happiness (however they understand it) for our beloved dogs, Kikay and Kuya Larry, and for Momma my favorite Laguna pit bull.
I wish for good health for myself and all I love. I hope I can stay steadfast in my yoga practice, in light of an aging body and physical injuries. Here’s also hoping more and more people discover yoga as, in my mind, a truly fulfilling, long-term path to wellness.
I wish to enjoy a sound mind and body
By Alex Y. Vergara
Now that the RH bill has been passed, I hope it delivers on its promise to improve maternal and child health as well as educate preadolescent children with age-appropriate sex education that could arm them as they navigate through life and grapple with their own sexualities.
Like all laws worth passing, the RH bill is no magic bullet that could solve all our problems. Its transformative power lies in its proper and conscientious implementation. May people tasked to implement it stick to the true spirit of the law and not base their decisions purely on whims and political expediencies.
May members of the Catholic Church hierarchy, still smarting from what it describes as a setback, learn to accept the voice of the people and realize that the law is for the good of everyone regardless of age, gender and religion.
May bishops, priests and religious, after tirelessly spreading God’s words either from the pulpit or through mass media, learn to trust their flock to do the right thing with or without the RH bill.
Guns don’t kill, but people do. This oft-repeated refrain from gun advocates has gained more resonance in the wake of the recent shooting of innocents in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. So, why not make it harder for people to gain access to guns then?
Unless people, including us Filipinos, learn to curb our fixation with firearms, this won’t be the last senseless tragedy of its kind to befall us.
On a more personal note, I wish to continue to enjoy a sound mind and body in the years to come. As a health buff who spends hours in the gym almost everyday, I thought I was immune to any serious health problems at this stage in my life.
Reality came knocking when I was confined late in 2011 for the first time ever in my adult life. It was so new to me, and I felt so helpless and miserable. Before that, I thought I was impervious to almost anything, but that armor of invincibility turned out to be illusory.
I also realized that all these material things—not that I’m swimming in cash, jewelry and designer stuff—amount to nothing if you don’t have the health and peace of mind to enjoy and use them for the betterment of yourself and others. In the scheme of things, my health, which I always thought would be there, now takes precedence over anything, including my career.
Lay off that second plate of ‘lechon’
By Cheche Moral
Just to make sure they stick, my three Christmas wishes are: good health, good health, and good health.
If you spent a good part of the year in hospitals, and countless idle hours in the waiting room of doctors’ clinics like I have, it makes you realize just how important it is to be fit and disease-free.
When you fall ill, you’re robbed of so much precious time you would rather be spending with people you care about, doing things you enjoy, and simply being productive. Don’t get me started on the expense.
On one of my frequent visits to one of my many doctors, the usually un-chatty doctor suddenly complimented my hair. Then it hit me: I’ve been going to her so often that we’ve reached an unsettling level of familiarity! Our talks have evolved from CT scans and blood work-ups to the trivial subject of my hair!
A couple more checkups and I’d probably be exchanging fashion tips with my doc. Surely I’d be emboldened to tell her how better I could’ve spent all the money that had gone to her prescriptions (two It bags and a half, I tell you).
So there, since you’ve survived the apocalypse, I wish you good health, too. But do your part: Lay off that second plate of lechon, stop complaining about how fat you’ve become and get moving, and quit the cigarettes while you’re at it! If we’re lucky, next Christmas we’ll still be around.
I have a Polar Heart Rate Monitor
By Anne Jambora
Discipline on the road, especially from PUV drivers. The new MMDA bus segregation scheme on Edsa, for instance, which should have finally imposed long-overdue designated bus stops, typically drew the ire of commuters who complained about the most trivial things, like a mere hundred-meter-or-so walk from where they used to alight.
Bus stops have been around since, well, buses were invented. They are there to put order on the road, not for PUVs to stop on your front yard.
Higher sin tax. It’s way too easy and way too affordable for kids to buy cigarettes and alcohol. We live in a country where nicotine-dependent streetchildren often beg for cigarettes, or a drag, instead of food or money. It’s time we seriously keep these vices out of children’s reach.
On a personal note, I wish for better health and renewed strength that I may be allowed to finally get back on my exercise routine. I seem to be a magnet for some of the rarest diseases known to man. I get so many of them in a year I often lose track of their names. I have a Polar Heart Rate Monitor from two years ago that practically still looks brand new. I would like to put that to good use in 2013.
If the Apocalypse comes…
By Tino Tejero
We wish that children be spared from the violence that humans do and the havoc that Nature wreaks. They’re the primary reason Christmas returns every year. What is Christmas with their absence?
We wish people learn to be content with what they have and not be acquisitive. Necessity ought to be a guiding principle in life. To the ordinary citizen, that means the comfort of home, enough food, tuition for the kids, safety in the streets. Our smiling socialites and charming politicians need not buy a yacht if they already have a chopper. If your hair is straight, no need for a rebond.
We wish that if all this doomsday scenario should occur it wouldn’t be too painful. There’s been a lot of oddball activities going on on this planet in the last few millenniums that maybe it’s time for a break. So if the Apocalypse comes we wish it would come like Christmas, solemn yet joyous and all creatures abase before their Creator.
That the DSWD would work double time to rid the streets of beggars
By Vangie Baga-Reyes
Stop violence against children. I’m sorry, but my heart breaks for children who are abused physically, emotionally, sexually, mentally and what-have-you. Not a single day goes by that I don’t hear on radio, see on TV or read in the newspaper about children who are mistreated or beaten up mostly by their parents or by people close to them.
The trauma could be lasting; worse, in most cases, these children become violent and abusive themselves when they get older. It’s a vicious cycle that never ends.
I wish that the DSWD would work double time to rid the streets of beggars, mostly kids, who risk life and limb knocking on car windows for a few pesos. While doing that, the Social Welfare department, or at least the local government, must also do something about street children wandering about dazed and confused after sniffing solvents, especially those under the LRT stations, along Edsa and Taft Avenue and Balintawak.
I also wish for strength and courage as we face new challenges in 2013. For our country, I wish for peaceful and honest elections next year.
There are just too many of us in this world for anyone to be lonely
By Pam Pastor
For our lawmakers to actually read the bills thoroughly and understand them before signing them. (Hello, Cybercrime Law.) We no longer want to hear stupid excuses like, “But I didn’t see that provision” or “Someone should have pointed that out to me.”
Next elections, I will remember how I had to waste a wish on you.
For everyone to have someone—and I don’t just mean a boyfriend or girlfriend, a wife or a husband (although hey, that’s good, too). I mean friends and family members to call, to talk to, to have fun with, to get crazy with, to bare our souls to, to eat with, to watch movies with, to cry with, to lean on, to share dreams with, to chase away despair with. There are just too many of us in this world for anyone to be lonely.
For the end of violence. Against children, against women, against men, against journalists, against every living thing in this world. Tama na. And for love, acceptance and kindness—not money, not greed, not ego, not selfishness—to rule the world.
Customer care–stop being an oxymoron
By Raoul J. Chee Kee
These may come initially across as selfish but I feel many will eventually benefit should the wishes on this list come true.
As a regular commuter, I take the MRT to the office and am often peeved when groups of women or women and their young children choose to board the second and third cars instead of the first one which is dedicated to them and the elderly. If they only walked the few extra feet to the first car, they wouldn’t have to suffer the “indignities” of being pushed and shoved on a daily basis.
After spending over an hour narrating how I had lost my wallet during a provincial trip to my credit card company, I now wish customer care in this country would just stop being an oxymoron. How can I provide two valid IDs when I just said I lost my wallet containing all my identification? Paging all telcos, credit card companies, etc.
For myself—and for others who are still comfortably ensconced where they are—I wish for the courage to always try something new. I’ve been singing along to Madonna’s song “Jump” for years now, trying to work up the courage to do it, but I only made the jump to the Inquirer three months ago—and I’m sure glad I did.