Political will is an overused term in politics and many people continue to cast doubt on the will of their national and local leaders to implement the laws and observe the rule of law in their countries or in the local governments. It simply refers to the act of upholding the laws of the land without fear or favor. Obviously, genuine political will is not necessarily fully present in our country’s bureaucracy. It might be present to a certain degree but not to the fullest because national and local leaders fear its backlash on their political ambitions.
Let us admit the reality that a significant number of our leaders are only good at projecting themselves through various forms of media as the magic pill for solving the numerous problems of their constituencies. They claim their actions are not tainted with political survival goals and personal aggrandizement. But politics really should be serving the interests of the larger portion of the population or the so-called common good which may be not be satisfactory to a select few. Evidently, politics will always be connected to the words and actions of elected officials regardless on how they package their image.
On the other hand, some politicians seem not to walk the talk because their hardline position on certain sensitive issues they used to get votes during the elections, turned out to be contrary when they assumed office. The handlers of some of the present batch of politicians seem to belittle the knowledge and understanding of the people as they try to divert controversial issues that puts their idol politicians in hot water when not given the appropriate advice by those who seem to cling to their positions like leeches.
There are several glaring incidents that transpired in our very own doorsteps during the implementation of the community quarantine that really defined who among our leaders possess the genuine political will and who are mindful of the safety and health of their constituents so that the dreaded Corona Virus Disease (COVID) 2019 will not spread in their places.
In the fifth-class town of Sagada, Mountain Province, local officials and members of the inter-agency task force on emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases politely denied entry in the municipality members of a Palace contingent supposed to take footage of the sceneries and rich culture and traditions of the community as part of the footages to be presented to the people when President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his fifth State of the National (SONA) more than two weeks from now. The primary reason why director Joyce Bernal, actor Piolo Pascual and members of the delegation, were not allowed entry to the municipality despite possessing the appropriate documents from the Office of the President is that the municipality is not ready to accept people coming from areas with high COVID cases, aside from the fact that the locality does not have the health facilities where confirmed COVID patients can be confined
After leaving Sagada, the group proceeded to Banaue, Ifugao for a similar purpose but the local government also stood firm on the need for them to comply with established health protocols apart from the standing order that no visitors will be allowed in the municipality for a certain period this month.
Subsequently, the group then decided to proceed to Baguio, one of their itineraries where they will take footages, where they were subjected to the so-called high tech triage before proceeding to their loading facility at the Camp John Hay Manor for a good number of days.
We salute the local officials of Sagada and Banaue for being firm in their decision not to allow even very important people to enter their sacred places to avoid the further spread of COVID in their areas. The said officials of the local governments deserve to be cited as models in the strict implementation of quarantine protocols. It took the officials of Sagada and Banaue to awaken us to the reality that despite the presence of numerous traditional politicians in our midst, there are still a few like those in the said towns who value the importance of caring for their people instead of being given aggrandizements in national and international arenas through the social media.
Consequently, Baguio is now on a different boat. For several instances in the past, the city had been in a bad light because of the inability of concerned sectors to strictly implement the established health and safety protocols. We are very sorry to say that Baguio lost track of its supposed distinction as a model city primarily because of the influx of people that were even tolerated by those manning the checkpoints and the local government. It is so difficult to count the chicks without the eggs being hatched. What happened to the city is that because of our desire for positive protections, concerned stakeholders tended to overdo things that now spoiled everything.
People now see the big difference in the supposed implementation of established protocols on everyone. Many are now asking why can’t a highly urbanize city do what others can do. Surely there will be many defenses that will come out but such defenses will no longer be listened to because of clear and glaring pieces of evidence.
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