Showing posts with label local issues in Bohol. Show all posts
Showing posts with label local issues in Bohol. Show all posts

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Issues that matter


Scene: Pope Francis has named Fr. Cosme Almedilla, 60, as the new bishop of Butuan. Almedilla, a clergy of the Diocese of Talibon, succeeds Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos who died in October 2017. A native of San Miguel town in Bohol, the bishop-elect is a product of the St. John XXII College Seminary in Malaybalay City and the Loyola School of Theology (LST) in the Ateneo De Manila University. He was ordained a priest on Aug. 4, 1987.

Pope Francis has appointed
 Fr. Cosme Almedilla as the
 new bishop of Butuan.
Photo courtesy: CBCP
Scene:  Beauty pageant expert, make-up artist and host Oliver Esclamado Acebes, passed away last week at the age of 27, leaving Bohol entertainment and beauty pageant industry grief stricken. Soon after the news was confirmed, many of his friends and acquaintances took to social media to express their grief and share condolences. Acebes, a registered nurse from Jagna, Bohol, was a Pianatics member, the group of supporters of Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach. The last pageant he watched was the 67th Miss Universe competition in Bangkok, Thailand.  The municipal government of Jagna  said that “his delightful personality was memorable.” We will always cherish the memory of his enthusiasm hardworking capability and well-disciplined life.”  So long Oliver!


As the official campaign period for the local polls opens on Friday, politicians are likely to encounter the same old perennial issues: poverty and lack of social services.  Voters also questioned their sincerity, honesty, integrity, competence and track record.

While drug problem and corruption remain the most pressing problems in Bohol province, many voters are also concerned about tourism, climate change and environmental protection. Basic needs as water, electricity and jobs also matters to ordinary voters.
For Michael Cañares, tourism, climate change
 and environmental protection are of paramount concern.

Michael Cañares, a senior research manager for Digital Citizenship at the Web Foundation, said how candidates would give importance to environmental issues in their platforms would be critical in the election.

 “Will the local leaders betray the environment this time and pursue development projects at the expense of environmental destruction?” said Cañares, who has more than 10 years of research and development work experience in community-based project management and regional development in Southeast Asia.

According to Cañares, Bohol has enshrined the importance of the environment in its development thrusts but how this will be carried out by the leaders in terms of policies and programs would be critical.

"We have heard of the massive destruction of the mangroves in Bien Unido last year, the plan to put up an oil depot for some big company in Sandingan (in Loon town) recently, and the revival of the issue of Panglao reclamation as proposed by the some investors," the international consultant said.

The growing inequality is also a big issue here. He said that while there is relative growth in the different economic sectors the growth has favoured the rich.

"As expected, the already rich, making them all the more richer, while the majority of the population has not benefitted from this economic growth," he said.

He noted that the income from tourism had not trickled down to the poor, especially the farmers and the fishermen who are often times the victim of powerful businessmen. 

"So how will the leaders this time ensure, that growth will occur with equity?" asked Cañares.

For Willy Ramasola, the growing problems
of drug problem and corruption in Bohol province
 have become a major election issues. 
The third issue that will matter, according to Cañares, is how leaders will approach the issue of disasters and climate change. 

"We have experienced first hand how an earthquake and climate-related disasters (as typhoons) have devastated our province, impacting everyone. However, we have also seen that our capacity to cope with these have been differentiated.  The rich are able to bounce back easily, but the poor are having significant problems coping up," he said.

Part of being resilient is to ensure that everyone is able to withstand natural disasters and minimize losses, he said.

“I think the leaders who are able to provide us a clear vision of how people can be protected and made resilient in the face of natural disasters is critical in the coming elections.  I should also add though that man-made disasters should also be part of the equation, including threats to peace and order," he added.

But for Willy Ramasola, a social media influencer and political observer, issues on corruption and drug problem should be addressed urgently.

"Projects to solve potential problems on power and water, addressing environmental concerns, policies to promote investment and breaking up the monopolies that keep prices high," said Ramasola.

Both Cañares and Ramasola said that while many voters were conscious and concerned about the election issues, it was doubtful if they would elect candidates based on those concerns.

Beauty pageant expert Oliver Acebes with
 Miss Universe 1993 Dayanara Torres  and Miss Universe
 1994 Sushmita Sen.
"Unfortunately though, while I have highlighted the issues above, it is still a fact that voters have the tendency to forget these issues come election day," said Cañares.

While the debates and the miting de avances will be a good place to discuss and learn about what are the stand/plans of candidates, Cañares said the fact that something else, other than proposed programs will matter.

“At the end of the day, it is the politician who has the political machinery that will be able to corner a large vote for the Boholanos,” said Cañares. "This includes, among others, the capacity of mayors to give "inangayan" on election day, or the ability of congressmen or governors to run a campaign, dispensing favours to mayors, and barangay captains while the campaign is ongoing.”

Money matters during election time, irrespective of age, income, level of education, or religion, according to Cañares.

Ramasola said voter’s education is critical in influencing the outcome.  However, Cañares said the problem is not just about voter’s education.

"It is more about reforming value systems and ensuring that people have the right incentive to really vote for the candidates that will bring citizens better public service and a better future," said Cañares.

"That’s why the candidate who has an organized social media team, a well- oiled political machinery that can bring in voters to join rallies and getting them out to vote will come out the winner," Ramasola said.

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