‘For­give him for he ig­nores the reper­cus­sion of his prom­ises’

Manila Bulletin - - Views • Features - By ELINANDO B. CINCO

AMINOR flash­back – my col­umn topic on Jan­uary 18, 2016, had a stoic ti­tle, “Why, Mr. Pres­i­dent?” I was ask­ing him why he was so “heart­less” in ve­to­ing House Bill No. 5842, that would have granted a measly 12,000 in­crease in the monthly pen­sion of re­tired So­cial Se­cu­rity Sys­tem mem­bers.

The Pres­i­dent I was re­fer­ring to was Benigno S. Aquino III. How he dis­ap­pointed the al­most two mil­lion SSS pen­sion­ers who would have en­joyed the Yule­tide gift in the ear­lier month of De­cem­ber.

In that piece, I also said Pi­noy’s anointed pres­i­den­tial can­di­date would run the risk of los­ing the votes of pen­sion­ers and their fam­i­lies, as a re­sult of that pres­i­den­tial veto.

Mar Roxas did lose those votes, and ul­ti­mately, the elec­tion.

Now on the pre­ced­ing three­month pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. Then can­di­date Ro­drigo Duterte took ad­van­tage of his op­po­nent’s shelv­ing of that House mea­sure.

In the hus­tings, he promised to re­vive the bill and grant en seguida the 12,000 in­crease once he got to Mala­cañang. Ev­ery­where he went, thun­der­ous ap­plause met his pro­vin­cial and ur­ban sor­ties.

Then came the DU30 ad­min­is­tra­tion last July. It ap­peared that the new Chief Ex­ec­u­tive was in­formed by his eco­nomic team the dif­fi­culty of find­ing sources to fund his 12,000 elec­tion prom­ise. And he kept silent about ful­fill­ing his com­mit­ment with the elec­torate.

Cer­tainly, his ap­par­ent tac­i­turn was bad pol­i­tics. It was anath­ema to the do-good­ing stance he was try­ing to cul­ti­vate as the new leader of the na­tion.

Then last Tues­day, Jan­uary 10, the Palace an­nounced the grant­ing of the first 50 per­cent of the 12,000 pen­sion ad­just­ment be­gin­ning this month of Jan­uary, and the re­main­ing 11,000 in 2022, five years from now.

The Pres­i­dent’s spokesman, Sec. Ernesto Abella, called the manna, “in ful­fill­ment of his so­cial con­tract with the peo­ple.”

And what about the other sting­ing elec­tion prom­ise that is still hang­ing on air – the end­ing of em­ploy­ment con­trac­tu­al­iza­tion, or its pop­u­lar acro­nym ENDO?

It was a po­tent vote-get­ting stunt of DU30 dur­ing the cam­paign and mil­lions fell for it.

B u t s a d l y, l a b o r e x p e r t s a n d em­ploy­ers’ con­fed­er­a­tions have warned that “end of con­tract” can­not be abol­ished just like that be­cause there are many la­bor con­tract­ing sit­u­a­tions that ne­ces­si­tate the end­ing of a work con­tract.

And they are le­gal, per­ti­nent, and proper.

But what DU30 is af­ter are con­tracts of em­ploy­ment re­sorted to by mall and big re­tail es­tab­lish­ment own­ers, as well as in­de­pen­dent per­son­nel ser­vice providers.

Here em­ploy­ees are hired only for five months. More than that pe­riod em­ploy­ers are re­quired by law to hire work­ers as per­ma­nent em­ploy­ees.

So, there is an im­passe when­ever talks of end­ing “endo” be­tween pri­vate par­ties and govern­ment la­bor of­fi­cials come around. And con­cerned em­ploy­able cit­i­zens are think­ing aloud that DU30 has again made an elec­tion prom­ise that is be­yond ful­fill­ment.

An­other post-elec­tion prom­ise of DU30 was to in­vite Vice Pres­i­dent Leni Ro­bredo to sit in his Cabi­net with spe­cific func­tions.

And so it came to pass that the No. 2 high­est of­fi­cial of the land was ap­pointed “hous­ing czar” by the Pres­i­dent last Au­gust.

Right at the be­gin­ning it was a good public re­la­tions ges­ture. But many in­de­pen­dent ob­servers saw it as one that was des­tined to crum­ble.

DU30 knew that a num­ber of his Cabi­net men were patently against VP Leni’s sit­ting in Cabi­net meet­ings. Oth­ers were openly un­com­fort­able.

The rest is now in the pages of the coun­try’s con­tem­po­rary his­tory.

And fi­nally, the most dread­ful prom­ise made by DU30, as un­der­stood by right­eous cit­i­zens, Church lead­ers, those in the academe, and in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights or­ga­ni­za­tions: That no po­lice­man will go to jail do­ing what he must do while fight­ing il­le­gal drug users and dis­trib­u­tors.

We have all seen what hap­pened to that Leyte town mayor while be­ing served a war­rant of ar­rest in­side his jail.

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