‘Time first’

The Philippine Star - - OPINION - CITO BELTRAN Email: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

Be­fore we learned the rule of call­ing a “Time Out,” most of us used to yell “Time First” in or­der to re­set a game, make a clar­i­fi­ca­tion, or sim­ply to catch our breath. Un­for­tu­nately, many of us com­pletely for­got the tac­ti­cal ben­e­fits of declar­ing “Time First” in life. We sim­ply plod along in com­pli­ance or to meet dead­lines, on oc­ca­sion some die along the way or wish they did in­stead of hav­ing to own up to their short­com­ings or ex­pe­ri­ence hu­mil­i­a­tion and de­feat.

Right now the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent or OP in Mala­cañang could use a “Time First” to re­set things be­cause they are in the mid­dle of the worst pos­si­ble case of “Ex­ec­u­tive Dis­or­der” where a Pres­i­den­tial Di­rec­tive came first and the nec­es­sary jus­ti­fi­ca­tions and data are only now be­ing gath­ered, and the tech­ni­cal work­ing groups be­ing formed a day and a half ago! I learned that the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent called for a meet­ing of all con­cerned agen­cies last Mon­day af­ter­noon to fig­ure out what to do about all the un­fore­seen prob­lems that the Bo­ra­cay clo­sure is caus­ing and cost­ing the repub­lic.

One of­fi­cial from the OP called the en­tire thing the equiv­a­lent of “Re­verse En­gi­neer­ing” be­cause it is only now that agen­cies and of­fi­cials are try­ing to sort out the com­plex­i­ties and find so­lu­tions. If my in­for­ma­tion is cor­rect, the agree­ments reached are as fol­lows:

DBM to ac­cept Tier II sub­mis­sions of pro­grams, projects, and ac­tiv­i­ties for Bo­ra­cay Is­land up to 15 May 2018

All Agen­cies to sub­mit the re­spec­tive Tier II bud­gets on pro­grams, projects, and ac­tiv­i­ties for Bo­ra­cay Is­land to DBM by - 15 May 2018

DOLE, DSWD to sub­mit fi­nal pro­file of for­mal sec­tor work­ers in Bo­ra­cay Is­land by - 23 April 2018

DAR, DENR, DOJ, OSG, OCPL to form a work­ing group to study the pol­icy dec­la­ra­tion of the Pres­i­dent that lands in Bo­ra­cay will be dis­trib­uted to farm­ers- ASAP

Form the Bo­ra­cay Emer­gency Em­ploy­ment Pro­gram – Work­ing group to pro­vide so­cial safety nets to all dis­placed work­ers and MSMEs - ASAP

Form a Work­ing group to re­ha­bil­i­tate Bo­ra­cay’s drainage sys­tem and up­grad­ing of the sewer lines - ASAP

Pro­vide the DPWH with the sewage plan of Bo­ra­cay – 16 April 2018

Form a work­ing group to look into (a) im­pos­ing puni­tive mea­sures against erring es­tab­lish­ments; (b) in­sti­tut­ing re­ver­sion cases for fraud­u­lently is­sued ti­tles; (c) fil­ing of ad­min­is­tra­tive and crim­i­nal charges against erring lo­cal gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and na­tional agency per­son­nel.

DENR –“Com­plete the study on the car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity of Bo­ra­cay Is­land by - 30 April 2018”

“Pro­vide the PCOO with the names of agency point per­sons for the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Work­ing Group” – 20 April 2018

“DENR, DILG, DOT, DND-NDRRMC to pro­vide the Of­fice of the Solic­i­tor Gen­eral and the Of­fice of the Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary with the sci­en­tific and le­gal ba­sis for the dec­la­ra­tion of the State of Calamity by - 17 April 2018”

DTI (Lead), DOLE, DENR, DOT, DILG, DSWD Es­tab­lish an op­er­a­tions cen­ter / One stop shop in Bo­ra­cay Is­land with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from all con­cerned agen­cies.

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Is it just me? or do you get the im­pres­sion that the Bo­ra­cay clo­sure is sim­i­lar to declar­ing war and then or­ga­niz­ing your army af­ter­wards? I also learned that while the OP was play­ing catch up along with agency rep­re­sen­ta­tives, not one of the three Cab­i­net Sec­re­taries – DOT, DENR, and DILG at­tended the meet­ing. Mean­while the DENR is re­port­edly con­sult­ing with the Of­fice of Solic­i­tor Gen­eral Jose Cal­ida on how to pre-empt or min­i­mize the pos­si­bil­ity of the is­lan­ders get­ting a TRO or Court Or­der that would pre­vent the DENR from de­mol­ish­ing tar­geted es­tab­lish­ments or struc­tures.

It would have been a lot sim­pler if the DENR asked helped from the DOJ to put up a beach­side court­room to hear and de­cide on ev­ery case or prop­erty the DENR has set for de­mo­li­tion. At least that way, ev­ery­body gets their day in court. There is enough ju­rispru­dence about prop­er­ties, en­vi­ron­men­tal laws etc. and all the judge has to do is bring a re­ally long tape mea­sure and send two beach jocks to mea­sure dis­tances and lo­ca­tion based on mark­ers etc.

Some­thing that only came to the sur­face last Mon­day was the con­cern on how the many busi­nesses and own­ers will be able to pay debts, mort­gages and loans dur­ing the four- or six-month clo­sure. Politi­cians and DOLE were so busy pre­vent­ing em­ploy­ers from lay­ing off em­ploy­ees that ev­ery­body for­got that many in­vestors and op­er­a­tors on the is­land have huge loans, mort­gages etc. that could get them laid off per­ma­nently.

In case you think they’re all a bunch of head­less chick­ens run­ning around, don’t be dis­mayed. I was told that a cer­tain Un­der­sec­re­tary Fer­di­nand Cui was quite trans­par­ent about his as­sess­ment of the sit­u­a­tion and told the group what he thought of the peo­ple who com­pli­cated mat­ters. Usec Cui was re­port­edly an­noyed about the com­ments of a DILG of­fi­cial care­lessly com­ment­ing on TV that tourists were partly to blame. Cui also ex­pressed dis­be­lief that some­one would sug­gest reg­is­ter­ing and re­strain­ing the pres­ence and move­ment of the me­dia and was ex­as­per­ated with the fact that the orig­i­nal in­tent was to widen the main road of Bo­ra­cay and fix the sewage, un­til some­body from the DOT re­leased a video point­ing out six ma­jor prob­lems on the is­land that forced gov­ern­ment to go all out.

There is no doubt in my mind that EV­ERY­BODY would give a sigh of re­lief if the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent would de­clare “Time First” be­cause there is just too much stud­ies re­quired, lo­gis­tics, co­or­di­na­tion and le­gal pa­per chase needed and all these can’t be done in un­der a week or two. Pres­i­dent Duterte has noth­ing to lose by call­ing “Time First,” but in­sist­ing to do things via re­verse en­gi­neer­ing will be dan­ger­ous and dis­as­trous to the coun­try and to Duterte’s gov­ern­ment. I sin­cerely pray and hope that some brave soul would share with Pres­i­dent Duterte some­thing from Win­ston Churchill:

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and lis­ten.” Please Mr. Pres­i­dent, Time First!

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