July 17, 2024

Well, our beloved Banana Republic’s national “fiesta” is off and running with the official start of the campaign period for those seeking national elective positions and party-list groups on Feb. 8 while those vying for local elective posts is on March 25.
Of course, we all know that the “unofficial” campaign started much, much earlier, but so what?
While this near-sighted Ibaloy writer encourages all those able to vote to exercise their right of suffrage, allow me to caution them against expecting any meaningful change for the better. I could be wrong, of course.
As a voter of longstanding, I have learned that those who usually win are not the most qualified and deserving but those who are more popular, belong to entrenched political dynasties, and have the 3Gs or “Guns, Goons and Gold.”
Remember the Golden Rule: “He who has the gold, makes the rules”? Who’s to blame? Why, stupid voters like us, of course, because we deserve the leaders we elect into office. So far, what have these so-called leaders contributed to the progress of our beloved country? Well, our beautiful nation still belongs to the Third World and is still considered as the “Sick Man (or Woman) of Asia” after all these years. So, nothing much. Same old, same old.
As we march to the poll booths this May, we can do either of two things: We can continue to fool ourselves and hope for the best that these elections will matter or we can protect our sanity and save ourselves from disappointment by expecting the worst – that it will be more of the same.
Unless you belong to the economic elite or political dynasties (they are usually one and the same), the best thing you and your family can do is find ways to leave the country for greener pastures abroad, just like what millions of our countrymen have done and continue to do. Besides, we can always come back home to retire in our beautiful Banana Republic and have more of the same. Mabuhay!
Anyway, the city government’s thrust to protect the environment is in full swing as the program of work for its “Blue Walk Project” is being prepared by the City Environment and Parks Management Office, together with the City Planning and Development Office, City Buildings and Architecture Office, and City Engineering Office.
Cepmo head Rhenan Diwas said the project aims to safeguard the city’s critical Busol watershed, which is its largest source of potable fresh water and which offers a variety of environmental, economic, and social benefits.
He said the program was initiated to address long-standing issues of squatting and water shortages at the Busol watershed and degradation of the Balili River. In the pipeline are the establishment of green mufflers/green buffer zone projects and the landscape of islands located in various areas of the city, including an emissions inventory project where data collection is ongoing.
Also in the works are feasibility studies and coordination for the Baguio Resilient City Tourism Project for the Baguio Sewage Treatment Plant Upgrade Project, city-wide sewer line projects; and a feasibility study on the hazardous waste collection, storage and disposal in the city that is presently for review, Diwas said.
He said his office is conducting quarterly free emission testing for vehicles and monitoring and issuance of notices of violation for illegal waste disposal to those who directly discharge their wastewater in the city’s waterways.
Other projects are information and education campaign for environmental issuances, such as the Baguio Environment Code, Hazardous Waste Management, Anti-Plastic Ordinance, and integration of safety and health in parks development and urban forest management projects. Cheers!

Here’s “Family Court” by Ogden Nash: “One would be in less danger/ From the wiles of a stranger/ If one’s own kin and kith/ Were more fun to be with.”

Let’s end with a prayer: “Father, I need to know that you care, that you love me, be my refuge from pain, replacing my distress with peace, and be my strength when I feel weak and find it hard to carry on. Help me not to fear the future but to boldly trust that you are in control when my emotions plunge me down, and when I am in despair.” (internet)
May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.