But, has government the means to turn around these adverse situations and come out being admired and respected because of our resilience, our love for our country and our pride as Filipinos?
Time and again, the island groups of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao have suffered the devastation of all kinds of natural calamities brought about by typhoons, heavy rainfalls and earthquakes, and the world has known about our indomitable spirit to bounce back – and smiling at that.
Thus, as we have learned to climb back from precarious situations in the past to live normal lives again despite the anguish, traumas and losses of lives and properties, so, too, the hapless people in Bohol will recover in time and go on with their lives.
What is important is that the government, both national and local in the different regions of the country, the private sector, the NGOs, the churches and other entities will continue showing their concerns and keep on supporting the needs of our brother Boholonos for as long as they are helpless. This sustained support and concern will enable them to make a comeback to live normal lives again.
As a country, however, dealing and resolving major catastrophes is not only the responsibility and business of government and the administration of President Benigno Aquino.
The president has people whom he could delegate to oversee the situation in earthquake-ravaged Bohol and ensure that their needs are being attended to.
Certainly, it is not for him to micromanage the operations in Bohol, like what some political adversaries want him to do. He has the good of the whole country to think about.
Thus, when Aquino came back from his visit to South Korea and said that the Philippines was close to finalizing a deal with a state-owned Korean aerospace firm to buy a squadron of FA-50 fighter jets worth P18.9 billion, some politicians in the opposition immediately criticized the plan, saying, that it would have been better if the money was used to rehabilitate Bohol.
I am sure Aquino will have funds available to help the earthquake victims and rebuild Bohol, but let us not give political color and gain political mileage by stopping the president from doing what is good for the security and stability of this country in modernizing our air force.
After having been intimidated and bullied by Chinese vessels and aircraft in and over our own shores, we need modernized air force and navy like we need a hole in our heads if we don’t.
“We do not want to pick a fight with anybody, but we will do what is needed to protect our sovereignty. As we respect other nations’ rights, we expect them to respect ours,” Aquino said.
“When we feel a greater sense of security, we are able to do more to improve the lives of our people,” he added.
No one could have described it better than a neophyte Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class (PMA) of 1995 and former military officer, who praised President Aquino for his determination to improve the aerial capability of the PAF that was neglected by the past governments due to corruption.
“The procurement of jet is included in the list of items to be procured in the AFP modernization. It will definitely boost the morale of our troops and elevate the state of our defense as a respectable country. Hand in hand with this, I think it’s time to raise the consciousness among Filipinos that defense of our country is not the sole duty of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippine) but of every nationalistic and patriotic Filipino,” Alejano explained.
Aquino said the Philippines would procure more aircraft as well as armored vehicles and command-and-control equipment to boost the defense capabilities of the military and protect the country’s maritime territory.
Militarily, we are still puny compared to China’s naval forces. But, with an improved air and naval capability, we can, at least, breathe a deep sigh of relief that we will no longer be bullied.