Making things right

By Editorial December 31,2015

1-1 EDITORIAL CARTOON

The first line of dialog in the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” movie was spoken by legendary actor Max Von Syndow, who plays the ill-fated character Lor San Tekka.  His statement provides a useful reminder to everyone counting the hours to Jan. 1.

After uploading data on ball droid BB8, Lor San Tekka told Resistance fighter pilot Poe Dameron “This will begin to make things right.” As it turned out much later in the film, the data he uploaded was a fragment of a much larger map showing the whereabouts of the last Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.

That line, while perceived by fans as a sly potshot at the Star Wars franchise’s prequel trilogy that wasn’t well received, still resonates not only with loyal fans of the series but with people who have at one time or another stumbled and made mistakes that still haunt them to this day.

Our elected government officials aren’t exempt from this human frailty.

In Cebu City, partisan politics in the City Council has stalled decisions to sell long-idle lots in the South Road Properties (SRP) and pay off  a 20-year Japanese loan whose interest rates grow more onerous with the passage of time.

While councilors try to outmaneuver each other and stymie budget approvals, Cebuanos wait with exasperation for solutions to a deterioration of garbage collection services, street lighting,  road cracks and lack of effective flood control for the next rainy season.

And on the eve of Cebu city’s two biggest events — the Sinulog festival and historic 51st International Eucharistic Congress in January – a power play behind the scenes has unseated Mayor Michael Rama with a 60-day preventive suspension over a puny matter of the removal of a road divider in barangay Labangon.

So much time has been wasted arguing over what divides Cebu City, instead of sweating out a win-win solution among parties with competing interests.

In the aftermath of the Mamasapano tragedy that resulted in the deaths of more than 20 Special Action Forces (SAF) troopers, President Aquino chose to attend the inauguration of a factory instead of being present for the airport arrival of the mortal remains of the men killed in the line of duty.

The public backlash  was severe.

Rather than owe up to the mistake, the President  went on with his pre-set itinerary. He tried to make up for it by spending the entire day at the vigil with mourning relatives at the police camp, and recalling that his family had also made sacrifices with the murder of his father, the late senator Benigno Aquino Jr.

“Ï’ll carry this tragedy to the end of my days,” he later said on national TV.

To his critics, President Aquino “didn’t make things right” with his business-as-usual gesture.

Families of victims of 2013’s supertyphoon Yolanda also question why the Aquino administration took so long to “make things right” distributing food and cash aid in stricken communities,  and carrying out a  rehabilitation program that remains a slow work in progress to this day.

The day of reckoning is upon us soon.

Ordinary citizens will make their voices heard in a big way during the May 2016 elections.

With the start of a new year, we hope that government leaders in Cebu and Malacañang dig deeper within themselves to find the courage to fight for the common good, and fight off the temptation to serve self, their privileged friends, and illusions of being indispensable.

We leave behind 2015 with its lessons of things that could have been, and face a new year with more determination to set things right.

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