TIME FOR CHOICES

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JUST A WEEK into the coming elections, everyone’s just in frantic, hectic mood — the candidates, the supporters, the event organizers and just about anyone involved in getting just about everyone else in a swirling daze.

From where we’ve been, those of us who have had enough of many, many years of neglect and insensitivity, now denigratingly known as Baguio’s downward descent into depravity and degradation, voting choices should be easily made by now.

It’s actually an agonizing trek just remembering those fallen years. An environment on a perilous descent. Trees wantonly felled in the name of more development. Government services merely drifting along, coasting along — even more so when costing, not coasting, for reasons other than noble. Roadways irresponsibly encroached upon, the right of way simply dishonored the wrong way. Infra projects irresponsibly carried out in gay abandon. Riverways gone to worse, polluted day in and day out from deadly waste, human and animal. Government all ears and eyes out for transactions that leave the public good out for good.

The litany of failings just lengthened through the years, because elections were more circus-like. More entertaining than ennobling. More promiscuous than promising. To use the age-old epithets: puro porma, walang plataporma.

It is always a shame, almost a slap in the face that as the only Christian nation in Asia, as the only culturally harmonizing city where creativity brings to the fore a people’s innovativeness, we seem to have shut a blind eye, we seem to have had deafening ears, ultimately slamming shut any heart that cares, for Baguio to have gone to slut, seemingly unperturbed about patronage politics once again asserting its age-old might.

To reiterate just after Holy Week: resurrection signifies rebirth which in turn directs us to a revitalization, after of course rejecting the ways of sin. So simply stated that has been, but so blithely ignored, even rejected, because sinning always lends itself easy in acquiring the material possessions in life. Always the road less taken — thorny, torturous even — is the road untaken, more towards perdition than to progress.

 

Across time, the Christian way, however resonating in greater clarity and needful relevance, is shunned, discarded, given a heedless attention, undaunted by a simple call. Man — you and I and the rest of us — is inherently good; others make him less so. Man is capable of greatness; those around him make him less so.

Rebirth comes from having gone through the pitfalls of devastation, and wasn’t Baguio wrought in that mold in 1990, by the force of a language shaking mortals down on the knees, as if in genuflection?

Resurrection comes from rising anew on one’s feet and gloriously standing in equal measure, this time surer than ever, bolder than before, determined than the last gasp of breath. And weren’t we given that lifetime of a choice, precisely to make us conscious to be better once risen, to be right at the crossroad of a choice, to be steadfastly up and about even as we wrestle with the very issue of survival, redemption, rebirth?

Let’s face it. In 1990, in the aftermath of a killer quake that left many of us shaken, we did rise, we did recover, we did emerge from it all well-defined in the ways forward. Concededly, Baguio’s journey in past three decades has been anything but rewarding — except for those whose rewards were greater than common.

Let it be stated in all vehemence: governance has been anything but ill-done, mostly about being served, than serving, much of which spent in gay abandonment — of being right, of being righteous even, — merrily content of wallowing in human goodness benefitting a privileged few to the detriment, nay rejection, of the great many.

 Redemption can only happen not just as a mere happenstance. It takes place when more than just a few good men and women are consecrated to make the city get past the many crosses we have been bearing up in sufferance for all three decades.

The litany of woes simply lengthens — a degraded environment, service that takes time to get anything served, congestion in many places that deters growth and renewal, and a work force of public servants beholden not to padrinos and padrinas but for what serves the greatest good for the greater many.

For that much urban woes to be worthy for rebirth, resurrection and redemption, it will take the full emphatic force of the very deprived many to be in covenant with the governing and governed, for governance to come our way — with passion, zeal, and a single-minded focus that the early Christians of yore had in great measure.

Anytime that’s deeply resolved to be done is always a swell time to do, when the lengthy ballot is at hand. About time, isn’t it?

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