Wishing for a better year for a battered Catanduanes

We all have our wishes for the coming year.

Our top three leaders – Governor Joseph Cua, Congressman Hector Sanchez and Partylist Rep. Jose Teves Jr. – expressed their desire for the island to be free of politics in the next 12 months, so that their common programs for the good of Catanduanes will earn the support of their constituents.
But 2021 is a prelude to the election year and, in fact, heralds the beginning of ugly politicking. Already, the recent relief efforts included one personality who has made no secret on social media of his pining for the glory days.

All programs, projects and activities of the local government units from the province and the district office down to the municipalities will be milked for what it’s worth: manna for the sitting executives’ campaign war chest and favor with the undiscerning voters.

It will be the year when new political alliances will be made and some existing ones severed, when many promises will be given and some forgotten.

Surely, 2021 will not be free of politics.

Majority of the islanders will wish the COVID-19 vaccine will be made available even before midyear, so that they can get on with their normal lives.

However, the island’s distance from Imperial Manila and the reality that it has only a few cases compared with other areas with comparable population means the vaccine will take some time to arrive.

They, too, will wish the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus would die out and save the remaining eight thousand or so pigs in the other six towns from certain death.

But we have a tendency to relax and drop the ball, to quote a provincial official, so it would be likely that the next few months sees a massive die-off of local swine, after which 163 days should pass before the island is declared ASF-free.

On the other hand, members of the media belonging to the Catanduanes island Media Club (CIMC) has this long-standing wish for the local police leadership to finally drop its absurd policy of deleting the names of victims, suspects and personalities in significant incidents in its press releases.

The CIMC hopes the police leadership, like their open-minded colleagues in the mainland, will finally realize that the personal information belonging such victims, suspects and personalities are in fact not covered by the Data Privacy Act as it is classified as information necessary in order to carry out the functions of public authority like the police.

For the rest of the islanders who only want enough food on their table, stable jobs or sustainable livelihood, their respective wishes would only be realized through their own sweat and perseverance.

They can take advantage of political connections to wangle jobs, avail of government assistance in the form of grants, loans and free materials.

But in the very end, it will be their skill, talent, hard work and commitment, coupled with prayers, which will bring them to their own comfort zones.

As Cua, Sanchez and Teves prayed last week, let us resolved not to bring the bad luck of 2020 into the New Year.

But as it could very well turn out to be not feasible, let us try out best not to make 2021 worse.

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