By KATHLEEN T. OKUBO
The season to be jolly, it is not. That would be what Yoda would say for the Philippines today. With the maneuvering of security laws and manipulation of tax directives and most of all the deprivation of socio – economic support for the greater majority of the Filipino majority. Majority means something like 80% majority.
On a taxi cab some three days ago, the driver and my companions were cursing and complaining about the traffic we were caught in and then went into conversations about how life is made so difficult nowadays that the Christmas gesture could only be so short lived and so quickly forgotten. Even Christmas caroling is simply a fund raising endeavor nowadays and no longer an offer to share joy among friends and neighbors and that only the rich can now afford the Christmas celebrations pictured in radio and TV advertisements.
The discussion went into how terrible and terrorizing the oplan tokhang has turned out to be targeting and killing the youth and poor people. How we were all taken for a ride by the campaign promises made by Digong now President RRD. How his promises to uplift the life of ordinary citizens by increasing the minimum wage, reducing taxes for low income groups, the ending of cotractualization and the protection for overseas contract workers.
We all lamented the sorry conditions when our driver said, “this is going to be the hardest Christmas time for me.” We all turned to him, “why manong?”
He told us that he was going to be greatly affected by the vehicle modernization law. But was not that only for jeepneys?
He said, No, it covered also taxi cabs and required that the 2013 vehicle models are to be phased out this coming January 2017. ah!?! Aren’t vehicles supposed to have a 10 year lifespan? Isn’t 13 to 17 only 4 years?
He looked at us and gave a wry smile. As he gave out our change he said, “how am I or my family ever afford to buy ourselves a brand new taxi cab?” In an attempt to lighten the painful thought, one of us said, “let us wish you get yourself a Santa Claus.” (to gift him a brand new taxicab!).
On that sad note at the back of our minds we changed our hats to take in another temporary palliative – a Christmas party for the local media. At least for a little while we entertain ourselves with our co-workers in media away from the painful realities we will continue to face when we get outside this little celebration.
Let us also pray that Mondax, and my aunty Beck get very well soon. Both of them are in the ICU now.
To everybody, a Merry Christmas and Happy holidays. # nordis.net