Pasig enters the holidays
From the Desk
We have now arrived in the most awaited part of the year. The night comes early everyday and the cold winds from Siberia embrace the islands in a chilling but happy mood. In the west, they call it the winter solstice but in the Philippines its Christmas! Anticipation of the holidays have been a tradition in itself. People decorate their houses with Christmas lights and a towering tree at the center of their living rooms. In some way or the other, it is a sign of the family's enduring heritage of welcoming the "Holiday Cheers".
This year unfortunately is quite different and can easily be passed off as the annus horribilis (horrible year) the country ever had for the longest time. Despite common knowledge of the famed "Filipino Spirit" which everyone is so proud off, the numerous disasters shed light to the national government's lack of enthusiasm in their prime duty to the populace. Pasig City shines bright on this pitch-dark night. And though their still a lot of battles to be won, the city reminded its people to celebrate Christmas and hope for a brighter tomorrow. This the message given by the large lanterns displayed in Pasig's city hall and the Plaza Rizal. "Umaagos ang Pag-asa" a battle cry of a city that never surrenders. There is of course a thin line that separates this empowering message from being a plain lip-service gimmick to a real time public service program. Thank heavens! Its the latter!
Last Thursday's lighting ceremony is not only about the anticipation of Christmas but also of thanksgiving. The Frontliners of the Pandemic namely the Medical Practitioners who at the start of the infections became the center in the protection of the people. The lanterns of Pasig shines bright because of them. Their sacrifices stood for their commitment and loyalty to the Filipinos. Despite hardships their resiliency is boundless. The flowering of hope is indeed nestled in their selfless service in this time of crisis. The Pasiguenos also became part of this event especially the young people who in their little beings and little actions contributed in the preservation of the Bayanihan Spirit.
Despite the nightmarish experience of city hall workers in charged with the distribution of the SAP and the Supplemental SAP, their passion inspired a lot to continue their work as wounded soldiers in a battle filled with invisible enemies and bickering. Some would think that their experiences is enough for them to resign in their posts, but not for Pasigueno workers who even at this very moment labors for the city as they accomplish their sworn duties to the people. The LGU is humble enough to accept the reality that some of their programs might be moved to a later to date or permanently be at the backseat as pressing needs are required for the city to preserve itself. Nevertheless the local government is blessed to have the wisdom to economize and prioritize programs and projects. With that the people is indeed grateful and appreciative. The government is astute that a semblance normalcy should thrive amid the great changes being encountered everyday. Pasig can withstand it because their is hope and it is the season where hoping and believing is at its best.
Last Monday, in celebration of Bonifacio Day, Mayor Sotto signed into ordinance the Creation of the Pasig Urban Settlements Office and the Pasig City Socialized Housing and Urban Community Development Code of 2020. Finally, sensible laws instituting genuine change are being passed. Pasig undoubtedly is a premier city which explains the influx of families and their interest in making our city their homes. Clearly they saw greatness and opportunity which is why despite challenges, they ought to face them and roll their dice for Pasig City. The government realizing this coupled by its pursuit to help Pasiguenos live in livable places passed a law to standardized housing ensuring that people would have access to it without any conditions and purely on merits. This is far from the picture taking tenements that advocate hardships and poverty instead of cosmopolitan living. At this point in time, the government is already thrashing the old system: pet projects are turning into exceptional programs, city programs are now taken out of the hands of exploitative politicians and most importantly, taxes are now genuinely working for the people.
Last year was the first time Pasig residents saw the Pamaskong Handog as symbol of equality. All households were given and its not just for the sake of giving. The Pamaskong Handog was also used to gather data and update them. This year, despite hurdles and obvious budget cuts, food packs are set to return amidst the cheers of the crowds. Nearly 360,000 packs were ordered. What is unique about these packs is that they don't look like relief goods, they are really for Noche Buena or a Christmas Dinner for a family of 5 - a standard number in Pasig. One would keep wondering how the city managed to do this despite handing out supplemental SAP and even the tablets for public school students. Pasig is surely rich but that is not the point. The country in itself is rich, the problem is how to manage the vast resources. For Pasig, we have managed it fairly, squarely and with no element of doubt, we have achieved it because of honest and plain governance. To govern is like lady justice who is blindfolded and serves justice in itself with no conditions and exclusions.
The city's perennial Christmas Gift for the year of the Pandemic is its government. A government that sees all, and cares for all.