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News and Views of the
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By Rene Calalang
March 14, 2018


Last December 31, 2017, after working for almost thirty six years at an Aerospace Company (I started when it was de Havilland, then it became Boeing Canada, and presently, it is Bombardier Aerospace), my last position being of an Engineering Specialist, I finally call it a career.

I am now a retired senior living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada whose plans during my retirement includes splitting my time between Canada, my adopted country; and the Philippines, my native country.

I must admit that being a dual citizen, I am one of the lucky ones as I have the best of both worlds. I can spend part of spring, whole summer, and part of autumn in Toronto, for a total of six months; and escape the cold, harsh weather by spending the remaining six months in the Philippines, in Malolos City, to be more specific.

But it is in the second six months where I, and I am sure many others too, have some concerns, the main one being the peace and order situation in our mother country, hence, hesitations to proceed.

One of the main causes of the peace and order problem, which seemed to get worse every day before the national election, was the proliferation of illegal drugs.

During the campaign period, this drug menace was one of the major election issues where all the presidential candidates presented to the public their plans or rhetoric on how to handle this worsening condition.

Words are cheap. Anybody could make promises, and most likely, as what had happened in the past, those with charisma would be believed, and thus win.

But could they deliver. Not necessarily so.

But in the last election, the people, perhaps tired of listening and voting on this type of politicians, decided to change course and decided to choose our next president based on his records.

Among the candidates, nobody was more convincing than Rodrigo Duterte.

Rodrigo Duterte, then the incumbent mayor of Davao City, popularly known as Digong and was once called the Punisher by Time Magazine, was the official candidate of Lakas NUCD.

Backed by his record and reputation as the fearless, tough on crime and no non sense mayor of Davao City, made the boldest, if not the almost impossible promise to make the streets safe again by persecuting and putting in jail criminals especially those involved in illegal drugs within three to six months of his administration, which was impossible to do with that short time, of course. Along the way, he had changed his tune by saying that his war on drugs will most likely last until the last day of his term. (Note that how he planned to do it, whether or not it is within the scope of existing laws is not the intent of this article. But in his inauguration speech, he said it will be within the scope of existing laws).

This, he would do, if he wins of course, and win he did.

And now, almost two years into his administration, and backed by his barrel chested and tough as rock Chief of Police, Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, he has already put a dent on this terrible problem.

A FEW days ago, I was just talking to one of my childhood friend, who is now the Baranggay Captain of Barangay May Pag-asa (not the true name) in Malolos City.

We talked about what’s happening in the barrio where he was born and raised and where we spent many happy and memorable moments when we were kids growing up.

We also talked about my retirement plan.

“Ngayong presidente na si Duterte, sa palagay mo kaya, p’wede ka nang mag retire sa Pilipinas?” tanong niya. (“Now that Duterte is president, what is your chance of retiring in the Philippine?” he asked.)

“Kumporme kung magagawa niya ang mga ipinangako niya?” sagot ko (“It depends if he could deliver on his promises.” I answered.)

“Sa palagay mo kaya, magagawa niya?” (“Do you think he can deliver?”)

“Ayon sa bali balita, pinatahimik niya ang Davao.” (“According to stories, he made Davao safe.”)

“Ren, hindi ka maniniwala, pero tahimik na sa atin,” (“Ren, you would not believe it, but it’s now peaceful here.”)

“Bakit mo nasabi iyan?” tanong ko.” (“Why did you say that?” I asked.)

“Wala ng nag-iinuman sa gilid ng kalsada.” (“Nobody is drinking on the sides of the street anymore.”)

“Ano pa?” (“What else?”)

“Ang mga menor de edad, pag alas dies, nasa bahay na.” (“The minors, at ten p.m., are to be inside their homes.”)

“Mabuti naman. Pero kailangan ang iba pang pagbabago para tumahimik sa atin.” (“It’s good, but we need more than that to make it really peaceful.”)

“Ren, mayroon pa?” (Ren, there are some more.”)

“Ano pa?” (What else?”)

“Iyong mga aso, bawal na ang kakalat-kalat sa kalsada.” At ang pinakamahalaga, ay iyong may kinalaman sa drugs. (“Dogs are not allowed to be roaming on the streets anymore. And the most important are those that are related to illegal drugs.”)

“Ano iyon?” (What’s that?”)

“Iyong mga may kinalaman sa drugs, sumuko na, at iyong mga hindi sumuko, nagtatago.” (Those who are involved in illegal drugs have surrendered, and those who did not are in hiding.)

“Iyong matigas ang ulo?” (How about the hard headed ones?”)

“Mayroon ng ilang pinatay?” (There were a few who were killed.”)

I smiled with what I heard about the peace and order, but I was saddened upon knowing that some were killed.

“Mayroon akong masamang balitang narinig kahapon,” sabi ko. (“I heard some bad news yesterday,” I said.)

“Ano iyon?” (What’s that?”)

“Iyong kaso tungkol sa ilang alleged drug lords, were thrown out.” (The case against some alleged drug lords were thrown out.”)

“Iyon ang masakit.” (“That hurts”)

“Sana, iyong mga drug lords ang maipabilanggo niya.” (“Hopefully, he will be able to convict and put those drug lords in jail.”)

“Sana nga. Ipagdasal natin.” (“I hope so. Let’s pray for that.”

AFTER our conversation, I quickly reached a conclusion.

If what’s happening in Baranggay May Pag-asa is the barometer where improvement in peace and order is to be measured, then we are heading in the right direction. If these trends continue, and I am optimistic it will, and most likely those others who are in the same boat as I am, then deciding to spend six months of my retirement years in the Philippines, will be a lot easier decision to make.

By doing so, we will be spending our pension money and some savings there, thus contributing to her economy.

After all, we, her sons and daughters, who left because of necessity and other personal reasons still call the Philippines, our home.


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