The elusive peace
BY : JESSE BACON II
PEACE is theologically understood as not just the absence of war or armed conflict but a situation in life that is devoid of any form of fear because most, if not all, enjoy fullness and abundance of life.
From the theological understanding of peace, hopelessness as a result of poverty regardless of the degree of its intensity surely does not bring about peace. Poverty, especially if it is so pervasive, just ensures un-peace in every aspect of human life in the level of the individual, families and society as a whole. The current un-peace in the country is undeniably spawned by poverty. In fact, the poorer the locality or province, the more intense the un-peace is.
In localities or provinces classified by the government no less as belonging to the poorest, the un-peace there has been brought to the level of armed confrontation between the hopeless poor against the very government that has sworn before God and man to serve them. Unless the government looks at the current un-peace as the result of hopelessness triggered by abject poverty, it’ll continue to hang on to the notion that this un-peace can be licked through the use of force.
The government should understand that by employing legalized violence to supposedly address the problem of un-peace will just beget more violence. This is the reason why our country is currently hosting the longest running rebellion all over the world because the government has always viewed the prevailing un-peace wrongly or from an erroneous perspective. The communist ideology that serves as the guiding star of the people who took it upon themselves to overturn the un-peace they are experiencing because of poverty is just incidental.
This rebellion will continue even beyond the lifetime of the present generation unless the government humbly accepts its error that employing the military option in solving this un-peace is not the best solution that should not even be considered as solution. The government view of licking criminality especially those that are committed against persons and property by simply installing closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) in practically every nook and cranny of all localities is stupendously the same with its solution to solve the un-peace as a result of poverty.
Guns and bullets no matter how legalized they may be can never improve the life situation of the poor. It is only by ensuring that the farmers in the countryside are always productive as farmers that poverty in the rural areas can be effectively addressed and thus eradicated. How to ensure that the farmers are productive year round? It is by seeing to it that farmers own the sizable farmland they are to be tilling.
Farmers productivity all throughout the year can likewise be ensured if government allocates a huge amount of public funds to subsidize the acquisition by every farmer of mechanized farm implements, acquisition of high-grade seeds and organic fertilizer, farm support such as farm to market roads and irrigation system and most of all ensure that their produce have a ready market that pays them just and fair prices.
Ensuring that the countryside is productive will definitely prevent the migration of the rural folks to the urban centers where they just end up as informal settlers with bleak future. A productive countryside will also ensure that the youth there are able to pursue tertiary level of education in areas where they can help boost the countryside’s productivity. It is only the government that can help ensure all these but is the government doing these?
In the 7.8 percent growth rate posted by our gross domestic product or GDP, agriculture’s contribution was nil. What does this tell us? It tells us that nothing good is happening in the rural areas where about 70 percent of the Philippine population resides. The lesson that we can learn from the first quarter GDP is that the government should address the concerns of the farmers if we dream of making the agricultural sector contribute substantially to the GDP in particular and the economy in general.
If the national government is not seriously addressing the concerns of the countryside folks, the local government units are not addressing the problems of the poor in their localities as well. Just look at the kind of programs or projects these local government units are allocating their funds for. In Butuan, for example, the city government there is spent so much of their scarce resources in purchasing CCTV cameras, improving their natural park into a cemented one, buying a lot of radio airtime to paint a rosy picture of their thorny programs and projects, to name just a few.
And we still wonder why there is so much un-peace in our country, the countryside most specifically?