By Ley Leyretana
On May 9, 2022, we will elect 18,086 new sets of national and local officials across 14 regions and 7,641 or 7,640 islands of our archipelagic country if we exclude the Panatag or Scarborough Shoal, which is claimed, occupied, and controlled by China.
Included among those to be elected in Davao del Sur are the following: 1 provincial governor, one vice-governor, and 13 members of the provincial board; 1 component city mayor, one city vice mayor, and 12 members of the city council; nine municipal mayors, nine municipal vice mayors, and 172 members of the municipal council.
This 2022 election comes at the crucial moment when the world is shuddering on the brink of a full-scale biochemical, hypersonic nuclear war as a consequence of the uncontrollable and unpredictable Russia-Ukraine war.
This devastating and escalating war, coupled with the existential threats from other possessors of nuclear weapons, and the ascendancy of China as the new power in Asia, have changed the landscape and the architecture of worldwide security. This led to the evolution of a new world equation and a new paradigm that created a conundrum of international relations.
Viewed from the prisms of this borderless world, we need not be a Cassandra to predict that the intersecting geoeconomics, geopolitics, geocultural, and global security implications of this terrifying war will have dire and far-reaching consequences across the globe.
In today’s world without distances, it is inevitable that the collateral damages of this catastrophic war will permeate countries by way of high inflation and borrowing interest rates, triggering increasing cost of imports of gas and oil, petroleum products, and commodities including rice and other food supplies.
Conversely, it will increase the cost of exports due to a slowdown in production and disruptions in the international supply chain either via airlines, sea routes, or land transport.
Inescapably, this will spillover on the Philippines, when is still at the cusp of recovery from the pandemic; at the time, our country is already immersed in staggering interlocking problems; when it is saddled by P12.03-trillion indebtedness that is expected to exceed P13-trillion by the end of 2022; and with a budget deficit that, might compel the next administration to impose new and higher taxes to spur bigger revenue collections.
Coming as it is during the 2022 elections, the juxtaposition of this confluence of events will eventually compound our already complex problems.
Inescapably, it will affect leadership, governance, and administration of the affairs of the state at all strata of government, even at the level of local governments like the Province of Davao del Sur.
Local governments are the backbone of our nation. They are leading in the development of the community. They are dealing practically with everything required in our daily lives. Hence, we need a leader for local government who knows the local conditions and nerds the community and its constituencies.
From the conditions now obtained, it is undeniable that we have reached a turning point in our lifetime as a democratic republican government.
This 2022 election becomes our epiphany, a reawakening of a new beginning to take on new challenges that will enable us to break through from centuries of a decadent society trapped in a system that keeps spinning in place.
The traditional leadership and redundant governance by chance or hindsight, by oido-oido, will no longer be responsive to circumstantial demands.
Apparently, we are now living in a complex and constantly changing world reshaped by advances in phenomenal technology. Artificial intelligence is now the new normal, thus, requiring new knowledge, talents, and skills.
The antiquated ways and means, methods, and systems have been overtaken by the morass of time and the tide of events. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, “Yesterday’s solutions cannot solve today’s problems.”
The dimension, complexity, magnitude, and enormity of interconnecting problems confronting our country today demand leaders with audacity and creativity to confront all the odds.
At this time, when we are weathering to overcome the sustained crisis, we need a lawyer-leader with the caliber of Atty Israelito Panares Torreon. Grounded on the knowledge of law and government, honed in critical thinking, and equipped with proper tools for pragmatic and strategic analysis, he can better grasp and understand the maze of problems and intricacies of governing our country. With his education, extensive training, and experience, he is better primed in solving problems.
Lawyers are at the core of all human endeavors affecting society. Thus, Atty. Torreon can perform a critical role in establishing conditions under which the rule of law and justice, human rights, and fundamental freedoms can be maintained, promoted, and contribute to the growth and freedom of society.
Lawyers are at the center of our legal system and at the heart of our aspirations for a humane society. With his knowledge of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and respect for human rights, Atty. Torreon can probably ensure that the laws are properly enforced to protect the general safety of the local population. Moreover, he can encourage and initiate the passage of new laws that are responsive to the demands of the times.
With his impeccable credentials and impressive performance as a domestic and international lawyer, Atty. Torreon can ably represent the Province of Davao del Sur in higher and different levels of regional and national governments, as well as in international bodies and fora.
With his knowledge and well-rounded experience, and communication skills, he can best articulate on issues, problems, challenges, and concerns that matter most to local constituencies and affect the development of the Province of Davao del Sur.
With his various international training systems Atty. Torreon is better prepared to formulate well-studied, realistic, and coherent plans, programs, and beneficial projects that are fundable, doable, and attainable within his term of office or, if needed, deserving of continuity by subsequent administration to enhance the development of Davao del Sur.
Having been born with parents who are both teachers, Atty. Torreon has imbibed the importance of education in all facets of life in a global society. Thus, he is compassionate and sympathetic to the poor and underprivileged sector, particularly those in remote areas.
Having grown up in an agricultural, rural municipality of Bansalan, he is familiar with the nagging problems of poverty, unemployment, famine and hunger, and the importance of food security.
Atty. Torreon has accumulated sufficient knowledge and information to formulate programs and projects to resuscitate our dying agriculture and fishery, including reforestation and environmental protection.
As an educator, professor, and dean of the colleges of the law of the Corazon De Jesus College and the Jose Maria College of Law, he is aware of the commercialization and declining quality of our education and its inability to produce talents and skills needed by our government, industry, and development.
Being knowledgeable about the problems of our educational system, he is better prepared with well-thought proposals to upgrade our country’s outdated system of education.
Being an independent candidate for governor of Davao del Sur, Atty, Torreon is not beholden to any political party, coalition, or aggrupation. He is not representing any vested interest and is not a proxy of anybody or a puppet of the rich and powerful.
With his independence of mind, he can better balance diverse interests and be free to lead, initiate, undertake and support programs and projects for the upliftment of the well-being of local residents.
With Atty. Torreon’s commitment, passion, and determination to lead and serve, Davao Del Sur is afforded a rare chance of having a very capable governor with dynamic and decisive leadership, who has the courage to stand up for what is right, the nerve to rectify what is wrong, and a change-maker who won’t hesitate to undertake bold and necessary changes for the betterment of the province of Davao del Sur.
With Atty. Israelito “Bobbet” Torreon, as Governor Davao del Sur, is assured of good governance that will hasten the development of the province into an autonomous and self-reliant local government.
Now is Davao del Sur’s chance.
Later is too late.
(Ley Leyretana is a former Undersecretary and Chairman of Mindanao Economic Council, now known as Mindanao Development Authority)
From the context of all the foregoing, while we are not looking for a Saint to vote into office, prudence and due diligence dictates we should refrain from voting candidates engaged in vote-buying either in cash or by opening an ITM or bank savings account for a voter, or by any other dubious means and ways.
Candidates engaged in vote-buying and selling emasculate our free will and divest us of our individual sovereignty and freedom to vote according to our choice, without duress or outside influence.
Furthermore, candidates who are buying votes in cash in hand or by opening an ITM or bank savings account for a voter are encouraging fraud and promoting the culture of graft and corruption. Candidates engaged in buying votes will eventually engage in graft and corrupt practices and succumb to stealing public funds in order to recover their election expenditures.
Voters who sell their votes surrender their individual autonomy. Feeling that they owe the vote-buyer a personal debt of gratitude for satisfying their momentary need, they develop a syndrome of delicadeza or hesitation. Thus, after the candidate has assumed office, they are restrained from exercising their citizen oversight powers to criticize.
Candidates and voters engaged in this practice become a party to the commitment of fraud. They undermine our laws, make a mockery of elections, and the corruption of our entire political system.
Voters who sell their votes and enjoy momentary satisfaction and happiness by feasting on the sumptuous meals, enjoying inebriety by imbibing drinks, while enjoying being thrilled by the entertainment provided “gratis et amore” by candidates will later realize too late that the backlash is a lifetime of regrets and repentance.
As often expressed in vernacular, “Ang isang daglit na kaligayahan, ang kapalit ay buong buhay na pagsisi at kahirapan.”
Government is the system or group of people normally consisting of the legislature, executive, and judiciary governing an organized community like a country, province, city or municipal, or barangay. Local governments are the backbone of the nation. They are involved in practically everything we require in our daily lives.
Accordingly, politics is an art and science of government. While the election is a contest of ideas, talents, and skills on who can better lead and serve. It is the system or process of choosing the most qualified candidate who can better lead, serve and preserve. It is a process of selecting a candidate whom we can vest temporarily with authority to represent our interests and decide on issues that concern us most and on matters required in our daily lives.