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Hope for the Philippines

Would you agree that what's happening in the Philippines right now is comparable to the Martial Law years under Ferdinand Marcos? That's what DJ Yap suggests in "Filipinos need to relearn truth-telling" (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 12 August 2005). He also draws a comparison between our current situation and wife-beating, and implies that many Filipinos are in denial. (Aside: the Marcoses are still in denial, see "Imee Marcos: Will we tolerate liars and thieves?")

Well, I am aware of what's going on, but no, I have not seen evidence of anything remotely resembling a return to Martial Law or wife-beating. Unless, of course, a complex-but-increasingly-ridiculous case—full of hearsay, incredible witnesses, grandstanding politicians, illegally-taped conversations and yet-to-be-proven charges of election cheating—amounts to the "rape" of our democracy. I'm sure the current administration is far from clean, but I'm really just sick of all the intrigue and negativity.

But life goes on. And there is reason for hope.

Yesterday, I was able to renew my driver's license in less than ten minutes at a convenient location without having to line up for a long time. True, I had to get a medical certificate and drug clearance before then, but since there was a clinic right next to the office, it didn't take very long either.

Check out the LTO Offices where you can have your license renewed easily. You can also go to any of the One-Stop-Shop Offices, like the one I went to at Farmer's Plaza in Cubao, which are near, if not in an MRT station.

And then there's NBI clearance renewal, which can also be done at mall-based kiosks, where lines also move very fast. There's even a procedure for Filipinos overseas to obtain NBI clearance.

These initiatives have actually been around for a few years, but the agencies involved are getting better at anticipating users' needs, and procedures are being followed because there's no need to resort to grease money to speed up the process. While the existence of these initiatives will not alleviate poverty or eradicate corruption, they give me reason to hope that someday we can get our act together.

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