Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes

Changes we can immediately do

Posted on May 13, 2013 by jimparedes

People want change.

And some changes are already happening surely. And while I am thankful for that, my appetite for more changes has been whetted further. I have tasted some and want more and If I could have my way, I would want them delivered much, much faster. The problem with finally getting to the historical point where we overcome the inertia and the wheel of change finally begins to crank up is that you not only want more and more of it, you want it at a rate much faster than you can have it.

Now that we are getting new people in the Senate and House, new governors, mayors and councilors, I would like to work with them to do the following changes for the better. Some of them are too simple they can even be instituted on the barangay level.

1) I would like every winning candidate to think of modernization and make it a goal and a mindset. Modernization implies simplicity, speed and beneficial change in the way government serves the people.

It would be good if we could computerize all transactions in all government offices. It is convenient, and the paper trail is easy to follow. I remember applying for a business license in Australia. The man behind the desk said it would take awhile. I asked when I should come back, he said ‘awhile’ meant around 15 minutes. Meanwhile in QC where I live, it is taking me months just to get a building permit, and I still do not have it as of today.

2) Our justice system should be 10 times more swift in handling cases than how it is done now. The Ampatuan case should have been decided by now. Courts should be run by judges, not by lawyers who file delaying motions all the time. By delivering swift justice, people have greater faith in the government. That’s not even rocket science at all.

3) People Power should be further institutionalized and utilized. People Power is another word for volunteerism but in a massive way. The simplest way to keep it alive and make it an ally of change is to engage People Power about 3 times a year. We can have one call for People Power before the rainy season for everyone to pick up garbage and to clean the drainage in their streets to lessen the effects of flooding. That’s one example.

We can also engage People Power in specialized ways. One way is this: we can to ask doctors to volunteer a day in a year at any government center and do free service. They can even deduct their fees for less taxes if they wish. The idea is to make sure every Filipino is able to see a doctor at least once a year. Right now, 70 percent do not ever see a doctor.

4) I propose this simple safety solution which will be helpful during floods. Let’s paint street posts with measuring markers so that people, vehicles can easily know how deep the flooding is by simply looking at the posts and seeing where the water stops. This way, there will be less people who will get stuck in flood waters.

5) Everyone should be encouraged to do the habit of planting trees or giving away saplings as gifts during births, birthdays, graduations, etc. or at the start of any new venture. Aside from being symbolic, we can multiply the number of greenery everywhere in just a few years if we make this a common practice. In a few years, if this takes hold it could be a game changer in controlling floods and abetting some problems of climate change.

6) Every elected official must have a website where he/she reports all his expenditures involving public funds. It must be updated every week.

7) The move for further secularization must be encouraged. We, as citizens and/or members of the laity should discourage church leaders from coming up with voting lists, and urge them to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, so to speak.

8) The teaching of science and math should be intensified in school. The world will be more and more a competitive place and we need to make the younger generation more skilled to compete. Some of that is already addressed by K12. As a society, we must promote a scientific mindset and approach to a lot of our problem solving.

These are just 8 simple to speed up positive changes in our country. By doing them, we can create a fantastic synergy where government and people can engage each other in a robust, vital way that can open the gates to more necessary changes we need to really prosper and progress.

1 to “Changes we can immediately do”

  1. andrew lim says:

    Hi Jim, my first time to comment here, though I have been browsing your blog occasionally. Your topic on changes we can do made me think of this. If you agree with it, I will ask for your help in getting it off the ground. Tell me what you think!


    RATIONALE: The presidential elections of 2016 is near, and one of the most potent accountability tools we have is the SALN – scrutinizing it well beforehand, even before a candidate assumes office, is a worthwhile undertaking, instead of having to impeach them later on.

    The public has the right to know if a candidate does not deserve the presidency because of questionable items in their SALNs.

    COVERAGE: All presidentiables for 2016. Binay has declared it openly on national media several times. Roxas has not declared it personally, but high-ranking LP official Frank Drilon has said it so. (ANC forum with L. Jumilla) So for now, Binay and Roxas.

    METHODOLOGY: Based on their submitted SALNs for the past five years, civil society will scrutinize their contents, check for accuracy and truthfulness, look for significant and/or wilfful omissions, Sources of income will be sought and identified.


    1. Media – Mainstream as well as social media practitioners and investigative journalists/outfits.

    2. We will seek volunteers with backgrounds in finance, accounting (specially forensic) and auditing, as well as lawyers.

    3. Crowd-sourcing, for the most opaque items on the SALNs.

    TIME TABLE: This project may take a year or even more to complete, so the earlier it gets started, the better.

    FUNDING: This will solely be volunteer- powered. No donations from corporations or entities will be accepted.

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