By: Alex P. Vidal
“Every project is an opportunity to learn, to figure out problems and challenges, to invent and reinvent.” – David Rockwell
LET’S make it clear: San Miguel Corporation (SMC) never categorically confirmed it would submit an “unsolicited proposal” to build the Panay-Guimaras-Negros bridge contrary to reports earlier.
It was Senator Franklin Drilon who asked SMC President Ramon S. Ang to submit the unsolicited proposal out of his frustrations that nothing has been heard of the project since the Duterte administration dangled the proposal three years ago.
Drilon and Ang met recently in Leganes, Iloilo during the groundbreaking for a new beer factory there where the Ilonggo senator made the appeal.
As a courtesy, Ang reportedly told Drilon he would look into the proposal.
To “look into” it was the most logical and proper answer for a straightforward and frank suggestion.
“Looking into”, however, is different from “has agreed to submit” the unsolicited proposal.
Drilon and Ang obviously were trying to be courteous and nice to each other, and some reporters took their conversations seriously and, to compound the matter, quoted both gentlemen out of context in one way or the other.
SMC can’t just gate-crash in the Panay-Guimaras-Negros project which is being facilitated by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).
If SMC is really interested, it can commence a different proposal probably after the first bridge has been finished (DPWH expects the project to be fully constructed in 2023).
That proposal should be for another bridge like one of the twin bridges now being enjoyed by the Cebuanos.
SMC can’t squat on the same project already “started” by the DPWH.
Thus, it’s impossible for Ang to submit an unsolicited proposal for the same project in the same location when he is already aware of the existence of the one which is bruited to be part of the “Build, Build, Build” program of the Duterte administration.
If a project is initiated by a private sector it will have a different dimension and different mode of financial arrangements.
U.N. UPDATE: ‘Childhood is changing, and so must we’.
Since its adoption 30 years ago, the milestone Convention of the Rights of the Child and its near-universal membership has created “unprecedented international solidarity around children’s rights,” the Secretary-General said at a commemorative event a UN Headquarters on September 25, 2019.
The Convention is the most widely ratified international human rights accord in history; a landmark achievement which meant “for the first time, governments explicitly recognized that children have the same human rights as adults”, UN chief António Guterres said, adding that the document put in the spotlight the “specific additional rights that recognize their special status as dependents.”
The high-level meeting at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly was geared towards celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Rights of the Child, highlighting progress made in the advancement of healthy and sustainable livelihoods, and a call to action for Member States to strengthen their commitments to the cause while recognizing new challenges.
To date, 196 countries have ratified the convention, with the exception of the United States of America, which has nonetheless signaled its intention to ratify with its signature.
Government actions and inactions, the Secretary-General noted, “have a greater impact on children than on any other group in society.” He urged all UN Member States “to give it their full backing.”
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)