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Feature: A Clarion Call

By Reyster Perez

[Editor's Note: Bad roads leading to Eastern Samar have earned the ire of youthful writer Reyster Perez, senior student at Eastern Samar National Comprehensive High School in Borongan, Eastern Samar. Her piece bagged the First Prize for Feature Writing Contest in the recent Secondary Schools Press Conference.]

ASK any recent visitor to Eastern Samar about his experience and surely, the description of the image of its natural, humble beauty would be the first to come out of his mouth. Yet, lo and behold! Before coming about saying your warmest words of welcome, wait for the big "but…"

"But the roads were quite….never mind…" or

"But the travel really made me feel as if I was about to have a miscarriage…" or "better" yet,

"But the roads gave me quite a fit- I think I really have to see my OB now…."

Okay, allow me to draw the long bow.

The effectiveness of transportation means in the rural areas has long been an issue here in the Philippines. Hundreds of project proposals and open letters relating the pitiful state of the countryside roads have been gathered in our administrators' desks. Some of us may think we can't possibly be expecting to receive any more political and legislative support for the betterment of the situation.

Our local leaders only seem to be procrastinating. The road problems have been there for decades, political regimes have been coming and going. And with their every exit, their worldly promises of better facilities for the Filipino community. As generations of leaders radically change, the people expect to see at least a bit of improvement in the roads. Unfortunately, what visible action meant was only the lime stone mixtures for lay-ins. Even the gravel fillings for the muddy hollows only came and went, leaving the worst imaginable scenario for the travelers.

Irrevocably, our means of transportation has reached the nerve-racking level. The government may have been allotting financial support to the provincial government officials.. But where have they all gone? The ancient "talahibans" have been cleared and made way for the dirt roads. The dirt roads, in turn, have made way for –what? Dirt roads, too, nonetheless..

Surely we have realized by now that popular leaders are not necessarily the best leaders. All those project proposals have only gone as far as our leaders' "inbox". Never has solid, strong and permanent action been given. Because, if there had ever been action, Borongan and the other poorer places in the country would have long been able to stand by itself in terms of commercial marketing internationally; provided by the fact that international investors have actually identified these places as some of the most bio-diverse and mineral-rich areas in Asia.

The rural regions in the country have, indisputably, millions to offer the entire Philippines. It is not only up to the cultural aspect of the whole thing with the tapping of the natural resources. Town folks need to see ACTION from the government.. They have to be provided by the attention they need. They need their leaders to listen to their sentiments and provide them with the ample designation of financial and industrial budget for infrastructure development.

The rural population has had enough of their endless, noisy bickering. It is time for change. The Estehanon's clarion call for government support is drumming the loudest this hour. It is definitely the time for our leaders to step out of their protective shells and into the open in order to feel the pulse of the real "masa". (PIA) [top]

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