MAGANES: Trauma for life?
As I am writing this article, the “shooting incident” that almost cost my life keeps on haunting me day and night. That incident on November 8 last year in spite of my efforts to forget it has not ceased to revisit me even when I am fully awake or in my deep sleep. That incident vividly flashback in my mind and rewinds after the passing of each day. How hard I try to pray to God that the rancor will pass, but still the hatred in my heart is still there. I keep on asking, “why me?” I just can’t get away from the trauma associated with that incident.
It’s 60 days has passed after the incident. The suspects are still roaming freely. I don’t know why the resolution of the case is that slow at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor. Or, am I just too impatient that the suspects have not yet been issued with warrants of arrest? I know that there are legal processes that have to be followed. However, isn’t it that “justice delayed is a justice denied”?
While I am wallowing in despair and anxiety, I am shrouded with the belief that persons whom I considered “friends” were also behind the incident. The usual gestures of camaraderie have changed. I could sense their coldness towards me. The usual warm association with them has turned into somewhat fleeting gestures of “not knowing each other”. They could not see me eye to eye, which puzzles me no end. What were their motives of inflicting harm against me?
I have been cordial with these so-called “friends” in the past to the extent of even helping them in my own little way. What made them to do that devil act to me? I might have done or spoken something that made them begrudge me, but that is my personality. I am an outspoken person and sometimes brutally frank. Could those be the reasons why they hadthe temerity to silence me for life? Where are their conscience and fear of God, if they still have their sanity?
At present, I am suffering from trauma stress. People around me could not understand what I am going through. No amount of coffee or listening to my favorite songs and surfing the internet could alter my perception of life at the moment. I have disturbed sleep at night, irritable at most and have poor concentration. I could no longer dissociate “reality” from “remembered” events. And how I wish my life could go back to normal the way it used to be sans detailed police officers to secure my life.
I draw strength from my family, relatives and selected few friends. However, even family members are not that keen on the feelings I am experiencing right now. Yes, I smile and laugh but deep inside the harrowing experience is still there- disturbing my mind and emotions. How soon when all of these will pass? How soon that I could let myself immerse with my media work? How I wish I could live a normal life after that event and be with my media friends again. I missed my daily work- radio broadcasting, interviewing public figures, covering events, taking photos and writing news stories. A friend Eva Visperas, a correspondent of Philippine Star, told me “very soon Vir”, and I take her words for that.
As of now, I am deeply relying on my deep faith to my God. I also draw inspirations from His words. I know things will come out for the better- for my environment and for myself. I have to reconnect with life. This means that I will integrate everything that I learned from that traumatic experience and move back into life as I want it. These may require some backtracking and return to my regular activities one little step at a time. I have to find new things that work better after that trauma.
Now let’s start my media work.
I can’t figure out why the provincial governments are still appropriating budgets for regional courts and provincial prosecutors offices in their provincial appropriations ordinances? Isn’t it that the judiciaries have their own budgets as sanctioned by the Supreme Court and prosecutors’ offices from the Department of Justice (DOJ)?
This practice elicits subservience of the judiciary and prosecutors’ offices to the sitting governors and the Sangguniang Panlalawigans especially if they have cases to be heard. Because they are receiving funds from the provincial governments, there will be suspicions that the cases filed against them will be whitewashed and no real justice will be served.
The separation of powers could also be at stake. Local government units should appropriate local funds solely for their operations and for the benefits of their constituents. Integrating funds for courts’ and prosecutors’ operations should be stopped. I don’t know if these practices are covered by Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) Budget Circulars. I am calling the attention of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to please stop these practices. This is the time for “change”.
Speaking of “change and reform”, President Rodrigo Duterte has not reneged on his promise to increase the base pay of police officers f the Philippine National Police (PNP) and soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Lately, news report from GMA News Online said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has announced that “police and the military are expected to receive at least P35,000 in base pay and allowances monthly if Congress approves increasing their base pay.“
This means a policeman with a rank of a Police Officer 1 will receive an annual income of P473,625, which is 33.3 percent more than their 2016 income of P355,290. This will bring their monthly income to P39,468.75. On the other hand, a soldier with a rank of Private will receive a total annual compensation of P436,138, which is 27.2 percent higher than the previous year’s P342,936. A soldier’s minimum monthly income is expected to be at P36,344.83. DBM said the figures are based on the joint resolution submitted to the Office of the President (OP).
The proposed base pay hike is on top of the second tranche of the Salary Standardization (Executive Order No. 201, s. 2016) that will increase the compensation of government employees, including military and uniformed personnel. This proposal will, however, require the concurrence of Congress.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno “expressed confidence that Congress would agree with their proposed base pay hike for the uniformed personnel.“
This salary increase for the uniformed men in the country is a good news for them. I have talked with some friends in the PNP and they said that this move of President Duterte will help them a lot to tide up their financial mess. Because of low pay, like a Police Officer 1 is only receiving P14,000 a month base pay, many of them resort to securing loans from the Armed Forces and Police Savings and Loan Association, Inc. (AFPSLAI).
A police officer whom I interviewed but requested not to be named said that increasing his base pay to P35,000 will no longer require him to borrow money from AFPSLAI but if he does, it will be invested in a source of additional income to secure the future of his family.
I am happy for the police officers and soldiers of this increase in their basic salary and I hope Congress will pass soon the needed legislative action to make it into fruition. I hope also that these will make them more productive, efficient and effective government workers as partners of the country’s ” development change”.
Entry filed under: News.