By Jullie Y. Daza
With access to 52 countries, a Philippine-government issued passport is 67th "most powerful" among 200 countries in the world.
So powerful with all that access to the world outside, yet so hard for a citizen to secure an appointment to apply for one teeny-tiny passport at DFA. True, we are highly globalized - 2,000 OFWs leave every day - and as President Duterte has been finding out, government officials have a penchant for traveling on official business. And, as Energy Secretary has just learned, some officials have been roaming the world while setting their phones on roaming, such that a former usec charged P100,000 for his phone calls.
As the travel bug bites, the need for passports grows. As the difficulty to secure a passport grows, the louder grows the suspicion that a syndicate "controls" the access to the access. DFA officials may not have heard these rumors spreading on the ground, so whose con job is it?
Not only do those happy-go-lucky in government entitle themselves to "have passport, will travel," they forget to liquidate their unspent cash advances with the Commission on Audit. If anything, the recent dismissals of wanderlusting officials ought to set the tone - and a warning - for the new year.
The new year could also encourage our headline writers to stop calling it a "Con-Ass,"short for Constitutional Assembly. In reference to charter change, it's too serious a matter to be nicknamed after a stupid person or the rear end of the human anatomy. Con, on the other hand, is slang for a confidence trick, and a con man is not someone you'd like to be victimized by.
To guess how "Con-Ass" was invented, the reader need only remember that "constitutional assembly" is 22 letters long. There was an attempt to rename it "Consa" but for some reason it never caught on. Perhaps because readers prefer to call it by what it implies?
Jullie Y. Daza