By Erwin Tulfo | December 24, 2015 | The Manila Times

MANY of us make wishes beyond the personal level on the anniversary of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

And how I wish attaining peace, justice and prosperity for Filipinos is as easy as unwrapping Christmas gifts from “Santa Claus” the way little kids do.

Unfortunately, we face the reality of unrealized wishes and experience continued strife, rampant injustice in various forms, widespread poverty and chaos to this day.

 Almost 30 years since EDSA 1, the traffic gridlock and the worsening mass transportation system in that historic highway ironically represent the sorry state of affairs in the country.

The EDSA gridlock and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 mess dramatically symbolize the failed promises of the so-called matuwid na daan (straight path) mantra of the Aquino administration.

The outgoing administration, which promised sweeping reforms, has failed to deliver on those pledges.

But, resilient as we always are, it is with fervent hope that we  wish  genuine change would come about as we celebrate Christmas today.

Filipinos have a long “wish list” this Christmas. I’m sure you’ll agree that these  are a few of the things we wish for: Lasting peace and reconciliation, particularly in Mindanao; alleviation of poverty; eradication of hunger and homelessness; more local job opportunities; justice for victims of heinous crimes; accessible public health services; and elimination of graft and corruption in the government.

We also wish for higher wages and better benefits for workers; lower individual income taxes; stable prices of prime commodities; more reliable and safer services at MRT 3 and Light Rail Transit Line 1 and LRT Line 2; lower public transport fare rates; and lower tuition at all school levels.

In specific terms, we wish that justice be served  the 44 martyrs of the Special Action Force (SAF 44); that all those involved in the abuse and diversion of public funds under the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) be prosecuted.

Optimistically, we also wish for Pope Francis to be able to attend the Eucharistic Congress in Cebu in January and we wish for peaceful, orderly, and clean elections on May 9, 2016.

Indeed, we wish that next year’s polls will truly reflect the mandate of the people although some camps have accused  Noynoy Aquino for undermining the electoral process through systematic manipulation and coercion.

Indications that give credence to such claims include disqualification cases against Sen.  Grace Poe and Davao City  Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who now lead the presidential race along with Vice President Jojo Binay.

Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas continues to lag behind in fourth place.
We wish that Noynoy machinations would not succeed in pushing Roxas’ victory “by default.”

Masyadong garapal na ang mga walanghiyang ito!

I pray that our common hopes and wishes do come true in due time that the Lord Almighty allows… sa tamang panahon, ika nga!
Merry Christmas, everyone!