The new travel guidelines can only promote extortion, an opportunity for graft and corruption
In my last column on why graft and corruption in government cannot be stopped, I pointed out that most of the time the system of policies gives an opportunity to grafters and corrupt officials in government to commit graft.
True enough, the new rules and guidelines imposed, Santa Banana, by the Inter-Agency Against Trafficking, which will take effect on Sept 3, gives the opportunity to the agents of one of the most corrupt government agencies, the Bureau of Immigration, the opportunity to commit graft and corruption on travelers going abroad!
Whoever made those new guidelines may be well-intentioned, but they can only promote bribery and extortion by corrupt immigration agents.
My gulay, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) has added new guidelines for travelers aside from the usual passport, valid visa requirement, boarding pass and confirmed return or round trip ticket, such as reason of travel, financial capacity, proof of employment and income for first time travelers, hotel accommodation and proof of sponsor abroad and proof of relation.
And even worse, for first-time OFWs, not only proof of employment and visa and the usual requirements from the Department of Migrant Workers are required, which is an opportunity for corrupt BI agents to shake down travelers.
My gulay, it’s like burning a whole house to kill a rat!
Sure, there’s a need to stop human trafficking which is one of the problems of the government.
But, in the process, the new travel guidelines can only promote extortion, an opportunity for graft and corruption.
Aside from this, the IACAT guidelines are definitely a violation of the right to travel and the right to privacy.
Considering all this, my gulay, it would do well for President Marcos Jr. to have the new IACAT guidelines junked.
If not, the new guidelines , being unconstitutional, will surely be contested in court.
As I said, it would do well for BBM to have those new IACAT guidelines stopped.
My gulay, it’s bad enough for the country now suffering from high prices of almost all commodities, especially the high prices of rice.
Now this stupidity, Santa Banana!
The issue of charter change has come up again after President Marcos Jr. swore in members of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas under which political party he became President, which will need an amendment to the 1987 Constitution.
But, the problem is that following so many threats and challenges the country is facing, principally food security and inflation bringing about high prices, the least the nation should worry about is charter change or cha-cha.
As far as I am concerned, I believe in charter change since there’s definitely a need to update the charter.
During the first year of BBM, Senator Robin Padilla, a staunch advocate of charter change and federalism, who is also the chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendment and Revision of Codes, tried his best to have a cha-cha mainly on the oppressive and antiquated economic provisions of the charter, but failed.
He did not have support in the Senate which considered charter change not among its priorities, Charter change was the advocacy of Padilla when he ran for the Senate and topped it.
While I believe in charter change, not only on the economic provisions of the charter, but mainly on the need to structure our form of government, a unitary form where the seat of power is in Imperial Manila.
I am also a strong advocate of the Parliamentary System of government with one Parliament, doing away with two chambers in Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives, with a President duly-elected and a Prime Minister chosen among members of Parliament.
Just look at countries in Asia under the regime of a Parliamentary system.
We are about the only Unitary government, a copy of the United States system, with the difference that in the US they have a Federal form of government with each state having its own seat of power.
Under the strongman President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr., BBM’s late father, the parliamentary form of government was adopted until Cory Aquino, who came to power when the 1987 charter was adopted, scrapped it
I believe it’s time to amend the charter with all the threats, challenges and problems facing us, but like Padilla I believe in Federalism.
Federalism gives the seat of power to regions where they know the problems that must be attended to right away, instead of relying on Imperial Manila.
I do hope and pray that in the 2025 national elections, more and more believers and advocates of charter change like Padilla will be elected.
Am I dreaming, Santa Banana?
Like Senator Padilla, I believe the time will come when we Filipinos will realize that Federalism will be the best form of government.
Why not plunder
Like former Senator Dick Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, I would like to ask the Ombudsman, why not “plunder” for those found guilty in the big scandal of at least P11 billion that went to people involved in those contracts to furnish medical supplies to government by a measly capitalized Chinese firm, the Pharmally Pharmaceuticals?
There were even cases of people dying in hospital parking lots because they could not be accommodated at hospitals.
And here came Pharmally committing plunder at the expense of the government.
Yes, some executives of Pharmally were indicted with graft and corruption.
But, why not “plunder” at a time when Filipinos were dying at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It took Gordon long months to undertake that investigation of Pharmally which definitely was a scandal, but then President Duterte called that probe a “witchhunt,” and called on government people not to attend the probe of the Senate.
Why, was it because of Duterte’s pal, Davao-based Michael Yang, who became the special economic adviser of Duterte and others who have been involved in fraudulent contracts in Taiwan.
Like Gordon, the indictment by the Ombudsman for only graft with that kind of money lost because of the influence of some people close to the former President brings questions why corruption continues to be a big problem in government.
Yes, we can agree on the indictment of the head of the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management and of the Deputy Ombudsman, but many questions remain.
The Pharmally case was so big that it came close to being the biggest scandal in government since the P10 billion pork barrel scandal.
Why not go after the top? Gordon asked? Indeed, why not?
The problem with such scandals is that almost always, some people in the top are involved, but they remain untouchable.
As the former senator observed, the heinousness of the crime was it happened during the height of COVID-19 pandemic, involving a special friend of the then sitting President, Davao-based Michael Yang, who the former President made his special economic adviser.
Mister Ombudsman, there are many questions airing from this heinous scandal.
In my more than seven decades as a journalist, I have seen scandals before, but this scandal takes the cake.
I’d like to extend my congratulations to Tony Lambino who is now the President and member of the Board of Trustees of Ayala Foundation, after leaving his post as Managing Director for Strategic Communication of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
He was previously Assistant Secretary of the Department of Finance. A well-deserved position. Lambino is the son of the first cousin of my wife, Cecilia Gabor Lambino.