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Thursday, December 7, 2023

How petty graft erodes people’s faith in gov’t

“What is there in village and youth polls to have a reason to kill?”

The big scandals of graft and corruption are all over the newspapers, television and internet, but what you don’t read about are the countless cases of small graft and corruption that happen everyday that eat up the core of the people’s faith in government, Santa Banana!

The extortion committed by traffic enforcers when they stop your vehicle and tell you to pull over, and accuse you of violating a traffic rule which you are totally unaware of, and then they insinuate to you on the side that for a few hundreds of pesos you are excused, happens day in and day out.

And whenever you are involved in a small car accident and when you are taken to the police station to file the needed car accident report that you need to claim your car incident report for insurance purposes, the policeman tells you that either the station typewriter is not working or that the policeman is too busy, you start losing your cool until you notice the sign/signal that you have to give him some grease money and all of a sudden another typewriter is available, then you understand.

That’s all part of the game, my gulay!

They may be small cases of graft and corruption, but, as I said, when it happens to you, your faith and confidence in government are eroded.

I recall when one of my sons wanted to open a small gallery shop in Makati, he needed various permits before he could open a shop.

He managed to get all those permits, although it took him months with some “padulas” or grease money, but when it came to the mayor’s permit, he was told that he’d have to pay P50,000 “for the boys”.

My son asked for my help, so I had to look for somebody who carried some influence at City Hall.

Santa Banana, if all this could happen in Makati City, I can now see how much more in the province when you are required to secure environmental permits and police or military permits among others.

I know, since my other son once worked for a property developer somewhere in Laguna.

When you get involved in any business, you have to face the rigors of going into business.

All these confront foreign investors.

These instances of petty graft and corruption may be taken for granted by a lot of Filipinos, but, Santa Banana, when they are taken together, the corruption is far worse than the P10 billion pork barrel scandal and definitely even worse than the scandal involving Pharmally Pharmaceuticals that occurred at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And, my gulay, you don’t read about these small cases in newspapers and hear over the television.

But graft and corruption strike deep in the people’s faith and confidence in the government.

They may not be scandalous like that P10 billion pork barrel scam involving senators and members of Congress.

Nnow there is the procurement scandal by the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management for laptops which were definitely overpriced and the infamous P10 billion contract at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic for medical supplies.

It even linked President Duterte because of his special economic adviser Davao City-based Michael Yang, the alleged financier of the measly-capitalized Pharmally Pharmaceutical.

Petty graft and corruption strike deep into the people’s faith and confidence in government and in administrations past and present.


The Department of Justice did well to suspend the new travel guidelines scheduled to be implemented on Sept.3 by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).

Can you imagine all the confusion the new travel guidelines could have created at the international airport, and all the delays in boarding flights if the DOJ did not suspend the new travel requirements?

Above everything, they would have given the corrupt immigration agents an opportunity to shake down and extort money from new Filipino travelers, especially new OFWs, Santa Banana!

I said earlier the IACAT may be well-intentioned to stop human trafficking at the international airports, but, my gulay, they would well be likened to “burning the house just to catch or kill a rat.”

Aside from an opportunity for corrupt immigration agents to shake down new travelers, the constitutionally-guaranteed right to travel and right to privacy were being violated.

My gulay, aside from the usual passports required of travelers and the visa and the return tickets, a new traveler would have to show source of income, employment, and for sponsored trips, who or what are sponsoring the traveler.

All these could have caused chaos and confusion and long queuing at immigration and failure to board a scheduled flight.

I know that several groups were ready to file a Temporary Injunction Order at the Supreme Court to contest the new guidelines as violations of the right to travel and the right to privacy.

We are not told who were the geniuses who crafted the new guidelines, but they would give corrupt immigration agents the opportunity to shake down new travelers, especially new OFWs, to ask for bribes.

From my point of view, the new guidelines should not only be suspended, but ordered scrapped altogether.

Yes, my gulay, there’s a lot of human trafficking going on.

But, you shouldn’t burn the house to catch or kill a rat.

NAIA rehabilitation

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has become Jurassic in many ways, often referred to as one of the worst airports in this region.

But, what is difficult to understand is why so many proposals have been made by private conglomerates to rehabilitate it and even to operate it, and yet their unsolicited proposals to modernize and operate the international gateway have been rejected.

Now comes the so-called PPP or Public-Private Partnerships scheme by the NEDA or National Economic and Development Authority approving a P170.2 billion scheme which will open public bidding to rehabilitate and operate NAIA with a concessional right to operate it for 10 years and renewal for another 15 years, to double passenger traffic from the present 32 million and double it, and, above everything, provide passenger comfort and experience.

There’s no doubt NAIA, a dinosaur as compared to international airports in the region, must be rehabilitated and properly operated.

I have gone around the world on many occasions, my heart bleeds a little when I come home and see NAIA as compared to other airports, not only in Southeast Asia, but to international airports in the US, Europe and the Middle east.

But, what I cannot understand is why the unsolicited proposals, much more than what NEDA set at P170.2 billion, were rejected and why NEDA would rather prefer solicited bidding proposals.

What is important, however, is NAIA is crying out for rehabilitation and new operation, if we intend to have the Philippines as a new haven for foreign investments.

My gulay, what I am afraid of is when foreign investors come to the Philippines, they may change their minds as regards investing in the Philippines after going through NAIA and, worse, after going through other airports nationwide.

Political violence

Santa Banana, following reports that there had been cases of violence after filing Certificates of candidacy for village chiefs and youth participation in the forthcoming local elections this October, one is prone to ask:

What is there to die for in the village and youth elections?

Is it for the opportunity to commit graft and corruption?

Or is it for the opportunity to become well-known and famous so that later on, one can run for Congress and even the Senate.

The only reason that comes to mind is that one becomes a village chief, one becomes an important person in a village and for the “Sanguniang Kabataan” one also becomes a youth leader.

I can think of one reason why there had been some violence in the forthcoming elections.

Something is ingrained in the Filipino psyche that one has to be elected to make himself well-known and famous , so much so that one has to resort to violence to achieve fame and become well-known.

Please tell me why this is not so.

I can understand these things happen during local elections for mayor, councilor and during congressional polls every three years.

But, what is there in village and youth polls to have a reason to kill?

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