Gov’t response is critical

"Our officials should stop blaming each other."



Santa Banana, with the dreaded novel coronavirus infecting and killing more people by the day, the response of the government becomes more critical!

Our officials should stop finger-pointing and blame-throwing. “You should not do that” or “You should have done this” are words that will do no good.

The impact could go beyond our imagination. A drastic response is needed. We need to protect the health of 110 million Filipinos especially the poor who have no other recourse but rely on government.

My gulay, the World Health Organization has declared a global emergency!

We need a massive education and information program. The bulk of our people are still ignorant about the virus. There is no better protection than basic hygiene. President Duterte and the administration have responded well to the virus. He has banned the entry of the Chinese from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

The challenge now is to contain the impact of the virus on the economy. This is why I was shocked when the President, in a recent statement, said that nCoV “will die a natural death.” Unbelievable!

One more thing that Malacañang can do is prevent Sinophobia. It is not the fault of the Chinese. Not all Chinese are carriers of the virus.

I fear for our OFWs in Macau and Hong Kong. They might be prone to contracting the virus. They cannot simply be told to come back home; their jobs will spell the difference between life and death. Can they find similar gainful employment here? I doubt it.

Let’s just pray that the infection does not worsen.

* * *

I am amazed and disturbed by the apparent refusal of Malacañang and anti-corruption agencies to look into the irregularities in the contract entered into by the Bases Conversion Development Authority with the Malaysian firm, MTD Capital Berhad. This is in relation to the construction of the sports facility at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac that was used in the Southeast Asian Games.

If the President and the Ombudsman would only look into the joint venture agreement, they would be shocked because it is clearly onerous and disadvantageous to the government—and of course to the Filipino taxpayers.

I have studied the JVA and as a lawyer, I found many questionable provisions.

First, parties to a JVA contribute equally. But MTD Capital Berhad constructed the sports facility at the cost of P8.510 billion, while BCDA had its 40-hectare property as usufruct.

In the end, BCDA, a government agency, would pay more than P11 billion! BCDA claimed that the excess of the construction was supposed to be a reasonable return on investment of the Malaysian firm. That’s a lot of bull, I think.

Second, the JVA provided for a 50-50 sharing for both BCDA and the Malaysian firm for 25 years or even more. My gulay, BCDA is already paying more than the cost of the project amounting to over P11 billion, and yet it agreed to a 50-50 sharing?

Third, while the Office of the Government

Corporate Counsel said that the Build-Operate- Transfer element had been embedded in the contract, BCDA made it appear that it was purely a joint venture. Since the project was a BOT, there was need for a public bidding, which was not followed.

Why did the OGCC now claim that he construction of the sports facility was legal and above board? Something is fishy somewhere, and it should be investigated.

Didn’t the President vow that he would not hesitate to fire people at the slightest whiff of corruption?

* * *

The disbursement of intelligence funds of various departments has always been a source of graft and corruption.

This is why the Senate needs to create a group to oversee the disbursements of such funds.

The revelation, for instance, of Undersecretary Eliseo Rio of what is happening at the Department of Information and Communication Technology has to be looked into. DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan has a lot of explaining to do.

Topics: Emil Jurado , 2019 novel coronavirus , 2019-nCoV , World Health Organization , Sinophobia
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