Business activity in the aftermath of pork scam, ‘habagat’

Ej Lopez

Ej Lopez

A series of unfortunate events both natural and man-made has again put the country into the limelight of shame and “fame.” The biggest financial scandal of all time involving government funds that obviously emanate from people’s hard-earned income taxes has been uncovered. The highly anomalous issue on priority development assistance funds (PDAF) has been one of the most abused issues lately, which was obviously done by abusive personalities. The total amount involved is approximately P10 billion, or $232 million, should have gone a long way to alleviate the plight not only of the poor sector of our society but also the business sector, but this amount of money that came from the taxpayers’ pocket was “erroneously” diverted to “foundations” created for their personal aggrandizement. As it is, these huge amounts that have been diverted have made some of our trusted “rich” leaders’ more filthy rich. That is how politics work in this corrupt-ridden nation that people have grown weary of. People have grown tired of waiting for leaders that will truly be sensitive to their needs. Each election, people have to look forward to upcoming leaders, hoping against hope that along will come the “knight in shining armor” that will finally provide them the much needed relief from hunger and poverty. But all these are put to naught with some breed of leaders.

Regardless of ongoing and upcoming investigations to get to the bottom of the issue, it has already created an impression that is hard to reverse in the minds of the people, that we elected some leaders whose foremost concern is not the people’s welfare. Janet Lim Napoles, the controversial personality allegedly behind all this controversial pork scam has become the face of Philippine politics. Whereas, before people would merely speculate the beneficiaries of these PDAFs, creating doubts if these really reached and effectively promote the people’s interest and welfare, but now it has been confirmed and affirmed, how politics play in this country. No wonder, the country has been left out by other countries by a mile in development, the leadership qualities that characterize some of our leaders are dismayingly disappointing. Though people take it with a grain of salt on so many occasions, these leaders still have the temerity to justify their selfish and inhuman acts. If Napoles is to become the culprit of this uneventful action, the greater should be the liability of the concerned leaders involved in this huge pork (or is it beef?) barrel scam. This creates doubts on the part of the business sector as regards the sincerity of this administration to get rid of graft and corruption. It was a problem many regimes ago and still is a problem in this regime; will this be a part of an institutional commitment in all other regimes that will come and go?

Lost opportunities
The spate of bad weather recently experienced by the country, specifically, majority of the Luzon area, has resulted into loss of business opportunities for the country, just like what majority of Mindanao experienced in recent months. The amount of money lost because of missed business opportunities is enough to feed many starving families. These could have spelled the difference among people who could have been employed if not for that debilitating calamity. The opportunities foregone brought about by the incessant floods practically covering the entire Metro Manila has effectively paralyzed business operations, at the same time exposing workers to great risks therefore endangering their productivity.

These natural events that perennially occurred in the country seem unresolved by whoever will hold the throne of national or local leadership. Floods and other form of natural calamities has become a traditional occurrence that people who are affected by this tragedy just take it as an ordinary episode in life. Regardless of the people’s observation, this phenomenon creates a certain kind of perception that is taken negatively by the business sector. This kind of problem will forever be a hindrance in our desire toward achieving tiger status. Basic as it is, the problem requires a great amount of political will to address, which unfortunately up to now remains uncertain. Political will includes resettlement of the informal settlers, majority of them clogging the waterways, continuous declogging of the drainage system and other support actions.

These frustrating events create a black eye in what investors perceive of our country as an investment destination. The situation is aggravated by the fact that these are incidents that traditionally takes place in the Metropolis, the center of business activity and the hub of trade and commerce. Unless and until the national leadership takes cognizance of this perennial problem, the country’s thrust of achieving the tiger status will remain an ambition, hard to attain.

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