• Business of corruption; stocks will sustain

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    Ej Lopez

    Ej Lopez

    The past week has been a trying time for the Philippine government, because of this chronic problem that has now become visible in the open, which unfortunately if left unabated will soon be like rust that destroys the iron. Despite the fact that the people are well aware of this existing malady, corruption has always been the root and cause of many lingering problems and illnesses in the country. It has now become apparent and obvious that big personalities are immersed in this activity. Whereas previously these personalities are merely implied because of indirect contact to the activity, now they have become brazen in their activity because they know that they can always get out of it because of political connections.

    Public corruption is a political activity. Unless and until strong political will is done to curb its activity, it will go on without let-up, because people with influence on the ruling political power can and will always get out of it unscathed. To date, not a single soul in all political leaderships, enjoying its patronage, past and present, was ever convicted of graft and corruption.

    The continuing saga of graft and corrupt practices in our bureaucracy has contributed immensely to the protracted poverty that was supposed to have been alleviated, if not completely addressed, by the enormous amount of money lost because of these wicked practices.

    In the 2012 Global Corruption Perception Index, the Philippines ranked 105 out of 176 countries in the most corrupt countries of the world (http://www.transparency.org/country#PHL). The same source reveal that politicians, commentators, international agencies and others have all repeatedly claimed that an estimated 20 percent of the national budget is lost to corruption each year. With the 2014 budget set at approximately P2.3 trillion, that means about P460 million could be lost to corruption every fiscal year.

    This existing malaise has undergone a lot of resolutions, redress or even exorcism so to speak, but nothing came out right to address this age-old problem, which seems peculiar to our local setting. Many presidents and chief executives have come and gone, whether a dictator, a democrat, a liberal or a highly trusted one, but the problem remains unsettled. How far can the country go to seek relief from this shameless people who commit this economic sabotage meant to push the Filipino people down to their grave just to satisfy their “hellish” acts? Can they not satisfy themselves with just having more than enough of their needs in life, that they have to go to the extent of possessing more and more while others have barely anything?

    The amount of money lost from graft and corruption is enough to pay our debt servicing requirements that is equivalent to P300 billion, and the excess can go to the development of infrastructure program for the full development of farm to market roads that would spur development in the countryside.

    How many students will benefit had there been an absence of this malady in the bureaucracy? Practically, every bureaucratic station of public service is rigged with corruption in varied extents. Even the supposed privileged grant of funds aptly called pork barrel, meant to spread out development nationwide, has become a scheme for this practice without shame of being caught, banking on their legal acumen to escape legal probe.

    Added to this countryside development fund (CDF) legislators are entitled to, but have become a political instrument for either a reward or vendetta depending on your political relationship with whoever is in power. The culture of corruption is already embedded deep in our society and it has become systemic, for it has developed as a part of any procedure whether public of private systems or processes.

    The current finger pointing at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) is a typical example of an agency whose corrupt operational process seems like a cancer in its most advanced stage. The good thing about cancer is that it eventually dies, but not corruption at the BOC. The problem in this agency seems incurable regardless of who handles it.

    Curiously, the personalities who have been lately implicated to the bureau’s money-making ventures have nothing else to say but deny, and according to them, they are mere victims of “political vendetta” (May God have mercy on their souls!). These people may escape the law of man, which they may possibly manipulate, but not the Law of God which will punish them from their callous and dreadful acts.

    The country would have long been an economic tiger and power in Southeast Asia and perhaps in the Asian region, had we utilized all the money lost from graft and corruption for the development of our communities and the society as a whole. Singapore, the least corrupt country in the Southeast Asian region, has proven to all sundry that they can rise up to the challenge despite lack of natural resources and achieved the tiger status because of disciplined bureaucratic agencies, whose foremost objective is the upliftment of the standard of living of its people and not for personal aggrandizements.

    Stock market will sustain in the last quarter

    Despite the roller coaster events involving the daily trends in the local bourse market, we can collectively surmise that it has performed generally well. Not to take away anything from its record-breaking performances since the latter part of the previous year, the stability displayed by the local economy has done a lot of good things in the business sector and has reverberated to the local portfolio. Added to the still to be waited resurrection of the United States economy, investments, regardless of nature, have found their way to local shores.

    This will go on until the last quarter of the year, considering that it’s already too late in the day if ever the US economy hopes to recover. The local economy, despite the chips being down several times because of threat of another recession, has shown resiliency, and in fact exhibited positive growth despite other markets going down.

    It is therefore safe to conclude that the local bourse has already reached a certain level of maturity, where it can independently perform positively and not be reliant on the movements of more prominent markets.

    With the forgoing, it is therefore not far-fetched that the bourse will break the 7,000-point barrier by the end of the year. Let’s take advantage of this harvest!

    For comments email: doc.ejlopez@gmail.com with cc to: opinion@manilatimes.net.

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