Congress is PH’s biggest manufacturing industry

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These measures include, her press release said, “establishing child care facilities in private and government offices, creating programs for imprisoned parents and their children, mandating gender sensitivity training in the workplace, providing free medical and dental assistance to indigent children, protecting schools from sex offenders, and amending the VAWC Law to include digital forms of violence against women and children are among the 15 proposed bills in the frontline.”

Another incoming Senator, Cynthia Villar, filed bills on the proposed Department of Overseas Filipino Workers Act; the proposed Anti “No Permit, No Exam Policy Act; the proposed Accelerated Irrigation Act; the proposed Investments and Incentives Code, and the Act providing an assistance program for overseas Filipino workers in distress.

The topnotcher newcomer Senator, Grace Poe has bills on “a Sustansiya sa Batang Pilipino Act, a nutrition-driven legislation with the objective of providing free nutria-meals to school children in public education, and the proposed Film Tourism Act, which aims to make film tourism a business priority. She also filed two resolutions, calling for the re-examination of the government’s policies and programs for OFWs, and the plight of coconut farmers.”

Three incumbent senators. Vicente Sotto, Ferdinand Marcos and Loren Legarda, filed a combined total of at least 15 bills.


Sotto wants a special Dangerous Drugs Court; affordable drug rehabilitation treatment for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) beneficiaries; to ban kids 12 and below from riding in tandem with an adult and amend Section 150 of R.A. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991.

Legarda’s bills tackle the Pantawid Tuition Program, which aims to fund one college scholar for every poor family; the Pag-Asa Modernization bill, the Magna Carta for School Teachers; the National Land Use bill, and the creation of the Philippine River Basin System Administration, an integrated river basin management approach as a comprehensive framework in developing and managing the country’s river basin systems.

Marcos’s bills define cybercrime and its prevention and penalties; impose a three-year moratorium on the creation or conversion of state universities and colleges; provide retirement benefits for barangay workers; accelerate irrigation projects, and increase Social Security System pensions.

Congress is the biggest manufacturing industry in the Philippines today. This is on top of gallons of saliva our honorable men produce in and out of Congress which if converted into oil will bring the country immediately to energy self-sufficiency.

The House of Representatives, with 287 members (wow), has tons of bills which if converted into trees would be enough to reforest our balding mountains.

Our laws are now numbered in five digits and will soon outnumber the digits on the Philippine peso. The last republic act was No. 10606 which requires that even squatters have health insurance. This law’s perception of the problem is wrong. The poor must be guaranteed health, not guaranteed health insurance.

As of my last count, the Philippines had 15,000 laws—Commonwealth acts; decrees, executive orders, general orders, letters of instructions and proclamations by presidents; Batas Pambansa (about 881) made by the Batasan from 1973 to 1985, and republic acts (numbering 10,606) by Congresses established from 1987 to 2013. In 12 years, the so-called Marcos rubber-stamp Batasan produced 881 laws – an average of 73 per year. In 26 years, the so-called democratically elected Congress enacted 10,600 laws—an average of 407 laws per year.

Think of any crime or any violation, any act of man or even any act of God (remember Ondoy?), or anything in promotion of God, motherhood and country—that is already covered by an existing law. We have 30,000 lawyers, of whom 15,000 are active. So we have one active lawyer for every law and one law for every active lawyer.

What do we get for all that BS? Nothing. Exactly nothing.

The Philippines is one of the most lawless countries in Asia. Our infrastructure is one of the most decrepit in the region. Our system of justice is one of the worst in the world. Our income inequality is one of the worst in the world.

Filipinos were far better off in the period 1973 to 1985 when only 800 laws were passed than in the quarter century from 1987 to 2013 when 10,600 laws were passed. In 1983, one of the darkest crisis years for the Philippines, unemployment was only 5.9 percent. In 2013, one of the brightest years for the economy, unemployment was reported at 7.8 percent. In 1983, less than 15 million Filipinos were reckoned as poor. In 2013, more than 30 million Filipinos are considered poor.

Who are getting richer? Our congressmen and our senators are the best-paid Filipinos—bar none. Nearly all our senators are billionaires. Almost all our congressmen are multi-millionaires, including the self-proclaimed poor among them. Yet, no more than three—yes, three—senators and congressmen are in the country’s Top 500 largest taxpayers list. That is because Congressman Manny Pacquiao is a boxing billionaire and Senator Manny Villar and his wife are property billionaires.

Outside of their regular salaries and irregular allowances, congressmen receive P70 million a year in pork barrel funds or P210 million in three years. Senators receive P200 million a year in pork barrel or P1.2 billion in six years. Sometimes, a family has two senators – in a country of 22 million families. That family gets P2.4 billion in six years.

This is true of the Cayetanos and the Estradas. Diyos ko bakit sila lang ang mga anak ng Diyos!

Multiply P200 million by 24, you get P4.8 billion. Multiply P70 million by 287 congressmen, you get P20 billion. P20 billion plus P4.8 billion is almost P25 billion. That’s what our so-called lawmakers are costing us, taxpayers, every year.

Did you realize what P25 billion could do? A student of the state University of the Philippines killed herself because the government university didn’t allow her to enroll for failure to pay a P6,000 ($142) tuition loan. Divide P25 billion by P6,000, it can send 4.1 million poor students to the nation’s best university for a semester. The math is quite simple: 4.1 million poor students vs. the number of our legislators —311 (24 senators plus 287 congressmen) who have access to oodles of money.

Every year in this country, the number of jobless increases, the number of squatters increases, the number of hungry increases, the number of poor increases. Every year, Philippine infrastructure deteriorates, basic services deteriorate, and the absence of government in many places becomes more poignant.

We have the world’s longest separatist movement (41 years) and the world’s longest communist insurgency (44 years). Is Congress to blame? Should we padlock Congress?

Bna.biznewsasia@gmail.com

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13 Comments

  1. How do we correct a situation like that ? Parang hopeless ang Filipinas they you described it in your column.

    Politics in the number one business in the country. pEOPLE dont run for a public position in order to serve. You have to buy a lot of votes to get elected. You have no more motivation serve but to get back your investment. Then everyday while in office you spend it recovering your investment plus profit and it is very profitable.

    PEOPLE sell their votes because of their perception that after the elections wala na silang mapakinabangan sa tao na ibinoto nila.

    Dapat cguro we limit the right to vote to those who pay taxes. The poor and uneducated who sell their votes anyway should not vote.

  2. miriamquiamco on

    I wholeheartedly agree with the content of this article. The whole Philippine political system resembles that of a mafia organization. Not only that there are two siblings in the senate, there is also a father and a son (Angaras); it was not that surprising that the biggest noise in the chamber last December was about the millions in bonuses that Enrile had awarded to senators loyal to him. The president himself used the pork barrel system to get these legislators to waste taxpayers money by convincing them it was part of the national interest to hold a sham of a trial in order impeach CJ Corona. No less than the yellow haciendero raised his pork barrel to 67 billion pesos, to which congress and senate agreed to because they knew theirs would also increase with the consent of the yellow haciendero. Mafia, is what this government looks like.

    I see a solution to this bankrupt political system that we have, we should campaign to revise the constitution and go for a parliamentary form of government that is more efficient than this pork-barrel driven legislative system that we have. We should all support the movement to change our form of government and promote also the liberalization of investment in the country to empower the masses. When they are no longer dependent on the oligarchs for employment, they will start electing competent politicians, those who have a vision and will push for solutions to the problems that have been keeping us backward, and not only think of laws that are not at all directed towards the solution of our nagging developmental problems. With a parliamentary system of government, the pork barrel system will no longer be the incentive for people to run for public office. Check out the CoRRECT movement on facebook and help spread the message.

  3. lloyd reynoso on

    The problem is the political dynasty that is going on and perpetuated by the people because of ignorance.Another is implementation of the law.The law is implemented only to the poor who couldn’t afford the services of a good lawyer.Are influential politicians prosecuted as often as poor people though it is clear that most politicians commit crimes than the average people.THE POLITICAL DYNASTIES SUCKS!From Aparri to Jolo you would discover that just one family runs one province.It is a big joke as a matter of fact!Do the research and you would prove me right.PNP too is a big joke.In the northern province of the Phil. the PNP there at one time listened to the suggestion of a top politician that certain people did the crime and PRESTO,the wrong poeple now are wwrongly jailed now for years.Poor people,they are being persecuted because they didn’t support these family of politicians!.MY HEART BLEEDS FOR MY BELOVED COUNTRY,PHILIPPINES! QUO VADIS,FILIPINAS?

  4. Do you think that these people spent millions to get elected on a post that pays so little in order to serve the Filipino people? Filing thousands of useless bills that do not in anyway uplift the people from grinding poverty?

  5. traffice2000 on

    Our Legislative Department should be abolish long time ago specially the “PORK BARREL” that’s the root of legislative greedyness. They don’t want to serve our country only themselves.

  6. Rolando joven tenido on

    I prayed that this relevant truth will be read by the government especially the president. Abolish congress and improve the executive and judiciary instead. Pour our budget to the implementation of too many laws, hire more police and teachers. Build more schools, roads and bridges. Siya lang po ata ang nasa matuwid na daan. Lahat po ng nakapaligid sa kanya ay may mga personal din po interest. MABUHAY KA, MR. TONY LOPEZ, ……………SAPUL NA SAPOL.

  7. Voice from the Wilderness on

    With the present dysfunctional Congress now as aptly described by this columnist, there is an urgent need to overhaul the political system of the country. And this writer believes that it can’t be done with the present democratic set up. Perhaps another cleansing revolution is needed and a benevolent authoritarian leader in the mold of Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore is installed to guide the country in transition. One of the draconian measures that should be implemented during this transition was recomposition of Congress into a unicameral legislature with the members not entitled to this cursed “pork barrel” which is the source of all political evils in this country.

  8. Your article is sad but very true,we deserves this kind of government,it’s mostly our wrongdoing,,we have 50% of voters that are stupid and paid.its mentally agonizing when you compare our country to the other Asian countries.except for a few,look at the FACE AND STATURE of most our congressmen and senators,,most of them are for their own interest. Another issue is media ,except for some,most are members of the the YELLOW MEDIA and are lackeys.our present state will not improve ,perhaps after 3 generations,another issue we are suffering is ELECTRICITY AND WATER,this are public utilities,but we are being suckered for 20 years,,the most brutal is SYSTEM LOST,IS IT OUR FAULT FOR THE LOST? Will you pay for the spare tire that was stolen when a new car was delivered? Our present state is akin to a tinderbox,ready to explode ,like the French Revolution.

  9. Politics (interpretation: corruption) has always been (and always will be) the downfall of our beloved Philippines. Politicians do anything such as kill anyone in their way, to stay at their perch to enrich themselves and nothing else. When their term ceases, their siblings take their place, and sustain the corruption and havoc.

  10. Pres Lorenzo on

    Everyone, especially the high government officials and the rich, knows about these problems of inequity in the country. However, these are not taken seriously. Yet, everyone talks about the future of our children and grandchildren. I wonder if everyone, especially the politicians and the rich, thinks about the future of their children and grandchildren. If these problems persist, and the inevitable results of all these problems happen, i.e, hunger, crime, etc., no one will be spared; everyone will suffer the consequences.

    Another thing, mahilig lang tayo sa “gaya-gaya”, pero hindi naman natin kaya dahil kulang tayo sa pera. Let’s go back to the basics!

  11. Simply written, this article is one of the best I read from Mr. Lopez. Too bad that many of us do not have the facility to read articles like this one. True enough, todays Congress are writing laws which, if you do simple research, duplicates and overlaps each other. Many of them only change or add one or two sentences and lo and behold! they are made laws. Congress is not only a manufacturing industry but a profit making entity.

  12. finally an editorial writer that has the cojones to write what all hard-working and tax-paying pinoys have been shouting out loud for decades now – the exorbitant amounts of money that support a legislative assembly that is practically useless … personally I think the Phil congress is among the most corrupt and inutile legislative bodies in the whole world – and you hit on the head when you mentioned that among the 24 sitting senators are 2 sets of siblings – the Cayetano’s and Estrada’s … in a nation of about 100 million souls, to have 2 sets of siblings sit as senators speaks volumes of just how broken our electoral system is and how immature Filipino voters are!