It is simply amazing how public funds are sadly wasted in public works and transportation projects (DPWH & DoTC), and government revenues are lost due to the smuggling of rice, oil-products and others at the Bureau of Customs (BoC). The amounts involve each year run to hundreds of billions of pesos.
The worst part in the waste of the people’s money is when these projects undertaken are not even needed at all, which now seems to be a hallmark of the Aquino administration. Of course, this is on top of the projects being obscenely overpriced due to substandard materials used, such as with the 203 bunkhouses built by DPWH contactors worth over P200.0 Million that Rehabilitation Chief Panfilo “Ping” Lacson has revealed.
Last 22 March 2014, I wrote an article entitled “Corruption at DPWH & Road Board” on the anomalous lighting project of the DPWH and its Road Board along the Alabang-Zapote Road in Muntinlupa. This was reported earlier in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on 15 December 2013 entitled “’Overkill’: New Munti streetlights questioned.” Until today, Secretary Rogelio Singson has not stopped this notorious lighting project.
The issue on the controversial P15.0 Million project is that the Road Board is putting up 125 new lamp-posts in the Alabang Town Center and Madrigal Business Park area when there is already existing lighting there along the national road. Other than the fact that they are not needed, the new lampposts are installed 15 to 20 meters apart, instead of the correct 30 to 40 meters distance. Such unbridled DPWH corruption!
Thus, it is truly surprising to hear senior Cabinet members of President Benigno S. Aquino III speak of the “reforms” that have been achieved in the past four years, which “must be continued” in the remaining last two years and beyond his term in 30 June 2016. There now appears to be a glaring disparity between actual reality and the delusion of PNoy and his people. Speaking of being out of touch with reality!
Last Wednesday, perennial presidential aspirant Manuel “Mar” Roxas II broached the idea of a second term for President B. S. Aquino III. The current Secretary of the Department of Interior & Local Government (DILG) claims that the alleged clamor is a “support for the continuance of Daan Matuwid.” In short, Mar Roxas wants “PNoy to continue the reforms,” as the Inquirer placed on its front page last Thursday, August 7.
During the Senate hearing on the despicable Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) last July 24, 2014, Budget & Management Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad deliriously spoke of the “chilling effect” of the Supreme Court decision declaring DAP as unconstitutional on the “Aquino’s administration momentum for reform.” This ludicrous statement must really be A BAD Joke, as I wrote in my column of 26 July 2014.
Two months earlier in May, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima wrote an article in time for the World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Manila on the alleged reforms undertaken by the Aquino administration. Mr. Purisima wrote: “To see how reforms can change perception and reality one may look at the Philippines.”
Even the Inquirer seem to support that “reform” line with its article entitled “Under International Scrutiny: If PH Reform Irreversible” that asked on “ whether the turnaround that the country has seen in recent years is irreversible? Again, the question is what “turnaround” has really happened in the past years?
The “turnover” that the Aquino administration must be referring to are the impressive economic growth in the past two years, particularly the 7. 2 per cent increase in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013 and the investment upgrades from Fitch, Standard & Poor (S&P) and Moody’s. Yet this impressive figures have not really translated to more jobs to provide for the people’s basic needs, such as food on the table.
No less than Economic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director-General Arsenio Balisacan admitted last year that there is no inclusive growth in the Philippine economy. Last month, even the Office of the President in Malacañang announced that the Aquino administration “shall focus on inclusive growth” in its remaining two years. This is something that they should have started doing two years ago in 2012.
It remains a mystery what these “reforms” are that President B.S. Aquino 3rd has achieved in the past four years. Neither the Chief Executive nor his senior Cabinet members like Mar Roxas, Butch Abad and Cesar Purisima can spell out what these alleged “reforms” are. Perhaps they are a state secret that cannot be divulged due to national security. Indeed, these “reforms” are all rhetoric without the details.
The Daan na Matuwid rhetoric of the Aquino administration sounds like the “momentum for reforms “ that DBM Secretary Abad shamelessly spoke of during the Senate hearing two weeks ago. It is sheer hypocrisy and delusion for PNoy and his people to talk of “reforms” when the Department of Justice (DoJ) has not yet filed the third batch of complaints with the Office of the Ombudsman on the P10.0 Billion PDAF scam.
The first batch of complaints was filed by the DoJ with the Ombudsman almost a year ago in September 2013 against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla. Jr., who are now imprisoned with their indictment at the Sandiganbayan. The second batch was filed in late November 2013 that included former congressman and Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, a Liberal Party stalwart.
However, the third batch of complaints that would include Liberal Party members and political allies of the administration were supposed to have been filed by the DoJ with the Office of the Ombudsman in late April or early May this year. Three months have passed (May-July) and the eloquent Secretary Leila de Lima has successfully deferred its filing.
Just like with the alleged “savings” impounded in the despicable DAP, the Aquino presidency must have also redefined the new meaning of the word “reforms!”