• Nothing much has changed in 30 years (2)

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    THE past three decades started with the presidency of Corazon C. Aquino in 1986 and will end with that of her only son, Benigno S. Aquino 3rd, in 2016. Their two terms of 12 years combined — 1986 to 1992 and 2010 to 2006 – represent 40 percent of the past 30 years. Yet so little has changed for the better and so much has changed for the worse.

    Corruption continued under the Cory government in spite of her not being involved and her rising above it. Of course, it can also be said the level of venality during the Aquino administration is not as excessive as the past Marcos regime with its inordinate corruption. However, the Filipino people expected drastic, radical reforms after the EDSA 1 People Power Revolt, which did not unfortunately happen.

    A former classmate told me the story of the corruption that he personally witnessed in the late 1980s. The DPWH officials and the conniving contractors would meet at the function room of his restaurant after the bidding of a project by the Department of Public Works & Highways (DPWH). After lunch, the contractors would give bags of cash to the DPWH officials. Everyone was smiling, laughing and definitely very happy.

    Fast forward to the past five years of the sanctimonious administration of President B. S Aquino 3rd. I asked a DPWH contractor from Central Luzon if he knows of any DPWH District Engineer who is Not Corrupt. He could only smile and say “No!” It goes without saying the same is true with the Regional Directors, who are their bosses. Then you have the levels of Assistant Secretary and Undersecretary to reckon with. Tough!

    In Metro Manila, the DPWH wasted P80 million in 2012 in a road-widening project that is not needed along C-5 in front of the Heritage Park in Taguig. The favored contractor is from Tarlac and a friend and political supporter of President Aquino. Yet DPWH has neither widened the narrow four-lane Cavite section of Daang Hari nor has DPWH repaired and maintained the more than 10-year old national highway!

    Other than the anomalies at the DPWH and DoTC, there is also the never-ending corruption at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BoC). The latter has the distinction of having two BoC Commissioners who were fired and the most recent, a former Finance Assistant Secretary who has resigned. Former Customs Chief John Sevilla resigned four months ago in April due to “politics” and influence peddling.

    Based on the statements of Customs Commissioner John Sevilla, it is obvious that PNoy NEVER gave him the needed support to accomplish his mission. This sounds familiar because Secretary Rainerio O. Reyes of the Department of Transportation & Communicatons (DoTC) suddenly resigned in December 1989 when he was convinced that President Cory Aquino was no longer giving him the support that he direly needed.

    Vested interests
    The oligarchy has remained entrenched with their vested interests. They were even able to advance their selfish interests after the EDSA 1 People Power Revolt with the new 1987 Constitution that contained restrictive provisions to deter Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs). Our neighbours like Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam have left us behind in Southeast Asia primarily due to the low level of FDIs in our country.

    In the past five years, the President has consistently maintained his position that he is against the removal of the restrictive economic provisions in our Constitution. Either he is really super-stupid not to understand and appreciate the value of FDIs in our economy such as employment generation or he is super-smart to protect the interests of his class.

    The business sector, composed of the business and management organizations and foreign chambers of commerce, has publicly clamored for the lifting of these provisions. Even the House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Sonny Belmonte has supported the amendments in the Constitution to attract badly needed foreign investors. However, President Aquino still remains adamant in his misguided position.

    Last month, there was a Joint Resolution in the House of Representative and the Philippine Senate for an amendment on the two provisions of the Constitutions to entice FDIs. For a while, it seemed that it would be approved because the Joint Resolution has been approved in the Second Reading. All it needed was for the vote in the plenary session.

    Unfortunately, Speaker Belmonte pulled it out at the last minute saying that he did not have the numbers for it to be approved. However, it is widely believed that the House Speaker received a call from Malacañang that made him change his mind. Later on in July, it was revealed in a press interview that Mr. Belmonte did not push for the constitutional amendment because he was unable to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

    In short, the Speaker of the House did not want to offend the puerile president by approving the constitutional amendments and yet not passing the BBL last June, which President Aquino desperately wanted to have. The other possibility is that the Office of the President called Speaker Belmonte with a message not to pass the direly needed amendments to the Constitution for a reason. The President can exercise his veto powers.

    Going back to vested interests, road-users are paying a higher toll rate for the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) than the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). Why? Because TPLEX has become a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project instead of a government-funded project like the SCTEX. Same thing happened to the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX) of President B. S. Aquino 3rd.

    The toll rate of SCTEX is only P2.50 per km. while TPLEX is charging P1.0 per km more at P3.50 per km. The toll rate of TPLEX would only be P2.50 per km like SXTEX if only the original plan was followed. The extension of SCTEX, which became TPLEX, could have tapped Japan BIC for funding like the SCTEX. However, vested interests successfully STOPPED it during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

    Speaking of the SCTEX, the Cojuangco family of President Aquino managed to receive the payment for its land expropriated by the BCDA at TWICE the price that the other landowners were paid. This issue was raised during the 2010 presidential elections. They even originally wanted the value of P200.00 per sqm. (Four Times!) that was allegedly promised to them by someone who is now the favorite secretary of PNoy.

    Rick B. Ramos rbrpilipinas@gmail.com

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    11 Comments

    1. I take exception to what Rick Ramos wrote: “Corruption continued under the Cory government in spite of her not being involved and her rising above it. ” Is he saying that someone on the top is not liable for the corruption under her? Similar statement is being propagated today with BS Aquino not being corrupt but that is not true. The mother and son may not be dipping their hands DIRECTLY into the cookie jar but they are as guilty as their subordinates in plundering the country. They have allowed corruption to flourish recklessly and relentlessly. Lets stop this nonsense that Cory Aquino and her son are not involved in corruption as nothing can be furthest from the truth.

    2. Amnata Pundit on

      Walang napatunayan ang mga Corista sa mga paratang nila laban kay Marcos at ang mga tauhan niya. Hanggang ngayon puro propaganda pa rin. Nung makaupo na ang mga Corista gutom na gutom sila sa pera. Hanggang ngayon gutom pa rin. Pag si Binay ang pinalabas ng Smartmatic, mukhang yan ang pinakagutom sa lahat. Walang pagbabago na mangyayari hanggat mga dilaw ang mga nakaupo sa gobyerno.

    3. “…the level of venality during the Aquino administration is not as excessive as the past Marcos regime…” Are you kidding? What year were you born, Mr. Ramos? Maybe you learned to read and write only after Cory Aquino ended her disastrous term. If that is the case, then I forgive you writing such nonsense.

      • Wolfgang Struck on

        Correct, Canuto! Rick Ramos must be kidding or he reads mainstream newspapers too much. Marcos fired them in droves as “undesirable in office”. They hated him for that. Marcos wanted true land reform, even urban land reform, in order to create a better road net work in Metro Manila. The rich and shameless hated him for that and look at the traffic mess we have almost daily now because of that.

        Remember Miriam in BID during Cory time? They hated her when they saw that she was honest and hard-working Marcos-style. Cory had to take her out so that the crooks could go on doing their business as usual. In 1972, the teachers association came to Marcos and said that they need more schools. Marcos asked “how many?” They dared to say 20,000. That year, 20,000 new schools were built all over the country. You can see them everywhere today in the provinces. They cost P20,000 at the time. This government is looking at the possibility of selling some of them to Ayala Land and SM for P20 Million. Filipinos wouldn’t know. The money is not for them.

        Ronald Roy Jr., an opinion writer in Tribune, was a high official in Landbank of the Philippines. He can swear to God that there was no corruption in Landbank of the Philippines during Marcos time. In 1994, FVR was able to steal P39B from a Landbank account from a 50% down payment by Manny Pangilinan for Metro Pacific for the development of Global City. Corruption in Landbank today? You bet. Honest people are like misfits in government today and Landbank is government.

        Government is for the rich. They do not even return the funds for the 1968 Land Reform to the farmers, same as the coco levy funds in United Coconut Planters Bank, wrongly and illegally sequestered from Marcos to 91% of the shares of stock and held and enjoyed by corrupt PCGG officials. They also hold, wrongly and illegally, 27% of San Mig shares for the same reason, Marcos-owned. They pocket the profits laughing all the way to their bank accounts in Hong Kong maybe.

        Thanks for your input. It inspired me.

        Wolfgang Struck

    4. Just think of this inutile government who prohibits US Citizens to bring home their cars by slapping a 200 per cent tax on their memorabilias? Customs making it hard for them to bring goodies to their loved ones? Just think of the USED CLOTHING prohibition that they slapped for the poor! Nonsense government legislators who don’t even want to repeal oppressive laws!

    5. zaara madison on

      Those corrupt Filipinos are stupid, absolutely. They became countless after Pres. Marcos until today.

      They may have amassed a lot of billions of pesos. But, they and their families and love ones are still living in the Philippines.

      So they make a hell out of the the Philippines by their corruption but they still live likewise in hell!
      in hell they help created and sustain.

    6. we need a strong and honest leaders like Ping Lacson, Duterte and Miriam Santiago. other than this it will be as usual for the poor Philippines. I like to include Bong Bong Marcos but I doubt if he will win though with his family past record. These are the only leaders that can give the country a chance to prosper and join the new tigers of Asia. others will just be typical lazy crooks. Pnoy is honest too but his appointed friends are the ones who are making him look bad. Just like with late pres Marcos. Many agree that his first 4 years in office was a good one but later was stained by his relatives and friends. rest is history

    7. the truth is, the aquino family and oligarch friends of corykng up to his son abnoy, the media want to hide, from the filipino people, that they were really the THIEF of the nation, Aquino and yellow tard makati businessman. Nagtagumpay sila sa pagpapahirap sa mamayang filipino, mula ng mapatalsik nila si APo mcoy. Mabuti sana kung may nagawa man lang development, tulad ng additional MRT lines of transportation para sa mga tao. wala … Ibinigay ang kayamanan sa mga oligarchs na kaibigan nitong aquino family, sa mga ayala, zobel at iba pa.. Karmahin sana kayo pati na ang bayarang media…hindi na kayo mahiya, pinapakain ninyo sa pamily ninyo galing sa nakaw at pera pa ng bayan..

    8. We have been robbed of our resources our taxes our hopes and even our dignity .. By believing and putting our hopes in one man ….a true disaster in the road to progress and human development ?

    9. The title of this column “Nothing Much has Changed” is just a half truth of what really transpired since the advent of the cursed MADONNA aquino presidencies beginning 1986 after the People’s Power Revolution “kuno” which in reality is a Metro Manila Yellow Zombies oligarch instigated uprising led by the SOB’s ayalas and lopezes. Because the real whole truth is that the 1986 tumult paved the way to the path of ROAD TO PERDITION for the country and its people as being experienced now under the leadership of the inutile president in malacanang. Many people of this country including respected American legislators who wore in their coat lapel the cursed “cory doll” were in reality hoodwinked and bewitched by the cory spell hypnotically believing that she is the swan that had saved the country from evil and that bed of roses is awaiting its citizens but what they don’t know is that what awaits them are BEDS OF THORNS….This is the REAL story since the date of infamy which is 1986!