01 September 2006

Whose money is that?

Tyrants, petty or otherwise, have a way of thinking that money entrusted to them by the people to be used for the people is theirs to dispense with as they like, or keep for themselves. (Conrado de Quiros)

Let me start by saying I'm a big fan of Mr Conrado de Quiros. I don't always agree with everything he says, but at the very least, his columns are always good for thought. Today, he had some great things to say again, and the above quote comes from his piece from the Inquirer (Naked Truth).

This particular quote stuck to my mind because earlier in the day, I was reflecting for the umpteenth time on the various signs on the roads that our dear politicians put out to trumpet their projects. You know, those signs that goes "Road widening projects of blah blah blah...", or others that banners whatever projects they may be supporting, sponsoring, etc. etc. Weird how if you read the signs, it would seem that these politicians are spending their own money for the projects. I mean "from the funds of" blah blah blah certainly sounds like they are dipping into their own pockets, doesn't it? I often wonder if Filipinos take the time out to look at these signs and think about the fact that it is actually them, the tax paying public, that are actually paying for these projects.

(3 Sept 2006)
One of my cousins sort of justified this strategy of politicians to put up posters/signs as a way for constituents to remember them and thus ensure name recall in elections. After all, without these signs, people wouldn't know if they'd done anything while in office, or something like that. Be that as it may, I still think it's wrong.

I've got another pet peeve. The street signs, where not only do you see the street names, but also the name of the barangay captain or the councilor, or whoever gawdfosaken official might have been behind the signs. I don't know if others get as peeved as I do when I see these signs, but they sure bother me to no end.

At the very least, these signs are a waste of money. I'm sure those things cost a bit, especially since costs are likely padded for kickbacks.

Then again, at least these are projects I can actually see. What about those politicians/government officials who have decided to appropriate supposed-to-be project fund into their own pockets. Let's face it, when it comes to corruption, this country is really an expert, or rather, the people running this country are experts. As CDQ notes, these tyrants (and they are!) are very good at keeping money entrusted to them for themselves. What else would explain the sudden wealth of many of the politicians/government officials in this country?

This is one reason why it's such a frustrating thing to pay taxes in this country. I wouldn't mind paying taxes, if only I can see that they are really going towards the improvement of the country and government services. But my eyes are already strained to the max, and still, I hardly see anything. I'm sorry, but painting the posts of doesnt' exactly match my definition of improved services. Those posts may be clean (not really), but the potholes still pains my butt whenever I unfortunately drive over them. And what about those MMDA art is actually eyesores. And these are just mundane things. There are many, many more and this blog already too long for me to enumerate them. Geez, what will these people think of next to waste money on?

The problem with our politicians/government officials is that they've gotten so greedy. Greedy for power, greedy for money. Maybe I shouldn't be angry with them, maybe I should feel sorry for them. But no, I am pissed at them. They waste their time accusing each other of wrongdoing, when they are all guilty of it anyway. At the end of the day, they divert into their pockets what isn't theirs at all. They say they are working for the people and for the country. Well, that's just a bunch a bull now isn't it? I know we're not the only country in the world suffering because of fools in government, but I wish so badly I can see something good in the future. But no, I see the spawns of the people in government now taking over the same positions. Sad, sad, sad. I look at the ordinary Filipino and see no bright future for them. Their situation will just get worse and worse, they'll get poorer and poorer, while those jokes in government will get richer and richer. And when some things get bad for them, they can just pop out of the country and live off happily elsewhere with the money they've taken inappropriately from good ol' Juan. Sigh...

Oh well, I don't want to end this entry on an angry note. So I'd like to make mention of one government worker who extended some help to me last month . I was at the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources sometime in August researching for a report on the tuna industry. I was sent to several offices before I was finally pointed towards Ms Consuelo "Ching" Baltazar (unfortunately, I lost her card, and I can't remember what division it was she heads). Anyway, Ms Baltazar very nicely asked me what I needed and told me where I can get the information. (One of her staff also gave me valuable information, but I don't remember her name.) She also told me to call her up if I needed more information. Since I usually have negative experiences with government workers (especially in the SSS), I thought she deserves mention. I still want to believe that most people working in government are good people—I'm just one of those who seem to have the luck of running into those government workers who don't understand the meaning of the word service—so it's nice to meet one once in a while.


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