Philippines is considered to be a third world country. When you say “third world,” it means that we are poor. Or a country that is still under the process of developing. But with the recent turn of events that shocked the nation, I am declaring here that my beloved country is not poor. We are just a country filled with dishonest leaders.
From my generation until today’s generation, the clamor of public schools and state universities for an increase in education budget is continually being ignored by our national government. The reason has always been the same: There is no enough budget.
But when our President went to a meeting in South Korea instead of using that money to help the people in Bohol who were traumatized by a scary earthquake last October, destroying their livelihood, their heritage, their lives, the reason the executive secretary stated was: “We have lots of funds.” He said that “the government has earmarked P12 million for the President’s two-day visit to South Korea,” adding that the assistance for the earthquake victims as well as to the damaged structures would come from the government savings.
Now let’s review. According to our government, there is no enough money to increase the budget for the education sector due to various reasons and they could come up with a long list. Take note, NO BUDGET. But when concerned citizens complained about the President’s trip to South Korea amid the tragedy in Bohol, his right-hand man was quick to defend that there is money to cover everything. Because of so-called “GOVERNMENT SAVINGS.”
Our public hospitals and medical facilities here are in a poor state of health. Due to long neglect, its facilities and services are becoming ugly and inefficient. Equipments are screaming for upgrade. Comfort rooms are filthy, smelly, and terrible. Cockroaches and pesty rats are constant but unwelcome visitors of patients in these hospitals. And though the problems are already apparent, the government’s excuse is that they cannot do something about it as of this time. The reason has always been the same: There is no enough budget.
But when Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona was impeached by a majority votes by the Senate committee, years later–because of this Janet Napoles controversy exposing the alleged involvement of some senators and congressmen in malversation of funds–it was revealed by Senator Jinggoy Estrada that they received P50 million each from the Aquino administration for voting to remove Corona from his post. And this was reluctantly confirmed by Senator Drilon after being grilled by news reporters. Looking confused, he said that the funds were not meant as “rewards” to the senators. “They were meant to help the government meet its spending targets.” Strangely, Senator Estrada clarified that the P50M was not a bribed.
The Social Security Systems has announced that it will increase its premium or the amount of contribution of its members by next year because of the institution’s “unfunded liability and to prolong its life for four more years.” Meaning, there is insufficiency of funds. So the management, as a quick-fix to the problem, passed the burden to its SSS members–mostly composed of ordinary workers–by shouldering the payment of its liability.
But amid the so-called financial deficit, SSS board members received P10 million performance-based bonus based on an incentive system covering state-run corporations.
With all these twisting and turning situations, former First Lady Imelda Marcos was right when she said that the Philippines is a rich country pretending to be poor. But let me edit that. The Philippines is a rich country after all and it’s already obvious–bright and clear–and yet our leaders continue to fool us that we are poor.