This New Year should be a year of change!

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Philippine Star

This is our first column for the Year 2015 and before I wrote this piece, I re-read all my previous New Year’s columns in the last five years and come to think of it, those first columns for the New Year sounded very much the same… as if time stood still! In my 2012 column, I quoted a letter from Mr. Joe Nacilla and let me reprint that portion that he wrote.

“The COA report of October 2, 2009 is in the wastebasket; no resolution, no punishment. The December 29, 2011 COA report, only Sen. Escudero reacted on December 30, saying; “Misuse of funds for calamity victims should be a heinous crime. Malacañang is silent about it.” Since that article came out in Jan. 3, 2012, the typhoon mentioned there was Typhoon Sendong.”

So more than a year after Super Typhoon Yolanda hit Central Philippines, we know that the Philippines got some $336,115.39 or P14.997 billion in foreign aid, while we got pledges from foreign countries to the tune of $763,519.30 or P34.067 billion. So what we’d like to know for this New Year 2015 is how much of the money was spent and where did the money go from the foreign aid that we got. Secondly, we’d like to know how much of those pledges from foreign countries arrived in our banks and where is the money now? This is a simple accounting procedure and if there is any misuse of these funds for disaster relief, we should task Sen. Chiz Escudero to take the lead in filing criminal cases against those responsible for this fund.

Meanwhile, for this New Year, we pray that God would give us leaders that the Filipino people would be proud of so we can tell the Americans that indeed we are capable of governing ourselves and that the Americans were wrong in their assessment that Filipinos cannot govern themselves.

But unfortunately, this nation is still stuck with personality politics with people on the street, rich and poor asking their friends whom should they be supporting in the coming 2016 presidential elections. Woe to our nation that the current ruling party, the Liberal Party (LP), doesn’t even have a winnable name in their party who could lead the nation to greater heights.

That’s because their white knight in shining armor, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Manuel “Mar” Roxas has stumbled, fumbled and fell so many times especially in his handling of the Zamboanga City siege by Muslim separatists and the Super Typhoon Yolanda disaster. As many wags would say, Mar Roxas was the bigger disaster we all saw. This is why the LP is so desperate to hold on to power that they would get anyone with a high chance of winning as their candidate.

The so-called Oppositionist party, which is only opposition in name, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) headed by Vice-President Jejomar Binay is equally in trouble with the charges of corruption flying everywhere. But instead of answering the charges of his once-upon-a-time partner in crime, former Makati Vice-Mayor Ernesto Mercado, Binay chose not to attend the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and went to Cebu to start his presidential campaign. This is what we call “Thick-faced” politics!

There is no question that VP Binay knows the psyche of the poor Filipino… that they would vote him into the presidency despite all those corruption charges because the Filipino people already know that politicians are crooks anyway. So where do we go from here? Allow me to quote from my neighbor Chit Pedrosa’s Dec. 27 column to validate my views. 

“A 2014 study by Julio Teehankee, College Dean at the La Salle University, shows 178 family dynasties rule 73 of the 80 provinces. According to Bobby Tuazon, director of policy studies at the Center for People Empowerment in Governance, 21 of 24 seats in the Senate fall under the control of political families. In the House of Representatives, 80% of 229 seats are dominated by dynasties. In a 2014 study by Ronald Mendoza, director of the AIM Policy Center shows 75% of members of Congress and 80% of Governors and Mayors belong to political dynasties.

According to Forbes’ list of billionaires, the 40 richest in the Philippines have combined assets of $34 billion. A 2012 study by the World Bank shows 25.2% of Filipinos live below the poverty line of $1.25 a day. The figure of the CIA for the same year is higher, 26.5%. These figures come from reliable academic groups, not from political opponents. Responsible institutions have not responded adequately to its dangers. Some of these institutions have chosen to ignore the creeping catastrophe, thinking the problem will go away.”

The Year 2015 should be a year of change. When Pope Francis arrives this month… I certainly hope that he would chastise our political class for this grave imbalance in society, where there is a wide gap between the rich and poor… and it can be traced to corruption by the political class. While not all political dynasties are evil per se…but the majority of them are there for the wrong reasons, using the name of the poor in vain to gain riches through the misuse of gov’t funds and siphoning them to their pockets.

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E-mail: [email protected] or [email protected].


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