To agree is to admit
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - March 15, 2019 - 12:00am

If you’re wondering why legislators failed to reach a compromise over the proposed 2019 budget in spite of presidential intervention, the probable reason is: To agree is to admit. If members of Congress agreed to stick to what was originally agreed upon during the bicameral conference instead of their new and improved printed version, it would confirm that there were “illegal” insertions to the approved budget.

Given the fact that President Rodrigo Duterte and Senate President Tito Sotto have both labeled the finished version as an illegal document, any cooperation on the part of the Arroyo camp might be embarrassing if not incriminating. If Sen. Ping Lacson is correct, those insertions or the revision of the original document is tantamount to a criminal act the minimum of which would be falsification of a public document. So it would be to the interest of Arroyo et al to simply leave everything at a standstill until they have all cleared the building, retired and have nothing to do with the mess they created.

Yesterday, former Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez guested on our program Agenda on Cignal TV and Channel 5, and in the course of our conversation, Alvarez confirmed that the President can request both houses of Congress to have a special session and to consider passing ONLY the NEP or National Expenditure Program and remove or set aside any and all incidental or added budgetary requests specifically those made or inserted by members of Congress and the Senate. This way only the actual government budget will be approved and no one else benefits or has an advantage.

If this does not happen, President Duterte and his administration will have to wait until after the elections when a new Congress is in place by July. The problem is, the process of budgetary review will have to start all over and the vicious cycle of challenges, harassment, compromise, as well as illegal insertions will surely take place. This is the reason why senators claim that the worse case scenario is we will have a budget only by August.

We can only hope that Congress agrees to this compromise before there is enough basis to charge certain people with economic sabotage along with all the other possible criminal liability that Senator Lacson hinted at.

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Dear Manila Water,

Thanks to your inability to properly explain our current water crisis, I am reminded of the song by Billy Joel concerning “Honesty” particularly the following lines:

“If you look for truthfulness/You might just as well be blind/It always seems to be so hard to give/

Honesty is such a lonely word/Everyone is so untrue/Honesty is hardly ever heard/And mostly what I need from you”

Yes, Honesty second to water is what we mostly need and not your convoluted explanations about El Niño and La Mesa Dam going dry. Aside from your lack of honesty and serious failure to fulfill your contractual obligation to provide us water, your explanations are insulting to our intelligence. Your claims about the weather and the dam do not hold water because in complete contrast to your failure, your counterpart in the west zone Maynilad has continued serving their customers, and adding insult to your injury they are now bailing you out by giving you water.

I do admire your tenacity for sticking to your official line and blaming mother nature, but unfortunately for you, there are government officials who also resent your blame throwing given the fact that Manila Water and Maynilad Water both draw from the same “tap” or source; the Angat dam which as of yesterday was substantially full of water.

Sources from MWSS and the National Water Resource Board have opined that the reason Manila Water has gone dry is because the company failed to invest or complete much needed infrastructures and reservoirs, and has resorted to blaming the government for not providing or allowing them to develop alternative sources.

Ironic that the company who can’t even complete the sewage treatment plants and water treatment plants that are part of their contracts is now acting as if they were capable of building dams and reservoirs! You people can’t even stick to your notices of water interruption or commitments to keep schools and hospitals fully stocked with water so much so that our children might end up practically “home schooled” for lack of water, while patients get worse in hospitals that are inadequately cleaned or sanitized due to lack of water.

Your public apologies and call for water conservation are simply too little – too late especially for many businesses that have to cut down their days of operation due to lack of water and sadly have to pay the full price of rent and having employees.

While we are still adjusting to this crisis that has thrown all of us back into Third World status, Manila Water’s epic failure has also cursed condominium dwellers and developers alike. People are now considering temporarily moving out of their condos and find short-term rentals until the water situation improves.

With showers now a “No Go” in almost all condos in the east zone of Metro Manila, what are the chances that condominium sales will soon take a hit due to such an unpleasant realization. It’s bad enough to be in constant fear of the “fault line” and the big earthquake, but when you can’t even stock enough water because you live high up, why would people want to buy a condo in the near future. 

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Email: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

2019 BUDGET RODRIGO DUTERTE
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