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Opinion

P12 B to Pharmally could have funded ayuda, meds, learning

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc - The Philippine Star

The poor pay the price of corruption. Pope Francis’ lament is evident in the Plunder During Pandemic that senators unearthed.

Pharmally Inc. cornered P12 billion in government medical supply procurements starting March 2020. Financier-guarantor was presidential Chinese friend and former economic adviser Michael Yang. It was only six months old, undercapitalized at P625,000, with no office, inventory, warehouse, delivery vehicles or import permit. Its surgical masks, face shields, personal protective equipment and COVID-19 test kits were the priciest. Still the Procurement Service-Dept. of Budget and Management favored it. The PS-DBM head, Atty. Lloyd Christopher Lao, was Duterte’s appointee, college fraternity-mate and former Davao City Hall lawyer. Nearly 400,000 test kits expired shortly after delivery. Production dates of the deteriorating face shields were tampered. Stocks in China falsely were certified as inspected to speed up payments to Pharmally. A shell, similarly with no cash, was formed in December 2020 to bag more deals till June 2021.

What’s the equivalent of P12 billion? Here’s what:

• At P4,000 each it is ayuda for 3 million penurious families.

• At P3,600 (overpriced) Sinovac double-jabs, it can vaccinate 3.33 million wage earners.

• At P5,000 a month on average, it is one year’s special risk allowance for 200,000 frontline doctors, nurses, orderlies, lab technicians, hospital janitors and security guards. The admin’s 2022 national budget has no SRA for them.

• At P6,000 per smartphone, it can boost online learning for two million students.

• At P120,000 each, it can buy 100,000 silent, smokeless electric tricycles.

• At P200,000 each, it can build homes for 60,000 squatter families.

• At P500,000 each, it can build and furnish 24,000 additional classrooms to safely distance schoolchildren.

• At P1.2 million each, it can buy 10,000 electric jeepneys.

• At P2.4 billion each, it can build five 200-bed hospitals.

• It is more than enough to replicate in 2022 this year’s P1.786 billion for soldiers’ hospitalization and military hospital equipment. The admin’s budget for that next year is zero.

• At P18 each, it can procure 666.7 million kilos of palay from farmers.

But only Pharmally’s Chinese and Filipino cohorts benefited from the P12 billion. They bought Lamborghinis, Porsches and luxury condos.

The poor starved as Malacañang said there was no more money for ayuda. Twenty-seven million lost their livelihoods. Water and electric utilities were cut off, and they were evicted for unpaid dwelling rent.

Frontline health care workers, policemen and soldiers were infected and died from lack of pandemic protection. The neediest suffered the consequences.

*      *      *

The closing of Fr. Arnel Aquino’s homily last Sunday on Radyo Katipunan:

“God has a universal salvific will. But rich liars and thieves make it so difficult for me to imagine God saving them. This speaks more about me than of God. I confess just the same: I find it easier to imagine kind-hearted and honest atheists going to heaven, than for self-professed believers who enrich themselves while people line up for free food and medicine, a decent cremation, burial.

“Paano po n’yo nahaharap ang Diyos pagkatapos ng bawa’t araw ng patung-patong na kasinungalingan? I feel like asking the you-know-whos: Kapag nagkukurus po kayo ng sarili, tapos nagdarasal ng Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, para po saan? ‘Yung rosary pong ipupulupot ninyo sa rearview mirror ng bago n’yong Ferrari, o si Lamborghini na pababasbasan n’yo kay pader, anong kinalaman niyan sa Diyos?...

“Diyos na rin po ang nagsabi: ‘If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. Better to live maimed, than with two hands go into unquenchable fire. If your foot causes you to sin, or your eye, cut it off, gouge it out. Better to live crippled, blind in one eye today, than with everything intact, be thrown into Gehenna, where worm does not die, nor fire quenched.’ Hindi po kayo natatakot? Kung ‘di po kayo takot sa libu-libong nahihirapan dahil sa pagnanakaw ninyo, ‘di po ba kayo natatakot sa Diyos, sa sinasabi Niya sa Gospel ngayon tungkol sa por-eber?

“Tawag lang po kayong mga kinauukulan. Marami po kami ritong handang tumulong sa inyong pagbabalik-loob. All of us who say mass here can accompany you back to God; we, who are sinners, too. But you should be willing to part with what you stole, to give it back, to free yourselves from its curse. It’s not too late. There is still a right and just way out of this hell.”

*      *      *

“Gotcha: An Exposé on the Philippine Government” is available as e-book and paperback. Get a free copy of “Chapter 1: Beijing’s Bullying and Duplicity”. Simply subscribe to my newsletter at: https://jariusbondoc.com/#subscribe. Book orders also accepted there.

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