Politicians’ businesses

FULL DISCLOSURE - Fidel Abalos (The Freeman) - November 5, 2018 - 12:00am

Most of us must have enjoyed the long weekend we just had. The weather was good and most of us were able to visit the final resting places of our departed loved ones. However, reeling from a whooping P1.8 billion losses brought about by Typhoon Rosita in agriculture alone, the story was quite different for the residents in Cagayan region, the Cordilleras and Quirino province.

Sadly, while domestic tourists in other parts of the country had a field day over the weekend, those in Typhoon Rosita-devastated areas had been drowned in deep frustration and uncertainties.

 Indeed, this decade had been marked with unforgiving catastrophes (such as the tremor in the Visayas and super-typhoon Yolanda in 2013); terrorism (the Marawi siege in 2017); endless banditries and notorious kidnappings perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf; ruthless killings; and senseless bombings even in places of worship. While one the worst years of this decade of tragedies (both manmade and natural) is about to end, only the “time-bound” year ends, the worries and hates will certainly linger. Hopefully, we can just find some solace on the fact that December is forthcoming. The month of peace and rejoicing, of forgiving.

Just like many tragedies in the past, however, the recent one also brought about the best character in most of us, generosity. Sadly, however, some traditional politicians took advantage of our brethrens’ misfortune by letting the voting population know of their superficial concerns through massive exploitation of photo opportunities. It is not surprising though. The mid-term election is forthcoming. They saw it as an opportunity to do campaigning even before it officially starts. On the other hand, some sectors took some religious spins on this tragedy. That the residents of these places deserved to be punished for their sins.

Whatever the personal motives or interpretations shall be, the fact remains that scientifically, natural tragedies do happen once in a while and depending on its strength, may or may not bring about destruction to anyone. If it does happen, however, the weaker structures will suffer the most.

Notably, to some extent, nature has also conspired with well-meaning citizens, to do good as well, in unearthing potential anomalies. For instance, the tremor that hit the Visayas several years ago. To recall, as photos reveal, some kilometers of damaged concrete roads and bridges in Bohol didn’t have or have insufficient steel bars. The same was true in Cebu where the Cebu International Convention Center’s (CICC) interiors crumbled. Apparently, poorly built, these roads, bridges and structures cannot withstand tremors of such magnitude. Thus, certainly, when these infrastructures were built, some unscrupulous people must have siphoned enough money and rendered actual construction destruction-bound.

 With this in mind, as reconstruction begins in the Typhoon Rosita-devastated areas, we have more reasons to worry. It is a known fact that politicians wield so much power especially in the countryside. Most of them are astute businessmen too. They own types of business establishments that heavily deal with the needs of both national and local governments. These are mostly construction related like hardware and sand and gravel. Also, most local government units (LGUs) have heavy equipment so they (politicians) are opening gas stations as well. With the LGUs’ Bids and Awards Committees (BACs) under their total control and co-bidders downright cohorts, they’ll surely win, albeit, under cover of their distant relatives’ or close friends’ names.

On the other hand, some LGUs would prefer to engage contractors instead of undertaking the projects themselves. To this, we know, some politicians do have their own construction outfits too. Thus, in both circumstances, the possibility that biddings will be rigged is very high.  Therefore, the likelihood that substandard projects will again sprout is an unavoidable reality.

So that, with these practices imbedded in the system, even if peace prevailed and both man-made destructions and nature’s wrath didn’t pervade, this forthcoming month of December may not be worth rejoicing at all. With prices of basic needs too overwhelming, those who are even just wanting in food tend to loot to provide something to their loved ones.

On the contrary, some (corrupt politicians) who are already living in filthy abundance will tend to accumulate more millions through their oft-repeated devious means, rigged biddings.

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