The deprived
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas (The Freeman) - September 14, 2019 - 12:00am

The 2020 proposed trillion budget includes billions for the Office of Du30. Those in Congress seem to have been pacified with their proposed billion-worth projects included for funding as well.

Do these huge budget requests include allocation and share for the most deprived among our Filipino people?

Our teachers do not really belong to our country's poor yet they may soon be with their salary increase excluded from next year's budget. Our teachers are among those deprived and continued to be deprived of their well-deserved salary hike. Clearly, they do not belong to those favored by this administration: the military, the fawning legislators, and the executive branch appointees. How many times have they been promised their salary increase? How much longer do they have to wait to be duly compensated for their noble work for our country?

Have the abusive legislators included the priority needs of the others deprived among our people?

Our hardworking rice farmers have raised their cries for subsidy in the midst of sinking palay prices. Are there subsidies for these food producers this year and for next year's budget?

Do the requested huge budget share of legislators include assured irrigation facilities, drying machines, other facilities and inputs long needed by their constituent farmers for assured ample harvest sufficient to allow the farmers  and their households to live comfortably until the next planting and harvest period?

Our farmers need to sustainably survive. Why does Cynthia Villar insist on the Rice Tariffication Law so our farmers can be globally competitive? For whom is that law? For our farmers and their subsistence, for our people who need assured, secured and sustainable food supply? Or for business and industry, including real estate and land developers?

  If this government has money to buy imported rice now, why do they not instead use that money now to support and subsidize our farmers first, rather than foreign rice growers? Why wait for the tariff from imported rice to be raised, then the tariff to be used for the farmers?

Isn't it simpler and wiser not to buy imported rice? Why not instead use the present available cash of this country now to immediately subsidize our farmers so they can produce enough for their own subsistence and/or produce more to feed the rest of our people!

This government can instead use the present available public funds NOW to ensure the purchase of our own farmers' produce, to be then sold to our people, especially the needy, at government subsidized prices!

The sooner our food producers are supported, the more they can produce more, and the sooner and more assured our food supply and security for all in this country!

The budget should guarantee subsidy as well for all other food producers, our fishers, our forest dwellers, our laborers and workers!

Should we not then insist on transparency of the proposed 2020 budget so we can verify if the proposed projects and allocations prioritize the long-ignored needs of the  deprived among our people? What good are funds for infrastructure, transport, and other projects if our deprived continue to struggle with their survival?

Only those legislators with record of having secured the subsistence of their constituents ought to be given any funds at all yearly!!! Conversely, all those whose constituents have not at all been benefitted by their funded projects (to be measured in terms of improved economic, social, health, education and other welfare indicators) should never be given any further allocation. Instead, those with good performance, those that have decreased the number of the deprived in their jurisdiction should be rewarded with similar or even higher budget allocations!

Accountability of public officials should be insisted on by all constituents on a regular basis. Year in and out, we learn about the increasing number of the poor and deprived. Isn't it about time we insist that government show concrete improvements in the lives of the deprived, their number also decreasing for every huge budget allocation dispensed to all those in all government branches?

Yes to budget for the deprived! NO to budget for self-interest and the abusive!

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