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Home Columns JGL Eye RP Government Acts As If Its Motto Is “Freebies Forever”
RP Government Acts As If Its Motto Is “Freebies Forever” PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - JGL Eye
Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Friday, 28 May 2010 07:41

 

JGL Eye

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(Journal Group Link International)

 

 

Philippine Government Acts As If Its Motto Is “Freebies Forever”

 

C HICAGO (JGLi) – Every time Independence Day celebration rolls around, it reminds me of a sequence in Cecil B. DeMille’s interpretation of Exodus in the movie, “The Ten Commandments.”

 

The Pharaoh of Egypt wanted the Hebrew slaves to make bricks but the Pharaoh did not want to provide the slaves with the “straw” that was a necessary ingredient to make a brick.

 

The Pharaoh wanted Moses to abandon God’s plan for the Exodus so he can keep the slaves forever.

 

This seemed to be the path taken by past Philippine governments, who just wanted the Overseas-Filipino workers to keep on remitting their hard-earned dollars to the Philippines without giving something back to them.

 

If the government does not provide the OFWs “straws” or benefits, OFWs can always declare “no remittance” holiday.

 

Instead of providing jobs at home, the Philippine government is encouraging Filipinos to work abroad.

 

But the government does not count the social costs of separated families that end up in broken homes or family members being raped because of the absence of trusted people to care for their minor children left behind.

 

The government should employ counselors, who can periodically check on the situations of children of OFWs left in the Philippines. Or, should hire lawyers, who can assist vulnerable children raped by their neighbors.

 

There should be special courts whose judges should be retrained so that they would prosecute the rapists, not the rape victims.

 

Imagine this scenario: a Makati regional trial court judge had asked the under 17-year-old pregnant victim this question: “Did you like sex?”

 

Instead of asking first the rapist, who was a married jobless family man with children, the question: “Why did you destroy the future of an under 17-year old girl when you are already married with children and you don’t even have a job?”

 

USE REMITTANCE MONEY, PLEASE

 

If only the government could provide a good lawyer paid for from taxes from the remittances of the OFW’s, he could have objected to the line of questioning by the judge and he could have placed the judge on a defensive.

 

But since the public defenders are poorly paid, what does a minor victim expect?

 

This is just one of the new challenges that await the incoming President, whoever he maybe.

 

If the new President can deliver “straws” to the OFW’s, the OFW’s can remit more “bricks” as in ONE-BILLION DOLLARS REMITTANCE MONEY to the Philippines every month!

 

Otherwise, OFW’s have options to declare very looooong ‘NO REMITTANCE HOLIDAYS!”

 

The new government should end the culture in the Commission on Election, Supreme Court and Congress of disenfranchising millions of OFWs by giving them shorter period to register as voter, instead of year-round registration; by allowing OFWs, who embraced foreign citizenship for convenience, to run for offices that have nothing to do with foreign policies.

 

Why allow OFWs to vote but disallow them to be voted upon? Is this not oxymoronic?

 

Are they afraid that the OFWs running for office will be bringing in accountability, transparency, integrity and credibility (ATIC), not just money, into office? ATIC was coined by an OFW activist.

 

They expect a big turnout of OFW voters but Congress does not provide advertising budget so OFWs will be aware of the issues and elections.

 

In 2004, Comelec placed a one-fourth page ad in one of the national newspapers in the U.S. but did not buy an ad space from any of the Filipino-American community newspapers, where the readers are mostly voters in that election.

 

In this 2010 election, the Comelec bought nothing. The U.S. Pinoys for Noynoy-Mar even pioneered in raising $100,000 to ensure that the Liberal Party watchers would not be watching the canvassing of votes on an empty stomach.

 

NOT GIVING BACK TO OFWs

 

C ongress does not even give embassies and consulates funding for their community outreach, by placing ads in Filipino-American community newspapers. No wonder OFW voters are uninformed and had under voted.

 

Fil-Am community newspapers are fed with running the press releases of the Philippine government, which is disrespect to these for-profit enterprises.

 

Because the OFW’s are remitting billions, the Philippine government and Congress think community newspapers do not need ads when numerous mainstream publications have already folded during these hard times.

 

The final nail in the coffin was the announcement on May 26 by the departing Arroyo government that has added insult to injury. It set aside 10-M pesos (US$217,319) for “extra special” celebration of Independence Day on June 12 in the Philippines because it is going to be the last such celebration for Arroyo. Who cares?

 

The Imeldefic appropriation is slap on the face of embassies and consulates, which badly need the money to run the Philippine Independence Week celebrations but are hamstrung by lack of funds.

 

As a result, the OFWs are now also picking up the tab to celebrate the Philippine national holiday. But there is a catch, while Philippine Consulate cannot sell expensive dinner tickets for the celebration because it is against the law, private organizations are taking over the celebration.

 

But the loose coordination of the Philippine Consulate does not give the consulate the ability to find out the number of tickets or sponsorships sold or the amount raised.

 

Nor does the Philippine Consulate has option to guide organizations what Independent-themed programs deserve to get the “profit” generated from ticket or other sponsorship sales. The upside is that the consulate will not be accused of tax evasion when the organization fails to pay taxes on ticket or sponsorship sales.

 

The non-funding by the Philippine government of Independence celebrations overseas has now the effect of ceding the sponsorship of this purely government function to a private outfit.

 

If the Philippine government wants to take back a leading role in celebrating the Philippine Independence overseas in the future, Congress should put the money where its mouth is.

 

If not, paging President Aquino! (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net) # # #

 


Last Updated on Friday, 28 May 2010 07:44
 

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