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Mar 25th
Home Columns Op-Ed Page First Things First (by Philip S. Chua, M.D.)
First Things First (by Philip S. Chua, M.D.) PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Op-Ed Page
Monday, 01 October 2007 12:15

An Op-ED Piece by Philip S. Chua, M.D.

I am an electronic-and-Internet freak. I never leave home without my laptop. My American Express card, maybe. But not my laptop. Even when I fly to the Philippines, which I do every other month, I have my computer with me "connected to my hip"So, I am 100% in favor of having a national broadband network (NBN) for the Philippines, BUT, not at that padded, super-inflated, cost of $329 million (when other quality bids are lower) and, more importantly, NOT BEFORE we take care of our poor, homeless, hungry fellow Filipinos, who are languishing in total poverty.


How insensitive, uncaring, and unfocused can our president and our legislators be to even plan to give our people tuxedos when more than 70% of them are clothed mostly in poverty?  Or, to offer them champagne, strawberries, and caviar instead of giving the homeless, a home, the hungry, food, and their children, education? These are the areas where our national leaders must focus on and spend our tax pesos in, to alleviate this deadly cancer of poverty among our people.  


Couples for Christ, among others, and Tony Meloto's  Gawad Kalinga are addressing this fundamental issue. Why can't our government concentrate on and target this dilemma more effectively? I know for a fact that the Philippines can eradicate poverty, if it wills it. It is not an impossible task. One does not have to be an Einstein or a rocket scientist to do the math.


Our legislators and other government thieves can steal less from the   national coffers, for a starter, so that the "remaining (not-yet stolen) balance" could be earmarked to help the poor homeless, hungry, hopeless, and destitute kababayans of ours. The billions and billions being plundered by corrupt officials, I submit to you, can make a big dent on, if not eliminate poverty, and make it a thing of the past for the millions of Filipinos.


And only when they start doing that noble humanitarian task can they legitimately and conscionably consider providing the Filipinos the 21st century, cutting-edge technology in communications, like the National Broadband Network, and others.


I feel very strongly that our government must first address our corrupt National Broad-Bandits Network (NBBN), aka National Broad-Kurakot Network (NBKN), among government officials, and start caring for the suffering poor people in the Philippines in earnest, as we embark on this NBN nationwide internet program.


As I stated earlier, I am very much addicted to this great technology and would love to have it in our country. But first things first. Let's set our priorities in order.


Our two gravest problems as a nation are the NBBN-NBKN of corruption, and POVERTY. I do not see that our government is truly serious even in upholding our laws against plunderers among our officials, which is the root cause of poverty in our country to begin with, since President Arroyo and our legislators are already considering a pardon for former President Erap only a few days after he was convicted of the crime of plunder. Why did the government even go through the motion and years of expensive investigation and litigation if the convict would be pardoned and freed anyway?


With the millions and millions of our people languishing in poverty and hunger caused by massive corruption among our officials, how can President Gloria Arroyo even think of granting pardon to the former president and send the wrong message (actually a very encouraging one) to the crooks in the government?


If the pardon is granted, we might just as well throw away the books --- and, Gloria Arroyo and the likes of her, with them.


Only in succeeding the eradication of corruption and poverty in our country can we regain our honor and dignity as a people and as a nation in the eyes of the world.


God bless the Filipinos. God bless the Philippines.

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Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2007 03:50

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"I think that's how Chicago got started. A bunch of people in New York said, 'Gee, I'm enjoying the crime and the poverty, but it just isn't cold enough. Let's go west.' "--Richard Jeni