Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Money, Money, Money

This piece really caught my eye. GMANews.TV had this report on the National Statistics Office new policy. Priests must attend a seminar now to be authorized to solemnize your marriage. Bishop Oscar Cruz says that only 40 priests all over the country had met this requirement. The number excludes pastors, ministers and imams. The certificate will be good for three years.

NSO administrator Carmelita Ericta said the move was to curb the proliferation of instant wedding ministers that prey on couples and makes huge profits in wedding services. She also pointed out that seminars they will conduct will prevent errors in filing of marriage certificates. Ok, fine, church officials should be careful in filling out these forms. But There is more to this than what is presented.

This is the breakdown of what is to be collected from an applicant:
P375 - Registration (new applicant)
P150 - Renewal
P75 - Certified Transcript
P75 - Copy of Certified Transcript

I see no problem with this as everyone who offers services here needs to be certified. What is so questionable is the fee they collect for seminars that they will conduct. Ericta said that these seminars cost from P900 to P2,400. I did not know that a seminar which teaches priests how to fill out properly marriage certificates cost so much. A simple seminar on filling out a form? This is clearly a profit-generating program.

The NSO doesn't need to conduct such a seminar, they can easily send out guidelines. I am sure that they will be giving out handouts for this. Why conduct a seminar? Just imagine how many marriage officials will have to shell out between P900 to P2,400 for a freaking seminar? This seminar is a requisite for one's application for certification to solemnize a marriage.

The government is really out to make money. The land Transportation Office after creating a monopoly of the Third Party Liability Insurance for GSIS also wants to recall license plates of all vehicles from the year 2003 and below. They said that these plates lack the "Matatag na Republika" phrase. It's to standardize all plates according to them. My 11-yr. old car's plates are in very good condition, even better than some of the new plates I see around. The new plates will cost P450 each.

Travelers and OFWs are also charged exorbitant fees. High airport fees and OWWA contributions continue to bleed the public. You don't see any improvements do you? What has worsened is the service extended to travelers and OFWs alike. Travelers still have to deal with rude personnel like what Nightdreamer recently had to deal with.

It's tax season once again. The government will be asking for our "donations" soon. But one would wonder where on earth our taxes go? Every year, P200 billion are lost to corruption. Instead of plugging holes, the government is selling its assets left and right. It's suppose to balance the budget, After that and with no assets to sell anymore, I am sure they will go back to the business of borrowing to address the deficit. The government will again look for more ways to drain our already bleeding pockets. While they enjoy the fruits of our labor, we will have to think of more ways to make money just to make ends meet. Despite the strong peso, commodities and utilities continue to rise. The peso's buying power continues to diminish everyday.

By 2010, Gloria and her merry gang would have amassed a comfortable retirement. They would be living comfortably while we try to make sense of the years GMA was in office. If we're not vigilant, this gang may stay on way beyond 2010 and do more damage than Marcos.