Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Politics Of Poverty

It seems that poverty will never be eradicated from a fertile, resource rich country such us ours. Despite aid from the international community and socio-economic programs of the private sector, higher incidents of poverty overshadow the claimed GDP growth of GMA's administration. With the national debt increasing, pressure to increase government revenue had actually pushed the poverty line higher engulfing the middle class.

The fact of the matter is this administration immersed itself into using poverty to its advantage. Poverty forces the people to cling to the promises of their politicians. The people are held hostage by baits dangled to them by their congressmen. Sure the government spends on infrastructure not only to increase our GDP but to show soe semblance of progress. Unbeknown to them, more often than not, these projects are overpriced.

One proof of this is a friend of mine who decided to close his construction business than be a party to our country's rape. He was tasked to build a 75 meter road. His price was P100,000 for the project. The district representative told him to jack up the price to P1.1Million. He did as he was told and was paid P110,000. The congressman too P.5Million and the rest divided among the local officials. This was his first and only government project. He told me that he cannot deal in such conditions that he might as well change careers.

I am sure that projects like this litter the entire country. Take the case of Mindanao. The poorest of the poor can be found here. Despite massive fundings being poured into the province, it remains poor. Why? The answer lies in their local officials. To get their loyalty Gloria allows them to treat Mindanao as their little fiefdoms. Warlords abound and the people are terrorized into submission. Their leaders give them a cupful and take the drum for themselves.

The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office has been turned into Gloria's milking cow. At the height of the rallies last week, governors and mayors were reported to have trooped to its office. I never knew that these officials can directly seek "charity" assistance from the PCSO. Everyday, the needy lineup to try and get help from the PCSO. Only a handful actually get the assistance they sought. The PSG was even able to solicit P1.4Million for their Christmas party last year.

Misuse of government resources is a habit this administration has been practicing while the supposed beneficiaries are left wanting. Congressmen are given loot bags, their pork used to secure their loyalty and given special funding for their "special" projects. The administration even had the temerity to us a large part of foreign donations destined for calamity-ravaged provinces to repair the Malacañang golf course. Gloria's politics is what makes this nation's poor poorer. Gloria's lust for power has driven this country to the brink os total poverty because she needs to buy off her so-called allies.

To cover all these spending, she imposes high taxes. She drives our loved ones to distant lands and splurge on their remittances. She sells our country to China in exchange for loans and of course more kickbacks. Her lackeys can defend her all they want. They can put out ads everyday but the reality is that her corrupt practices is what made more Filipinos poorer. Her desire to keep the seat of power at all cost is the cause of our people's sufferings.

Read Beatrix P. Guilas's excellent views on loans and taxes.