Systemic

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Sunday, March 23, 2014


YESTERDAY it rained, and I thanked the Lord.

Our house temp rests on Sunday, too, so watering the plants would have been among my weekend tasks. But it poured, filling up the five barrels to catch the rain.

Temperature this week will reportedly rise to 40 degrees Celsius. Ready your electric fans, battery- or Veco-operated. But after yesterday’s cool winds, we’re ready for the 40 degrees. Bring it on, you Sun you!

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After the rains, can the roads muddy, dirty and dusty be far behind? We want good, smooth roads. Corrugated stretches slow us down. We grumble and curse, as if there’s any place at all in this city’s streets for us to go vroom-vrooming beyond 40 kph.

So, if anyone needs to show off his brand-new hot wheels super-fast and furious, tell
him to go to Davao. Assure him he’ll have his fun, albeit short-lived. Outside the city’s limits, he can begin being Vin Diesel but end up a la Paul Walker.

Inside the city where speed is limited to 20 kph, Davao’s many monitors will surely pick up the speed, all the way through to penalty time. The worst yet can happen; no-nonsense Mayor Rodrigo Duterte himself can land the errant driver a hard slap across the mouth.

When the sun heats up, we grumble. When the rains pour, we grumble. That’s us.

For years, we asked where our taxes went. Why were the roads terrible? Why the high unemployment?

Now, the roads are getting a beating, so they can be smooth, good and wide… like we’ve always wanted them be, like taxpayers have always deserved.

But PDAF siphoned our taxes and funneled them into the pockets of many corrupt and greedy congressmen and senators. So, road repairs came only every three years, conveniently before local or national elections.

Now that the PDAF is freed from the clutches of the greedy and corrupt, we’re seeing road facelifts everywhere we turn. Traffic jams are common; so is our grumbling.

Drivers ask why the road repairs are happening at the same time. Could these not have been scheduled smoothly? Why did DPWH and the city’s engineering offices not coordinate better?

For a long time, government agencies’ usual complaint was lack of budget; thus, not much concrete accomplishment. Now that PDAF is filling up the agencies’ coffers, they complain there are too many projects but no hiring.

Perhaps they mean there are no new plantilla items? Thus, they cannot spirit in their jobless relatives and friends?

“Systemic” is the graft and corruption in this country; let’s hear it from everyone, even the country’s idealists and ideologues. So when names like Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla surface, no one is surprised. Some even comment,

“They even look corrupt.”

Why, we even had two officially corrupt presidents; “officially” because they were charged and convicted--Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph “Erap” Estrada. Convictions could happen, too, for ex-president Gloria Arroyo and ex-chief justice of the Supreme Court Renato Corona.

Systemic corruption, it’s said. Still our jaws fall upon knowing that the PDAF scam probe now covers 180 lawmakers (and counting), they whom protocol insists we must address as “Honorable.” Why, that’s 62 percent of the present 16th Congress of the Philippines!

(lelani.echaves@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 24, 2014.

Opinion

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