More where that came from-A A +A
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
RIGHT in front of our eyes and yet we never seemed to notice. A nugget hidden away in Orlando Carvajal's column Thursday last, the fact that our honorables - councilors, congressmen, senators, etc. -- don't have to be physically present, don't have to actually turn up for work to draw their salary and perks (And not inconsiderable salary and perks as a Kidapawan councilor let slip on Saturday when a bag was stolen from his car containing P800,000 - not valuables and laptops but folding stuff -- cash, according to the councilor, in part a P400,000 loan just drawn from the bank and the rest 'his salary and cash incentives as city councilor' whatever that latter may be.
Carvajal's column held up the obvious example of an absentee congressman -- boxer Manny Pacquiao who takes months off overseas to train and fight and then, presumably, enjoys a suitable recovery/celebratory holiday, all the time drawing his congressman's pay and perks. As do nigh on 300 of them; salaries, perks and over P1 million in pork barrel per week, all without the necessity of turning up.
Have you noticed all those empty seats whenever TV homes in on congressional events? I'll wager the only time the place is full is for the State of the Nation address and then it's to show off the shirts and frocks.
Harking back to that stolen bag of cash and I'm continually amazed at how so many folks leave huge amounts of cash just lying around in their vehicles just begging to be stolen. That P800,000, for example, is several years salary for the average civil servant and yet we read every week of similar enormous amounts being stolen from vehicles. There seems to be a social benchmark or pecuniary tidemark where money becomes a trifle, where cash is treated with a certain nonchalance, and the larger the figure the less it matters. The best example of this phenomenon is up there in manic Manila where colossal sums of money go astray without congressmen or senators batting an eyelid. Motto: There's always more where that came from.
Moving on and 'Bill lowers retirement age of state employees'. Congressperson Maria Zamora of Compostela Valley has filed a bill lowering the mandatory retirement age for state employees from 65 to 55. Says Zamora, 'studies show that people reaching the age of 50 years old tend to suffer from a decline of cognitive and physical abilities'. The new bill, naturally, will not apply to town or city councilors, mayors, congressmen or senators who will be free to carry on until -- whichever comes first -- they drop dead or forget where their NGO stash is.
Lastly, I had to snort on Saturday at the military's confident assertion that 'according to a reliable intelligence report' MNLF chairman Nur Misuari is behind the Zamboanga troubles. Seems to me that if the military had any intelligence whatsoever -- and remember the millions which vanish into various 'intel funds' -- then they would have known that 'hundreds of armed MNFL rebels' were about to land and taken steps accordingly. Locked down the beaches, rounded up the bad guys as they waded ashore, averted the bloodshed and chaos of the last week but no - déjà… vu anyone? The invasion of Sabah which came as a complete surprise? The military seems to have caught with its camo-pants round its ankles yet again.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 17, 2013.