Velez: Whole hog in the year of the pig


A FRIEND asked me, when will the Year of the Pig officially start? It started on February 5, but the year of the pork barrel started way, way back.

Maybe it was the Congress under Ramos’ time. It got popular during Arroyo’s time to save her from impeachment. We thought we kicked out the pork during Noynoy Aquino’s time with the help of the Makabayan bloc. But now, pork and Arroyo are still alive in the House. It has even multiplied by 14 times. Before Arroyo, Alvarez was the biggest spender in the House. Talk about hogging it.

The Chinese New Year greeting is Kung Hei Fat Choy, which means wishing you good luck. The Duterte variations are: Tok-Kang Fat-Tay. Kung Choy Pat-Tyon.

Filipinos and Tsinoys always equate Chinese New Year to fortune telling, asking what the signs to look out for this year are. Actually the signs that are relevant are these: “Now hiring in the Philippines, Chinese construction workers,” “Filipino vessels not allowed to fish,” “Hiring, nurses and engineers abroad.” “Backpacks not allowed in churches.”

The Pig of the Year symbolizes wealth. But in Dutertenomics, wealth is for whom?

Sadly, the Build-Build-Build is preferring to hire Mainland Chinese people for 75 construction projects. Pinoys are as equally skilled. But talk about China loans and projects, our laborers are alienated from our own economy.

Officials estimate there are about 200,000 to 400,000 Mainland Chinese working without permits, mostly doing online gaming or construction work. Maybe officials “wala kita sa problema.”

We have to fact-check if indeed Chinese investors have brought their 24-billion dollar investments for Build-Build-Build. The East-Asian Forum reported some $15-billion of this are canceled or modified due to factors such as red tape, uncertainty due to the Bangsamoro transition, and the amount of time to implement these projects. Chinese investors know not to give pearls before swine in this case.

Someone noticed that Chinese oligarchs to have short names like Sy, Ty, Ang but have long and deep pockets. The secret is not in their names, but in playing the neo-liberal game of opening investments, malls and banks to fill their own piggy banks.

We still live in an import-dependent, export-oriented type of economy, no matter what this government is promising. The country’s fortune is not to be found on animals, but should rather be on sound decisions and plans, which I think has been ran aground by those who are hogging it all.


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