Monday, March 8, 2010

I don't know whether to scream or cry

I just saw a video prepared by the Ateneo School of Government about its many projects. It was a public relations tool, but never mind about that. What hit me hard—very hard—was a segment of the video showing one of their faculty during a lecture. He said that it is estimated that 30% of the annual Philippine national budget is lost to corruption.

Right now, that's 300 billion pesos!!!

The agricultural and infrastructure damage of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng combined was 15 billion, a measly 5% of the money that ended up in the pockets of our corrupt politicians.

In the meantime:

  • 30% of Filipinos live below the poverty line.
  • We are experiencing rotating brownouts now because our power generating capability is too low. So low that when one power plant gives up, we're incapacitated.
  • An average of 20 typhoons enter the Philippines every year. Yet we are never prepared for the damages that they cause.
  • Every three years or so, we experience the El NiƱo phenomenon, but again, we are never prepared for its effects. The water in Luzon's dams have already reached critical levels and summer has just begun.
  • It's impossible to make an actual count, but a study which gathered data from charity organizations and the Department of Social Welfare and Development estimates that there are more than 100,000 street homeless in Metro Manila alone. And I don't think that figure includes those who live in makeshift shanties all over the metro.
I can go on forever with a list of problems that 300 billion pesos annually can alleviate or solve outright.

Suddenly, I am inarticulate. I do not have enough strong swear words to say how I feel about this government.

Gloria Arroyo unexplained wealth cartoon from