Thursday, June 08, 2006

Wais or makapal ang mukha?

Among the major items which budget were removed by the Senate include the Kilos Asenso Fund and the Kalayaan Barangay Fund.

According to Gloria Arroyo, the Kilos Asenso Fund is to be used as the counterpart fund of her office for agribusiness and micro-finance projects of local government units while the Kalayaan Barangay Fund is aimed to finance government services in far-flung areas to dissuade barangay residents from joining rebel groups like the CPP-NPA.

But though she is wiser than Lumen, her mind is full of potholes kaya problematic ang reasoning niya. If she just care to listen well, she doesn't need these funds to help the people at the grassroots or dissuade her constituents from rebelling against her.

First, local chief executives are complaining against the release of IRA, the internal revenue allotment which, according to the constitution, is the automatic share of local government units from the revenues generated by the government. Meron pa daw kasi silang sisingilin na IRA from the previous years. The problem is, if they will demand the national government to give them their share, babawasan daw ito ng 30%!

Inutangan na nga, babawasan pa? What kind of policy is that? The Constitution is very clear: Local government units shall have a just share, as determined by law, in the national taxes which shall be AUTOMATICALLY released to them. (1987 Constitution, Article 10 Section 6). This "just share" was clearly defined in the Local Government Code of 1991 (RA 7160) so why the delay? If the IRA will be released, and automatically as mandated by the Constitution, then there is no more need for Gloria's Kilos Asenso Fund. The LGUs will determine and finance their own projects based on the IRA.

Second, Gloria's administration is primarily in dire need of legitimacy. Because of the election cheating issues which remain un-resolved, people are becoming restless and restless hence forcing her to spend money to "cool off" the heads of her constituents. The problem, the focus of her efforts has become PR and Spin. By evading reality, she ignores the real problems and the concrete solutions. The result: more and more disgusted people and more and more rebels.

By becoming transparent, by allowing investigations to take root, her constituents could become more open. They might understand her. But by claiming that there is no classroom shortage when in fact in an elementary school in Taguig there is only 15 classrooms to serve 3,000 students, and in Batasan High School the ratio of classrooms to students is 1:140, she is rather forcing more and more people to hate her. And by pretending before international bodies that she is in control of the situation in the Philippines when in fact almost everyday at least two people are killed, she is inviting more and more critics and growing more and more oppositions to assail her. Worse, because the alleged payoff of P40 thousand pesos a week for local media practitioners cannot be sustained, and because the lives of journalists in the Philippines are in contiuous threat (as evidenced by her lack of action for solving the cases of 42 media practioners murdered), she is actually sowing hatred among journalists and those sympathizing with them. Proof is the growing number of media practitioners arming themselves whose potential to become vigilantes and/or rebels is not remote. As one media reporter pointed out: If the government cannot do its job to capture and prosecute our assailants, we have no recourse but to take the matter into our own hands.

These being so, why the fuss about the funds? And to threaten the Senate to veto the legislated budget should the cuts remain? Kapal naman. Or maybe Gloria Arroyo is just trying to be humurous?

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