Archive for the ‘aid’ Category

When they start telling us we’re unworthy of help

December 15, 2008

When foreign entities tell us that we can’t have assistance because we are corrupt, don’t we feel red on the face? Don’t we experience goose-bumps to be told that we’re untrustworthy? Don’t we feel like immature juveniles when others tell us we need a course program in honesty? As a nation, is there “delicadeza” left in our bones?

I don’t know how to react on the US Millenium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) decision to scrap our anti-poverty aid. Help is available from the corporation, but it’s our worthiness— the apparent corruption that bars the way. As a result, the suffering poor, the object of humanitarian assistance, are bound to miss the financial booty.

I’m stunned how easily we take trustworthiness for granted. The country got failing grades in the control of corruption (47%,) health expenditures (19%,) and primary education (32%) for FY2009.

Across the board, the exceedingly low grades reflect total failure in all fronts. I would not be surprised if our leaders will just shrug them off just like before. It’s something the public knows all along.

Indonesia, Columbia, Zambia, places with corruption problems like ours fare better than us. Our country consistently scores lower than the median in at least 14 of 17 criteria considered in determining assistance. We aren’t qualified and it is the people outside who tell us.

“To be eligible for US help, developing countries must show their commitment to policies that promote political and economic freedom, investments in education and health, control of corruption, and respect for civil liberties and the rule of law by performing well on 17 different policy indicators.

The board called upon the government of the Philippines to intensify its efforts to fight corruption and will closely monitor the country’s performance,” said Ambassador John Danilovich, MCC chief executive officer.”—Philstar (12/15/08, Katigbak,J)

The MCC reports corruption control in the Philippines precipitously slid from 76%, 57%, and 47% in 2007, 2008, and 2009 respectively.

The dire findings entail urgent measures which we can’t laugh off like kid stuff. It’s the same MCC which gave RP $21 million aid to combat corruption (without success?) in 2006. Aren’t we ashamed?

Most of us aren’t ashamed. We are used to corruption. We are too focused with our personal lives. Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo and those who support her administration will probably just pretend they are doing something to stop the bane that’s eating our society’s foundation.

We know we need to act responsibly as individuals now. We can’t rely on the government or our friends to rid us of a problem that is partly our own making. We can’t claim we can’t do anything or pretend that corruption is far from us. Our way of life and the next generation’s future are bound to go down the drain if we don’t act. It’s just a matter of time that things will really look very nasty.

Without honesty, industry, and upright moral values, we will surely bring irreparable ruin to ourselves. The warning signs are out there. What we’re facing is the worst and the most difficult to control. (Photo Credits: Trainman; GmaResign; GmaResign;; GmaResign) =0=

==========================================================

Significant Numbers

July 9, 2008

10%
-The percentage price of one gallon of gasoline Saudis pay (45 cents) compared to Americans who pay $4.50/gallon on the pump.

P11.583 billion-The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCCl’s ) estimate of Typhoon Frank’s destructiveness. The amount constitutes 96.5% of the total expenditure the country shells out each year, covering an average of 20 typhoons, costing about P12,000 billion

P8,599/month
-What the lowly paid government street and utility worker needs to survive the rises in prices of commodities. According to Ferdinand Gaite, president of the Confederation of Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage,) this means a needed increase of P3,000 to the present salary of P5,999.

105 million
-The number of people who could drop below the poverty line due to the spiraling rise in fuel costs and prices of commodities. According to a World Bank study issued last week, 30 million of these people come from Africa.

$624 million
-The Asian Development Bank, one of the country’s biggest foreign lenders is thinking of loaning the Philippines in 2009 to help boost the economy. An additional 300 million loan is scheduled for 2010.

550 metric tons
-The amount of uranium transferred from Iraq to Canada last week in a secret operation according to Pentagon. The yellow cake was discovered in 2003 by US forces in Iraq’s Tawaitha Nuclear Research Facility which was placed under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy.

2012
-Based on an ancient Mayan calendar, the year the world is expected to end. Survival groups from Europe, Canada, and the US are preparing for the apocalypse—catastrophic events such as typhoons, nuclear detonations, tidal waves, earthquakes which they believe would usher in the end of days.

P50,000 million
-Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s planned budget to repatriate more than 100 OFWs stranded in various countries in the Middle East.

$200
-The monthly salary of Filipino nurse-turned-maid Marichu Suarez Baoanan received from Amb. Lauro Baja who was accused of racketeering, illegal human trafficking, peonage, and forced labor. As of January 1, 2007, the General Industry Minimum wage of New York is $7.15/hour, roughly $1,601.60/month. Investigation of Amb. Baja is being urged by the Philippine government authorities.

$459,000
-Nazi hunters peg the reward money leading to the arrest of Aribert Heim, 94, known as Dr. Death who’s believed to have escaped to Chile with his daughter. =0=

Recurrent Shipwrecks And The Horrific Maritime Record in the Philippines

June 24, 2008

The reason why there is the repeat of negligence among these shipping lines is because the law takes such a long time. We need to execute a swift prosecution and conviction of the guilty on this case,” -Sen. Francis Pangilinan. Malaya (06.25/07, Montemayor, J.)

Sulpicio Lines—that’s the company! The recurrent shipwrecks befalling this shipping outfit are disgusting entries in the bloody maritime record of the Philippines. The inter-island company has the hideous distinction of being involved in several of the world’s unforgettable ship mishaps, one of them, the history’s worst sea disaster which claimed the lives of innocents, larger in number than those who perished in 911.

Princess of the Stars keeled at the height of Typhoon Frank (see pictures by Reuters.) With shifting inaccurate numbers of passengers which cast doubt on the veracity of the manifest, the ill-fated ship was whacked and swallowed by the churning waves—bigger and more fearsome than the rugged tall mountains nearby. Disaster-prone Philippines had been in a state of temporary shock, begging for international aid.

Pray for those who died. They need justice. Think of the victims’ families who shed tears, their eyes red in seething anger. In grief, they know their poor loved ones are gone, never to set foot on dry land again. Perhaps they’ll not get the justice they deserved. Think of the good works the hapless 800+ victims could have contributed in their lifetime if they weren’t cut silent by negligence, bad luck, or act of God.

MV Princess of the Stars, sank during Typhoon Frank, 800 plus missing or lost, June 22, 2008
MV Dona Marilyn, sank during Typhoon Unsang, Oct 24, 1988, 250 lives lost
MV Princess of the Orient, sank during Typhoon Guding, Sept 18, 1988, 150 lives lost
MV Dona Paz, sank after a collision with tanker Vector, Dec 20, 1987, 4000+ died (worst maritime disaster in history)

How can we rest our thoughts with this? We have ample blame to spread around. The “royal” liner sank with several capsized smaller boats at the height of the storm. Littered bloated bodies in the sea soon commingled after Typhoon Frank left, making it hard to know from which sunken ferry they came from. Does God bear grudge on our people?

Not learning its lessons, Sulpicio Lines pulled through (with least accountability) in the past. The rulings on earlier shipwrecks placed little blame on this company whose victims, too poor to wage protracted legal battles, hungered for justice.

Since the storm’s path could be ascertained in real time, its progress could be accurately charted. There should have been ample wiggle room to successfully escape the typhoon if caution was observed.

Negligence and incompetence were more likely when too frequent mishaps recurred in the hands of the same people—the ship’s crew and the Coast Guard. Whether Sulpicio Lines and the Coast Guard took safety and human life for granted was something the whole nation deserved to know.

The United States donated $100,000 to the ferry disaster fund. The French government also offered help. In appeals so familiar, the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP,) Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo and the swanky troop of 59 senators who joined her to the White House, begged for more generous donations.

Who will ascertain that these dole-outs will go to the right beneficiaries? How much will the ferry company spend as aid and compensation? With taxpayer’s money, how much will the government spend to put this avoidable tragedy far in the backstage— so that the next national disaster in the offing can catch our attention? =0=