By Joshua Corcuera
As infrastructure works from roads to bridges saw their completion recently, people — in social media at least — were impressed. Some argued that we should be thankful to the incumbent leaders, others rebutted arguing that the pieces of infrastructure to be opened this year were started in the previous administration.
In other words, many people fight and debate on to whom should we be grateful for with the development of our country’s infrastructure. However, there is a simple logical reason as to why neither the previous government nor the current one should receive all the credit for the roads that were built — these projects only became possible thanks to the taxes of the masses.
When it comes to projects, it is common in the Philippines to discuss when it was started and when it was finished — particularly who were the leaders during its progress. The reason for this is that, one, it allows the masses to know who should re-elect into public office and, two, to know where their taxes go.
The second reason makes sense because, after all, these projects are actually people-funded, not government-funded. The government merely returned or reciprocated the taxes of the people in the form of these government projects and other social services such as education and healthcare. In regard with the first reason — that the people would know who was behind the project to re-elect him/her in public office — we must be reminded that there is actually nothing special with government projects however special they may seem.
The fact that the people are easily impressed by something that the government is actually mandated to do is lamentable. When an enormous number of people is impressed that the government is fixing roads, is providing equitable access to education and healthcare, and the like, it is lamentable in a sense that these initiatives are actually expected from the-powers-that-be.
What is more regretful to think is that some might forget to credit those who actually deserve it — the ordinary people. Each and every Filipino contribute taxes to the government, whether small or huge. Nevertheless, these contributions — once accumulated — sum up in trillions of pesos. Trillions of pesos gathered from the pockets of the working Filipino.
Nothing is wrong with collecting taxes per se, but we must never forget who is supposed to receive credit for the projects we see right now — the Filipino people.
In connection with the people’s taxes, we must not forget that issues of alleged corruption still exist in the Philippines. To be specific, the recent Corruption Perceptions Index exposed that there are little to no improvements in the country in connection with the fight against corruption.
With this in mind, the ordinary people must serve as a watchdog on where our funds go and assure that these funds go to where they’re supposed to be. This is especially true amid the pandemic as vaccines are now being procured.
Although hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses have arrived in the country, it is also sad to think that these are mere donations. Hence, it is not a surprise if why many people are wondering where the loans secured by the country are being used.
With this, it is essential for us to demand transparency.