By Alex P. Vidal
“My slogan when I ran was that there is no such thing as government money, there is only taxpayer’s money, and that cut pretty deep.”— William Weld
ASIDE from essentially stealing it, another way of wasting the taxpayers’ money is through incompetence and negligence by our government officials.
Graft and corruption per se isn’t the only evil that impoverishes the nation fast, delays progress and development, and denies the needy the basic social, education, and health services.
Failure to safeguard the public funds from incompetent, negligent, irresponsible, and fly-by-night contractors and suppliers is another demon that siphons the people’s money in a horrifying degree.
If millions of pesos worth of contracts in public works, health, education, agriculture, energy, military, police, and transport projects are wrongly and maliciously awarded through spurious biddings, it’s a perfect recipe for multiple and massive catastrophes; it’s tantamount to robbing the taxpayers in broad daylight and stripping them lock, stock, and barrel.
That’s why we have bridges collapsing even during light downpours; asphalt overlay disappearing from the pavement like chalks in the blackboard; farm-to-market roads turning into roads to hell and perdition; cracking down waiting sheds and right of way sidewalks; dooming school buildings, gymnasiums, and grandstands, etcetera.
Could the lousy and unpresentable P680-million Iloilo flyover project in Ungka, Pavia, for instance, a product of incompetence and negligence or graft and corruption (the “slicing of the cake” to small pieces and the “popping of tiny bubbles”)?
If the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) cannot remedy the Titanic humiliation and ignominy and satisfy the public, the Ilonggos will think the taxpayers have been duped and swindled big time.
“Graft and corruption tangle the social thread of communities, erode the moral fiber of human relationships, and sully the reputation of social institutions. Legislative and judicial mechanisms, including a strong, just criminal justice system, must deal with graft and corruption at every level of society. Good, just political governance characterized by transparency, accountability, and integrity is crucial to the eradication of graft and corruption. Societies that are graft-ridden and plagued with corruption are needful of God’s pardoning love and redeeming grace,” said the Church and Society.
Are we cultured and educated? A cultured, truly educated person is not one who knows as much as is in the encyclopedia, but is one whose knowledge—great or small—is in order.
The man with the most efficient education is not the one who knows things; he is the one who knows where to go to find out about them.
I am proud to state that I do not know what selenium is and I do not know the names of the bones of the human body.
Why should I mess my intellect up with this knowledge for which I have no use?
Charles Darwin once said, “The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts.”
My fight is to keep books out of my library, to keep papers off my desk, to keep new furniture from being brought into the house, and to keep from eating what I cannot digest.
The eternal struggle is against the superfluous. For superfluity kills more people than poverty.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)