Carvajal: Government first to fix

·3 min read

PBBM’s (President Bongbong Marcos Jr.) first State of the Nation Address opened with a fair analysis of the country’s economic ills. He followed it with a magnetizing set of goals and corresponding programs to attain them. He smartly gave poor Filipinos and their rich masters, on closer look mostly the latter, what they wanted to hear—economic stability and growth.

Yet again, what he didn’t say could lead us nowhere near the ideal socioeconomic world his speech tried to paint. To fix the economy, the government must be fixed first, but then he said nothing about how he will fix a dysfunctional government that has never worked in earnest to provide “the greater good to the bigger number.”

He claimed to have assembled the best minds to make it happen. But he didn’t say if these are also the most selfless that will work for the interests of the whole nation and not just for their interests and those of their political patrons as is usual in this country.

He said he will condone the loans of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARB). But he didn’t say how he will rid the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) of employees who extort “fees” from farmers who apply to avail of any extension service. He did not pledge to compel fake ARBs (some of them DAR employees) to return the land titles they had dishonestly acquired for themselves.

He talked of improving agricultural production, but he said nothing about reforming the unfair distribution system that has middleperson-sellers earning more than farmer-producers.

He also talked of farm-to-market roads (FMR), long a pet program of congressmen and the Department of Public Works and Highways personnel. But he didn’t say how he will stop this corrupt enclave from pocketing 20-40 percent or more of the FMR budget. Why do you think until now we still do not have enough farm-to-market roads?

He talked of simplifying applications for government permits, licenses and benefits. But he did not say how he will once and for all get rid of “fixers” that do brisk business in government offices.

He completely forgot the labor sector in his speech, how he will lower underemployment and unemployment rates, how to increase rank and file wages and how to provide them with security of tenure.

He also said nothing about human rights, nothing about our two-tiered justice system that summarily punishes someone for stealing a few mangoes but takes years to try and convict, if at all, someone of stealing millions.

The government must be the first to be fixed. Incompetence and corruption are merely aggravations. The core problem is political dynasties (and PBBM belongs to one) that are firmly in control and they have no intention of allowing all social sectors to be proportionately represented in government. By controlling the government, they ensure that the economy, robust or otherwise, continues to channel the greater good to the smaller number, their number.

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