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Hello and goodbye, Pres. Noy

By J.G. Azarcon, Esq.

Pres. Noynoy came to town. The curious and the adoring gathered at a plush Washington hotel to welcome the most powerful and eligible bachelor in the Philippines. I found him to be a better speaker than Pres. Obama. He did not rely on a teleprompter and his conversational style easily connected with his audience.

Pres. Noy told his Pinoy audience that the Philippines is enjoying a budget surplus. He has reason to be grinning with pride. It that is so, Pinoys in America should press for a special meeting between Pres. Noy and Pres. Barack Obama so that the latter can learn math and economics Pinoy style and make the budget deficit in the U.S. disappear.

While Pres. Noy was talking about a budget surplus in Washington, students in Manila were protesting against under-funding of state colleges and universities. The University of the Philippines, the flag ship institution of higher learning has slid down in world ranking among top universities largely because of inadequate budget for top of the line facilities, faculty compensation and research programs. Please Pres. Noy, if that surplus is not a figment of the imagination, invest the money in state colleges and universities so they can produce graduates who can compete with the best minds in the world.

Pres. Noy comes across as an honest and hard working president. It seems to me that he really has a soft heart for the poor. His administration supports a program that gives direct cash distributions to poor families so that their children may eat and go to school.

I do not question his noble mission to make life more bearable for those who have less in life. I have some doubts however if outright cash distributions of millions of pesos to certain poor families is the type of expenditure that can bring lasting positive impact to the greatest number of poor families.

In the rural areas, more poor people could earn a living selling what they can harvest or produce if only there were roads that could give them access to the market. There are many jobless Pinoys who could benefit from job training programs. Let’s make mechanics, carpenters or plumbers out of tough guys hanging out around the street corner. I was told that a mining company in Mindanao has to recruit heavy equipment operators from Luzon and Visayas because there are very few available in the localities. There are many bright Pinoys whose dreams are cut short by lack of money for tuition fees. Help the poor but make them enjoy the benefits long after they go to the toilet.

He is trying very hard to rid the government of graft and corruption. “Kung walang kurap, walang mahirap.”  This was a bold vow to end malfeasance in government. Unwittingly, he is setting himself up to be judged as a failure at the end of his term. If there are still poor people when his term is up, that means marami pa rin and kurap.

But I believe that compared with his predecessors, he can claim that the first family of one is super clean. Marcos had Emeldific roam recklessly with unlimited credit limit when she goes abroad. Erap had one wife to support  plus others in different subdivisions in the country. Ramos had also one wife. Was there a Kabuki? And what about Ate Glo?  Well she had loving Mike whose pastime was creative financing. Pres. Noy is by his lonesome  on a single bed in Malacanang. Nobody is soliciting donations in his name.

His drive to end corruption has put the previous administration on the receiving end of government investigation. The husband of former Pres. Gloria Arroyo has been implicated in alleged anomalous sale of helicopters to the national police. Her son who is a congressman is accused of tax evasion.

What has Pres. Noy’s anti-corruption drive netted so far? The people want him to catch big crooks. My wise guy barber tells me that it is a big success. He says that the local government in Agusan Del Sur was able to catch the biggest crook that could make the Guinness book of world records, except that this crook did not feed on people’s money but on carabaos close to the river bank, tunay na buaya<D>.

Goodluck Pres. Noy. May you catch more crooks in whatever shape or form.

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