Community Whispers by Ray Junia
Community Whispers

Good and evil opportunists in the time of pandemic

Aug 30, 2021, 11:53 PM
Ray L. Junia

Ray L. Junia

Publisher

TWO friends were sitting in a bar when the town’s fire alarm went off. One suddenly stood up and rushed to the door. The other called out “Pare I did not know you were a fireman.”

“I am not,” came the answer, adding “but the husband of my mistress is.”

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The foregoing anecdote plays up a friend’s quick response to opportunities, not unlike many characters in our government.

Opportunists come in many forms.

One form are those in the Department of Health and the Department of Budget who the public has already convicted for being mercilessly corrupt.

They took advantage of the panic created by the pandemic using shortcuts in government purchases under the pretext of finding fast solutions.

Thus, effectively using the emergency situation as the convenient excuse in perpetrating their evil scheme.

The emergency purchases easily led to massive overpricing in the acquisitions of pandemic related PPEs and other health tools.

Overprice was estimated to run to tens of billions of pesos.

On the other hand, there are also well-meaning opportunists like the people running the Baguio City local government.

Taking advantage of the pandemic fear, city officials and groups of businessmen and local artists are set to launch “Breathe Baguio”, highlighting the city’s origin as a health sanctuary.

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Headline: Government revenue collections seen to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022.

Government experts predict the GDP will expand to 7-9 percent next year or double that of this year’s 4.5 percent growth.

Given where our economy is in now, and the confusion and disorder in containing the health problems we are in now, that 7-9 percent projection is more of a miracle, impossible to happen.

But who quarrels with government projections?

I suggest “experts” in the government, when they lie, they bring the lie closer to the truth.

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Lawyers, like media men, are endangered species in the Philippines.

Law practitioner Rex Jesus Mario Fernandez, 62 years old, was in his car when he was shot dead by a lone gunman in Cebu City last Thursday.

Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), said Fernandez was a founding member of the public interest group and handled cases of activists.

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Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, and a lawyer were each given a gun with one bullet. The four were asked, who do you shoot? Three bullets felled the lawyer.

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The Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC), gets the attention of the Senate again.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon last Thursday asked the PITC to return the whole amount of over P11-B unused funds parked in the agency.

PITC is a trading arm of the government created to take advantage of better deals in government purchases.

It has, however, become a parking lot for funds unused by other government agencies.

Parking of funds refers to the practice by some smart government officials to book as obligated appropriations funds, which should have been returned to the national treasury for not being spent.

Instead, the unused funds are being parked with the PITC.

This practice has been perfected to the point that observers suspect that big money goes to pockets of people involved, defeating the very purpose PITC was created.

PITC is headed by an appointee of Pres. Digong and is reported to be eyeing the lone congressional district for San Pedro City in the coming national elections.



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