Mind da News: Not the Time to Celebrate

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, August 26, 3013 – The organizers of the “Million People March” nationwide are right. President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino heard but has not listened. So, the March must go on even if he has declared the abolition of the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) of the members of Congress. The “F” will remain intact in the 2014 budget. The “P”, the “D” and the “A” will be reformulated.

What is there to celebrate? None! Not at this time. The people want the House of Corruption named “PDAF” demolished. Mr. Aquino will only renovate it and change the name. Anybody who has lived through the Commonwealth to the present Republic will testify that the same SOP or modus operandi has turned a clean bureaucracy into a nest of corruption – change the name after the renovation. Same dog, different collar!

Here’s the paradox. In the 1930s and up to the 1950s, there were fewer office positions compared to today. An office employee performed related functions. Later, positions were split to spread out functions. Reasons: To have more efficiency and to prevent corruption. Yet, in those early years, one did not have to offer coffee or lunch to speed up the processing of papers.

Don’t get me wrong. Creating office positions for specific functions – this is called “streamlining” – is the better system. But the system has been deformed to serve the “private good” rather than the “public”.

And, the greater paradox! The “people” and “public service” have always been the reasons for innovations called “reforms”. They are the reasons for entrenching the PDAF – in different names and modus operandi since the first Philippine President. They are the same reasons for the institution and proliferation of the NGOs (Non-government organizations) after EDSA I. Now, it can be asked: Who are the people, the public? There’s the path to heaven detoured to hell.

When the multi-billion peso Napoles scandal was exposed a month ago, the Palace said the President was against abolishing the PDAF. Then the President reconsidered his position as he conferred with congressional leaders. A week ago, the “Million People March” was launched in the web. As the “netizen” movement gathered momentum – like the LDA (low depressed area) intensifying into a storm — the President, three days ago, announced, flanked by the Senate president and House speaker, to abolish the PDAF.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte urged the members of the House to accept the President’s decision. That’s sheer drama. They, the majority, already had. Their concern for the people and public service will be taken care of. The executive and the legislative will meet to agree on how the PDAF will be renovated and renamed – to be engrafted into the resolutions to abolish already filed in both the House and the Senate.

Let’s wait to see the renovation and the new name – the new collar of the same dog. Then will be the time to celebrate or to take to the streets.

Let’s not forget the Marcos martial law. The first three months showed changes for the better only to turn into the worst in the next fourteen years.

Let’s not forget the EDSA I. The “people power” reverberated throughout the world and was replicated by some oppressed nations. Yet, the fruits rotted before they could ripen under the Cory Aquino and Ramos governments.

Let’s not forget the EDSA II. Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in her impromptu acceptance and inaugural speech as the new president made three promises that could have brought glorious days to the Philippines. Yet, she turned 180 degrees around and the 3,390 days after are remembered mostly for the nightmares.

Is President Aquino III really different? Yet, it should be asked: If it would suffice just to renovate and rename PDAF, why did he not do it on Day One of his administration in 2010? But if the same renovating and renaming by his predecessors did not work, will his doing the same be different?

The “Million People March” is right. The President heard but has not listened. Today, the million “netizens” want him to listen. Will they not be disappointed like the million citizens in the People Power of EDSA I? (Patricio P. Diaz/MindaNews)