Monday, February 16, 2009


It’s been quite some time that I’ve read the front page of the Inquirer. In actuality, I was avoiding it. This is because I don’t want to sour my mood further by reading the latest political scandals early in the morning. I mean reading the business news nowadays is depressing enough. One doesn’t need to keep torturing oneself by keeping abreast with the latest political drama. However, how should I say? Fate intervened? That one day sometime last week that I read the front page of the Inquirer. And lo! I didn’t get depressed by what was plastered at the front page. Instead, I got furious! The news that made it to the front page that “fateful” day was about the Senate investigation on the banned World Bank contractors and how things turned literally upside down. For starters, sometime in November 2007, the World Bank sent a confidential report of collusions and corrupt practices of 7 government contractors to the Philippine government, specifically the Finance Department. The report was made after a very thorough investigation. The gist of the report is the “suggestion” of the involvement of the First Gentlemen in the anomalous transactions of these contractors. However, the report was strictly confidential and contains only leads and not much substance plus a clause that it couldn’t be used in prosecution proceedings within the country in question. It is quite understandable as to the reason why the report was prepared in such way. For one, the World Bank being a supra national entity is and should be politically neutral and second, they shouldn’t interfere in the local governance at all. Because of the “lack of capability” of the Finance Department, the report was eventually referred to the Ombudsman and sadly like all other cases of grand corruptions and high crimes, it was left to gather dust and largely forgotten for more than a year. Then, sometime in early part of this year, the contents of the report got leaked and the Senate began an impromptu investigation of the alleged corruption. And to make a long story short, the investigation drags on and on like the usual zarzuela we all got use to. But that is not what incensed me. What infuriates me is that Senate committee in charge of the public inquiry has suddenly turned the tables on the accuser, the World Bank! Specifically, some “distinguish” senators are venting their “irrepressible” ire on the World Bank and calling it names. In fact, in one scene of this sad and pathetic “comedy”, a distinguish senator with terrible temper even wanted to kick the World Bank out of the country! Now let me get this straight about the entire issue here. Here we are perennially short of money due to a simple reason that we spend more than we could earn, which could be trace further to the fact that we tend to pay excessively more than it should be and these excessive pays, instead of benefiting a great number of people tends to end up in the pockets of a select and favored few. Because of the sorry predicament we are in, we are forced to seek help from a few creditors to finance our needs. And then along came a generous creditor, the World Bank who not only extended loans to our beleaguered nation despite our poor credentials but also given us a favorable treatment in terms of concessional rates and longer repayment terms. And unlike other financial institutions who are only after the profits that could be derived from such a loan without regards as to how efficiently that such money could be spent, the World Bank even offered to help us improve the efficiency of our spending by telling us the names of “corrupt” businesses and contractors such that the wealth derived from the investment of the loan money might be spread evenly and maximizing the benefits to the greater number of recipients instead of ending up in the hands of a few. And instead of showing our gratitude for such concern, our honorable and distinguish senators has the gall to be ANGRY at the World Bank! What the f*ck is this? Ok, maybe I’m not being clear here and for the benefit of those who couldn’t understand a word of English, let me phrase this in Filipino. Tayo’y lubos na naghihirap at kulang ang ating salapi para sa ikauunlad ng kabuyahan natin. Dahil dito, humingi tayo ng tulong. At sa awa ng Diyos, meyron naman tumulong sa atin. Hindi lang yan, bukod sa pangungutang, pinagbigyan din tayo sa pamamagitan ng maluwag na konsesyon. Higit pa diyan, tinulungan pa naman tayo na iwasto ang katiwalian sa paggagastos ng ating salapi upang sa ganoon ay marami makinabang sa salaping ito. Ngunit, sa halip na tayo’y matuwa, magpasalamat, at magtanaw ng utang na loob, tayo’y nagagalit pa! Now what kind of a person would do that? You know they have a name for such a person in Filipino and it’s called G*GO! I rest my case.
P.S. the whole brouhaha is not actually bad for it gave me an idea who NOT to vote for in the upcoming election some 15 months away.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My lady's presence makes the roses red

by Henry Constable

My lady's presence makes the roses red,
Because to see her lips they blush for shame.
The lily's leaves, for envy, pale became,
And her white hands in them this envy bred.
The marigold the leaves abroad doth spread,
Because the sun's and her power is the same.
The violet of purple colour came.
Dyed in the blood she made my heart to shed.
In brief: all flowers from her their virtue take;
From her sweet breath their sweet smells do proceed;
The living heat which her eyebeams doth make
Warmeth the ground and quickeneth the seed.
The rain, wherewith she watereth the flowers,F
alls from mine eyes, which she dissolves in showers.