Thursday, February 14, 2008

Murky world of corruption in government

Time and again, some public officials have dipped their hands in the murky world of graft and corruption, if only to gain something out of their sensitive positions in high government offices.

The anomalous multi-million NBN-ZTE broadband scandal is not the first attempt to make the national government suffer for the ineptitude and insensitiveness of some public officials whose motives are only to make money at the expense of the millions of poor taxpayers who pay their taxes honestly without a choice, while the rich and the influentials get away with it.

For many years now, the World Bank keeps on complaining on some of the inefficiencies of the national government in terms of collecting the much-needed revenues to finance the government expenditures, one of which is the repayment of past due loans and infrastructural developments in the countryside. In fact, it has made a series of studies on how the Philippine government fared in so far as the strengthening of its economic fundamentals and financial infrastructures are concerned. But everytime, the government fails to implement what were supposed to be done to correct the problems that hound the country's economy stability.

While I was still covering the Department of Finance since the time of Secretary Roberto de Ocampo, I've written a lot about the much-needed fiscal policies needed to put the country's financial strengths on track, in step with the requirements of the World Bank to attain these goals as a prerequisite before any loan tranche could be released. The Bank's call was repeated over and over again and it even gave the national government another chance to make up for its shortcomings in so far as tax-collections are concerned. But to no avail. Still, the tax-collecting agencies failed to meet their revenue collection targets. If there were, these seldom happened.

Why? The bottom line is always money. Whenever public officials are put on sensitive positions in government, all they do is to circumvent the established government policies in order to either satisfy their personal cravings to amass ill-gotten resources and finance their luxurious lifestyles or please their friends in high places in return for favors accorded to them in the past as a way of reciprocation.

Seldom do we see or hear the likes of boxing celebrity Manny Pacquaio paying his tax duties as payment for his imported luxury Porche Cayenne vehicle. Unlike Pacquiao, there are politicians or influential people belonging to the upper echelon of society just name drop as a means of getting away of what they are supposed to pay to the government. Hence, huge shortfalls in tax collections and the basic services for the people suffer because only a select few are benefitted.

For example, in the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs, reports showed that even tax examiners are the ones giving orientation to business associates and friends on how to cheat the government and instead benefitting their personal pockets for a few hundred thousands. Isn't this another way of personal aggrandizement, whereby these people only thought to enrich themselves while millions of hungry stomachs barely eat three square meals a day.

All I could say is that there are people who only think of themselves. What about the reputation of their children and grandchildren? Are they not ashamed of themselves to face these innocent little kids who are teased by others when they go to their respective schools the following day? Let us not be bothered to ourselves, but what about our children and grandchildren who at a young age are already made aware of the wrong-doings of their grandparents or parents? Isn't this a deplorable act? Dishonesty for the sake of amassing easy or dirty money, feeding our children and grandchildren from the fruits of corruption?

What are these luxuries and conveniences for when our souls are being roasted in hell, after the judgment day comes?

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