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|Subject: No, my friend, PNoy is far from GMA October 5th 2013, 9:39 pm|| |
A person I have always admired for his courage ,and continue to hold in high regard, is NBN-ZTE whistleblower Jun Lozada.
I distinctly remember visiting him several times during the Arroyo administration at La Salle Greenhills and conversing with him on various graft and corruption issues that hounded the previous administration. I also remember visiting him at the Manila Police Headquarters when he was detained there for a while due to several charges filed against him by known Arroyo ally, former Sec. Mike Defensor.
In short, recent history will show that I have always shown my support for Jun, a person I consider to be my friend and fellow advocate of good governance, in his laudable fight for truth in our country.
This is perhaps why I was disappointed when I heard him again yesterday saying, during a brief interview over DZBB, that the present Aquino administration is no different from the previous Arroyo administration.
Like Jun, I also have my own share of disappointments with how this administration continues to refuse to make the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill a priority, or how jueteng continues to thrive, especially in Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog. But despite these disappointments no, my friend, President Noynoy Aquino is far from what former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is.
Here are the reasons why:
1. An administration that is committed to transparency and accountability
In the previous administration, we didn’t know how our government institutions spent public funds.
In fact, didn’t the P10 Billion Pork Barrel Scam and the almost P1 Billion Malampaya Fund Scam happen under the watch of former President Arryo? Now, any Filipino from any part of the world can easily go to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) website to see how and where their Congressmen and Senators used their PDAF or Pork Barrel.
The Commission on Audit, under the leadership of Chairman Grace Pulido-Tan, has even launched a website where one can easily access and download their audit reports. It was also during this administration through the efforts of the late DILG Sec. Jesse Robredo that the Seal of Good Housekeeping for local government units was instituted. An LGU can only get a seal if they are able to abide by the DILG’s Full Disclosure Policy that mandates all LGUs to publish their budget, expenditures and financial transactions for the public to see.
Remember the Arroyo administration’s EO 464 that strictly prohibits all Cabinet members from attending Senate hearings without the permission of then President Arroyo? This EO prevented the likes of then NEDA Sec. Romulo Neri from appearing and testifying in the Senate with regards to the NBN-ZTE Deal.
Well, that is no longer the case in the Aquino administration that is why Justice Sec. Leila de Lima along with other Undersecretaries are now able to attend the Senate’s Blue Ribbon Committee hearings that aim to bring out the truth for the public to know.
2. An administration that is committed to bringing the corrupt to justice
For the first time in history, a serious investigation into pork barrel corruption led by Justice Sec. De Lima and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales is being done. Necessary charges have been filed against those who have abused this system, too.
This is something that has never been enacted by any previous administration, especially since it takes much political will to work towards making erring Congressmen and Senators face the music.
Listening to the clamor of the people, PNoy has also categorically stated that the PDAF will now be abolished. Again, this decision to take out discretionary power from Congress and the Senate to implement their pet projects has never been done by any President in recent history.
Aside from this, PNoy has also made it his priority to immediately put an end to the misuse of the Malampaya Funds which, during the past administration, was channeled as well to bogus Napoles NGOs instead of being used to develop new energy sources for our country.
Appropriate charges have also been filed against those who took part in this scam. How can other groups say that PNoy is the Pork Barrel King when he in fact spearheading the efforts to make sure that those who enriched themselves using public funds are punished and sent to jail? I am seriously questioning the motives of these groups who are calling for the resignation of a leader who was, in fact, very instrumental in revealing these scams.
3. International recognition for good governance and fiscal reforms
All three major international credit rating agencies, Moody’s, Fitch and Standard and Poor’s have upgraded the Philippines to investment grade status. Which means that they are now recommending multinational companies to come to our country and set up their businesses here.
Did this happen during the Arroyo administration? No. According to these agencies, the upgrade was due to solid fiscal reforms instituted by our government, as well as the prevailing atmosphere of good governance in our country. One person that made all those fiscal reforms happen is Budget Sec. Butch Abad. Some militant groups are now clamoring for his resignation.
More new businesses will mean more jobs for Filipinos here in our country that will eventually help move many of our countrymen out of poverty. In addition to this, this administration has also implemented a major revamp in one of the most corrupt agencies in our country, the Bureau of Customs (BoC). Another landmark move that no administration has done in the past due to the prevailing influential groups that have benefitted from its corrupt system.
Sadly, those that are now affected by these important reforms are also trying to muddle the issue and are trying to divert the public’s outrage and attention away from the real criminals who stole our public funds. These same people are now working hard to block and undermine these reforms that would cut into their illicit sources of funds.
Perhaps the only major hiccup of this administration is the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) or the realignment of government savings that has also been a practice even by previous administrations but it is only now that this is being called into question.
Budget Sec. Abad has already made a statement that the provision of funds from the DAP to our legislators will now be stopped and no longer be practiced. They have learned their lesson and they are now working towards further improving our country’s budgetary process.
Still about the Pork Barrel Scam
In all of this, let us not lose track that the real issue here is not PNoy but still the discretionary funds that were allotted to and misused by some of our lawmakers.
They have a duty and obligation to the public to explain how and why hundreds of millions of public funds went to these bogus Napoles NGOs. These same lawmakers who have already been charged accordingly are now trying their best to spin the issue so that the public will forget their sins and channel their anger towards the very people who are working towards making them accountable.
I just hope we all know better than to fall into their trap. – KDM, GMA News