Uni­son plea for Build, Build, Build

Sun.Star Pampanga - - STORIES! -

THE World Eco­nomic Fo­rum re ported in 2017 that Philip­pines ranked 97th in the world in terms of in­fras­truc­ture. What makes it a big deal?

Well, Metro Manila is drain­ing P2.4 bil­lion daily since 2012 due to poor in­fras­truc­ture, caus­ing traf­fic con­ges­tions and af­fect­ing the daily grind. This fig­ure will be tripled by 2030 ac­cord­ing to the study con­ducted by the Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Agency (Jica).

As a band aid so­lu­tion, the present ad­min­is­tra­tion jumped into an am­bi­tious Build, Build, Build pro­gram hop­ing to lit­er­ally give a relief to traf­fic congestion and other short­ages in the met­ro­pol­i­tan; at the same time to ad­dress the peren­nial prob­lem of unem­ploy­ment that is falling down to crim­i­nal­ity like a domino.

I said band aid so­lu­tion be­cause to fi­nance these high im­pact pro­jects, the gov­ern­ment im­posed the new tax re­form pack­age through Train law to ear­mark P786 bil­lion in the next five years. We have not solved the first prob­lem (traf­fic congestion and unem­ploy­ment) and here we are con­fronting an­other prob­lem - the ad­di­tional bur­den of tax.

Even with the amassed rev­enue, still it is in­suf­fi­cient to fund these pro­jects be­cause a big­ger chunk of the pro­jected amount

will be al­lot­ted to the im­pend­ing in­creases of salaries for the po­lice who fore­fronts the war against drugs; and the mil­i­tary that is also in the war against the ter­ror­ists.

The eco­nomic man­agers find re­course to bor­row money from our neigh­bors par­tic­u­larly Ja­pan and China to show to the same neigh­bors that our coun­try is a beau­ti­ful place for their in­vest­ment. This is an­other bur­den placed on top of the first iden­ti­fied prob­lems (traf­fic congestion, unem­ploy­ment, ad­di­tional tax and now loan).

Any­ways, among the high im­pact pro­jects un­der a loan agree­ment with China is the Chico River Pump Ir­ri­ga­tion Project amount­ing to $62 mil­lion, wherein a pro­vi­sion waived our im­mu­nity to all as­sets, in­clud­ing the Reed Bank (Recto Bank) which is a rich source of gas.

Wise ob­servers and crit­i­cal thinkers this time hurled and poured heavy crit­i­cisms to the oner­ous agree­ment, that in de­fense, the blitzkrieg sec­re­tary Panelo said there is noth­ing wrong when the coun­try of­fered its pat­ri­mo­nial as­sets as col­lat­eral in China loan. Like a dirt­ied pig, he sank fur­ther into the mud by declar­ing that the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment has no choice but to abide China’s terms.

Well, all of as learned the ele­men­tary of eco­nom­ics that spend­ing more than what we earn will re­sult to an ir­recov­er­able deficit. And we knew that posthaste loan con­tracts without the ju­di­cial au­dit will bring down the bor­rower’s nose to the lender’s toe.

Let this be our prayer: May the pro­ceeds of the bur­den­ing tax­a­tion will be en­joyed by all Filipinos and not only for the crescendo salaries of war­riors. May the com­pe­tency of the gov­ern­ment to un­der­take these am­bi­tious Build3 pro­jects is a timely so­lu­tion to the hulk­ing heaped prob­lems, free from cor­rup­tion and bid­ding anom­alies es­pe­cially on the Chi­nese-led pro­jects. And, let our of­fer­ing of do­mes­tic and pat­ri­mo­nial re­sources as col­lat­er­als de­liver us from the evil in­ten­tion of the lenders. Amen.

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