From roads to bridges, houses to water pumps, irrigation projects to electrification—these and other government projects and public works are customarily and proudly, shamelessly even, are called “Gifts” (“bigay”) from the national leadership as again recently reported from Northern Luzon. The largess is at times loudly advertised as a “present” (“handog”) or “offering” (“Alay”). They are infallibly trumpeted as clear evidence of the benevolence and generosity of the Malacañang occupant.
While even local public officials engage in the same claims and pretences, theirs usually come in form of but little waiting shades, basketball courts and the like. It is the present administration that has gained notoriety and achieved expertise in such very pretentious and wherefore deliberately deceptive practice—such as when big public works projects are initiated and/or inaugurated in the different parts of the country.
There is a rather basic truth that begs to be said even if only to make the general public know and realize what these “gifts”, or “offerings” really are. How on earth can someone really give anything at all when nothing of it actually comes from the pocket, the bank account or the personal fund of the alleged giver, the donor or the offeror?
In other words, the truth is that national leadership, the Malacañang occupant or the present administration does not spend a centavo for any such project. It is admittedly good in collecting taxes from the people. It is also known for improving graft and corruption in the country. In short, it is also known for taking money from the people—but certainly not for giving it away in cash or in kind. It first takes before it gives. And what is thereafter given is unquestionably much lesser than what it took. This is the plain and simple equation in the matter of the citizens’ personal money taken and turned into public funds by the government.
It is always the people—poor and rich alike, professional as well an unlettered, the old, the young and children even—who are the payors. It is the government as a whole that is the payee always. The government does not give. It takes. The people make the earning. The government does the spending. How convenient!
11 July 2007