Admirable are the government officials who think of marvelous projects allegedly for the good of the people – for public service to them, for their public welfare, for their public good. This is but right, proper and just. After all, they are called “Public Servants”. So it is that their no mean salaries, their many benefits plus other advantages are paid by the general public – their offices, staff members, personal securities well included. More. The ideas they have, the resolves they make plus the consequent actions they undertake – these are all paid for by the people in general, be these rich or poor, learned or ignorant, residing in plush subdivisions or living by the sidewalks. How? Simple! The citizens pay them through direct or indirect taxes of one kind or another – the so-called “Sin Taxes” well included – imposed and pursued by nobody less than by public officials themselves specifically designated and tasked to do so.
Certain persistent questions come to mind: What price do people pay for such ideas (brilliant or dull), resolves, (needed or superfluous) and actions (basically promotional of their good name and personal interests)? How come they cost very much more than their real worth? Why is it this or that particular foreign company chosen to do the project – instead of another? Are the supposed biddings made by supposedly different companies really above board or actually rigged? It might be then good to cite but two examples – one done and one future:
A good number of trains were ordered some years back by a public office. They were delivered accordingly and thereafter fully paid for by a big amount of people’s taxes some years back – as usual. The sad as well as maddening fact is that the said brand new trains are still there where they were placed upon delivery, still remain unused up to this time. Meantime, the old rotting trains are actually still in use. They simply stop running now and then, any time and anywhere simply because they refused to move on for this and that reason. But the supposed new trains are just there where they have been long since. Why? Some say they do not fit the existing railways or the existing railways do not fit them – or something the like. The pitiful truth is that the ultimately personal idea, subsequent resolve and action by the public Office concerned or the well-known public official then heading the Office is no longer in service, no longer in the picture. But just the same, the people of the Philippines are paying for the big fiasco with their hard-earned money – meager as this is.
And now comes the supposedly extra-brilliant idea from a public Office of having a nearby foreign rich Country build nothing less than a subway railroad system in Metro Manila. Questions: What would be destroyed to have it built under the ground, to have it function as it should? How would it be maintained and who does the maintenance? How long would be the time needed to have it done, to make it functional? Lastly and more importantly: Who pays for it all? The over-all public Official concerned? Oh no! He plans and decides. He eventually identifies the bidder of his choice. How long will it take and when will it become operational? Who runs, who maintains, who keeps it safe? Never mind. But you people, you pay! It’s neither fun nor funny to think of all these. But that’s the way it is – before, then, now.