Short notes

1. Dear Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon,

I was floored by your statement on politicians who protect corrupt customs employees.

“We have come across situations wherein the corrupt ones have the audacity because they know some people are backing them up. One of my proposals is to insulate Customs from political influence. How do we do that? We come up with a policy or a law prohibiting recommendations for employment in the bureau.”
Seriously? Don’t you know that the only two people who can order you to do anything relating to your job are the Finance secretary and the President? Anyway, don’t bother me with why you can’t do your job. You are being paid to perform and not to make excuses.

But since the president is willing to give you one more chance… here’s what you can do to restore our confidence in
you.

Take the twenty or fifty most powerful customs men, the ones with the toughest political and/or religious backers, and fire them.

However, if for some legal reason you cannot just fire them–because there are a lot of crooked lawyers and justices with TRO powers out there–then take those twenty or fifty customs lords out of their present positions, assign them to desks inside your office, make them cut paper dolls all day everyday and have them mail the dolls to their influential backers. Show them who is the meanest bastard in Customs. Remember, in the position you hold, it is better to be feared than loved.

2. Letter to the angry foreigner with red hair

Dear Thomas van Beerbum,

I read your letter to the crying policeman. Very impressive. Except you are a tourist and have no business participating in demonstrations aimed at destroying our democratic system. Being a part of an International Solidarity Mission, a delegate of the International Conference on Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines, and a fan of Joma Sison does not give you license to participate in a domestic disturbance.

You are a guest in my country. Weren’t you ever taught that when you visit someone else’s home you are supposed to be polite and civil to everyone who lives there, not only to the ones you like? Besides, who told you that you can waltz in to my home and act like you own the place?

Where does your arrogance come from, coming here to teach us Filipinos how to govern ourselves? Who appointed/elected/anointed you to be the great teacher to the Filipinos? Are you still tripping on that White Man’s burden thing?

I know you hate US-imperialism but what made you think Dutch-imperialism was something to be proud of? Did the Indonesians and Africans love being colonized by your people?

If you want to become a partisan and install a government led by Joma Sison then apply for Filipino citizenship first. Once you are a naturalized Filipino you can bitch as much as you want.

In the meantime, go back to where you came from and play with your arrogant self over there, before I give you the kind of bitch-slapping your mother should have given your red-head ass a long time ago.

3. Reality check for those who want pork abolished

It ain’t gonna happen. Congress will only change its name. We had CDF then PDF and now PDAF. Anybody want to suggest a name for pork’s next incarnation?

There is a legitimate reason for pork.

“The PDAF makes possible the implementation, in every congressional district, of small-scale but significant projects which can not be part of large-scale projects of national agencies. These projects, which are generally in the form of infrastructure, health, education and social aid packages, directly touch the lives of our district constituents and make the government a meaningful presence in their daily lives.”

Yes, PDAF can be the source of massive graft and corruption but it can also make a difference when used properly. Just because there are crooks in some districts is not reason to punish those districts that have honest public servants.

Cynicism and simplistic thinking will not get us anywhere.

Abolishing pork is a simplistic solution that comes from a know-it- all mentality that has no respect for the constituents of a district. Simply eliminating pork disempowers citizens. It takes away their prerogative to deal with their representative as they see fit.

Citizens do not lack for a course of action. They can sue their representative or never vote for them again or better yet, salvage their representatives and hang a sign on their necks saying, Magnanakaw huwag tularan. Why take that power away from citizens, why do for them what they should be doing themselves?

How will our people learn, how will they develop into mature citizens if know-it-alls are always trying to impose what they think is best for those they deem too stupid and ignorant to know what’s best for themselves?
There is a legitimate reason for pork. Let those who need it learn how to make full use of it. Better to abolish know-
it-all-ism instead.

Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms (www.aer.ph).

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