Friday, February 15, 2008

Blame Government?

"Something wrong with your life? BLAME THE GOVERNMENT!" reads KapeNiLattex's twit today. A flurry of short twits seem to express the weariness of those of us who just want peace and stability.

It is our civic duty to criticise, even oppose government, should we discern it is not heading in the direction we want it to go. And because our polity is still democratic, and most of us who have voice to speak still seem to value plurarlism over authoritarianism, then in theory all of us who count ourselves as part of this society are free to express our grievances against the government.

We cannot blame government for everything that goes wrong with our lives, but we can blame it for its failure to perform its public functions and failure to deliver on its public duties. When we mean public we mean everything that affects all our lives. What these duties and functions are depends on what we the Filipino people have agreed on. The Philippine Constitution is a good place to start.

An example of when we can legitimately blame government is when it fails to adequately deliver public services - i.e. good roads. If your national road has been baku-bako for decades, then you can blame government.

How our taxes are spent is probably the most personal of all public duties of government. Why should we blame government for the ZTE deal? Because each time our taxes are automatically deducted from our monthly salary and each time we pay VAT for every purchase, the funds should be spent on fixing your baku-bako road. Instead it goes to the fat cats running the show in Malacanang. Even more insidious is that government also has the power to borrow money on our behalf as the people, and spend the borrowed money as it sees fit. If it borrowed money to pay for the ZTE deal, and then pass on the expense to the public, we should not only be morally affronted but recognise that we have been personally robbed.

Nagpapakahirap ka'ng kumayod araw-araw, tapos yung 10 percent ++ ng kita mo ibibigay mo sa mga magnanakaw sa gobyerno?

Who wouldn't blame government for that?

Edited to add:

The ZTE deal was overpriced by US$130 million dollars. That is the sum we, the Public, were supposed to shoulder on behalf of our officials/thieves who cannot moderate greed.

Given today's exchange rate that amounts to:

P 5,306,339,820.29


Jon Limjap said...

Heh, ironic that you see me as someone who just wants "peace and stability".

Let's just say that I've become the embodiment of the disillusion and protest fatigue that they always write about in the papers. I've been to EDSA 2, and look what I got back. A corrupt government that's no different (or even worse, but that might only be because GMA's been in power longer) from the government it replaced.

10++ percent? I have 30% of my salary deducted. Yeah sure, I'm in "that" bracket, but that also means I'm taxed more than you are.

We're all in the same boat sparks, don't get me wrong. I want change for the betterment as much as you do.

sparks said...

I hear you Jon. The frustration radiates from your tone. If I were home I bet I'd be inundated with fatigue too. But since we cannot all leave the country (and even if we do our remittances still get taxed), what else is left to do but continue generating discourse for a better state of things?

Jego said...

I was in the rally last Friday. Far from leaving fatigued, I was energized by the vibe I got from it. Fatigue is becoming more and more like a cop-out, a rationalization for not doing anything. Fatigue is temporary. Rest up, take your vitamins, and go.

Doing the laundry fills me with ennui. What's the point? My clothes will get dirty again anyway. But I keep doing it. We're always faced with 'lost causes' everyday of our lives but if we give up, we'll end up with dirty underwear. Cleaning up the country is the same, although it has a bigger pile of dirty clothes in the hamper. We have to keep doing the laundry.

Rest up and get yourself ready. It's time to do the laundry again.

sparks said...

Oh, I love this metaphor of doing the laundry. Ah. I love it!

Jon Limjap said...

Ah, laundry,

Hopefully I will find something more effective than the bareta/kula of the old and find some sort of Zonrox bleach to cleanse this country with effectively. But alas put on too much Zonrox and your dark-colored shirts will turn light orange.

I think you both get my point. Need I start with the baby-and-bathwater analogy once more?

Nightdreamer said...

I like the laundry analogy, but may I remind you that it's become easier now than before because at least you can use ariel and do not have to do all the scrubbing, to quote Vilma Santos and her idea of "change". I think you'd have more effect if you used some "how we do laundry back in the days" metaphors.

I digress.

Anyway, Sparks, good to see you being active again. We need good bloggers like you to counter the force of the bad ones. :D

And screw our government for taxing parents in such a way that their kids grow up becoming awful bloggers.

Now that's, that's anagolgy, yo! :D