Saturday, January 17, 2009

Eh-hum # 270

Subject to change without prior notice.

Yep, I am working again. Let's just say they made me an offer I can't refuse; the compensation is (way) better than my previous job and the office is within walking distance from the train station. More importantly, I will doing some REAL research work, thus there is room for professional growth.

Higher salary means more responsibilities. While I'll be able to save more, balancing work and school will be challenging. But what's life without any? I just hope to finish my MA by 2010.


An opinion article online caught my attention the other day. It reminded me of a conversation I had with a Navy officer last year, regarding the very confusing role of Representatives (or Congressmen/women) in local governance. Here an excerpt of the article I am referring to:

"On the other side of the spectrum is the Quezon City government under Mayor Feliciano Belmonte. The city has been spending for the maintenance, improvement and construction of new roads although they are national roads that ought to be funded by the national government through the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), according to Mayor Belmonte in a private interview. But because the DPWH is not provided enough funds by Congress (most of taxpayers’ money go to the legislators in the form of pork barrel funds and kickbacks), it cannot keep up with its responsibilities. So the QC government, the richest city in the Philippines (P3 billion in the bank), through a combination of high taxes, efficient tax collection and judicious spending, has to tide over the DPWH with loans in order to finish road projects.

For example, the QC government has paid private landowners for the right of way for the long-delayed Congressional Avenue that will connect Edsa to Luzon Avenue that, in turn, connects to Commonwealth Avenue. Congressional now connects to Tandang Sora and will soon be connected to Visayas Avenue in the west and to Luzon Avenue in the east. The whole stretch will be completed, according to the DPWH, in the first half of 2009 after the relocation of squatters who have flocked to the road right-of-way.

Meanwhile, the QC government has also bought the right-of-way to connect Commonwealth Avenue to Quirino Avenue in Novaliches. From there, the road will connect to NLEX. Thus, travelers can proceed smoothly from southern Luzon through C-5, through Commonwealth and Quirino avenues to NLEX and northern Luzon. That would reduce travel time from north to south and cut the shipping costs of goods.

Some QC residents have expressed the wish, though, that the good mayor spend some of city hall’s abundant money to rid the city of squatters that give it problems in peace and order, health and sanitation and give the city the title of “squatter capital of the Philippines.”

So, if the Office of the Mayor is spending for all the projects in his or her city (plus money coming from certain Departments, like the DPWH), then why do our lawmakers need so much pork? More importantly, how do they spend all that money (making laws couldn't be that expensive) ? If both the local government and our dear Representatives have funds for infrastructure projects and other basic needs, why are many cities/municipalities, especially in the provinces, still underdeveloped?

Or am I missing something

No comments: