Archive for the ‘foreign aid’ Category

World Bank opens a can of worms & Sen. Miriam D. Santiago investigates

February 13, 2009

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is hotly agitated by the World Bank (WB) scandal. The corruption charges by the international lending body implicate Jose Miguel Arroyo, the palace’s “first gentleman” and husband of Pres. Gloria Arroyo. The accusations of unlawful transactions inflame the pompous side of the flighty woman-senator who acts like a straight and unbending arrow.

Santiago has displayed irritation over the non-appearance of WB representative Bert Hofman in the January 27, 2008 senate hearing in which he is expected to clarify the allegations against government officials, influence peddlers, and road contractors. With the characteristic loquacious bravado that the lady-lawmaker is known for, Santiago blared:

““Mr. Hofman must come here in person or else we will cite him for contempt. Let this cause trouble (between the WB and the Senate) that would even lead to the Supreme Court or even the International Court of Justice. This is good because we will be able to test who between the World Bank and the Filipinos are the kings here.” —-Philstar (02/13/09, Calica, A)

Sen. Santiago’s incendiary words don’t fail to befuddle observers who think her thunderous tirades are nothing but another episode of “entertainment” in the corruption-riddled government. She effectively distracts the public from the sordid corruption charge in the WB-funded projects which has been “institutionalized” for at least a decade. While she seems urgently intent to pursue truth and punish wrong-doers in her ranks, many believe all the fury will die down before anyone will ever be proven accountable. She focuses wrongly on the messenger of bad news—the WB, instead of the rapacious perpetrators of the crime.

From whichever angle people look at the Santiago, her demeanor is a source of both pride and dishonor. She poses as a feisty defender of truth ready to uphold the dignity of the nation, something rarely seen in the slow-mo senate. But there are those who question her truthfulness and motive. From past experience, it is unlikely her noisy declarations will ever amount to anything beyond the exercise of words. At a time when the world suspects how deeply the country is mired in dishonesty, Santiago won’t probably go farther than mere investigations.

Even as the controversy goes on, Finance secretary Margarito Teves is already banking on the WB to increase its lending to the Philippines to a tune of $1 billion for the next few years. Keeping a warlike stance (instead of being conciliatory) is distracting. Sen. Santiago brushes aside the reality that the foreign bank isn’t obligated to humor the Philippines so that it can enjoy the “honor” of granting loans to the country. As a government official representing the country, there are those who think she is rude and crude—a loose cannon who blames the foreign bank for its “incomplete” disclosure, effectively deflecting the issue from the real crime.

It is said the leads pointing to fraud in the WB-financed project biddings have been passed on to Filipino authorities as early as 2007, but it’s only now (after the lid of corruption was blown open) that they see the urgency of investigating. Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has been criticized and threatened with dismissal for negligently sitting on the case.

The World Bank has already provided vital information to work on. Many wonder the aptness of the senate demanding more information from the foreign entity without the Philippines taking exhaustive effort to gather truth from its own backyard. As if to lamely cover up for glaring shortcomings and the embarrassments which go with incompetence and hypocrisy, Santiago’s blistering words have been set into play for the public to guess and digest. (Photo Credit: Neofinoy.info; ButchokoyD; Arenamontanus) =0=

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Corruption and apathy: where will these lead us?

February 10, 2009

We face foreign aid cuts due to corruption. It is shameful that our country which seeks assistance abroad is being singled out as unworthy of help because we are dishonest. Obviously, this is morally and economically damaging. Foreigners are saying untrustworthiness will hurt us in the end. It’s time we heed the criticisms and do corrective action.

“The Philippines is facing a big cut in foreign aid because corruption in government is “deeply entrenched” and the World Bank report is “worrying” a big donor country, a diplomat disclosed yesterday.

The diplomat from the major donor country, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said their government is closely following the WB report and the investigation into the anomalous road projects funded by the foreign financial institution and the extent of government corruption that has identified First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo as the alleged patron of colluding contractors in a $33-million road project in 2003. “—-Philstar (02/10/09, Lee-Brago, P)

Corruption is getting worse. Our leadership is in crisis. Right at the heart where Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo weaves power, allegations of corruption in her administration are common. Even members of her household have been repeatedly accused of dishonesty in government. The charges are too many—and too embarrassing that even foreign observers are stunned.

Though most of us acknowledge that there is worsening corruption, almost no one is ready to face it with candor, righteousness, and accountability. Instead, there is damning apathy and lack of concern.

Those who are guilty dodge the issue by denying the accusations. Most of them who are influential keep a blind eye and take advantage of the weakness of the legal system. Most corruption charges remain unproven in spite of investigations with telling evidence. There is little effort to ferret out the truth and bring the guilty accountable. This is bad to the future of the nation and the next generation. (Photo Credit: gmaresign; zero+q) =0=

RELATED BLOGS:“Not as a lecturer or as a judge,” EU thinks RP must do more to curb corruption Posted by mesiamd at 1/29/2009; “Corruption scandals hurting Filipinos under Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo” Posted by mesiamd at 1/29/2009

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