Why zero in on La Presidenta’s expenses?

August 18, 2009 at 7:40 am Leave a comment

vir2Just over the weekend, media practitioners in Metro Manila were feasting on the reported expenses of La Presidenta Gloria and her entourage during her travel to the United States of America (USA) particularly in Washington ’s White House to meet President Barack Obama, and in New York City.

Media reports said that La President spent more or less USD 30,000.00 or roughly P1.7 million for hotel accommodations and food. Oppositions and critics of the President kept on ranting that the amount was sooo big that it could have been used to feed the poor Filipinos. And that the President and her entourage were not supposed to spent that much considering that we are a poor and third country.

I could not understand the wisdom of our media colleagues in blowing out of proportion the expenses of the president and her entourage- congressmen, senators and cabinet secretaries. We must put into our minds that USA is a first world country, thus the cost of living is high- hotels, restaurants, malls and other establishments are paid in dollars. The USD 30,000.00 is just like P30,000.00 in the country. What’s wrong is that we are converting the pesos into dollars which is not appropriate for this particular case.

Alright, we are a poor country, but then is it proper that our chief executive will not taste the luxury of traveling? Are we going to let her sleep in a cheap motel and eat in a cafeteria? La Presidenta Gloria, being our President, represented our country in that state visit. Doesn’t she deserve a little break, a respite from her arduous work and a little time of pampering herself with the best this world could offer?

What’s wrong with her critics was that they’re zeroing on her expenses when the real issue should have been to hear from her what transpired in her meeting with President Obama- the bilateral agreements entered into for the benefits of the country, the investments, if there were, were promised by the investors and the conditions of the Filipinos over there.

Why do we have to put tabs on her travel if it means more benefits for the Filipinos?

Yes, there are many poor people in the country. They are poor not because La Presidenta wanted them to be in that condition. They are poor not because there are no pro-poor programs for them. In fact this administration has invented all kinds of programs to meet the needs of the poor- anti-poverty, hunger mitigation, etc. They are poor, maybe they don’t want to look for a job or work.

Her critics should visit the squatters in Tondo, in Payatas, in Divisoria and in all squalid areas of the country. Find out for themselves the lifestyles of the poor people they are protecting. There you will find groups of men that even in the wee hours of the morning are already drown with liquor, you will find cigarette-puffing teenagers, you will find group of people playing sakla or tong-its and you will find indescribable people who are not thinking about industry but talking about the poverty they are in.

Poor people should move- and at least make a dream for themselves and not only rely on mannas to be given by the powers-that- be but think and chart also their own future.

Questioning the expenses of La Presidenta is just like questioning President Obama when he approved the stimulus fund for Filipino World War veterans at USD 15,000.00. Why don’t the American people asked Obama, as the way we are doing with La Presidenta, why that big amount? Poverty is not confined in the Philippines . Its many faces are found worldwide. There are beggars and ghettos in US so with the European countries, in Asia, in Africa and the Middle East.

If her critics are thinking that this is one way of putting her down and pulling her legs into the quagmire of politics, they are wrong. We must remember that Filipino people love the underdog. Maybe La Presidenta is being projected as the evil in disguise but her goodness will still prevail- and that goodness is only mirrored by God the Almighty.

We should not be naïve and hypocrite. Even the critics- mediamen and oppositions like to live in luxuries whether at home or in other countries. Pagbigyan naman natin si Gloria.

Entry filed under: Opinion.

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