Perspectives: De Venecia’s proposal to save the earth

December 28, 2009 at 12:22 pm 1 comment


By Mortz C. Ortigoza

Each of our senator and congressman, who is under the graces of the president, receives P200 million and P70 million of pork barrel annually.

With the new national budget of P 1.541 trillion for 2010 and an P80 billion increased of pork barrel from P23 billion this year, each of this pork ballooned from up to P800 million for a senator, and P 35 billion would be appropriated by Malacanang to members of the House of Thieves, er, Representatives through their regular allocation and insertion.

If a member of the House can get his share of pork in January next year, just imagine his edge psychologically against his opponent for the May 10, 2010 polls?

It means new infrastructure projects for mileage and ingratiation with his constituents. It means new kickbacks to spend for more campaign materials, advertisements, medical missions, dole-outs, fiestas, you name it!

Just take a peek how a solon in the province of Pangasinan helps pocket a huge amount of an overpriced public school building.

A donated public school house from the private sector with the same width, size, and height with its government counterpart cost P 350,000. A government-constructed edifice cost P650, 000. What is revolting is the latter lacks a door knob, ceiling, toilet, and paint unlike its private counterpart.

A chief of a district office of the Department of Public Works & Highway explained to me the glaring financial mismatch.

He said that from a P650, 000 budget the following are the government sanctioned deductions: Engineering and Administrative Overhead Expenses, 3.5%; Value Added Tax, 12%; Contractor’s Profit (CP), 10%; Overhead Contingency (OC), 10% or a total of 35.5% or P216,000.

But with the P650, 000 (government funded edifice) deducted by P 350,000 (privately donated building) the net result would be P300, 000 overprice. With this alleged kickback deducted again by the P216, 000 taxes and profits, there are still P84,000 that many suspects goes to the pocket of a congressman and his contractor.

And I am not yet talking here about the 20 percent profits (they earned from the above CP and OC. And I am not yet talking here about the defective and deficient construction they made.

This is one of the assailable examples, my dear Procopio, how congressmen particularly dupe government projects. They will get a windfall next year with their P35 billion pork.

***

Former Speaker Joe de Venecia has a laudable proposal to the global participants of the failed Copenhagen Summit in Denmark .

Congressman de Venecia told me that he wrote a letter to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown that to mitigate global warming, countries in the world should plant billions of trees.

He cited as a test case how global warming affects his country the Philippines after the onslaughts of back to back super typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng wrought havoc to some parts of the country that resulted in unparalleled flood.

De Venecia said his proposal to plant billions of trees not only will help lessen typhoons and floods but will generate employment for citizens of a country.

“Trees absorbs the run-off from the monsoon rains and prevents the erosion that swells rivers – whose flooding destroys low-lying communities and houses, farms, aqua-culture fisheries, schools, hospitals and rural health units, roads, bridges, markets, and other infrastructure. Trees also absorb the carbon dioxide emissions that create global warming and set-off storms, droughts, rains, and floods,” he stressed

He added that massive reforestation can also be a major economic stimulus, since it could employ hundreds of thousands, if not millions, to nurture seedling nurseries, grow the tress, and harvest their timber. Commercial tree farming can be vastly profitable.

In the Philippines , as in other tropical countries, even hardwoods mature in 12-20 years, compared with the much longer periods in the temperate zones.

He said this could be possible if developed countries approved his Debt Swap, ‘Debt-for-Environment’s formula.

He said rich countries allow poor countries to pay the former half of their debts, while the remaining half of that hundreds millions if not billions of dollars would be used to fund massive reforestation, water conservation, alternative energy, mass housing, education, health, and social infrastructure.

***

In a press conference I attended lately among senatorial candidates, it was Liberal Party candidate Neric Acosta who has the most gift of gab.

He spoke like a snake oil merchant. Whenever he opened his mouth, I could see the eyes of his fellow LP candidates Riza Hontiveros, Rufi Biazon, and TJ Guingona glowing.

Neric, who used to be a congressman of Bukidnon, drumbeat: “I’m the author of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (SWMA) or Republic Act 9003!”

Is that not a stupid law like the infamous Senator Joey Lina law on how to eject squatters?” I posed.

“Why?” he asked

I told him that congress spent precious man-hours and scarce government financial resources just to debate an impractical bill he passed into law. By George, the government could not implement it because almost every town and city mandated to construct tens of millions of pesos worth sanitary landfill could not afford it.

“The law that you authored says that each of these local government units would be penalized with P500 thousand a year plus 5 to 10 percent fine deductible from its yearly income that should have been meted in 2006, why not government official implement the law otherwise it risk being criminally charged with Dereliction of Duty? Dura lex Sid lex, congressman,” I told him.

Acosta told me Congress is blameless on this law that goes awry. He said the blame lies on the executive branch “because they implement the law, and we in congress make the law”

Is that not a stupid answer also?

(Send comments to totomortz@yahoo.com)

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Entry filed under: Opinion.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. vanj  |  January 2, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    yah mortz.. stupid answers from a s…… congressman running for a s… slot in the senate…

    Reply

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