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ROUGH CUTS | They’re no optimists; they’re plain scalawags




Vic N. Sumalinog

THEY’RE  no optimists; they’re plain scalawags One world personality once said: “A pessimist is one who sees difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist is one who sees an opportunity in every difficulty.”

But can a person who finds opportunity in the midst of the serious difficulty of others to make money qualify under such a rule? Can the latter person be categorized as an optimist? Certainly not.

He is either pure greedy or one who takes advantage while others are suffering from the problems that are beseeching them.

Yes, and we are seeing this more vividly today when government is in the thick of giving assistance to the people who are most badly affected by the on-going pandemic brought about by the deadly Coronavirus Disease 19 (CoViD 19). We are referring to the distribution of food packs to residents of Davao City both as Christmas gift and assistance in time for the Christmas season. And we do not know really up to what level this hideous scheme is being practiced and whether or not the top leadership of the city knows about these shenanigans.

For now we have no idea if the scheme is being done in all of the 182 barangays in the city. As early as the first week of December, in one barangay we know, certain functionaries conducted house-to-house visits bringing with them a blank piece of paper with headings telling the constituents that those who would be listed thereon would be recipients of gift packs from the office of the city mayor.

Also included in the would-be list are the items to be given to the recipients. These include 3 kilos of rice, 3 sardines, 2 corned beef or meat loaf, and spaghetti sauce. There is nothing wrong with writing down one’s name in the list. But putting one’s signature under the column “Received” is suspect.

According to residents who shared their thoughts with us, they believe that doing such is something that does not make sense. But they claimed they have to gamble because the items to be given were listed as well as its quantity. So, they told us that it is unlikely that certain officials would dare risk short-changing the recipients. Our thought was, well, they may be right. Last week, however, they had the surprise of their lives that also hit us by surprise.

When the residents in that barangay learned that we were around they brought with them the food pack that they received from their barangay officials and showed us the items therein. What was inside the pack were a kilo of rice (instead of three), three sardines, and either a can of corned beef costing roughly P30, or a can of tuna mechado.

Of course, the recipients cannot be choosy whether they beg for the food packs or happened to have been listed therein. They have to be happy that in the midst of their economic difficulty, their hunger due to their limited opportunity to earn money because of the restrictions in the pandemic, they are still remembered even if only on a very limited scale during the last 10 months of the global health emergency.

But what happens to the list of recipients pre-signed as received by a representative of each household in the barangays? It is clear that what were included in the food packs were not the ones listed as contents in the pre-signed list of recipients.

Clearly, some people in certain offices of the local government have been able to devise a scheme where the actual volume and kind of the merchandise purchased cost much lower than the value of what should have been given to the recipients if the items in the list were followed. I

t is also possible that the “savings” of two kilos from the committed 3 kilos in the list of items could be pooled by the scheming officials somewhere and sold later with the proceeds going to the “conspirators” to defraud the government and the recipients.

Apparently, the “scammers” may have believed that they could escape getting noticed of their wrongdoings. Why, because they already have documentary evidence to support the liquidation of the funds that they used in the purchase of all the pre-listed contents of the gift packs.

And the list is all signed by the intended receivers. Indeed these smart asses in society seem to have all the innovative ideas of making money for themselves at the expense of the majority who are being pushed to the ground because of the pandemic.

Unfortunately for them, their innovative ways of taking advantage of the difficulties of their fellow Davaoenos are not intelligent enough to make it beyond notice by the already long suspecting public.


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