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ROUGH CUTS | Greed by the small and big, same greed

Vic N. Sumalinog

INDEED, greed resides in all levels of people and society. They may just be slumbering in the minds of the lowly, those who lack education, the ordinary working man, the middle class up to those who are in the highest echelon of government and even in the corporate sectors.

     Classic example of greed residing in the minds of the underprivileged who finds one big opportunity was the case of a Purok leader in Barangay Talandang in Tugbok District, Davao City last Friday. The opportunity for the person to let her greed rear its ugly head in her mind was the preparation of the list of beneficiaries for the government’s TUPAD assistance program. 

From what we know, the program is initiated by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). How its implementation flowed down to the barangay level we have no idea. But this is what happened. The barangay officials are the ones in charge of coming up with a list of qualified beneficiaries.  They, in turn, tapped the various Purok or village leaders to come up with the list in their respective area because they are presumed to be knowledgeable of the people residing in their place.

     The amount of the assistance, or dole out if you may call it that, was P3,000. But since there are criteria required by the government for one to be qualified as recipient, there were those who feel that they might not meet the entirety of the qualifications. But certain purok leaders find an opportunity to earn easy money. According to a complainant who disclosed the racket to a barangay councilor, the purok Leader offered to include the names of some of those who have some doubts, in the list of recipients on condition that they give the purok leader a portion of the P3,000. Of course, the potential recipients immediately agreed, more so because the person was a relative of the would-be victims. All the recipient victims were thinking that parting with P500 from the P3,000 would be fair enough compensation to the village leader concerned. After all, the job was merely to include the victims in the list of recipients..

     To their chagrin, the purok Leader did not wait that she be given P500. Instead the person demanded the amount of P2,000 to be given her. 

     In addition to the Purok leader’s scheme, she reportedly included in the list her immediate family members when supposedly doing such is expressly prohibited in the TUPAD guidelines in determining the recipients.

     Initially, the victims were hesitant about bringing their complaint to the barangay officials. But upon the prodding of one of them, they eventually agreed to make their complaints known.  That was when the affected TUPAD beneficiaries designated one of them to bring their problem to the attention of one of the barangay officials.

     The concerned purok leader who initiated the “innovative” kind of heist was immediately called by the barangay officials to rectify the matter.  And according to reports we have gathered from the concerned barangay alderman, the money was returned to the recipients. The greed, however, was already clearly manifested. But whether or not the victims gave their commitment to the purok leader, we still do not have any idea.

      Now, how many of these kinds of little shenanigans are being replicated in other barangays of the city that are included in the TUPAD program implementation?

     We can only hope that this ground-level money-making strategy of certain individuals taking advantage of certain weaknesses in the systems of government program implementation may be avoided in succeeding similar dole-out projects.


     One business news published the other day in one of the national broadsheets reported that the country’s third major telecommunications company, the DITO Telecommunity of Davao businessman Dennis Uy, had allegedly racked up an indebtedness of over P8 billion even as it has not yet fully complied with its commitment to bridge the entire country.

      So who are those who are calling Dennis Uy the Davaoeno President’s biggest crony?  We are asking this question because from our own perspective, a crony businessman is one whose closeness to a President or administration not only gets choice deals with government or its leadership but also gets easy bailout if the event his or her business is into crunch time.

     If indeed Dennis Uy’s DITO Telecommunity and his businesses are incurring heavy debts as a product of cronyism, how come we haven’t heard or read about some efforts of this administration to rescue him or tame down the credit granted by certain financial institutions? 

     What can be more cronyism than the writing off of the ABS-SBN debts with the government’s Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and the “lock, stock, and barrel” hand-over of the same network to its owners without making them pay even just a token of the cost of upgrading the network’s facilities after the flight of the dictator?

     And whose Presidencies were it when those extra generous acts were done by the government?

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