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ROUGH CUTS | Dream big; it’s free anyway

Vic N. Sumalinog

THE people, especially the politicians running for national positions, have diverse opinion on the issue of strictly restraining the movement of people who are not vaccinated and possibly impose punishment on those who will refuse to follow the government’s mandate. One senatorial candidate who is wise enough not to be clearly identified with the administration or the opposition, Sorsogon Governor Chez Escudero, instead wanted that those who are not yet inoculated and still refuses to get the jab despite the current surge of new CoViD cases, be given incentive by the government. This way they may be enticed to come across. But in today’s situation when the government-sponsored vaccination is intended to protect the health of the people all over the country from a deadly pandemic, is it the moral way of making them agree to help government protect them? Is giving those who refuse government protection some incentives in whatever kind not institutionalizing bribery and corruption as a way of life? If it is not, then what is?

     Imagine here is the government doing everything to have everyone vaccinated so they can be assured of going back to normal lives and possibly return to their livelihood with their health intact, yet some supposed “do-gooder” politicians suggesting that those who would not want vaccinated because of their belief or fear, offered financial or in-kind remuneration just so they change their minds!

     It is like crucifying the government twice over. First by having the government resort to borrowing huge amount of money to procure the vaccines and to pay for manpower and additional needs in fighting the pandemic; and second, by fleecing the government further of its fast dwindling resources just to make the non-believers of vaccination accept the program for their own benefit. 

     If indeed those who are pushing for the incentives grant will have their way, what will happen to similar programs in the future? Will such grant become the norm and may be taken by everybody as precedent to get first the incentive before acceding to any such similar program? Patay kang gobiyernoha ka.

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     Presidential candidate and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao insisted that he can make good his commitment of giving every squatter family his own home if he were elected President. He claims that he had been into giving houses to the poor in his native General Santos City and Sarangani even when he was a private person using his own money that he earned from boxing. 

     We have no doubt as to the truth of Manny’s claim. His generosity is well documented, especially the one which has something to do with giving residential houses. Of course we know that if Manny’s financial managers or accountants are sincere to him, his giving also gives a lot more for him in return in terms of income tax deductible expenses. That is well provided in our laws. Besides, spending his own personal money for whatever purpose is one decision that only he, his wife and children can make. And perhaps some cautions may be provided by his parents and advisers.

     However, it may do the Sarangani Presidential aspirant extreme good if he be made aware that spending government money even for the good of a particular sector of the population needs to follow stringent legal requirements.  And the President can only propose and wish for approval by the other branch of government before the money can be appropriated and spent for whatever the President wanted.

     So if Pacquiao becomes President, ending the illegal settlers and homelessness problems in the country by giving then houses and lot could just be as nebulous a dream of his today as it will be when he ends his term.

     But of course Pacquiao is right. To dream is free. So why not dream big now. Who knows if it is in his star that he will get his wish come true? Many will surely be happy. “Let us to see.”

                                                                          -30-  

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