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ROUGH CUTS l Men are created equal? 

A frequently quoted saying that goes, “All men are created equal” is one huge fallacy.

     Yes, there is not much to argue that such saying is more a “flower of the mouth” for those who are adherents to a literature-based life than one that is coined because it is reality. For how can men be created equal when in all aspects of life they are destined to become such and they can only alter the course of their fate if luck walks on their side.

     For example all can dream or work to become a politician. However, not all of them end up realizing their dream. And even politicians are not created equal among themselves. Some are good, honest and true to their commitment to serve the people with their interest as the primordial consideration.  Yet, there are also others who are good in crafting development programs for their constituents but in the process use their supposed goodness and honesty to camouflage their devilish and dishonest intentions. And even amongst people there are those innately honest but there are also those who are honest only in words but are among those who allowed themselves to be part of the corrupt system in government.

     All these are subtly drawn into the surface by no less than Davao City’s First District Congressman Paolo “Polong” Duterte during a media interview with him recently. In that interview, the son of the former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that it was only lately that the alleged anomalous and dishonest practices came to his knowledge. He told the host in that radio program interview that there were a number of people who took advantage of the Department of Labor and Employment’s TUPAD program. The DOLE through TUPAD gave some kind of cash assistance of so much to marginalized and deserving workers affected by the global pandemic.

     According to the city’s first district representative many of the supposed beneficiaries complained that while they are qualified and their names were included in the list, they failed to receive the financial help even as they were ready to work for it.

     Meanwhile, according to the information received by the congressman, while there were a number of complainants for their failure to receive, there were also those who were silently and covertly celebrating because they have received twice of even thrice the amount of assistance after they were able to hoodwink the representatives of the government agency charged of dispensing the financial aid by submitting several names for inclusion in the list of beneficiaries. Of course this would have not been done without the connivance of some greedy politicians or their leaders who not only know of the scheme but even hatch the idea themselves for a share of what the many-time recipients received.

     Perhaps the Duterte scion congressman may not have known this. But since he is now into the process of looking into the mess, we might as well disclose this incident shortly before the holding of the May 9, 2022 national and local elections.

     This was the use of TUPAD as one sophisticated way of buying votes to favor certain politicians – local and national.

     We knew of a case in point. A political leader of a candidate for a local position recruited “favored”  barangay residents to be included in the list of supposed TUPAD financial aid beneficiaries even without complying a major requirement of the release – that is, for the recipient to do a particular work for the barangay.

     In this particular case the “organizer” of the so-called “TUPAD” project implementation gave the “recipients” a schedule for the collection of the cash assistance in a house of a particular barangay leader. There the beneficiaries got P3,000 each but with strong instruction to vote for this and that candidate.

 The document with which they signed to have received the assistance all pointed to the source of the funds – the DOLE’s TUPAD program.

     Meanwhile this will further strengthen our argument that not all men are created equal. For how can they be equal when some politicians are able to have land belonging to ancestral domain titled in their names while the lesser gods can only cultivate the same through agreements like the IFMA. 

     In areas where title can be legally applied and acquired, another politician who bought a 18-hectare contiguous properties by using dummies, had his transaction completed like lightning in speed. The area is very remote but scenic overlooking the Davao River on the east, and having a vintage view of a banana plantation on the west and only some 34 kilometers from the city proper.

     The location, before it was bought by the politician, can only be reached through a rugged dirt road. But in only few months after its acquisition by the powerful guy, the rugged dirt road now is a thick concrete pavement seldom used by vehicles as this is out of the way. There is no doubt though that the less than twenty families that live in that hill top sitio are now benefited by the concrete road and the electric power that is extended there.

     Now who are those who still think that men are created equal?

                                                                               

 

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