PGTW: They Must Think We’re Stupid

POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 10 October 2013, Thursday

They Must Think We’re Stupid

By most accounts there were fewer participants in the Ayala march against pork compared to the Luneta version that preceded it.

Some say this was because some politicians at loggerheads with President Aquino had joined the Ayala rally to further their own agenda including the ouster of the President.

Wait a minute, kapeng mainit, went some citizen-activists who decried the hijacking of the people’s movement contra pork barrel. While everyone was welcome to join, the call being made was for stricter monitoring of government funds, and not the junking of the head of state.

Nowadays, many headlines are focusing on the President. There is a sense of forces moving to turn the wheel in that direction, greasing the skids with money and what-have-you resources.

This isn’t what a lot of us signed up for, say some citizen-activists.

The issue that most people want resolved is the pork barrel and its misuse. Calls have been made for its abolition because the system that administers it is prone to abuse.

Calls have made for the bringing to justice of those who frittered the pork funds away, dipped a hand into it that went straight into their pockets, facilitated the theft, and who are in any way accountable for the loss to the people and country of billions of taxpayers’ money.

Distraction is a weapon of the devil, or so I’ve heard (or maybe I made that up), but dangling another issue to deflect attention from a controversial issue is a tactic employed with much success by politicians in the past.

Do they think it’s going to work again? They must think we, the people, are galactically stupid.

Well, we were, for letting them get away with this for so long.  The question to us is, are we going to continue to let them? How long are we going to fork over our hard-earned money as taxes for it to go into shadowy fund programs where disbursement is barely monitored?

Until the people’s demands are met for a full accounting regarding the PDAF, the struggle for truth and justice in this matter is not over. Make no mistake, this will be a long and arduous fight against entrenched entitlement and those seeking to cover it up and blowing smoke screens in our eyes.

What writer-singer-activist Gil Scott-Heron said in his memoir about the political scene in the United States in the 1970s applies to our present situation: “Still, there shouldn’t have been any confusion in people’s minds about whether or not they were in a fight – all they had to do was to look in their pocketbooks. Somebody done took their motherfucking money.”

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A big ‘thank you’ to Philippines Graphic magazine for awarding my short story “How I Spent My US Vacation” third place in the September 20 Nick Joaquin Literary Awards. It’s an honor.

The story is in the noir style, though I hesitate to assign it to any specific genre. If you want to read a gripping story with an unexpected ending (that’s according to me, anyway), you can read it at the Philippines Graphic website (www.philippinegraphic.ph); click on the “Fiction” button.

It’s a bit old-fashioned, but then I’m an old-school writer – I still use semi-colons and the Oxford comma, and don’t need spell-check. ***

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