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MMDA’s proposed pay increase a blackmail

12:02 AM June 20, 2017

MMDA chief lobbies Congress for traffic aides’ hazard pay” was about Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Danilo Lim’s asking for legislation to grant a monthly hazard pay of P6,000 to traffic constables on top of their P11,000-plus monthly salaries—to discourage corruption. “How can you motivate people if their stomachs are grumbling?” he asked (Metro, 6/8/17).

It may be recalled that Lim zeroed in on “corruption in the MMDA as the root cause of traffic” (Metro, 5/24/17). And now he is proposing to have its personnel paid more so that they can resist temptations and hopefully turn their backs on payolas from bus and jeepney operators. This smacks of blackmail. Lim seems to imply that he will not be able to stop corruption in that agency unless his personnel are properly incentivized. He has thus presented a catch-22 dilemma.

There would have been no problem with that proposal if the MMDA has proven its usefulness and desirability in the past. Its record of gross inefficiency and inutility speaks for itself. People do not trust its personnel, most of whom are perceived as nothing but a bunch of kotongeros.

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So Lim is blaming that on their low pay? If that be the case, let us all blame low pay for the rampant corruption in all of our government bureaucracy and just spend all tax money to
increase salaries. But what guarantee is there that a pay increase will stop corruption?

Look at our judiciary. It has been authorized to collect exorbitant filing fees from litigants who want to exercise their right to seek redress of their grievances. That was meant to double the salaries of judges and justices and, it was hoped, improve their efficiency and speed up delivery of justice.

But what is happening in reality? Most of them have remained slothful, judging from the “inordinately” long periods of time it takes them to dispose of cases. And rumors of decisions for sale are still rife not only in the lower courts but all the way up. Seriously, who and where is that “Madam Arlene,” the subject of a probe ordered years ago by no less than the Supreme Court? Any final result? Zero, zilch!

So, you see, General Lim, please prove first that your men are capable of being reformed before asking Congress to grant your wish. Never ask the question, “How can they reform if we don’t give them enough money first?” That is a no-win proposition, sir. Little wonder previous proposals in Congress for pay increase in your agency have been ignored to this day. Lucky for that agency it has not been abolished yet.

MARCELO “JR” GARCIS, hello.garci.jr@gmail.com

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TAGS: hazard pay, Inquirer letters, Inquirer Opinion, Marcelo Garcis, MMDA, Traffic Aides
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