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As I See It
Buyer of lost NPC mural a Cabinet member?

By Neal Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:25:00 04/14/2008

Filed Under: Food, Painting, Media

MANILA, Philippines - Here?s the latest scuttlebutt on the Manansala mural lost in the National Press Club building:

Is it true that the buyer of the lost Manansala mural is a Cabinet member in the Arroyo administration?

Is it true that the true buying price for the mural was P15 million, not the P10 million officially reported by the NPC? Officers of the NPC said the P10 million was deposited intact with the Philippine National Bank. The court, which froze the account, discovered, however, that only P400,000 remains in the account. P1 million had been spent for the NPC elevator and another P1 million for a substitute mural which was, however, removed from the NPC after the controversy it raised. The Government Service Insurance System and the NPC members want to know what happened to the missing P7,600,000.

Is it true that the real broker in the sale is an aide of the Cabinet member?

Is it true that the official art broker, co-accused in the qualified theft case, and some NPC board members want to turn state witness?

Is it true that a Chinoy, an operator in the Bureau of Customs and operator of several nightspots, is running for president of the NPC? Is it also true that at least two of the directors in his original ticket have withdrawn and are now running on the rival ticket?

Don?t know the answers. Do you?

* * *

There is logic?and panic?in the moves of the Arroyo administration to raise the price of rice subsidized by the National Food Authority. NFA rice is sold at P18.25 per kilo. NFA now buys palay at P17 a kilo. After milling, the resulting rice already costs P34 a kilo. That means the government loses P15.75 per kilo of rice sold.

Imported rice now costs about the same, including freight costs, yet the NFA continues to sell them at P18.25 per kilo. That means the government will lose many billions of pesos every year, an amount it cannot afford.

On the other hand, the cheapest commercial rice costs an average of P30 a kilo. The difference in price of commercial rice and NFA rice is so big that opportunistic people, from the poorest to those living in Forbes Park, as well as unscrupulous rice traders, join the long queues to take advantage of the cheap rice. Also because of fears of a shortage, families buy more than they need. This is obvious in the queues where members of the same family, including small children, line up to buy the cheap NFA rice. Unfortunately, the NFA has no way of stopping this practice, nor of limiting the sale of subsidized rice only to poor families. At this rate, the NFA will soon run out of stock. And when that happens, commercial rice prices will rise even higher.

Ironically, even the poor take advantage of the situation. They buy more than they need (that?s what always happens when there is rationing) and sell the excess at a profit to opportunistic rice traders who then sell them as commercial rice. The hard-pressed taxpayers pay for the immoral profits of the rice traders.

The sensible thing is to close the gap between NFA rice and commercial rice, so that there is no panic buying. But what about the poor? They cannot afford the higher prices.

The government must find a way to subsidize them some other way, like giving them discounts and ration booklets, like those given to senior citizens. But this should be done by family, not individually, as that would reward big families and promote population explosion. And the distribution should be done not through the barangays but through the church parishes where the procedure will hopefully be more honest and strict.

* * *

The long and bitter fight over the P14-billion Air Materiel Wing Savings and Loan Association Inc. (AMWSLAI), a cooperative of more than 230,000 retired and active soldiers and policemen, is over. The Supreme Court validated the election of Col. Ricardo Nolasco Jr., along with seven others as new directors of the AMWSLAI board on Jan. 18, 2008 when it noted, but did not act, on the urgent motion seeking to annul the results of the said elections filed by a rival group. The groups headed by Nolasco and Col. Luvin S. Manay (ret.) are fighting for control of AMWSLAI.

?Now that the highest court of the land has spoken,? Nolasco said, ?our members can count on the stable and efficient management of the AMWSLAI?s funds by the duly elected officers. No less than the high court has affirmed our mandate and validated the trust of those who voted us into office. We can now put this legal problem behind us.

?AMWSLAI is in normal operations and the incumbent members of the board of trustees are determined to protect the interests of all its members who have invested their hard-earned money in the savings and loan association,? added Nolasco, who serves as chair and president of the soldiers? fund.

With the decision, the Supreme Court, in effect, validated the election of eight additional directors to complete the 11-member AMWSLAI board of trustees. Elected last Jan. 19 were Nolasco, Thaddeus Estalilla, Morado Mercado, Ismale Abad, Ricardo Perido, Angel Tapac, Antonio Gumba and Cesar Toledanes.

These eight directors, together with the three elected in 2006?Rolando Cacabelos, Odelon Mendoza and Cedric Reyes?now compose the 11-member board of trustees.

* * *

TODAY?S JOKE: Modern thinkers now believe that Adam and Eve were Filipinos.

Why?

Because they had no house, no jobs, nothing decent to wear, no rice, and still they went and multiplied.



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