But whose ‘spending power’ in CamSur? | Inquirer Opinion

But whose ‘spending power’ in CamSur?

/ 02:25 AM November 07, 2011

What “spending power” of the people of Camarines Sur was Conrad Banal referring to in his Oct. 27 column, which could have only been written by one who has not seen firsthand the abject poverty in the province?

Camarines Sur has the highest poverty rate in all of the Bicol region at nearly 50 percent, while the province also has the highest incidence of malnutrition based on the 2010 Oplan Timbang of the National Nutrition Research Institute.

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And before the Ayalas think of building a mall in CamSur, they should consider that one of every two Camarinenses cannot even assure himself of three square meals a day.

Why would anyone hope to greedily make a profit in the midst of so much poverty? Baka ibibili na lang ng bigas e maipambili pa ng walang kapararakang bagay.

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The Ayalas would be better appreciated by the Camarinenses if they could build them a provincial hospital because for all of Gov. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte’s glib talk about prosperity, tourism revenues and thousands of jobs that would be created, CamSur does not even have a provincial hospital.

But if by spending power Banal was referring to Governor Villafuerte, then he hit the nail right on the head.

A simple Google check would show that the Commission on Audit took the governor to task in 2010 for spending P4.2 million for advertising to deodorize his image, P22.3 million for his security, and P40 million as “confidential expenses.”

With the way Governor Villafuerte takes liberties with taxpayers’ money, no doubt he and his minions in Camarines Sur, against whom graft and corruption and plunder charges had been filed before the Ombudsman, are the only ones in CamSur awash with cash—cash that does not even belong to them, according to the complaints.

—KRISTINE LAINE BERNISI, [email protected]

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TAGS: Camarines Sur, politics, Poverty
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