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Graft overrunning ‘daang matuwid,’ impoverishes Filipino veterans

/ 12:36 AM June 11, 2014

On TV one morning, there was shown a boy walking the streets of Manila begging for alms. I could not do anything but pity him. But seeing him on TV gave me a glimpse of how the P10-billion pork barrel scam must have affected our country.

Millions of pesos in alleged kickbacks—to senators and congressmen as well as executive officials, past and present—could have alleviated the lives of the marginalized sectors of our society. I asked myself: Where are the funds of the conditional cash transfer (CCT) supposedly distributed among the poorest of the poor throughout the country? I could hardly believe that the Department of Social Welfare and Development has not noticed that boy who goes around Manila every day, begging.

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Can’t the DSWD do something worthy for the benefit of that boy by taking him to the hospital, or at least to assuage his sufferings? Or can’t the DSWD enlist the family of that boy under the CCT program?

The boy reminded me of an old man I saw almost every day picking up cigarette butts on the streets of Daet, Camarines Norte. I could not imagine the old man had no family that couldn’t be covered by the CCT. Not only that. I also remembered the three children—two girls and a boy—of school age who passed by our house every morning to gather what they could find on the street and, on their way back home to their barangay, one or each of them would be carrying a half sack containing all sorts of things that could be sold in a junk shop. The money paid to them for those items, they used for their daily sustenance.

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I could not but attribute the sufferings of my countrymen to the plunder of government coffers for the past 10 years. This includes the poverty of us World War II veterans who are now in the twilight of our lives but whose monthly old-age pension of P5,000, for the past two decades, has not been enough to buy even just our so-called doctor-prescribed maintenance medicine.

I believe, however, that President Aquino is doing well in his effort to disable the tentacles of graft and corruption in government, which is now beginning to overwhelm his “daang matuwid.” And I hope he will do something ASAP for the veterans so that, before we are called by  our Creator to that “undiscovered country from whose borne no traveler returns” or until time shall be no more, we will see the Filipino people enjoying the benefits of clean administration.

—GODOFREDO O. PETEZA SR.,

JP Rizal Street,

Barangay Camambugan,

Daet, Camarines Norte

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TAGS: CCT, conditional cash transfer, DSWD, Filipino veterans, graft, letters to the editor, opinion, Poverty
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