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Birds of the same feather

I read Makati City’s “Invitation to Bid” for “Birthday Cakes for Senior Citizens Makati City,” with an approved budget of P9.3 million, and “Acquisition of Contract for Outsource Pharmacy for Makati Residents’ ‘Libreng Gamot sa Makati’ for four-and-a-half months,” worth P50 million (Inquirer Classifieds, 7/21/15).

I do not know if the atrocious grammar used in this public and official document was due to plain and simple stupidity, or it was designed and intended to be vague, unclear and confusing.

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Why are the “new” city administrators of Makati copying the ridiculous programs and policies of the discredited Binays? Did the Binays not get into trouble precisely because of those questionable practices? Why will they continue to give cakes to senior citizens when it has been shown that the vaunted act of kindness was just a cheap ploy of the very rich to make more money and become even richer?

Giving cakes to old people has to be the dumbest idea ever to ooze from the spongy brains of politicians. Cakes are sugar and spice and everything nice, but they just aren’t good for the health and wellbeing of the old ones! They are, in fact, fatal to those with diabetes and related diseases. Why can’t the “new” set of officials come up with their own brand of “epal” and “pampam” projects for senior citizens?

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The second part of the “Invitation” is even more onerous and anomalous! Correct me if I’m being stupid, but what I understand from what I read is that the winning bidder will be paid P50 million by the City of Makati for “acquiring a contract for outsource pharmacy.” What does that mean, if it means anything at all? It certainly isn’t clearly and directly obligating the winning bidder to supply or deliver anything! If the intention is to be clear and direct, honest and forthright, this should have been written in the first column: “To supply and deliver assorted drugs and medicines.”

Also, the contract is only for four-and-a-half months! After that period, city officials will again seek new bids for the same dubious project, opening the door wide open for the possible entry of corrupt wheeler-dealers three times a year! Even more telling, the exact kind and number of cakes and medicines were not specified, described or classified anywhere in the “Invitation to Bid,” raising so many variables and unknowns!

How can one monitor the delivery of P9.3 million worth of cakes over a period of four-and-a-half months when, under the Binays’ BLU Card program, the city government was said to be delivering “between 200 and 300 cakes a day”? How can one even check and verify if P50 million worth of medicines had truly been distributed?

The panem et circenses—bread (or should I say “cake”!) and circuses—continue unabated, with full confidence and without shame. There is no hope for our country if we will keep going through the motions of kicking out old dogs and installing new ones but neglecting to dispose of flea-infested collars. The entire doghouse must be thoroughly sanitized and, if need be, razed, to get rid of the ticks and garapata of corruption.

Change is good if it brings about growth and betterment. If it is to be the same old, same old, then it’s just another step down the ladder of evolution. This applies as well to our choice for the next president. If it’s going to be the way it has always been, then perhaps it is time we the people took it upon ourselves to guard our own houses. Let all the useless and thieving dogs out and never let them come back!

The worst thing in this world, next to anarchy, is a corrupt government. Political dynasties such as those we see all around us perpetuate the insidious culture of corruption. These are birds of the same feather, rags cut from the same bolt. If we don’t act now, we can only expect anarchy to be the bad moon rising in the coming unsilent and unholy night.

Antonio Calipjo Go (sickbooks_togo@yahoo.com) is the academic supervisor of Marian School of Quezon City.

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