Abp. Oscar. V. Cruz, DD
Views and Points
THERE is the fact that graft and corrupt practices in the country have already become ingrained especially in government from the national to the local levels—notwithstanding all rhetorical negations and artistic postures to the contrary. There is also the standing phenomenon that millions of Filipinos are still living in poverty if not wallowing in misery—despite all glorious surveys saying otherwise. There is further the phenomenon that criminality in the country has already become the daily bread of the people—despite all glorious claims of peace and order by those mandated by law to protect individuals, families, and communities from goods, from crooks, and thieves. And nothing is herein said about the not yet pacified certain Muslim rebels in Mindanao plus the apparently invincible NFA particularly in Luzon.
Salaries and wages have been long since kept to the minimum while the costs of oil and prime commodities are allowed to zoom to the maximum—not to mention the price of local electricity said to be relatively the highest in the whole world. There is also the intriguing fact that when people have earnings for whatever legitimate ventures, they pay the so-called “direct taxes.” Yet when they make expenses like buying consumer goods, eating at fast food chains and the like, then they also pay the ignominious “indirect taxes” under the cryptic title of “Value Added Tax” of 12%.
All apparently heroic pronouncements and seemingly noble posturing to the contrary, following are some of the well-noted and publicized events forwarding ominous signs for the People of the Philippines: It all started with the Luneta debacle when even elderly foreigners were massacred with neither pity nor remorse. Thereafter, Hong Kong looked at the Philippines with disdain and disgust. This was followed by the territorial conflict about the Spratly Islands as to which country owned what. It was then that China flexed its muscles, looking at the Philippines as an enemy. Then came the squabble over Sabah. This time Malaysia made the Philippines keep quiet and the latter remains curiously silent to this date. Hereafter, there was the destruction of the Tubbataha Reef by nothing less than a US warship. Strange but true, a Chinese fishing vessel shortly thereafter also caused damage to the same place. The latest is this: Members of the Philippine Coast Guard gunned down an old Taiwanese fisherman. And Taiwan is taking revenge against the OFWs in their country. How more ominous can the signs be?
The above past and present historical facts amply demonstrate how other countries belittle and thus look down at the Philippines, considering its known poverty and helplessness—despite all counter-arguments of Malacañang. Hopefully, Malacañang itself does not in turn also look down at the poor and helpless Filipinos all over the land.