They say that this whole internship program will give me a chance to experience what it is like to be in the real world. And I guess that’s what I ended up seeing: The Real World—a world of poverty and corruption.
These living conditions, these families who sleep on the streets, even children who can’t even walk on their own yet, these people who seem to have made the bridges and sidewalks as their homes: these are just a small part of the poverty I witness everyday as I take part of our public transportation on my way to work and back home. And I know that it is not even half of the poverty people are experiencing in this country. And these things really break my heart.
And people almost always demand more from the government. They want the government to solve everything: healthcare, housing, education, and even funding of private industries; the so popularly believed “di umaasenso kasi walang suporta ng gobyerno” (there is no progress because there is no support from government). This remains true for many sectors such as sports, agriculture, engineering, scientific research and many more.
They do not see that this will merely create opportunities for corruption because it will allow appointed bureaucrats to take budget from the decent and hardworking taxpayer. A new department or bureau would need pens, chairs, carpeting, office supplies, and even air conditioning. Bigger government roles mean bigger spending. And even for the littlest things such as the pens, there would be suppliers, suppliers who have connections with the appointed bureaucrats—thus enforcing “connection-ism”.
And yes, the air conditioning. You see, bureaucrats, these so-called secretaries and the secretaries of the secretaries, they all have air conditioning. I don’t know how they can swallow the fact that as they use government spending to provide for their air-conditioned rooms, carpeted floors, and velvet chairs, there are children in public schools who have no books or chairs or pens. These are inevitable products of bureaucracy, of more government roles and spending. Ang gobyernong maraming utang ay dapat mag tipid (a government in debt should not spend too much).
And so what is my supposed solution? (this is separate from my long-term 8-point agenda patungo sa kaunlaran being that these are immediate and short-term solutions I could think of)
- Let us pass laws that will immediately limit the benefits of government officials — their offices will have no air-conditioning whatsoever. I mean, the city halls and public buildings will have air-conditioning except for the rooms of the heads of those departments. They will have to make this sacrifice that will save our country millions. Our government offices need not be extravagant or overly accommodating. Hindi dapat magyabang ang walang ipagyayabang (He who does not have anything to show off should not be a show-off). We are a country in poverty. Let our budget go to those who really need it and not to please our visitors.
- Take out VAT as soon as possible — As soon as we abolish VAT every single commodity in the market will be cheaper including gasoline. This will lead to cheaper supplies, higher wages, bigger profits, for everyone from farmers to CEOs. Tunay na ginahawa na mararamdaman ng bawat mamamayan (Real relief that will be felt by every citizen). Instead of this baseless taxation that goes to more government roles and projects that supposedly “help the poor”, we can free our people from the legalized plunder they call VAT.
- Limit the roles of government — Hindi trabaho ng gobyerno ang magpatayo ng basketball court (it is not the duty of the government to build basketball courts). This whole building of basketball courts to make the youth stay away from drugs is a total fallacy they are using as propaganda to support their bureaucracy. Having projects to make basketball courts just gives them more opportunities for corruption, more connection-ism from suppliers, and less benefits for the people.
But you see, we are junkies to government aid. Being a poverty-stricken nation, we rely on and have become addicted to what bureaucracy offers us. We do nothing when they legally steal from our paychecks to provide us with “security”. Choice is taken away from us. It is as if there are no such thing as banks or private insurances or personal responsibility. We do nothing when we see them increase spending. In fact, it is as if we love the chains they have put on us. “Wow ang daming proyekto ni mayor, ang ganda ng mga ilaw na pinagawa niya at ang daming bagong basketball court” (wow the mayor has so many projects, the lights he put on the streets are so pretty, and there are so many new basketball courts).
All I’m really saying is that more government is not the solution. The government should always be our servant and never our master. We dictate to them and not the other way around. My friends, let us put a stop to government overspending as soon as possible.
*This would have been longer but I'm too sleepy to continue.
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