On Limiting the Powers of Government

Is Noynoy slowly limiting the powers and roles of government?

Before going home, I was eating in this small restaurant in South Station terminal in Alabang. While eating I noticed this green plate on the wall that is labeled “Mayor’s Permit” and had the photo of the Mayor. And so as much as I already hate the fact that appointed bureaucrats get to decide who gets a business and who doesn’t (and that business taxes and government spending in Muntinlupa have increased in the past years), I suddenly thought to myself: why does this bureaucrat’s face have to be on the plate?

I’ve always thought that it should be illegal for bureaucrats to put their photo or name on any gov’t project and instead put the name of the supplier and budget alloted for the project (I think I explained this transparency policy in my 8-point agenda patungo sa kaunlaran). It allows competitors to protest if they think they can offer better quality and lower price. It just becomes a means for campaign if it’s their names and photos. Really, it makes no sense at all. It’s insane why people aren’t outraged by it.

When I finally got home I saw on the Yahoo News that PNoy inspected some bridge or something like that and that he wants gov’t officials to stop putting their names and photos on gov’t projects. Finally someone in Malacañang is making sense, I thought to my self. But really, I wouldn’t give him much credit unless he is able to lobby senate or congress to make it a law (but obviously they won’t because they’re the same heartless assholes who love to put their name and photo on every project they make).

I think the same goes for some of the secretaries he appointed for the different bureaucracies in the executive branch. I saw in the news a few nights ago (on my way home riding a bus), that his secretary for Department of Agriculture is really investigating the whole fertilizer scam. No one really cares that much about that anymore just because it seems to be old news but really that’s billions of taxpayer’s money. But you see, that is merely a side-effect of bureaucracy. It is not the role of the government to give fertilizer to farmers in the same manner that it is not their job to build basketball courts.

And this is why I never really supported Gilbert Teodoro because his platform included subsidization of farms. And to think that he is in the same party whose administration created the whole fertilizer scam. Subsidizing any industry only creates opportunities for corruption. Something that would surely help our farmers would be the abolition of VAT and less regulation and permits (all their supplies would be cheaper, they will have more capital, even the cost of transporting their goods will be cheaper because petroleum will be cheaper too). I’ve already tried explaining these things in my Proposed Solution to the Poverty in the Philippines article.

Most of the time, I noticed that when we like a politician here in our country, it is almost like Renato Constantino’s book title “Veneration without Understanding”. We worship someone for being smart, capable, good in public speaking, charismatic but we never care about their platform and concrete policies (many times they don’t even have any). They just always say they’ll fight corruption, improve education, improve healthcare. But really they have no means, or if the do it’s is just expansion of government: more intervention, more roles, more corruption. They just always have the “what to do” but never the “how to do it”.

So really, I am trying to be optimistic about the news and I think I am starting to like Noynoy. It’s probably too early to say but I think he’s starting out well. Even the whole anti-siren for cars thing was brilliant. I mean, that right there is a move that limits their powers and authority somehow. There are a lot of things to hate about him. For instance, I am totally against the Truth Commish (but this is because I am against any form of gov’t expansion).

And with all the on-going talks with the privatization of PAGCOR, I am just feeling so positive about the politics in our country. I am actually optimistic.

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