B is for bobo

It seems a flash of serendipity that the name of the President is Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III.  Later, he dropped the Cojuangco name to de-emphasize his haciendero heritage and stress that he is an Aquino, after, you know, Ninoy Aquino, the martyr.  So his name became President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, which pundits and columnists quickly shortened to BS Aquino III.

The letter B has become BS Aquino’s karma.  Nearly all his major problems start with the letter B. 

Like Bagyong Yolanda the strongest typhoon in world history to make landfall and which killed 10,000 (the government claims only 6,200 casualties) in November 2013 and exposed the ineptness and incompetence of the BS Aquino administration in coping with major disasters and also exposed his total lack of  empathy towards people in great suffering. 

Like the Bangsamoro Basic Bill (or Law), Babala for short, which is an attempt by BS Aquino to give a huge chunk of the archipelago and the republic to Muslim separatists in the guise of regional autonomy and the pursuit of peace in the Philippine south. 

The BBL will give three percent of the population, the Filipino Muslims, the right to rule and manage up to 40 percent of the Philippine archipelago as if it were their private fiefdom.  Never in the history of this country has a president shown such unbridled enthusiasm in giving away national patrimony, that is huge chunks of valuable territory to a small minority of Filipinos. 

Like the Battle of Mamasapano of January 2015 wherein 44 elite commandos of the Philippine National Police died, massacred by Muslim bandits and insurgents.  Mamapasano Battle  betrayed the disturbing attitude of the commander-in-chief towards his soldiers and policemen—that is, these fine men in uniform are nothing more than cannon fodder that can be dispensed with in exchange for higher political or selfish personal objectives.

Like the Battle of Zamboanga in September 2013 wherein the Armed Forces of the Philippines burned 10,000 civilian houses in the guise of pursuing some 200 MNLF bandits and renegades.  It is the first time in the history of the AFP that the army burned 10,000 houses.  Not even during the height of World War II or the NPA-MNLF insurgencies did the army resort to such despicable depredation.

Like bagon ng tren (train coaches) a severe shortage of which is the main problem of the MRT3, Manila’s government-owned but privately maintained elevated railway system for the masses.  To be sure, MRT3 was already in a decrepit state when the Aquino administration took over.  But his Liberal Party henchmen, led notably by the unlamented DOTC Secretary Emilio Aguinaldo “Pabaya” Abaya, made sure MRT3 maintenance went to party thieves. Being thieves, they went for the money and forgot about maintenance.   The result is horrendous daily ordeal for more than 400,000 train commuters.   I cannot understand why these thousands of pedestrians, despite their untold misery daily, have not organized themselves, picked up every available crude weapon at their command, and stormed the gates of Malacañang because that is where the buck stops.

Finally, we have the balikbayan boxes which many of our 10 million expats send to their relatives and friends here in the Philippines.   The boxes, measuring no more than two feet by three feet square, contain old clothes or garments bought at sale events, cans of sardines and corned beef, tubes of toothpaste, oversized Nike shoes (so many people can use each pair), bars of soap, and other goodies that are so non-essential it would be ridiculous and small- time for a the lowliest corrupt Customs clerk to pay attention to.

Yet, Customs Commissioner Bert Lina has this bright idea that the 400,000 or so balikbayan boxes shipped by air or by boat by OFWs yearly are being used for smuggling.  Estimated losses from this alleged smuggling: P500 million or less than $10.8 million.

How much do our OFWs remit annually to the Philippines?  About $25 billion, through official channels, or P1.15 trillion—ten times what the country gets as foreign investments in a good year.  To get $2.5 billion in FDI a year, the government gives away some P400 billion in tax incentives and perks to so-called foreign investors.

Lina wants to tax our biggest foreign investors, namely, the 10 million OFWs, just because they are sending 400,000 balikbayan boxes for which Customs could conceivably collect P500 million.

In the early months of the Aquino administration, 4,000 containers disappeared miraculously from Customs warehouses.  Their contents were worth billions.

Some P200 billion worth of oil is smuggled annually into the country.   If 12-percent VAT were collected, the government would be richer by P24 billion every year.  Aquino’s agriculture secretary has been linked to smuggling reports of rice, garlic and other rackets in the billions.   The President even praised and thanked him during his last SONA.

There is another B to describe what Aquino and his men have been doing these past five years and two months.  Bobo. (Stupid). Or bano (incompetent).  Or both (stupid and incompetent).

 What a government!  Remember them in 2016.


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