TALE OF 2 CABINET SECRETARIES
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
Reporters in Pangasinan saw recently two cabinet secretaries of the Duterte Administration graced two occasions in the same day at the Capitol Ground in the historic and capital town’s Lingayen.
After Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar and party sneaked to say hello near the rostrum where Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol was already speaking before the stakeholders of the Mango Forum at the swanky world class Sison Auditorium, I saw again the PCOO top honcho spoke before elected officials of the 47 cities and towns’ Pangasinan at the nearby Training Center.
|Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol and Communication Secretary Martin Andanar.|
If the diminutive Piñol, former broadcaster and a governor, emphatically spoke with gusto and spiced his speech with machismo jokes before the multitudes, the six-footer Andadar seemed reserve and dried talk his piece before the local government executives and their communication officers.
“Dapat si Piñol and communication secretary because he communicates effectively with the people unlike kay Andanar na parang boring,” I ribbed my radio tandem Harold Barcelona when we dropped by at the training center and listen to the wisdom of the PCOO's top man, a former TV-5 reporter, on the important roles of the information officers at the local government units.
After being treated by Piñol’s side statement, er, joke that many Ilocanos are poor but happy because after they incessantly contented themselves to over eat the slimy Saluyot (Corchorus) plant in their three square meals a day, the supper with the poor man’s vegetable was the most exciting because the spouses disappeared to the dark part of their room and indulge to sex, Andanar’s dry corporate-like talk made me reminisced about rabble rousing Abono Party list Congressman Conrad Estrella cracking jokes like that Saluyot antics of Piñol that put the house down.
“Sino sa inyo mga mayors ang may gusto ng Federalism, taas ang mga kamay!” Only three Pangasinan mayors raised their hands while nobody waved their hands when Andanar asked them who among the elected executives do not like Federalism.
“Paano magtataas ang mga iyan, hindi nila naiintidihan the pros and cons of Federalism,” I told the amused Rey dela Cruz, City Information Officer of San Carlos City.
“They did not understand the nuances of Federalism. They need to be informed,” quipped by Governor Amado Espino III to the secretary after seeing the lethargic reactions of the mayors and the board members on Federalism.
Then Andanar, like a neophyte college instructor, explained the kinds of Federalism in Australia and France where in the former the prime minister (Malcolm Turnbull) was elected (Westminster System’s style – columnist) by majority party or coalition of the members of the Parliament while in the latter the prime minister was appointed by the strong president like Emmanuel Macron.
“Any comment or question?” Andanar posed.
I was tempted to go to the microphone in the center of the building because nobody wanted to speak ha ha ha but I restrained myself in giving my piece.
“Baka wala ng bumoto sa Federalism just like what happened when I gave my side during the First Public Consultation of Constitutional Reform,” I told Harold who urged me to say my opinion that I passionately cited in the radio.
I should be telling Andanar that the most divisive part on Federalism was how would poor provinces and regions pay the salaries of national personnel like those in the Philippine National Police, Departments of Public Works & Highways and the Education, and others and how these LGUs financed infrastructure projects after these local government units converge as a state, just like in the U.S, and feed themselves on the taxes used to be collected by the national government?
Poor provinces like Maguindanao, Davao del Sur, Ifugao, Aparri, Leyte, Samar would find themselves in a financial catastrophe because there will be no national government through the Bureau of Internal Revenue that collects Value Added Tax, Capital Gain Tax, Corporate Tax, Donor Tax, Percentage Tax, Documentary Tax, except thumbtack and divide through the internal revenue allocation where some of these funds collected from progressive provinces like Pangasinan and Pampanga would be funneled to Maguindanao and those poor provinces I mentioned.
I should be responding to Andanar’s poser that the economic malaise of the Filipinos could not be solved by Federalism but by amending the economic provision in the Constitution where the xenophobic law was responsible to the penury of our countrymen.
Here’s what I told early this year the congressmen led by the Committee on Constitutional Amendment’s Chairman Roger Mercado during the First Public Consultation on Constitutional Reform when I gave my piece that amending the 60-40 percent provision is the silver bullet to solve, probably partially because we still have to deal with population explosion, the economic hardship where jobs are elusive to find in this forsaken country.
“Our problems are jobs for our people and the solution is break that 60-40 percent economic provision in the Constitution and make it 100 percent to attract more foreign businessmen to put jobs in the country,” I cited.
I elaborated that 100 percent foreign ownership made Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore a haven of foreign investors while their neighbor Philippines lurked at the economic bottom in drawing investors.
“According to the World Bank in 2015 foreign direct investors poured almost U.S $6 billion to the Philippines; $ 9,003, 516, 296 to Thailand; $10, 962, 721,673 to Malaysia; $11,800,000,000 to Vietnam; $20, 054, 270,304 to Indonesia; and $65,262,633,426 to Singapore,” I stressed.
If jobs for the millions of Filipinos are the problem, then HesusMariaHusep, why chose Federalism where foreign investors would still be hesitant to come to our shores because the local industries are still controlled by the likes of Gokongweis, Sys, Pangilinans, Ayalas, Cojuangcos, Angs, Gaisanos, Aboitizes, and other taiphans ?
Are the proponents of Federalism should be pushing instead of the breaking out of the anti-foreign investors 60-40 equity to save this country from the squalor?
(You can read my selected columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at firstname.lastname@example.org)