Sunday, April 15, 2012

Blame corruption why this town is poor?


There are only few palatial mansions (just like those owned by actors in Hollywood) in the province that I can count with my fingers.
Each of these mansions costs millions of pesos.
One of them is located in an exterior village in a very poor town.
The imposing abode is owned by a sacked treasurer because of the bursar’s differences with the incumbent mayor.
The treasurer is identified as crony of the previous mayors who were responsible for the penury of the town.
The bursar was heard to lend monies to the poor farmers for them to buy fertilizers and pesticides. My source told me that it is the same treasurer who sold these stuffs to them.
Many suspected that the funds the bursar loaned to these hapless people were sourced from the town’s coffer.
When the incumbent mayor assumed office he was able to almost double the tax collection of the sorry town in one fiscal year compared to the last year of his predecessor.
Now I know why the town is very poor, while the treasurer is very rich not because of the imposing house that could shame even those filthy rich in Valle Verde, Alabang, and Forbes Park. It is because of the old practices during the heyday of the bursar’s patron.
It was rejuvenating to see old friends and familiar faces at the regional office of PhilHealth in Dagupan City recently.
The last time I set foot there was two years ago before the nasty and acrimonious squabbling among a large faction of employees versus their former manager Dr. Leo Douglas V. Cardona that exploded in damaging proportions that landed on media and on the Internet. .
This was after Cardona was sued by waiters of Leisure Coast because of alleged unruly behavior.
“We are now peaceful here,” declared to me by Daniel F. de Leon — the new regional manager and vice president of Philhealth .
I learned later that de Leon, a native of Bautista, Pangasinan, has just replaced Elvira C. Ver who was reassigned in Baguio City.
I was in PhilHealth-Dagupan City because an employee named toto Mao (no relation with China’s deceased strongman Mao Ze Dong) told me that PhilHealth ‘s president Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon, a fellow Ilonggo, would be arriving on that day.
“Linti, tood ka?” I told Mao in the vernacular.
I asked Dr. Banson how many “indigent” household (HH) has been subsidized by the local and national government.
He said 10 million HH – half of whom were registered by the national government and the other half was registered by the local government.
He said it is a good debate how many indigent households have been enrolled by the government to PhilHealth. He said according to the NSB (National Statistics Coordination Board), it is 30 million households. But he added that according to the Department of Social Welfare & Development it is 18 million HH. He said DSWD chalked-up this figure through its Income Proximate Test where it surveyed 18 million HH.
“Out of it was 5.2 million ang mahirap (indigents). Okay lahat po ito enrolled na sa Philhealth,” told to me by the new health insurance president and chief executive officer who sounds and speak with speed like former Senator Dick Gordon.
Anyway, I agree with Dr. Banson on the conflict of the NSCB and DSWD figures. The definition of indigent in the Philippines is debatable. Usually the government has its self-serving definition how many poor people we have and how much an indigent earns in the country a day. Organizations like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and other straight shooting organizations-have their own impartial and unsoiled definition of indigents in our country.
I just asked Banson the percentage of how many indigents have been subsidized by the government because it has been my prayer that someday the government could enroll all the “unwashed of our society” to the government health insurance body.
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