While I was watching various videos of update on the Super Typhoon Pepeng and the damage of the last typhoon, Ondoy, I saw a video in YouTube about the analysis of Professor Winnie Monsod on the Government’s spending especially Foreign Trips which the President has spent over 10% of her total days in the office since she assumed the Presidency. What’s more alarming is not the number of days spent abroad but the costs spent on the trips.
The news anchor Ivan Mayrina said he view the trip as essential especially the last controversial US Trip since the US is the country’s major trading partner.
However, reviewing further the costs of these trips based on Winnie’s analysis, if we are to average out the cost of trip, Winnie said that in 2002, cost per day is USD 45, 880/day and within 5 years period (2007) it rose to 6 times or worth USD 255,600 per day. She also claimed that it is not attributable to inflation, cost of trips (e.g. Hotel accommodation, airline, etc) has increased because it will not increase more than 20%. over that period.
What was said to have contributed to the tremendous increase as quoted on the video is a.) The size of her entourage must have increased tremendously b.) their per diems must have gone up enormously c.) some combination of both.
Winnie’s suggestion: Continue the trips but cut down on the expenses. (I can’t agree more on this proposition).
In connection to this analysis, I saw another video in GMA New’s website on the same News programme wherein Winnie talked about the tragedy of Typhoon Ondoy and it’s relation to what could have done by the Government.
Link to this video: http://www.gmanews.tv/video/48659/qtv-analysis-with-winnie-monsod
She said one factor is that PAGASA (the Government agency tasked to give weather forecasts) do not have a DOPPLER RADAR which is used to determine the rain content of storms and the intensity of flooding that may occur and wind velocity. Cost of this Doppler Radar is a “mere” USD 300,000 to USD 1 million or roughly PHP 15M to PHP 50M. She tagged the amount as “mere” because the cost of this useful equipment is much less than the Pork Barrel allocated to a Congressman (reportedly worth PHP 70M for each Congressman) or PHP 200M pork barrel allocation for each Senator. Whoa, such a big amount of money really.
Prof. Monsod also compared the cost of this radar to the Foreign trips of the Government. As earlier analyzed, cost per day of a foreign trip is USD 255,000 in 2007. This means the cost of the radar is anywhere between 1-3 days cost of the foreign trips of this Government.
There were many other human errors that she intelligently analyzed.
The National Disaster Coordinating Council reported a loss of PHP 4.8 Billion in damages across Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon and claimed the lives of 277 and counting. Had the government given priority on these essential instruments , it could have saved the lives of all of these people and properties even if it costs more than USD 1MILLION.
Of course we cannot blame all of these damages to the Government because I believe everyone is partly to be blamed. All of us in one way or another has contributed to the climate change because of unguarded if not uncontrolled use of energy and natural resources and continuously dumping trash improperly. But many people are trying to point out is for the Government to come to its senses in allocating the budget on priority projects and spend the taxes paid by the Filipinos wisely and morally.
Surely, as a nation we have encountered many natural disasters in the past and we have overcome these tragedies. Soon, everything will be back to normal. Of course, we cannot return back the lives of those people who have died in the calamity but we can do something to correct or improve the way we do things or the way we live.
I fervently pray that God will spare us from more natural disasters and for God to bring a true leader to the country in the next election. I believe the Philippines deserves a better leadership…