Philippine Government . . . You’re Fired!

My advocacy is to reduce the Philippine Government (the “Government”) to its bare essentials. That means I will do everything I can to minimize the taxes I pay the Government and to encourage every taxpayer, individual and/or corporate, to do the same until the Government relearns its sole purpose and function—to serve the taxpayers.

The reason is simple. Since my birth nearly half a century ago, the Government has consistently proven itself to be an utterly negligent administrator of the assets of the Filipino people. The Government is not only useless, it’s downright damaging. Under any decent standard of accountability, I would have fired the Government several times over since my birth. However, given the infirmities of the Philippine Constitution (then and now) and the apparent absence of the Government’s ability to amend the Constitution (another manifestation of a dysfunctional Government), there is really no way I can “fire” the Government. No matter how negligent, how incompetent, how corrupt the Government is, I cannot fire the Government. All I can do is throw my vote (which is usually contrary to the vote of the super-majority of non-tax paying Filipinos) on a few politicians, who are mostly shady and mediocre in the first place. In essence, I am forced to pay taxes to pay people I would not even consider hiring in my own organization. And I cannot fire them. So, my solution is to pay them as little as I possibly can. Pay as little tax as possible without going to jail.

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I have spent my entire adult life as a productive economic citizen paying fulsome taxes supporting a Government that does me a great disservice. So now that I am no longer employed, I will resort to guerilla tactics to destroy in my own very limited way no less than a monster leech of Philippine society—the Government. Imagine the ultimate potential when all taxpayers come together to stop paying taxes to cripple the Government and to finally dictate what the Government should do for the taxpayers—instead of the Government throwing away our hard earned money and resources to programs that are unimportant to taxpayers but merely perpetuate the parasitic existence of Government.

Let’s start with the mismanagement of Philippine forests. The total land area of the Philippines is roughly 30 million hectares. In 1955, approximately 15 million hectares were covered in forests. Philippine forest land is under the ownership of the Government and has been managed mainly for timber production. Usufructory rights to timber resources have been awarded to the private sector through leasehold contracts called logging concessions or timber license agreements (“TLA”). Poor monitoring and enforcement of such logging concessions, including kickback schemes between government officials and private concessionaires, led to the rape and pillage of such forests, thereby diminishing severely the forest resource base (and its contribution to the economy) of the Philippines and causing serious long-term environmental damage—including the destruction of aquifers, massive soil erosion and catastrophic flooding. Today (2011), the Philippines may have less than 2 million hectares of forests left. The Government will refute this and say it has more. It’s a lie like most declarations of the Government to cover its filthy ass. Every year, during the summer season, it is increasingly difficult to tap into natural water sources and, during the rainy season, massive landslides occur in many denuded areas, burying whole towns and killing hundreds of individuals at a time. Downstream, prime agricultural lands are experiencing increasingly severe floods, destroying billions of pesos of crops and pushing our farmers deeper into poverty. For more than half a century, the Government, in cahoots with the political and military leadership, has systematically stolen a priceless resource from the Filipino taxpayer and, in fact, is responsible for all the unnecessary loss of life, property and crops in connection with landslides and floods due to denudation.

The question is, why is the Government still in charge of taking care of our forests, when it clearly has bungled the job from the outset and continues to bungle the job today? Short of an amendment to the Constitution yanking out the Government as the administrator of forests and assigning the job to some reputable non-profit NGO to re-establish 15 million hectares of Philippine forest again, then each centavo spent on this Government to care for our forest is wasted money.

Another example of the Government’s extreme wastage is evident in the evolution of the Philippine power sector. The National Power Corporation or NAPOCOR was like most national/government integrated power utilities that was responsible for supplying electricity (power generation), transmitting electricity over long distances at high voltages (power transmission) and distributing electricity to customers (power distribution). This was most apparent during the Marcos Dictatorship in which NAPOCOR took over the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO, the power distribution utility in Metro Manila), thereby having virtual control over the three (3) sub-sectors of the power utility infrastructure: generation, transmission and distribution.

The tenure of NAPOCOR, representing the Government’s control of the power sector, saw the systemic degradation of the entire power utility infrastructure in the Philippines. NAPOCOR evolved into a bloated, inefficient, incompetent and unresponsive government organization that ran its facilities to the ground. In the early 1990’s, the Philippines experienced 12-hour power outages everyday, which was eventually fixed after legislation allowed the private sector to build, operate and own power plants that sell electricity to NAPOCOR—at a premium price. In the meantime, NAPOCOR incurred over 20% of the total National Government debt by 2001 (i.e., US$9.355 of the total government debt of US$46.31).

At this time, another critical law on the power sector was passed (EPIRA of 2001). Unfortunately, it was practically drafted by the most powerful vested interest in the Philippine power sector—the Lopez Group, which had by then recovered MERALCO from the Government. EPIRA allowed cross-ownership between power generation and power distribution, permitting the Lopez Group to self-deal by way of selling electricity from a subsidiary power plant to a subsidiary power distributor at the expense of the consumer. To make matters worse, when the Lopez Group lost control of MERALCO and the legislature could finally plug the cross-ownership hole in EPIRA, the lawmakers sat idle while another business group (Salim et al and a foreign group at that through the money laundering enterprise of Manny Pangilinan) took control of MERALCO and set-up their own power generation enterprise to continue self-dealing at the expense of consumers.

In the absence of true competition in the power generation sector, it is no wonder the electricity rates in the Philippines are now the highest in Asia. In short, the Government ran our entire power utility infrastructure into the ground, brought in the private sector to fix its problems (albeit at a premium price to consumers), contributed substantially to the hemorrhaging national debt, and sits idly while vested interests promulgated and perpetuated legislation and policies that limit true competition in power generation for the benefit of consumers. It takes several decades to mess-up such a critical sector in an economy and the Government did just that with the Philippine power sector over the past 60 years. As if that wasn’t enough, this is the same Government responsible for the over-priced and unutilized Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

The good news is NAPOCOR has actually been fired, over ten (10) years ago, when EPIRA became law and the privatization of NAPOCOR commenced. The question is, why does NAPOCOR still exist? The answer is, to mismanage again at the expense of taxpayers whatever little is left for it to manage, which is the Small Power Utility Group or SPUG. Even SPUG should be privatized, so that electricity supplied to far flung islands and areas is done with the minimum intervention of the Government. If SPUG needs to be subsidized, then the Government should just subsidize the electricity rate of the private enterprises providing the service—just get the Government out of the way.

Another question is, how much longer will the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM, a new government corporation) exist, when it has had over 10 years (as of June 2011) to privatize the assets of NAPOCOR and program the still very substantial “residual” debt that is left behind in spite of (or maybe because of) all these years of machinations? Will PSALM evolve into another leech in Government with an over-extended life, using up taxes for nothing?

What about plugging the hole of self-dealing between affiliated companies in power generation and power distribution, and creating a truly competitive power generation sub-sector? PSALM is even more liable than the legislature for standing idle as the Lopez Group lost control of MERALCO, as it is suppose to make the Philippine power sector more competitive and consumer-friendly. Nee haa nee hoe. There is no cross-ownership allowed in the transmission sub-sector, and the same should have applied between the generation and the distribution sub-sectors from the outset of EPIRA. Then, Government should stay the hell out of the way.

Government should be out of everything in the power sector except in regulation. Taxes should be invested in improving the skills, competence and integrity of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). The irony is this, the more deregulated the power industry, the more sophisticated regulation is required of the regulatory body—and that is the ERC, which remains a political lapdog at its current stage of evolution.

Government land and squatters—these two elements consistently go hand in hand. That is because the Government is a lazy and corrupt caretaker of public land. Instead of diligently securing public land under its care, government officials ignore and even encourage the encroachment of informal settlers into such public lands—often exacting a bribe for the use of such public land—until the same is jam-packed with squatters like sardines. As if devaluing public lands with squatters is not enough, the same squatters are then paid by government officials to vacate public land using—you guessed it—taxpayers’ money. Just look at the experience of the Philippine National Railway. Talk about being raped then sodomized by Government.

Philippine forests, power infrastructure and government land are a few examples of precious and tangible assets that have been mismanaged and wasted by the Government at the grave expense of the Filipinos. Yet, greater damage has been done on more precious (albeit intangible) resources. For instance, the integrity of our judiciary, the third branch and last bastion of the Government, has been so completely eroded that our judicial system is not only a failed system but one that continues to bring us to ever increasing heights of institutional perversity.

It was well-known within the inner sanctum of Government that Chief Justice Narvasa was on the payroll of Lucio Tan; hence, the landmark Supreme Court decision to acquit Lucio Tan’s companies of P26 billion of taxes (when the exchange rate was about P26 = US$1). That marked an all time low in the history of the Philippine judiciary, which appears to be reprised in recent events by no less than the same star studded cast of Lucio Tan and, premier attorney for super-crooks, Estelito Mendoza.

No wonder none of the Marcoses have been jailed for either their ill-gotten wealth or for their crimes against humanity. Not a single word of apology from the Marcos brethren who are back in power with a vengeance, a fully-loaded war chest and an overwhelming arrogance that will stop at nothing to revise Philippine history. Even Marcos cronies like Bobby Ongpin can launder money, secure behest loans and engage in insider trading with impunity and with the characteristic arrogance and offensive tact of the Marcos regime. No wonder Erap continues to brush aside the judiciary that had adjudged him guilty of plunder by unilaterally insisting on his righteousness without any hint of remorse. No wonder GMA and the rest of her family continue to make a mockery of the pending graft cases against them. These are but a few grand manifestations of a cancer that has metastasized extensively into the farthest reaches and tiniest nooks and crannies of the Philippine judiciary.

I cannot articulate any better than Conrado de Quiros my disgust for the Philippine Supreme Court in his Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial dated October 11, 2011 entitled “Impeach Them” which I reprint in its entirety below.

Only a month ago, the Supreme Court spoke thus:

“PAL appeared to have deliberately omitted the portions of the Court’s Resolution…that not only referred to our original finding that PAL failed to observe the proper procedures and requirements of a valid retrenchment but…also reaffirmed (it). Thus, PAL appears to us to be less than honest in its claim.”

“Wherefore it resolves to deny with finality respondent PAL’s second motion for reconsideration. No further pleadings shall be entertained.”

Now it squeaks thus:

The wrong division ruled on the case. Wherefore, “pursuant to the internal rules of the Supreme Court, the court en banc resolves to accept (the case). The court en banc further resolves to recall the resolution dated Sept. 7, 2011, issued by the Second Division.”

What did it take for the Court to go in but one cycle of the moon from its Olympian stance to this head-scratching, idiot-faced grinning, “Ay mali”-spouting dance today?

A letter from Estelito Mendoza, Lucio Tan’s lawyer.

It was not a dramatic revelation that it was Fasap in fact and not PAL management that had been “less than honest in its claim.” It was not a thunderous presentation of new evidence that the flight attendants had in fact been falsifying documents or making erroneous calculations. It was not an earthshaking demonstration that PAL in fact had been overpaying its flight crew or inundating them with benefits.

It was in fact: A letter from Estelito Mendoza, Lucio Tan’s lawyer. A letter that said the wrong division ruled on the case. A letter that had the justices piously saying, “Amen.”

That cynical, mindless, sniveling stupidity cannot possibly come from a Supreme Court. There is no other way to explain this barefaced, in-your-face, dirty-finger-shoving display of naked perfidy. It does not show how much the justices thought about this, it shows how much the justices were paid for this.

The issue here is no longer about labor, it is about integrity. The issue is no longer about Fasap, it is about the Supreme Court. The issue is no longer about whether the flight attendants, who have been dismissed unjustly, have a right to be paid what they lost. The issue is whether the justices, who have been dishing out injustice for so long, have a right to exist.

They do not. They have no right to exist on three grounds.

One is for making a mockery of justice. Or more to the point, for assuring that no one can possibly get any justice. Or still more to the point, for assuring that the rich can get away with murder. That is what their decision to open a case that has been ruled upon “with finality” means. Final means end. There is no such thing as “more final,” or “most final,” or “most most final,” ad infinitum. This is by no means the first time the Supreme Court has done this, to the monumental chagrin of the poor plaintiff or defendant who thought he had won his case. I’ve written about this before and vituperated against this before. In the case of Fasap, this is the third time they’ve won their case only to see that victory dashed to pieces. Bob Anduiza, the Fasap president, has a point: That is like having three overtimes in a basketball game not with the score tied but with one team having already won. That is not a game, that is a joke. There can be no justice with a finality that has no finality. Who stands to gain from this? The rich. They can always get a case that has gone against them reopened by buying off the justices. Yes, buying off, let’s call a spade a spade. Or bloody murder, which is what they will quite literally get away with. Time is on their side. Money is on their side. The crooks are on their side.

Two is for having no business being justices. What idiocy is this that the Second Division had been deliberating on PAL’s second motion without knowing all along that the Third Division should really be doing it? You hold the life of people in your hands and don’t even know you have no right to? If so, then the justices should be stripped of their robes and sent back to law school to learn the basics of court procedure, quite apart from the basics of human decency. If so, then the culprits should have nothing to do with the Supreme Court, they should have to do only with Lucky Me Supreme. My apologies to Lucky Me. While at that, even on a procedural note, isn’t there a rule that says that someone might challenge the ruling of a division—whether it is the right division or not, or indeed whether the proper forum is a division or the Court en banc—only before it has ruled and not after?

Three is for being a–hole. That is the most solid ground of all. That is the most compelling reason of all. Do they have any idea what they’re doing to people who have already been victims of a humongous injustice? I don’t know which is worse, an owner who runs an airline like a taho factory or judges who run their courts like a talipapa, rulings sell cheaper by the dozen. I do know what’s worse than flight attendants being tossed away like used condoms after they’ve served faithfully and well. That is being told they’ll finally get justice and restitution, only to have those snatched away from them at the last minute. Again and again. That is subjecting them to a roller-coaster ride of joy and grief with no end in sight. To appreciate how that feels, the justices should have their pay—or forget their pay, their bribes—withheld from them at the last minute. Again and again. With no end in sight.

We have only three options. One is to abolish the Supreme Court. Two is to scrap the justices and just appoint Estelito Mendoza, the lawyer of Lucio Tan, Supreme Arbiter. Three, and far more sanely: Freaking impeach them.

Amen! However, since we are really unable to fire any branch of the Government, I say we, the individual and corporate taxpayer, do everything we can to minimize the taxes we pay the Government and to encourage every taxpayer, individual and/or corporate, to do the same until the Government agrees to do the bidding of the taxpayers. If this doesn’t work, then the next step is a coordinated and swift course of action to stop paying taxes altogether to paralyze Government completely and to force Government to do the bidding of the taxpayers. It’s about time the people paying the bills (the taxpayers) are given a voice in the Philippines and our first action item is to fire the Government!

31 Replies to “Philippine Government . . . You’re Fired!”

  1. Well, f*&^%$g AMEN brother!

    I’m all in for that! Just to see my payslip each time and see how substantial a loss they deduct from it makes my skin crawl. Talk about a farce of an institution. Yes. Welcome to the 21st century, wherein the enemy of the Filipino people does not reside in the other side of the world but instead within the very bounds of the land. More than high time to put in a V mask and claim what is rightfully ours. Time to get our country back from these bumbling imbeciles.

  2. How can I comment to this Blog being a foreigner? I think I should back off here and keep silent.

    But as long as I am not wrong you give the government too much credit by typing the name with a capital G; I think government suffice.

    Not long ago, my Philippine partner applied for a job at a city government (LGU) because it would give (more) stability. What I didnt know is that getting hired by a Philippine city government is a political decision and not based on the quality of the person that applies. Probably Philippine government employees cant get fired. I even think the same applies in my country still (as long as the employee really doenst do stupid things but just doing his/her job then its almost impossible to get fired).

    However there are political parties in my country who want to down-size the number of (city/provincial/national) government employees. The overhead is enormous.

    What is the general feeling of the “men in the street” for the Dutch government (city government, provincial government and/or national government)?
    They are lazy, slow and expensive. They (the government)think the public is there for the government while they (the government) should be there for the public.

    1. Hey Robert,

      Sorry for not responding to your e-mails sooner, been too busy lately with new work and all.

      Your observations are accurate, in the Philippines at the local government level there is no room for skills or career, only personalities and acquaintances. It should be a good thing if the people were a bit more Teutonic in their mindsets (with that Prussian efficacy), but unfortunately, they don’t. Filipino civil servants at the local level are just salary moochers, who work just for salary, with no aim to improve their procedures and no reason to improve even themselves.

      1. No worries Don,

        Like I said so many times, the Philippines is diagonal opposite to my country. Not only in culture but also when it comes to hiring people and many other territories as well.

        Is it really more fun to be in the Philippines?

  3. Did I have any experiences with a section of any Philippine government being a foreigner? Yes, I have.

    In the past, I sent 2 emails.
    – One to a local city government department. I never received a reply/response. Not even one saying “thank you for your email. We will get back to you within 3 office days”.

    – The other one to the PNP (Philippine National Police). Here again still waiting for a repsonse.

  4. same thing happen to my daugther she work us a sbtitute teacher in laguna she live in laguna closed to the school she apply to a permanent job because they are hiring a teacher but what they do is hired a new graduate teacher from ilocos because pinoy is ilokano this is about who you know not what you know you need some body in the goberment or politician to get hired ..

    1. Probably it will work everywhere the same way. It may help if you know somebody on the inside but ultimately and finally THE hiring is done by HRM (Human Resource Management) after so many job interviews. And if the particular finance & accounting dept head (lets say one is applying for a job at the financial dept) and the one from HRM dont believe/feel/think you are the right candidate you will not be hired, even if you know the mayor, the president or who ever. One may know the mayor but if you are under-qualified, or not made out of the right timber then you are out. The new prospect employee must at least have some added value (compared to all other candidates). Otherwise they can hire the local clown.

      1. i dont think so my brother friend is aagriculture graduate she apply at city hall she did not pass a civil service test but because my sister in law ninong sa kasal is a supervisor at city hall she was hire as a clerk as temporary employee but the temporary position been temporary for 3o years to get hired at the goverment office you need padrino..

  5. @wanderlust

    Just wondering: what kind of taxes do a typical Filipino pay? Or in other words what are the revenues for the Philippinian government?

    – (Income) taxes?
    – Excise?
    – fees (for passport and driver’s license)?
    – VAT?
    – penalties & fines (parking tickets, speed tickets)?
    – license fees? (wedding licenses/certificates, construction/building licenses, etc)
    – (import) duties?

    As most products having a 19% VAT I am sure all people spend most of their income on VAT. I dont know how to stop paying for VAT.

    1. Withholding tax – taken from the monthly salary.
      around 250K+32% at max.

      given the rough computation of 25% + 12% of the remaining 75% (9%) that’s 34% of the salary paid by every employee from the moment they receive their salary to the moment they spend it all

  6. The government is comprised of people. Most are political appointees, by politicians in power. These politician appointees can be either: incompetent or crook. If you elect people, who have Hidden Agendas, as most of our elected politicians. We end up with this kind of government. Just take the case of the Aquino-Conjuangco ownership of the Hacienda Luisita. It is a plain Swindle on the Philippine government, by a powerful family. Then, they are in power themselves. They are able to buy Congressmen;corrupt Congress; hire high priced attorneys; and impeach Justices, who decide not to do what they want; regarding the land they swindled…

    1. @Hyden Toro,

      so you are saying that if and when I am hired as some middle-management or lower management figure it is still a polital thing? Truely insane if that is the case.

      1. Did you understand the message, YellowTard? It’s just an example of where we are…the Aquinos and the Cojuangcos are insanely greedy. Mga Swapang na Intsik..Anyway, the behaviours of Noynoy Aquino is already insane…

  7. It would be a great idea if people allowed to vote in an election (be it national or local) should only be the ones who are paying income taxes. It only makes sense since taxpayers are actually the public servants paymasters. No votes from squatters, sidewalk vendors, jeepney drivers, market vendors, etc etc. (not that all of them pay their income taxes, anyway, i think)

    1. I completely agree to this. It is time for the taxpayers to dictate who should be put in the government. We have been abused for so long. It is time that we stand together and ensure that what is rightfully ours be given. I guess we are more entitled to programs by the government than the non-taxpayers are.

    2. @joel_delr

      I am truely sorry but I disagree with you. The government should be there for all people. Rich and poor, paying taxes or not paying taxes.

      Otherwise people who pay more taxes than you, can claim more efforts by the government than you.

      But I do get your drift behind your statement.

      1. @ Robert Haighton

        I don’t expect a non-Filipino to understand my above statement. But, needless to say, here in the Philippines, the thinking, working class…those who do honest work, those people that when they receive their paycheck already have taxes deducted…are the ones burdened by the non-thinking “masa’s” decision to vote for some idiot just because he happens to be the son of some other idiot or just because he is sikat (even if he is a stupid idiot). We can’t do anything about it. The so-called “masa” outnumber us greatly. And they are increasing in number as we speak, since us, the working, thinking class prefer to have reasonable number of children, and they (the masa) went forth and multiplied…and multiplied, and did nothing to alleviate their situation but instead, watched noontime shows and telenovelas and still make more babies.

    3. I heard this idea from my sister around 2 decades ago. It’s a great idea, and I still support it.

      On the other hand, I’ve become skeptical of seeing this come to life…not just because some goons and warlords (disguised as political leaders) can be at a disadvantage, but also because the thinking/taxpaying classes will end up disagreeing on various issues that would result in conflict, backstabbing, mistrust, speculation, illogical reasoning, etc.. Most of all, the media would be of no help.

      Hey, it’s da pinoy way. 😉

  8. @joel_delr,

    I do know just a little about the Philippines. Not much, just a little. I would even use harsher words than you when talking about the so-called “masses” in the Philippines. Intellectually, you just cant shut them out.

  9. @Robert

    I know we can’t just shut them out. But since voting is a privilege given to all citizens, it should be done properly. It’s as simple as the line from The Spiderman movie, “with great power comes great responsiblity.” And obviously, these “masa” are unable to handle the responsibility of choosing the right people to put in the goverment, then they should be stripped of this power (privilege). In the end, it would be beneficial also to them.

    1. joel_delr,

      I read your posts. Interesting proposal you have there.

      All that taxpayers can prove is this: They can pay taxes. Them knowing better than most is an entirely different story.

      What makes you think that the taxpayer knows better? Are you aware that there are members of SEC/ Market Segment ABC who voted for PNoy? I see a lot of cars with that YELLOW RIBBON. Some in the ABC also went for Binay. You know how he’s known in some circles, right? These people in the ABC segment are mostly taxpayers. Heck, some are even tax cheaters.

      Maybe what you want is better voter education. You can help by talking to the masa constructively instead of condemning them.

    2. @joel_delr,

      Now I dont know if the Phili government pays a kind of child support (for each kid in the household). If that would be the case, the government can/should decide to minimize/limit that only for the first 2 or first 3 kids.

      Anyway, I think I should stop giving suggestions bec I dont know what I am talking about. I simply know too little about this topic.

  10. Yes, let’s go all Guy Fawkes on the government and blow up Congress. Let’s stop paying taxes, let’s go full on anarchy. Alan Moore would be proud. Let’s see if you can do better.

    Typical sociopathic commentary. Come up with something better. I demand it.

  11. I am not trying to incite riots or rage here. But the Philippines at its current state, apart from something very drastic, is already beyond redemption.

    It is not just about the government, because we must remember that it is we that put them there. Don’t excuse yourself of this whole “masa” thing, because look around you, that is the embodiment of the Philippine society – a gutless, ignorant, blabbering, self-centered vanity.

    The Filipino people, as it was groomed throughout the decades, had been dumbed down and oppressed without them even noticing. What you see in the televisions, newspapers, the web have been a propaganda machine of making much of the sane world stupid.

    Even worse, thanks to the mass exodus due to this “OFW phenomenon – our modern day hero”, we are left with the much lesser breed.

    Folks, this is reality.

  12. Belgium was able to put in a private organization to manage the country when it fired its government, we can do the same! Seriously, is there a way to do this? Year after year, the same disasters, the same issues. If we can use our tax money to effectively manage the country and its problems instead of funding the government, I will be happy to take part. Otherwise, I am taking my family out of here.

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