For those following events in the United States, their federal government is in the midst of a shutdown. This follows a period of time wherein lawmakers in both the House and the Senate were unable to agree on the national budget. The main point of contention, it seems, is US president Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation, dubbed Obamacare, whose funding and implementation the Republican party wants derailed and/or delayed.
What relevance does this development have to the Philippines? Well, for one, president Obama’s scheduled trip to here and Malaysia will not push through, as he will be preoccupied with his current domestic scenario. Instead, US Secretary of State John Kerry will go in his place.
Too bad for our president Benigno Simeon Aquino III (BS Aquino), in a way. He won’t get a chance to run his usual spiel to president Obama of how the Philippines is a solid ally of the United States, etc. He also won’t get a chance to say that the Philippines is a good place to do business in, or brag about “ending” the Zamboanga situation, for example. And he won’t be able to brag about just recently obtaining a credit upgrade from Moody’s. But not to worry; Uncle Sam’s loyal terrier will still get a chance to show off, even if not to the President of the United States himself.
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Local analysts note that the kind of government shutdown that is currently happening in the United States will not happen here, due to the provision in Section VI, Article 25 (7), of the Philippine Constitution:
(7) If, by the end of any fiscal year, the Congress shall have failed to pass the general appropriations bill for the ensuing fiscal year, the general appropriations law for the preceding fiscal year shall be deemed re-enacted and shall remain in force and effect until the general appropriations bill is passed by the Congress.
With our government the way it is now, though, it is easy to think at least one of the following things: (1) that you’d wish the PH government would shut down anyway, and that; (2) despite the PH government not shutting down, it seems the lights are on but no one’s home, so what’s the difference?
If the US government has its problems, so does ours. And the current issue that the government is facing, that of the pork barrel, has become one big mess. The more the BS Aquino, his officials, and his spokespersons try to justify the continued existence of it, the more they seemingly sink into the quicksand.
The Philippine government should just shut up, I think, and listen to its critics for once. The pork barrel should be scrapped, no ifs, ands, or buts. No matter what they want to call their discretionary funds, the PDAF, the DAP, or CDF, it will not change the fact that it has a long history of being used as a political tool for the sitting president to get what he/she wants. Oh, and that it is very prone to abuse.
Unfortunately, even if the calls for BS Aquino to resign or be impeached grow stronger, it probably won’t happen, not at least in the next three years. At the risk of stating the obvious, BS Aquino’s allies dominate both houses of Congress. Plus, some survey can be run again about how popular BS Aquino still supposedly is with the people, and all will be quiet again.
Even so, it’s time for the Aquino administration to shut up and face the music; they’ve got a serious crisis of credibility going on that is perhaps the harshest they’ve faced so far in BS Aquino’s term. They can either ignore this whole thing until it boils over (and they will), or they can stop making excuses and finally do the right thing to truly start bringing down corruption in the government.
It is ultimately up to the Filipino people, however, if they’re going to weather it and come out unscathed.
А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. – But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.