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Bacolod City, PhilippinesThursday, September 5, 2013
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with Benjamin Calderon

Center of attention

Benjamin CalderonThe revelation of the misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund is a turn for the better if the system of spending for development does finally bring the budgeted benefits to a greater majority of the citizens.  At long last, what we used to gripe about has hit center stage after so much public funds have been stolen. 

The alleged kidnapping of  Benhur  Luy on the alleged orders of Janet Lim-Napoles gave birth to the discovery of the scam. The continuing developments related to the case, the surrender of Mrs. Napoles to the President, the resignation by the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation, the on-going protest of concerned citizens to the special treatment given to the accused, the release of the Commission on Audit’s report of the disbursement of the “pork barrel”, the pending investigation of the scam by the Senate, and the growing public call for the abolition of the PDAF, all are contributing to the pressure on our decision-makers toward finding a solution to address the graft and corruption in our government.  

One cannot be detached  to the unfolding events as just part of being  the news for the day and simply becoming informed.  One cannot just remain entertained watching the events of the day related to the “pork barrel” scam. One cannot just shrug one’s shoulders  and dismiss the unfolding events as not part of one’s life.  This episode of graft and corruption has the whole Filipino nation in the spotlight.  You and I are part of this episode of weaving the fibers of character of a present day Filipino citizen.

We have to carefully digest the developments of the case and connect them  to the mistakes and proposed solutions to the highlighted problem of our nation.  We now get to know the leaders we elected and humbly acknowledge the errors of choice or judgment in character.  We know who not to vote for the next time around and what to look for in the candidate for a public position.   The tuition fee for this kind of education is very expensive and the whole nation has paid. 

We have the responsibility of becoming  better citizens as we live the remaining years of our life. The center of attention in the on-going graft on corruption of public funds is the Filipino citizen and how we respond to the challenge of our personal contribution toward helping build a better nation.

Let us end with an encouragement to listen carefully with the following anecdote. An elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He was very stubborn about going to the doctor because of the "looks of those things", but finally went and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of very tiny hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100 percent (and you really couldn't see them) The elderly gentleman went back in a month to the doctor and the Doctor said, "Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again." The gentleman replied, "Oh, I haven't told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to their conversations. I've changed my will three times!"*

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