The Philippine Senate House of … Money

So now its all pretty obvious – its all about the money. This is how Philippine Politics is all about. Imagine a Senate with only 24 members, squabble about money and funds and commissions when all they need to do is legislate laws that will improve the lives of every Filipino.

The Senate has become a true Circus, with the Media its stage. From being a Senate of Investigations and Inquiries – which nothing beneficial were derived, instead wasted lots of people’s money, lots of TV and radio airtime, now the Philippine Senate has become a House of Money.

Every Senator is talking about money, big money. Imagine how they spend the 200 Million pesos annual fund, plus those project appropriations they insert (a common practice they say) in Annual Budget. One Senator could insert more than a Billion peso additional budget requirements!

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If you would be Senator for a day…

I was blog hopping a lot of politically-themed posts lately, mostly from fellow Pinoy Bloggistas, and it occurred on me this very interesting question: If given the chance to be a Senator, even for just a day, what would you do? If the same question is thrown at me, I would act on the following with importance and urgency:

  • File a bill to require government to implement a single Procurement system for all government agencies. If corporations and smaller companies need this, the more the government require this to ensure all purchases and deals are properly transacted, following a strict policy and procedures that are globally accepted.
    • As an IT Applications Consultant, I see the value of utilizing Information Technology in streamlining processes, not just in business, but government agencies as well. Having a strategic, unified and integrated IT solutions in government would help curb graft and corruption in many government transactions.
    • Internet Procurement systems would greatly sped up the purchase process, and ensure that all transactions are done openly.
    • Sad to say, there is not much information in the government, even from the Philippine Senators and Congressmen regarding the strong drive in ‘fully automating the Purchasing process’. Thus, anomalous deals and contracts will always stay.
  • Ensure that the next Presidential elections is automated.
    • Four years ago, just after the elections, everybody in government, the politicians and even media were talking about having an automated election is the only key towards cleaner and credible elections. There were a few moves made by the Commission on Elections to automate the polls, however, all were questionable deals. More than a billion peso public funds were all wasted – and not even media is reporting what happened to these allegedly anomalous transactions. This problem would have been avoided had the government implemented a nationwide integrated Procurement system.
    • Now, its barely 2 years towards the next Presidential elections, but still, automating the election will remain a dream. It is the Senate’s biggest failure, and nobody seemed to care.
  • Upgrade the Education System
    • Provide measures to upgrade the skills of all public school teachers on the use of new teaching methods and the Information Technology.
    • Allocate a big chunk of all the pork barrels and channel these billions of pesos into providing trainings to teachers, upgrade facilities and in ensuring education is reachable and affordable to all.
  • Upgrade the Agricultural Sector
    • Appoint a suitable Agriculture head who knows the trade
    • Channel pork barrels into upgrading current agriculture technology and equipments and make this available to local governments with focus on agriculture production.
    • Provide more reliable farm to market roads, ensure that small time farmers have better access to affordable places to market/sell their products and eliminate several layers of middlemen.
  • Fifth and last one, stop the current Senate circus and instead, show to the citizenry the most sincere service the Senate could give – file more bills, enact more laws, and ensure that the underlying factor for all the changes required is in place – Information Technology Solution.

Philippines has more than enough IT talents, considered to be among the world’s best, unfortunately, our country lagged behind the use of it especially in the government sector. Our government, our leaders need to change. We all need to change – and we need to take advantage of what Information Technology can do, to help us attain the changes that we need in our society.

Change is inevitable, true – but one can slow it down, just bury the common sense solutions and realities with traditional, outdated and self-serving ways of doing things – that is, the Philippine politics.

No political will at all…