Friday, August 14, 2009

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo et al won't puke up NY dinner

Another news article on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's expensive dinner in New York which will probably get a bashing in the blogosphere is Deputy Presidential Spokesman Anthony Golez' rebuttal.

Essentially, he says that the cost of President Macapagal Arroyo's dinner is chump change compared to the billions of dollars of investments generated by the visit.

To avoid the alleged Karen Davila effect, let me cite that the excerpt below is from the Inquirer story written by Christian Esguerra. Golez said:

“Whatever monies may have been spent for the appropriately ceremonious conduct of her official trip abroad are but a tiny fraction of the billions of pesos she has committed, and will continue to commit, to the alleviation of hunger and the amelioration of poverty in our country."

I think this is probably among the worst arguments that have been brought up to defend President Macapagal Arroyo's dining expenses which some news reports say comes to a total of P1.7 million after conversion.

First, let's think of the opposite situation, what if President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her entourage ate at McDonald's, Papaya King or even a decent restaurant not known for its fine dining? Would that have caused an uproar? Perhaps not.

Second, while the government is supposed to foot the travel expenses of its officials, it goes without saying that the expenses should not be exorbitant. In fact, to ensure that this doesn't happen, the government prescribes the amount of money that a government official or employee may be given for travel in a foreign country. When I was a government employee, that amounted to around $100 for hotel accomodations and $100 for food and other expenses. I'd expect that depending on your rank and where it is you are going, the allowances for travel would be higher if you were a secretary or an elected official.

Third, I think Golez' argument is a non-sequitur -- in the sense that one particular category of expense doesn't have anything to do with the other. Do state visits have anything to do with providing funds for the government's feeding program? Does the money come from the states being visited?

If I remember correctly, President Fidel V. Ramos was also criticized for going on so many state visits but this was clearly at a time when the Philippine economy was soaring. He was also asked to account for the cost versus benefit of undertaking the trips and his administration tried its best to answer by pointing out the investments generated by each trip or the agreements forged with each trip -- Ramos, at least, tried to say that these trips accomplished something or other. As to whether they were real accomplishments or not is another matter, because some of the billion dollar investments supposed to be produced by the visits were merely commitments or agreements made -- actual cash wasn't given to anyone because of those visits.

The government feeding program, while costing billions a year, feeds millions of people. The government spending for the New York trip provided for the airfare, hotel accommodation, and food of a few hundred. With the exception of their staff, all those who went on that trip could have probably shouldered their own expenses and this wouldn't be objectionable -- in fact, it would have been seen as a real show of patriotism.

I am sure this post will not generate the number of visits I am hoping for, but I am taking this slump in my statistics for the country.

The next time Gloria Macapagal Arroyo eats out in some other country, it wouldn't her to ask herself... What would Cory Aquino do?


betterphilippines said...

what would cory aquino do? wwwcad. hmmm. i think i see a meme here.

Anonymous said...

Gloria looks like a snake that she really is in this picture. I can't wait for her to be gone. Go away now, Gloria, you've made your 144 million fortune already and that is only the ones that we know of. I'm sure much more are hidden somewhere else or by other people.

Anonymous said...

I just wished that you had chosen another photo. This one relates to Mrs. Arroyo's religion, which I share. It's in bad taste - something that you're supposed to be an expert in.

Admin said...

I wish you had posted this comment with a name.

Yes, the picture is rather distasteful and it may be offensive to Catholics all over the world.

But then again, it captures my sentiments exactly.

Other offensive things you might consider is all the lying, stealing, cheating, adultery, the taking of God's name in vain, and other mortal sins this person committed.

Our Catholic faith, however, is rather forgiving and she can even take communion -- perhaps, right after confession.

Others would avoid taking communion just because they missed going to mass the week before.

Catholic faith, as seen in the picture, doesn't make people like Gloria accountable to the people.

Perhaps the priest should have refused giving her communion.

If the picture offended you, then I apologize because I don't think I can take the picture down.

Nevertheless, perhaps you'd care to explain this sentence:

"It's in bad taste - something that you're supposed to be an expert in."

Are you saying that I should be an expert in bad taste?

betterphilippines said...

speaking of taste. gma looks 'takam na takam' in this photo. halos maputol ang dila sa haba.

btw, i'm catholic and i'm not at all offended by the photo per se. the creature shown in the photo is another matter.

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