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Ideas to Ponder


If there is no agency in the government system capable of regulating the oil industry in the country, perhaps it would be wise for the government to handle the importation and distribution of oil and its by-products in the country exclusively, thereby controlling the industry so as to eliminate middlemen that cause the wide gap between the product’s acquisition cost and its selling prize to end users. This will bring down the prizes of oils and its by products substantially and consequently pull down with it the cost of electricity, transportation, fertilizers, and everything that uses oil in its process.

Most government programs are useless and a big waste of money. I am referring to the partially implemented agrarian reform program, the Conditional Cash Transfer, the loan assistance given to farmers and home buyers, etc. The government can eradicate the poverty of 10 million families, provide sustainable livelihood and permanent homes to 50 million Filipinos, and make the country self sufficient in food. All these can be achieve by enacting just one new law that will:

1. Limit the ownership of arable lands to three hectares per family or entity;

2. Acquire the excess arable lands through expropriation;

3. Distribute all the acquired lands together with those already owned by the government including public domains for free to all landless Filipino families at two hectare per family;

4. Extend minimal monetary loans to those land grantees to start them up with their new lives, i.e., to build a modest home, acquire work animal and farm implements, etc.

5. Employ the technical knowledge of agriculturists to guide them how to properly cultivate their lands in order to produce adequate rice, vegetables, food animals, etc.;

6. Include in this program the families of fugitives, rebels, insurgents, and other criminals to encourage them to come to the fold of the law and turn their lives into something useful, law-abiding, and productive citizens and, hopefully, this could bring the peace back to our country.

This program can also be applied to the 3.5 million hectares of coco-lands, Several million hectares of sugar lands, and banana, pineapple and other plantations that are owned and operated by a handful of people when they can change the lives of millions of poor Filipinos.

It is lamentable to think how the lives of convicts are wasted in jails and penitentiaries all over the country.The government can save most of those lost souls by putting them in a safe and healthy location for adequate rehabilitation. Like the island of Corregidor, for example, it is an ideal location and size for this purpose.

Why not convert the island of Corregidor into a rehabilitation center for all inmates convicted of heinous crimes while those of lesser crimes like misdemeanor can be held at existing jailhouses in cities and towns. Sell all existing penitentiaries like the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinglupa and others that could easily raise billions of pesos and use that fund to develop Corregidor into a decent, honest to goodness rehabilitation center where inmates will not be held behind bars but can freely move around the island.

They can plant vegetables, fruits, engage in arts and crafts, or fish on the shores to earn some money so that when they are set free they will have something to bring home to their families. The government will hire technical people to teach the inmates any trades of their liking, such as carpentry, masonry, pipe-fitting, farming, electrician, computer, musician, auto mechanic, heavy equipment operator, etc. Imagine how many unfortunate people can be rehabilitated and restored to their original good condition if this program can be fully implemented.

There is no doubt in the minds of most Filipinos that the Arroyos and their cohorts are the most corrupt leader the country has ever known. And we know also that the Arroyos and their cohorts have billions stashed somewhere that they can use to fight their cases in courts. Because of their widespread influences on judges and justices, it is very unlikely that cases against them could prosper or succeed.

Due to these impediments, and because time is of the essence, the Ombudsman and the Sandigangbayan could just go ahead and file all imaginable cases against them in courts based on evidences gathered, and let government prosecutors fight it out with their well paid lawyers until justice is achieved one way or the other.

They can win in courts perhaps, but the people have already found them guilty and have long before sentenced them to oblivion. What punishment could be worst then this?

What the Aquino administration is doing is right and proper. Until the judiciary can demonstrate its willingness to cooperate with President Aquino to fight corruption and achieve changes toward the straight path, the executive department should use all its prerogatives to make the judiciary realize its shortcomings and assume its proper place and purpose under the constitution.

“Judges are but men, and are swayed like other men by vehement prejudices. This is corruption in reality, give it whatever other name you please.” ~David Dudley Field. “But how is this legal plunder identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.” ~Frederic Bastiat.

By Pete Albea

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