Crises All Over

Manila Bulletin, December 31, 2008 | Go to article overview

Crises All Over


IN all likelihood, the start of the New Year overseas (as well as in the domestic front) will usher in investigation of a number of improprieties and misdemeanor. And the extent to which the rest of the world has suffered in their aftermath, making the international community helplessly bow in submission.

The New York Times weekend supplement in the Manila Bulletin last Saturday, December 27, made a front-page story whose title alone said it all - A New Cast of Scoundrels - As Economy Falters, Greed Burns Hotter Than Lust - written by Alessandra Stanley.

Foremost of the "stateside" problem is the America's failed economy or, what remains of it. Says the NYT weekend edition, in part:

"Credit is frozen, the stock market looks perilously close to crashing... and a national debt topping $ 10 trillion."

And in the home front is the resumption of probes of old and new scandals. No. 1 is the Senate search for the "missing link" in the P728-million fertilizer scam, according to Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the blue ribbon committee, in-charge of the probe. It will resume the hearings on January 20.

Next is the possibility of the Upper House's reopening of the "Hello, Garci" taped telephone conversation that allegedly contained revelations of cheating in the 2004 presidential polls. This prospect has been paved by the recent Supreme Court decision that ruled a new inquiry may now be conducted with the publication of the Rules of Procedures Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation.

Another issue that has all the ingredients of a possible congressional investigation is the 10-year-old computerization project that the LTO entered into with Stradcom Corp. An exposA* by Rep. Rodolfo Plaza of Agusan del Sur stirred a hornet's nest of public interest on the deal.

The other day, media reports were all over town regarding another alleged fund misuse in the Department of Agriculture involving millions of pesos allotted by the agency's National Agribusiness Corp., claimed Sen. Mar Roxas, citing CoA reports.

In the same manner that purported anomalous fund disbursements were uncovered by some congressmen last October in the relatively obscure Road Board, an attached agency of the DPWH.

According to a press statement e-mailed to us, a letter written by DoTC Assistant Secretary Alberto Suansing, concurrent LTO chief, said in part: "On behalf of the Land Transportation Office, I would like to state that we believe that the IT project being implemented by Stradcom Corp. is a huge success.

"Not only has it dramatically improved the delivery of services to the transacting public, it has also proved vital to our efforts to address illegal activities such as car smuggling."

IT experts could not agree more. Any computerization program will improve the manual and antiquated procedures it now employs, however mediocre, LTO's delivery system 100 percent. …

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