There is a list that exists in the minds of congressmen and congresswomen.
And in that list are their names. And right next to their names are staggering amounts of money—anywhere from 4 million to hundreds of millions. And it is money congressmen feel is owed them by the DSWD. They feel they have worked hard for it and by this they mean, they lobbied with the Budget guys of Congress to allot this much—via the DSWD—for their regions.
And they say they need it because their constituents go to them and ask them for assistance—tuition, burial, medical expenses, food, disaster aid. All of which the DSWD provides. And yet they want to be the hands that give these to the poor and what’s more—to not have to account for it to anyone. We’re just supposed to hand the money over to them and then take their word for it that it goes to where they say it goes.
And if these amounts of money are not released, the confirmation of Judy Taguiwalo is a no-go.
And I can’t say that I don’t understand our congressmen. It would be so much easier to heap all sorts of blame on them. Corrupt! Greedy! Shameless!
I think though, that it is high time we take a look at the man in the mirror.
Because the truth is, corruption (because that is what it is) doesn’t happen in a vacuum. That you and I fed the system that made possible a congressman banging on the table and screaming, “We worked hard for that money! That is ours!”
A system where, if you want to get elected, you would need to spend hundreds of millions of pesos. You would need to INVEST. And just like any business, you would need to RECOUP your losses and then make a tidy PROFIT.
But government is not meant to be a business. Government exists to SERVE THE PEOPLE. You’re not supposed to make a buck off serving your constituents/nation.
And most of all, you’re not supposed to earn your millions at the expense of the poor and then most heinous of all, keeping the poor poor for all time.
And you’re not supposed to make of the poor groveling slaves who trip over themselves thanking you because you gave them tuition money or money for hospitalization.
Good governance uplifts and dignifies those who are in most need because they give the poor what is DUE them, what is OWED them.
Good governance recognizes that poverty is a multi-headed monster that needs to be slayed and that one of its biggest heads is the mindset that government owes them nothing and that they would need to wait for scraps thrown their way and then when they get some, they must tumble over themselves saying ‘thank you’ and forever be beholden to whoever it is that gave them those crumbs and do whatever it is he asks them to do.
My father was a politician and our house was open house where strangers came and went asking him for all sorts of things. But because my father wasn’t moneyed—and they knew it, they asked him for jobs, services instead. So I understand why some Congressmen would need and want cash on hand to give away.
And I’d like to think that there exists some of them still who have seen how this rotten system has done great and almost irreparable damage to our country and would now like to set things right for us.
And by right I mean, following the law that says congressmen are legislators and that they’re not supposed to be disbursing and dispensing money to their constituents because it makes for political patronage— this system that makes slaves of free Filipinos, beholden to the hand he perceives feeds him –when in reality, this is OUR money. Pera ng taong bayan. Money the Filipino people worked hard for and then handed over to the government in the form of taxes.
A system of non-accountability where staggering amounts of money are handed over to them and where they owe us no clear proof nor explanation of where all that money went.
A system where we grow jaded and where our souls darken for clear and brazen proof of theft of public coffers — huge mansions in Forbes Park, La Vista, travels abroad, islands they own—and where we’re asked to turn a blind eye and pretend all that doesn’t cause us massive pain.
We’ve carried this pain for so long now. And this pain is there to wake us up. “There is no coming into consciousness without pain.” Carl Jung. Magigising ka dahil sa laki ng sakit na nararamdaman mo. Feel that pain in your heart when you see Senators and congressmen living like kings while millions scrounge for food? Listen to that pain. It is asking that you wake up now.
Because if you don’t wake up, more pain will be sent your way until you will have no choice but to wake up.
The funny thing about pain is this—it is calibrated so that if you don’t wake up at intensity 5, intensity 6 will be given to you. Then intensity 7 –until you wake up. It is true of the personal as it is the political.
And this is where Judy Taguiwalo comes in. You have had a glimpse, in the 10 months she has sat as DSWD Secretary, of how a government that is whistle clean and has the best interests of its people looks like. There is efficiency. There is clarity. There is accountability. And best of all, it works amazingly well.
You have seen how government looks like when money goes where it’s supposed to go. Quite simply, PEOPLE GET SERVED. AND SERVED WELL. There is no need for Filipinos to be beggars of the world because we have enough. We can hold our heads high and be self sufficient because we have the means to do so.
And if it ever gets to the point when we would need help, the Filipino and Global community will know where each centavo they gave went. You could hang on to that 1 dollar you gave and follow its trail from start to finish and you would see its every twist and turn and that it landed on the hands of those who need it the most.
That is how clear Judy Taguiwalo is about the trust given her by the President and the entire Filipino nation. And you can let her sit there for 100 million years and I will guarantee you she will not change. Incorruptibility is embedded in the soul of Judy Taguiwalo.
The question that begs to be answered though is this: have we reached that point in our development as a nation when we are ready for a Judy Taguiwalo?
Because having a Judy Taguiwalo as DSWD Sec comes at a price.
Having Judy Taguiwalo in our lives means we will need to earn her.
Just as we installed a man with no money, no well oiled political machinery into the highest office of the land. Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
He is there—against awesome odds— because we were thoroughly convinced we deserved better and did all we could to get him elected as President.
The pain of being governed by such callous, inept, arrogant bastards—Noynoy, Mar, Donkey—got to be too much that we were afire. We rejected ‘business as usual’: our votes were no longer for sale, and for a whole lot of us, for the first time in our lives, we felt personally invested in who would sit as president, that we got out of our comfortable chairs and fought nail and tooth for this President.
It was a most decisive win. It had to be because cheating was surely going to happen and true enough, despite massive cheating, Rodrigo Duterte became the 16th president of the RP.
And you have seen the awesome things he has done. Unprecedented. Sweeping. Rodrigo Duterte has put the Philippines back in the global map. We are back in business and clawing our way out of the dark.
He has empowered us. Even the most humble of citizens feel invested in his presidency because he feels represented by Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
And he is the most powerful man in our country right now because we finally became a people with no price tag. And if we are powerful now, it is because the man we have installed as president has used the awesome powers of the Presidency to shield us.
That is how this system works.
That is how a President Duterte happened.
And that is how a DSWD Sec Judy Taguiwalo will happen.
We get the leaders we think we deserve.
We get the leaders we fight tooth and nail for.
If we think we are worth rotten relief goods buried for the rotten secret of incompetence and indifference and corruption it tries to hide, this is what we get.
If we think we deserve billions of dollars in aid unaccounted for, like some huge mystery swallowed up by a black hole and if we have the stomach to bear seeing the poorest of the poor treated like dirt for all time, this is what we get.
But, on the other hand—
If we think we deserve this woman whose joy is service to the Filipino people so you see it in her giddy smile each and every time she hands over relief goods, shelters, etc, this is what we get.
If we think we deserve this woman who valiantly stands between the Filipino people and those who would steal from them and who has wept at the this theft, this is what we get.
If we think we deserve an excellent executive who sees through the murky waters of government doublespeak and then acts in the best behalf of the Filipino people. this is what we get.
I ache to have a Judy Taguiwalo as DSWD secretary because I ache for the poor to have a champion. Someone who will craft policy so they lead empowered lives. Someone who will take them in her embrace in their darkest hour and let them know they are not forgotten.
I no longer want the pain of an arrogant, incompetent, callous DSWD Secretary getting anywhere near the poor. I want shits like Donkey as far away from the poor as possible for all the harm she has caused them.
I no longer want the pain of knowing the poor are hungry, wet, have no roof over their heads, grieving and that instead of being helped, they are instead stolen from.
That pain, I can no longer bear.
I want a public servant who weeps with love for country.
The Filipino People deserve this.
I am ready for a Judy Taguiwalo as DSWD Secretary and I am willing to pay the price for it.