BENIGNO Simeon ‘Noynoy’ C. Aquino III became the Philippines’ 15th president on June 30, 2010 or exactly 70 days ago, triggering a contagion of hopefulness among Filipinos. He wooed and won votes with a slogan that was simple, yet catchy: ”Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.” Without corruption, there’d be no poverty.
The second Aquino presidency has spread a virus of hope that finds sole parallel in the tide of goodwill that Filipinos bestowed on his late mother and democracy icon Corazon ‘Cory’ C. Aquino after the 1986 EDSA People Power revolt.
Indeed, Aquino’s campaign equation of “no corruption = no poverty” has animated Filipinos so much that the expectations are great that he will deliver results soon.
IN HIS message that accompanies the proposed government budget for next year, President Benigno C. Aquino III notes that the allocation for health is 13.6 percent higher than 2010’s P29.3 billion (According to the 2010 General Appropriations Act though, only P28.7 billion was allocated to the Health Department).
Yet if one were to compare health’s share of the budget for this year and what the corresponding figure could be in the next, the difference isn’t much.
For 2010, the health allocation is 1.8 percent of the P1.54-trillion national purse. For 2011, the Aquino administration is proposing P32.62 billion for health –as indicated in the proposed National Expenditure Program — which is 1.9 percent of the P1.64-trillion national budget. The increase in terms of share in the total budget then would amount to just a tenth of a percentage point.
FROM overpriced highways to secret bank accounts, to gambling lords and thoroughbred horses, controversies have hounded the Arroyo administration long before wiretapped conversations implying election fraud hogged the headlines. And it is not only the president who has more than once been asked to account for charges of improper behavior; so too have husband Mike, eldest child Mikey, and brother-in-law Ignacio Arroyo.
LAST SATURDAY, members of the Philippine Veterans’ Legion (PVL) broke tradition when they spent “Araw ng Kagitingan,” or the Fall of Bataan in Fort Bonifacio. For years, these old men, easily recognizable by boat-shaped military caps, had traveled all the way to Mount Samat to hear the president speak of war and the veterans’ forgotten exploits. But they are growing weaker, and physically and financially incapable of making the trip to the place that marked Filipino surrender to the Japanese. Besides, says PVL chairman Frank Cedula, the veterans feel “the government isn’t doing anything to help” them, especially now that they are facing a different kind of enemy.
FILIPINOS HAVE long been prone to self-diagnosis and self-medication, but in the years to come, D.I.Y. health care may become even more pronounced. After all, when society does not assume enough of the burden of health care, individual responsibility and self-preservation become the norm.
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