Gov’t has much money for free tuition, Sen. Legarda PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 06 August 2017 14:26



LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you.  Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days…” (James 5:1-3, the Holy Bible).


GOV’T HAS SO MUCH MONEY FOR FREE COLLEGE TUITION, SEN. LEGARDA: The way Sen. Loren Legarda is talking about where to find the funds to assure free education in state universities and colleges makes one think that it is a difficult task looking for money to support poor students under the free tuition scheme. The truth is that, there is so much money in government not only for free college education, but other ventures to help the people as well.

First, Legarda must look at the funds given as “miscellaneous and other operating expenses” (or MOOEs) to many officials and agencies of the government. She should start looking at the MOOEs of senators and congressmen, and I am certain she would find that many of these funds given to lawmakers are simply too much. Sobra-sobra, as we Tagalogs will say it.

Cutting down these MOOEs by only as much as 20% a year will already yield hundreds of millions of pesos, or billions if the truth be told, that could be channeled to pay for the free college and university education of poor Filipino youth.


SLASH DOWN ON MOOEs, INTEL FUNDS: Then, Legarda must also inquire into the intelligence funds being given yearly to many government officials and their offices, starting from the Office of the President down to the police and the military establishments.

Again, I am of the perception that cutting down intelligence funds doled annually in the yearly budgets of government could tremendously add to the money for free college education.

Then, the perception is that many of these disbursements of government funds as intelligence funds do not serve any purpose at all, considering the series of attacks, both by communist rebels and Muslim rebels, which appear to have been undetected by the police and the military notwithstanding their hefty intelligence funds.


REDUCE ANNUAL CORRUPTION LEVELS TO AT LEAST 50%: Third, some serious efforts must be employed, at this point in time, to reduce corruption in government. When I ran for the Senate in 2004 under the Aksiyon Demokratiko Party of the late Sen. Raul Roco, our team was told that corruption in government was already estimated by World Bank experts to be at 40% of the entire government budget.

Assuming that this corruption level of 40% of the annual government budget persists up to now where the 2017 budget is about P1 trillion, some P400 billion of this budget goes to corruption on a yearly level. If we can reduce this even to just only 20%, then we can devote some P200 billion to free college education.

As I have been saying in this column, there are many ways of skinning a cat. The only thing needed for our leaders, like Legarda, is creativity, ingenuity, and, yes, the capacity to think clearly for the greater interest of our people. Unfortunately, this would appear to be too much for the asking for many of them.


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