We can’t possibly be the only people who think the red carpet fashion show lawmakers put up each year during the President’s State of the Nation Address, and the accompanying media frenzy, is not appropriate and healthy for a young and relatively poor democracy. Seriously, this insanity needs to stop. Here are several reasons why.
By now, you’ve probably watched Senator Bong Revilla’s cringe-inducing privilege speech, which ended, in what may be the pinnacle of surrealism in Philippine politics, in a musical number, accompanied by a music video, performed by the senator himself. If you haven’t seen it yet, good for you. Here’s a summary:
Was it just me, or did Senator Miriam Santiago’s speech also leave you flabbergasted, slightly terrified, and with a horrible, horrible sensation in the pit of your stomach? I didn’t know whether I should have applauded her for doing what she just did, or if I wanted to mourn the death of the honor and integrity the Senate once had, with Miriam’s speech as the eulogy marking that turning point.
In any case, there are lessons to be learned here, and I realize that, notwithstanding the gravity of the situation, this can be a learning experience for all of us.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably well aware of the growing sentiment among the general populace to Congress’ misuse (to put it mildly) of the Priority Development Assistance Fund, colloquially called the pork barrel, which basically resulted in billions (BILLIONS!) of taxpayers’ money going to private pockets. Janet Lim-Napoles, a “businesswoman” engaged in the “business” of transferring public money to her own bank account, along with a lot of congressmen and senators, has become the public face of this scandal, and kickstarted the growing public outrage.
Enter the Million People March, a social media initiative that aims to let the government know that we have had enough, and that we are tired of corrupt politicians dipping their hands into money that they do not own, and which should have been used to propel national progress and alleviate the plight of our poorer countrymen. It has been likened to the Arab Spring, and rightly so, because the event aims to remind the President of the Republic that, as he always says, “tayo ang boss”.
And this time, his “bosses” are telling him to scrap the pork barrel and admit that it is a failed experiment at decentralizing government expenditure of public funds. This article aims to provide a list of reasons (we came up with five) why the pork barrel should be scrapped, and why you should support the Million People March in any way you can.
Here’s the not-so-latest news: Senator Nancy Binay is planning to file a bill against cyber bullying and online violence. We’re not sure if this is in anyway connected to Senators Tito Sotto and Juan Ponce Enrile’s previous assertion that they want to propose a blogging bill, but it did have the unintended side effect of instigating discussions on the propriety of regulating online speech once again.