A suspicious sudden concern for the Filipino
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-06-05
“Beware the Greeks giving gifts,” the seer Cassandra did warn in the Trojan Epic. Not heeding the gifted seer, the Trojans accepted and brought into their city the Greek trophy that was to be known as the Trojan Horse.

For that mistake, the Trojans lost their city and were slaughtered.

In like token, beware Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) and her henchmen giving us gifts in the form of no tuition fee hikes, no text charges, cheaper electricity and so forth.

True, all of us could use a price break in whatever form — be it on the price of rice, gas, tuition and text messages. Our situation has evolved from hard times to desperate times.

However, it is cause for worry when the greedy suddenly become overly generous. When what we know as jackals and hyenas are behaving like sheep, then it is time to be wary, be very, very wary. It is said that people do not really change in character. When they appear to do so, it is for a reason. It is to hide an agenda.

In normal market situations, the freebies that come with those special promotions are in fact not exactly free. In 9 out of 10 cases, these are already tucked into the cost of the products we buy. In other words, we are paying for these incentives to induce us to buy these products.

The only exceptions are instances when a company is desperate, unable to match competition, and thus resorts to adding freebies. Just the same these will eventually redound to added costs for us because when the situation normalizes for that company, expect to be charged for the added freebies.

For a regime that never really had the Filipino’s real interest at heart, we have more than enough reasons to be wary that this sudden surge of generosity is hiding a sinister agenda somewhere.

During the start of the Iraq War misadventure, Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo recklessly engaged Filipino troops with the Coalition of the Willing of US President George W. Bush. Filipino interest called for protecting the many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who may become targets of Arab reprisals.

True to form, when the Iraqi resistance kidnapped OFW Angelo de la Cruz, GMA immediately reversed course and abandoned her commitment to the US president.

During the 2004 Presidential Elections, we saw so many freebies being given away by the regime, Philhealth Cards the most notable. What did we reap after that election? We woke up to find ourselves with a gaping budget deficit. We now bear a 12% EVAT burden because of that deficit.

GMA sponsored our entry into globalization when she was still a senator. She favored reliance on imported rice instead of implementing Food Security Programs that would have ensured that our people had locally-produced food that were sold at affordable prices.

Now, GMA is scampering all over Asia courting the Thais and Vietnamese to sell us the rice stock we will need in July when our rice stock level becomes critically low. If we are able to buy rice, be ready for the stiff price we must pay in the seller’s market situation we now find ourselves in.

GMA has been bludgeoning Meralco over high power rates when easily 60% of the cost of power — the generation and transmission — are under her control. She exploits the information and education gaps our people suffer from to promote whatever hidden agenda she harbors in this Meralco shake up.

Sure, we are paying high electricity rates presently but imagine what these rates will be like if and when GMA is in full control of the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.

Now, her minions are trying to shake up the telecom firms, the most impressive performers in our business scene. They have been pushing for the removal of the charges for sending text messages from our mobile phones — the new Filipino favorite pastime.

Is this a real concern for us Filipinos or is this another one of those destabilizing moves when greed takes a moist eye on the lucrative telecom business? Is this a move to reduce our cost burdens or to squeeze (read extort) money from the profitable telecom firms?

Somehow, when I see a regime lapdog decry the huge profits that the telecom firms are making — I read the body language saying “share that with us!”

When they say “us” — they don’t mean us Filipinos. By “us” — they don’t mean us consumers. By us, they mean “we the insatiable, greedy extortionists who utilize government functions like regulation and legislation as means to fatten ourselves.”

At the end of the day, don’t expect any real cost savings from your mobile phone bills. At the end of the day, the telecom firms will likely make less profits but it won’t result in Filipino consumer benefits.

I think you know where that money will go.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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