Corrupting them young
Some forms of graft and corruption are being thought to Filipinos even at their very young age, starting at the Sangguniang Kabataan level.
Most of the time, the SK creates camaraderie among the youth, aside from having representation in every barangay councils nationwide.
But the SKs, particularly in the urban areas of the country like in Metro Manila, are being exposed and have become participants in graft and corruption in their dealings with the government.
To those who are not yet in the know, the SKs also have a share in the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) being given by the national government. The IRA share, the amount of which is measured by a local government’s tax remittance to the national treasury, is being coursed through the municipal or city government which is then passed on to the Barangay officials.
In Manila, barangay officials get their funds (IRA share) from the local barangay bureau and this includes their wages and maintenance and operating expenses.
In the case of SKs, they are allotted funds for their community projects. They would have to identify and prepare the costing for their projects and submit them to the local barangay bureau for approval. The project is usually overpriced.
Once the project is approved, the SKs are not allowed to get hold of the cash. The local barangay bureau usually has a favored contractor/supplier who will carry out the project. Before the project is carried out, the contractor will dish out what they termed as “SOP” or grease money, usually 15 to 20 percent of the project cost, to the SK chairman. The SK council members usually know about the SOP that is oftentimes shared to “make everybody happy.”
This means that our SKs are being exposed, experiencing and participating in graft and corruption at a very young age. It is no wonder why corruption in the Philippines can’t be stopped – it is being thought as part of life to Filipinos while they are young.
Everybody praises the Maynilad for improving its water services in Metro Manila, laying down large water pipes, properly installing water meters in every street, raising the water pressure, among others.
But in their every pipe-laying operation, the firm’s contractors often times leave roads where they installed pipes in a mess, cutting through concrete paved roads, filling it with earth they dug and applying only a thin layer of asphalt.
When it rains, the thin layer of asphalt fades, making the roads uneven and dangerous to motorists, particularly the motorbike riders.
In Sta. Mesa, Manila where I reside, Maynilad pipe-laying contractors conducted at least 10 diggings a year after they installed 8 or 10-inch PVC pipes because of water leakages.
I suspect that some of the contractors, in cahoots with some Maynilad officials, have deliberately installed substandard pipe-laying materials on their every project, anticipating that water leakages would later erupt and corresponding repairs would have to be done soon.
If my suspicion is right, it would be a never ending multi-million-peso “business” for the contractors and their contacts in Maynilad in repairing the anticipated water leaks to come.