Now, it’s lifeline electricity consumers that are going to be the recipients of GMA’s largesse.
The latest news has it that GMA is going to distribute a one-time 500-peso subsidy under the appropriately populist brand: “Katas ng VAT, Pantawid Kuryente.”
Now will someone please tell me what a one shot infusion of 500 pesos actually do for these people? Assuming that the money actually goes to pay for their bills this month, where are they going to find money to pay for those bills next month, much less the month after next?
And in any case, the chances are – if they’re going to distribute this money in depressed areas – the actual subscriber’s bill doesn’t accurately reflect his household’s consumption. Ten to one, that bill will be bloated by the consumption of any number of illegal taps from his neighbors to his neighbor’s neighbor to the big sari-sari store all the way down at the end of the street. So, if you think about it, the government actually ends up paying even for illegal connection. Who says crime doesn’t pay?
Oh, and are they actually going to conduct a lifestyle check on the recipients? As part of several immersion programs I’ve taken part in, many urban poor households only look poor from the outside. Step into their rickety squatter crib and you find a flatscreen teevee, a DVD player, an X-box or PSP, and about five cellphones with chargers perpetually plugged in. That’s not even counting the microwave oven, the electric stove, and (this is what really slays me!) the airconditioner.
So government does not just end up subsidizing illegal taps, it also promotes the live-like-a-rockstar lifestyles that proliferate even in urban poor communities.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a problem with welfare support, IF given to the truly in need, and within reason. Remember, the money is going to come from value-added tax proceeds. That’s my friggin money too! Everyday it seems, I’m being taxed to within an inch of my life – my cigarettes are taxed, my commute is taxed, my salaries are taxed, even watching a stupid movie to forget even for a moment what a shitty life I’m living is taxed. Seriously. I don’t want any of that money going to crackhead layabouts who clog up the esteros with their garbage, harbor petty criminals, and beat up their children who refuse to go begging because they want to go to school. Nossir.
If this government is going to start giving away money that I worked fucking hard for, it had better be to some poor shmuck who needs it to get back on his feet so he can resume being a productive member of society; or to some poor family that was displaced by some storm or something; or to some foundling children who need to go to school.
Ah, but what the fuck, right? DSWD never asked me before they started this abortion of a public relations move. Come to that, did they ask anyone?
Oh and, howabout that name, eh? Katas ng VAT?
That particular metaphor has always made me feel uncomfortable, evoking images of stinky seepage from rotting garbage. This particular katas has me feeling just as nauseated.
They did this before too, with that Ahon project. I wonder what happened to that?
(DSWD Secretary) Cabral said the P2 billion, which would be derived from the P4 billion value added tax proceeds that was initially identified by the government, was intended for the cash transfer program where the poorest of the poor is given monthly allowance by the government.
Methinks this means that the money for Katas will actually be taken from the billions originally earmarked for the Ahon project. What? Maybe they weren’t spending money quickly enough?
Times like these, the temptation to drag out truisms can be irresistible. I can say something like, a foolish government and its money are soon parted; or maybe i can say don’t throw good money in after bad; or the somewhat more modern mo’money, mo’problems. Like the fox, I have more truisms than I can figure out how to use. So, instead of trying to be clever, let me just say this:
This dole-out policy is a lemon, and I want my money back!