07 July 2008

Gloria, Gloria, I Think I Got Your Number

the two tragics, Gloria and the biggest criminal of all, 
the one and only Imelda Marcos


Kawawang Pinoy!!!

La Gloria's U.S. Junket


Six months ago, President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo went on a three-country
European junket with an entourage of 192 which included the entire First Family
(nine persons), 34 congressmen and their spouses, and 50 business cronies. By
the end of 2007, Arroyo had traveled to 18 countries -- one every 20 days! --
and spent P588.5 million. In 2006, she traveled to 13 countries and spent P398
million. In 2005, she traveled to four countries and spent P154 million.

This year, the cost of her travels continues to rack up millions of
taxpayers' money. Her forthcoming "working" visit to the United
States on June 23 to 29 once again manifests her high-flying addiction to
junketing. Arroyo will meet with President George
W. Bush at the Oval Office to thank him for "all the help he gave to the
Philippines during the eight years of his term." The two leaders are also
going to discuss ways of "strengthening" U.S.-Philippines relations.

It seems to me that that is always the reason for a Philippine President
to visit the White House. I wonder if Arroyo realized that Bush is now a lame duck
President and will be out of office next January. Shouldn't she wait until
John McCain or
Barack Obama becomes President? Of course, that would be another
opportunity for her to come back next year.

While in the U.S., Arroyo is also going to attend a dinner organized by the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the
ASEAN-U.S. Business Council. It will cost
Arroyo $8,000 for a table for ten. As to how many of her retinue of
politicians, government officials, and their spouses would attend, I
wouldn't be surprised if all of them would want to go to the dinner.

Of course, Gloria will pick up the tab which will eventually be paid for by poor Juan
la Cruz. Arroyo's junkets and her other expenses have cost Juan
de la Cruz
a lot of money. A recent report by the Commission on Audit (
COA) showed that in
2007 Arroyo's foreign and domestic travels totaled P622.6 million.
That's 239% more than the all the salaries of the employees in the Office
of the President which would include all executive offices, agencies, commissions, and committees under her.

In addition, the
COA report showed that P618.6 million were disbursed as
"donations" to unknown beneficiaries. And add to that another P531.9
million for all types of expenses such as confidential expenses, consultancy
expenses, extraordinary expenses, representation expenses and allowances, other
personal benefits, year-end bonuses, "cash gifts," and

The sum is a whopping P1.8 billion. That's a lot of
moolah -- enough to
build 36,000
Gawad Kalinga homes. During the 110th Independence Day last June12, Arroyo cut the cost of the Independence Day program at the Rizal Park to show the people that she's willing to conserve money at a time of rising food prices.

However, on the night of June12, Arroyo hosted a glitzy reception at the
Malacanang Palace for the diplomatic corps and the country's elite. What is
appalling was the ostentatious display of pomp at the
Malacanang reception,
especially the revival of the elitist dance, the "
rigodon de honor."
Arroyo handpicked the 20 couples -- the country's rich and famous or, I
might say, the cream of Gloria's "Enchanted Kingdom" -- who
participated in the
rigodon. It is interesting to note that the last time the
rigodon was performed in Malacanang was on June 30, 1981 during the third
inauguration of President Ferdinand Marcos.

When Cory Aquino ascended to the presidency after Marcos was overthrown in
1987, she prohibited the
rigodon from being performed in all official functions, an oblique rejection of a dance considered to be fitting only for the high and mighty ruling elite. After 27 years of not performing this unnecessary display of power and affluence, Gloria revived the rigodon at a time when the people are in dire need and impoverished.

After all the speeches at the June 12
th reception had ended, the media people
were unceremoniously told to leave. Thus, nobody from the media witnessed the
rigodon de honor" except one -- outgoing Press Secretary Ignacio
Bunye. Bunye disclosed and described the rigodon in detail -- including the
names of the participants -- in his weekly newspaper column.

Arroyo should have told him to leave the reception too. Arroyo's junkets
and high-maintenance lifestyle make a lot of people wonder if she realized that
the country is in a state of chaos and decay. Recent polls show that seven out
of 10 Filipinos cannot afford to buy food nor pay
their electric bills. With the price of rice going up as high as P50 per kilo
today, how can a family of five survive on a daily wage of P70? Yet, we
have the country's leader squandering money left and right that could otherwise
be used to provide shelter and food for the powerless poor. Is she likened to a
modern-day equivalent of Nero who fiddled while Rome was burning? 

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