Let us dream. At this point in our history when we are faced with this rare opportunity to finally install in Malacañang a truly decent person, armed with clear and well-designed platforms to deliver us from the ancient evils that curse our democracy as well as save us from the current demons that deform him, he endures a twisted destiny and dares to dream.
Across the country, good people are rallying behind an uncorrupted, intelligent, patriotic and truly honest person who has captured our hearts and minds as she stands among us in another episode of a medieval morality play opposing good to evil and virtue to vice.
The timing couldn’t have been better. From the darkest and deepest graves where we buried the rotten remains of a dead dictatorship, from the cursed dust another rises. To hell with truth and historical facts. The seed doesn’t just revise, it twists the factual story. Yet faced with this nightmare, we remain emboldened to dream of a better tomorrow.
Unfortunately, dreaming remains fraught with current challenges, even harassment. It’s not just a product of childhood nighttime fears. Evil lurks. There are real monsters under our bed.
The simmering Malampaya controversy is a good example. The righteous who have sought legal redress have not only been openly vilified using relentless ad hominem, vitriolic and invective public relations campaigns, but their patriotism, pilloried and stained.
The media itself has not been spared where constitutional guarantees on freedom of expression are totally ignored.
Good men and women stay the course and carry on. In the Malampaya controversy, what is at stake is the sovereignty and energy security of the Philippines.
In a rather unexpected twist of fate, as we are besieged by rising fuel prices and runaway inflation due to our dependence on imported fuels and the war in Ukraine, the Malampaya controversy presents real and immediate answers.
Allow us snippets of this Malampaya dream if only we can compel ourselves to do the right thing, correct wrongdoing and recoup millions lost to greed.
Adjusted for inflation, present values of a 4-year cash flow and cost of money since Malampaya’s liquidation in 2020, lost revenue of more than 50 million pesos per day could have funded better uses than being tied down to a technically unskilled private start-up.
Pending the resolution of bribery and bribery complaints filed with the Ombudsman, if an injunction had cauterized Malampaya’s bloodshed, what could 50 million pesos a day be used for, as discussed during a teleconference on the Ukraine and its impact on Malampaya and the Western Philippine Sea?
To mitigate runaway inflationary increases in prices at the pump, 50 million pesos in daily revenue – the equivalent of 18 billion pesos a year – can fund a 6,500 peso fuel subsidy for as many as 377,443 service drivers. (PUV) equivalent to two months of their income.
Of the 18 billion pesos, half a billion can finance a fuel subsidy for farmers and fishermen and allocate up to 8 billion pesos for cash assistance of 300 pesos per month to two million of the most needy.
The 50 million pesos lost every day can buy up to 1,200 manual tractors for our farmers. For fishermen, it can supply large fiberglass hulled fishing vessels on a daily basis, empowering fishermen who are victims of an irresponsible presidential foreign policy covering our aquatic resources in the Western Philippine Sea.
In our dreams, we could have built as many as 360 five-storey school buildings with laboratories, or thirty large state-of-the-art fully equipped provincial hospitals. We could also have given health workers up to 5,000 pula in additional allowances.
Unfortunately, instead of a dream, our officials have inflicted a nightmare on us.
(Dean dela Paz is a former investment banker and CEO of a New Jersey-based power company operating in the Philippines. He is chairman of the board of a renewable energy company and is a professor at the Business Policy, Finance and Mathematics Retreat. )
Warning: The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ABS-CBN Corp.