Senator Roxas: Corruption of Arroyo gov't shaming Filipinos abroad

Filipinos living in the United States and other parts of the world have become unwilling victims of the Arroyo administration's corrupt reputation, Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today said.

Roxas made the statement after getting a letter from a Filipino expatriate now living in Winnipeg, Canada, who said Filipinos in his community there back the ongoing Senate inquiry into the findings of corrupt practices by the World Bank (WB) involving government infrastructure projects.
"Hindi lang tayong mga Pinoy na naninirahan dito sa ating bansa ang napapahiya sa kagarapalan ng gobyernong ito. Pati ang mga kababayan natin sa ibang bansa, lalo na sa Amerika, ay suklam na suklam na sa malawakang pangungurakot ng mga alipores ni GMA (Filipinos now living abroad are being insulted because of the brazen corruption in this government. Filipinos abroad, especially Fil-Ams, despise the dishonesty of GMA's allies)," he said.

"Kahihiyan sa buong mundo ang dinala ni GMA sa ating bansa mula ng manungkulan siya sa Malakanyang. Sunod-sunod na kontrobersiya at iskandalo ang kinasangkutan ng kanyang mga alipores, at kahit isa man sa kanila'y walang nasakdal (GMA has brought nothing but international shame to our country since she first occupied Malacanang. Numerous scandals have hit her government but none of her allies have been investigated or prosecuted.)," the Ilonggo senator said.
The country's honor and prestige, he reiterated, could only be restored if President Arroyo musters the political will to order the investigation and prosecution of her allies and relatives--including her husband, First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo--who have been dragged into all sorts of corruption scandals since she assumed the presidency in January 2001.

The latest controversy to hit the country is the World Bank's finding of collusive practices among contractors and government officials in the rigged bidding for road projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways, among other agencies.

The decision of the international lending body to bar the participation of three Filipino contractors and seven Chinese firms in any of its funded projects in the country has revived global attention on the corrupt and illegal activities of government officials and leaving the impression that such acts are condoned or even permitted by the President herself.

Canada-based Johnny de Leon has written Roxas, lauding him for defending the honor and integrity of the nation.
"Una ang paghanga ko sa pakikipaglaban mo na mailabas ang katotohanan na pilit itinatago at pinagtatakpan ng mga asong ulol sa Malacanang. Karangalan talaga ito ng lahat ng Pilipino, hindi lang ng ating mga kababayan na nasa Pilipinas kundi kami rin na mga Pinoy na naninirahan sa ibang bansa," he said in his electronic mail sent to Roxas.
"Napakasakit isipin na ang mga kapatid ko at pamilya nila diyan na nagkukumahog sa pagta-trabaho ng marangal para lang may mailaman sa tiyan ay madadamay na mawalan ng dangal dahil lamang sa pagnanakaw ng iilang tao. Basta sinabing Pilipino, kahit pa yong bagong panganak damay na 'yon," he added.
De leon said Filipinos worldwide have lost their integrity because of the rampant corruption in government. He narrated one instance when Filipinos in his community boycotted a supermarket after one of its Canadian workers confronted a young child for picking a candy in the sweets section and shouting at him "You all Filipinos are thieves!"

He said Filipinos left the grocery store after hearing the invective and the next day, they surrounded the vicinity with placards condemning the discrimination. The store owner, he added, apologized days later.
"Paano nagkaroon ng ganong mentality ang dayuhang tinderang ito kung hindi niya nabasa o napanood sa TV ang mga kurakutan diyan sa atin. Mas maganda pa noong panahon ni Marcos, kung totoo man, si Marcos lang ang nagnanakaw pero marami namang nakitang naipagawa, ngayon lahat halos ng may utang na loob si Gloria na ipinuwesto niya sa gobyerno, walang takot magnakaw, pinaka mandarambong 'yung asawa niya, naniniwala ako na ang kumikilos ng pailalim ay asawa ni Gloria," the Fil-Am said.

"Ano na ang ginagawa ng napakaraming Pilipino, hindi ito kahihiyan ng mag-anak lang ng Arroyo sa buong mundo, na ang kapal ng mukha ay makapal pa sa gulong ng eroplano, kahihiyan ito ng bawat isang Pilipino, nasa Pilipinas man o nasa ibang lupalop ng mundo na katulad ko," he stressed.
Roxas said it is not too late for President Arroyo to redeem herself, but she will have to muster political will to bring to justice all those who have shamed the country.
"Patuloy pa rin ang pagsasawalang-bahala sa dangal ng ating bansa. Mababago pa kaya ang pananaw kay GMA ng ating mga kabababayan, lalo na ang mga nagsasakripisyo sa ibang bansa? (The disregard of the country's honor continues. Can GMA still revive her reputation among Filipinos, especially those toiling hard in other countries?)," he stressed.

"Mahalaga ang dangal ng ating bansa. At bilang pangulo, responsibilidad niyang panatilihing malinis ang dangal na ito (Our country's honor is important. As president of this country, it is her responsibility to preserve our reputation)," he added.



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