Sunday, April 10, 2011

Maiksi ang kumot— bumaluktot

NO outlandish flourishes and frills, just plain-as-tack economy of movement and brutal simplicity that makes for beauty… and lethal efficiency. Such is Krav Maga, a system of close-quarter fighting plied by Mossad operatives and elite forces operating in the world’s most hostile areas to survive even thrive.

Thrift is practical virtue and frugality pays, indeed—we haven’t learned that yet. Kapag maiksi ang kumot—kahit tuwid na daan, bumaluktot.

Say, a P13-billion scheme proffering a lame excuse to improve existing airport facilities looks more of a screaming faggot move to keep up with the Joneses. Monies won’t come from government coffers as taxpayers’ necks will be laid on the chopping block as usual. As guarantee of payment for a loan from Japan Bank of International Cooperation’s Overseas Development Assistance (ODA).

What could bleeding taxpayers do but raise hackles or hone hatchets for burying into the backs of big spenders keen on pushing through with the costly scheme?

Hopefully, there’s the Commission on Audit (COA) that ought to lend an ear to our howls for a no-nonsense look-see into what looks like another shady deal done in 2010… we could nudge COA to go through that kit and caboodle with a fine-tooth comb.

This might be a litmus test for COA’s newly appointed top honchos led by ex-finance undersecretary, Ma. Gracia Pulido-Tan and celebrated whistleblower Heidi Mendoza who vowed to trudge in the raw from Batasan Hills to Quezon City Rotonda should one Gen. Carlos P. Garcia turn up “not guilty” of graft and plunder charges.

Not that we crave a thorough sniff at nude stunners but something smells in the P13-billion Sumitomo/Thales joint venture-Department of Transportation & Communications (DOTC) deal for the nationwide upgrade of the country’s communications, navigation surveillance and air traffic management (CNS/ATM) facilities and systems.

By expending such a staggering cost, as one praise release has it worded, “the Philippines becomes one of many Asia Pacific countries including China, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Korea, Australia and Thailand that have selected Thales’s award-winning… technology to enhance the safety and security of their airspace.”

However, some officials from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAAP) aren’t impressed. Rather than buy a Porsche, oops, go through with such a luxury, those who balk at the CNS/ATM scheme would rather have DOTC put the newly upgraded Manila Air Control Center (MACC) into action… and we’re talking and walking about saving the taxpayer from paying through the nose.

Besides, experts say the upgraded MACC is based on current technology as prescribed by the latest Eurocontrol and International Civil Aviation Organization requirements for automation. It has 12 consoles that can monitor up to 4,000 flights and beyond a day. Current air traffic in the entire Philippines: 1,000 a day with growth of significant levels in the future coming mostly from domestic carriers.

This early, COA underlings has reared a gauntlet of questions on the P13-billion scheme, including a dubious P600-million advance payment to Aussie-French contractor Thales… like ducks, both DOTC and Malacañang minions choose to duck and quack away at the questions.

The P13-billion question remains unanswered. There’s likelihood that both Tan and Mendoza would take the cudgels for us taxpayers in a fight that pits them against Goliaths in the P-Noy administration hierarchy, including the so-called “Three Kings of DOTC” who have vowed to thwart COA, telling all and sundry that both Tan and Mendoza are in their pockets and thus, get the deal going like greased lightning.

So taxpayers, prepare to gnash your teeth… and if they’ve been ground to stubs with years of gnashing, gnash your gums, mwa-ha-ha-ha-haw!

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