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4 agencies most bloated by ‘palakasan’ - bishop


A senior Catholic bishop named Wednesday four government agencies that he said are the most bloated in the bureaucracy because of the “palakasan" system. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz made the list after Civil Service Commission chairwoman Karina David said that many presidential appointees to government are not qualified. “The following are considered as the primary bloated and bloating Departments in the present government: Agrarian Reform, National Defense, Environment and Natural Resources, Interior and Local Government. Nothing surprising. Nothing astonishing," he said in his Web log (ovc.blogspot.com). Of the heads of the four departments, two are considered close political allies of Mrs Arroyo, while the other two are reportedly being groomed as presidential or senatorial bets for 2010. Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno heads Mrs Arroyo’s Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) party, while Environment Secretary Jose Atienza Jr. heads the Liberal Party’s pro-Arroyo wing. Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. is being eyed as a possible administration presidential bet, while agrarian reform secretary Nasser Pangandaman is being eyed as a senatorial bet. On the other hand, Cruz said it was high time David formally affirmed and publicly confirmed how sad the state of the national bureaucracy under the Arroyo administration is. “It is bad enough that national, regional and local officials are by and large elected not really by reason of competence but by popularity cum money. It becomes even worse when those thus elected into public offices as public trusts, exercise their authority to appoint individuals to administrative entities—definitely not by reason of integrity and competence—usually on account of transactional politics, beneficial arrangements, partisan affiliation if not due to blood and/or affinity relationships and similar factors of convenience," he said. He said the victims of all these seriously adverse socio-moral liability in the country are always the citizens who pay their salaries, huge benefits and big perks. “This is why there is so much distrust and disgust with the government. There is so much dissent and resentment in the streets," he said. The bishop added: “No wonder that as the farmers cry for justice and as the drivers cry for the high price of fuel, as the OFWs lament the poor exchange of their hard earned dollars and as the general public complain about the weak buying power of the peso, their reigning leader with family and friends and appointees and loyal followers are traveling in style, in comfort, in a chartered plane. Guess, who pay?" Earlier, presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye branded David’s assessment as “sweeping generalizations" and unfair to more than one million civil servants. “Her sweeping generalizations in a luncheon speech do a disservice to the over one million civil servants, both career and appointed, who work diligently each and every day to serve the people of the Philippines," Bunye said in a statement. “Be that as it may, all presidential appointees must perform. If they don’t, they have to go, whatever their credentials may be," he added. - GMANews.TV
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