(Originally posted on August 23, 2009)
We, members of the ACT Teachers Party-list, strongly condemn the lavish dinners and foreign travels of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo amidst the ever-worsening hunger and poverty in our country.
Shameless opulence and excessive luxury have no place in a country where millions of hungry mouths, malnourished children, foodless farmers and jobless workers are made to pay for huge foreign debt and suffer further from a perennial budget deficit.
The Arroyo regime’s 20,000-dollar dinner and 15,000-dollar steak meals, not to mention the 2.3 billion-peso foreign travels it has spent in recent years are outrageous and insensitive for as it feasts on nauseatingly expensive and fancy meals, Filipinos die from eating rotten food from garbage heaps.
Whether the money came from the nephew of plunderer and former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and not from government funds is not the issue. The Arroyo regime’s apathy and its nurturing of ostentatious public servants while neglecting and turning a blind eye to our country’s social problems – widespread hunger and poverty, homelessness, landlessness and the rise of poverty-driven petty crimes – are enough proof of its incapacity to govern with integrity and dignity.
It is a shame to live in luxury when poverty is widespread in one’s country. Instead of spending huge funds on luxurious dinners and travels, government servants should solve the country’s problems. They should first provide food, shelter and other basic necessities for every Filipino. The money spent for their whims could have fed and sheltered the poorest of the Filipinos.
The era of the likes of Nero who fiddled as Rome burned, Marie Antoinette who devoured cakes and built luxurious palaces as the French people starve, Imelda Marcos who wore diamonds and bought thousands of designer shoes while Filipinos went hungry were judged harshly by history through the people’s dispensation of justice. And soon, the Filipino people too will find courage and unity to finally end the much-reviled tyranny of gluttonous and callous politicians led by the evil queen herself, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.#