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SMALL CHANGE: CORRUPTION FROM ANOTHER ANGLE

May 17, 2008

A reader named Tony Serquina left this comment on Ducky Paredes’ column:

At the risk of sounding like I am defending Meralco (which I am not), 72 million kWh is really not that much. If you divide 72 million by 3600 (your annual electricity consumption), it comes to 20,000. Which means 20,000 households, with each household consuming 3,600 kWh per year, will consume a total of 72 million kWh. That’s probably the population of a small city…

Tony Serquina is referring to the private electricity consumption of Meralco that it charges on its customers.

It’s a cold-blooded mathematical computation. Small change, really, or so he suggests, this object of dispute.

It strikes me cold that perhaps this is the same frame of mind possessing most bureaucrats and politicians or anyone who has access to the public treasury. What’s P1M spread over approximately 90 million Filipinos? Quickly, a measly 1.11 centavos! Go get your calculator and check. A corrupt one sees it that way, it’s suddenly easy on the conscience, the misdeed suddenly shrunk into so negligible, even petty, an issue. What’s to even ask heavenly pardon for on Sundays? If we go down the totem pole, there’s the lowly clerk who pockets, say, ten thousand a week for a cool forty thousand a month or P480,000 a year– it’s a modest house or a very nice car for him. But that would be equivalent to just a fraction of a centavo– 0.53 centavo! Did this ever occur to anyone in the anti-corruption movements?

Now, if I were the President and I want P2B for all my efforts leading this godforsaken land, why, that’s just P22.22 from each! So measly, it could not even buy a kilo of nice rice or a medium pack of powdered milk. Would it be asking too much?

Huh, see, there are ways of looking at things and be merrier for it!

Mr. Serquina, you’re a genius!

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