Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I'm done with school! Hopefully not dead done. Just done until the next semester comes done.

I'm going to write about big government and why it's so scary with what's currently going around.

Public Office is a Public Trust as the 1987 Constitution puts it. Government is there to serve the people and be accountable to the people. There would be no government were it not for the people's will.
I recently had my car registered in one of the LTO branches. Though, the current service is not something I could pick on, there was still a palpable air of corruption hanging around. The LTO was ranked as one of the least corrupt government agencies, as it so states in LTO TV. I spent just an hour in the LTO. You just have to have the complete set of papers at hand.
Government can work efficiently if it chooses to. However, as I mentioned there was still a stink of corruption hanging about. In one of my classes, it was said that corruption is good because it means progress. There are people who can pay the officials off to facilitate things. In my opinion this is generally true, but if the government will be more pervasive then I think that progress will be restricted.

As I was exiting the office along with my aunt the stencil guy came over and was asking something. I didn't pay any attention to him knowing that he'll just be seeking a reward. It is his job to go on the ground and stencil my car's body number. Why should I pay him more for services he'll already be paid for.

It would be okay to pay if you got some additional benefit from his services. If for example you're assured of a 30-1 hour waiting time for the release of your registration why pay more when you can wait it out? The release time will be the same anyway. The attitude of the stencil guy is what makes me afraid of Philippine government getting bigger. If I'm supposed to pay all the government officials or employees I encounter for something that they're supposed to do, then I might as well not register any vehicle, any business or any property. If I do register with them and I have to pay off each and every employee at every step of the way then what'll be left for me?

I have no qualms about Big Government. The main problem right now as espoused by my father is the fractured system brought about by the Local Government Code. Instead of the LGUs coordinating with each other, each one is trying to do something they're not good at and end up stunting the whole region. Every barangay, municipality, city and province will be trying to outdo each other, instead of coordinating their development plans and goals each will be competing with one another and each will be implementing their own ordinances that would cause great confusion with transients and residents alike. There must be some form of central plan that will not leave the LGUs room to be at odds with each other. One LGU must be a residential area and it must maintain roads and railways on its end, at the other side of the border another LGU must maintain the roads and railways on its end matching the effort by the other LGU.

Take a look at all the infrastructure laid out in communist countries. The streets are wide, the parks spacious and green and the landmarks imposing. Look at our roads, railways, parks and landmarks? Ours are pockmarked with neglect.

Another drawback with big government will be the time it takes to get things done. If with the current system you find that it's taking too long, imagine if you have to centralize everything. Again if you're going to have to pay people off, having a centralized system means that fewer people to go through although it will take longer because not everyone might get a piece of the pie they feel they deserve. Further government intrusion and regulation into the daily lives of the public will expose the people to more chances of being extorted.

Big government will be inefficient and clumsy. The current system was meant to meet the needs of the citizens in a given locality. Having a central body responding to the needs of the people even in far flung areas will greatly increase reaction time. Having to project their presence through several thousand kilometers where they might not have enough resources ready will slow down a government agencies ability to react to contingencies. A possible solution to this would be putting people on the ground.

Which leads to my last point (hopefully not) on the matter. A quote I keep hearing whenever I play civilization IV is "The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy". It means that as government involvement expands so too must the mechanisms that government employs. If an agency will employ an additional 10000 people then that additional 10000 people will have 10000 people's worth of files in the CSC, GSIS and other agencies that they will be forced to go through before being able to work for the government. It would create a very unwieldy apparatus for running the country. It will strain government resources that could have been diverted to other projects.

Going small and fractured versus going big and clumsy will each have its concomitant pros and cons. Though there is no pending legislation or action anywhere to change the system I think it would be best to give a second to the idea of changing the apparatus.

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