Thursday, August 02, 2007

Money to burn

For the past week, I was too busy to blog and was too preoccupied with JPEPA and a new campaign we launched this week about another onerous Philippine loan that financed a failed white elephant project of the Department of Health.The Philippine Star, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Malaya and the BusinessMirror reported on the campaign launching.

The loan is roughly a US$ 2M obligation every year for the Philippines until 2014. The loan was incurred by the government to pay for medical waste incinerators that we are no longer using today because of their unacceptably high emissions plus the incinerator ban declared by the Clean Air Act of 1999.

We will be paying 100 million pesos every year for the defunct incinerators. What is sad about this is that the total 2007 budget of the DOH to address its backlog in infrastructure is just about 400 million pesos. The incinerator loan is one-fourth of that total budget for infrastructure.

And now, of course, we have another white elephant project in the offing: the ZTE broadband project. The ZTE broadband deal is such an atrociously bad deal that Secretary Neri should not have been simply demoted as CHED Chairman; he should have been banished from public service forever instead.

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