Why some public works  projects are ‘ghosts’ 

By Alex P. Vidal

“Corruption is the enemy of development, and of good governance. It must be got rid of. Both the government and the people at large must come together to achieve this national objective.” — Pratibha Patil

POLITICIANS who mulct from DPWH contractors are partly to blame if some infrastructure projects are substandard or “ghosts.”

In every man-made calamity brought by a problematic public works project, there is always one, two or more politicians behind.

There are good politicians, of course, but some of them are corrupt and ten-percenters. They spend or buy votes like there is no tomorrow during the election.

Once they are in power, they will steal the people’s money and compel the contractors to “share their blessings” to recoup their election campaign expenses and fill their campaign kitty for the next polls, among other expenses while in public office.

Sometimes it’s an SOP and there’s no need to “demand.”

If the project is worth P100 million, for instance, sometimes only P40 million are spent for the project. The remaining P60 million are divided among the sharks and reptiles in air-conditioned offices. Sometimes the projects become “ghosts” or non-existing. This requires the combined talent of all crocodiles in government offices.

This has been a common practice in the Philippines. That’s why we have cases of dwindling school and office buildings, diminishing or insufficient asphalt overlay in the roads and regional highways, and sinking flyovers and bridges. Huh, sounds familiar.


WE can’t help but admire how American lawmakers elect their new House speaker like what happened at the Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. January 3 afternoon.

Republican Party’s Rep. Kevin McCarthy was rebuked three times in as many rounds of voting. His own party mates, about 19 of them and voting like brats, rejected and humiliated him.

We’ve noticed that they acted on their own despite the tremendous tension and a raucous session and didn’t wait or welcome any intervention from outside forces.

Unlike in the Philippines where the solons rely heavily on Malacañang’s blessing for their next House speaker.

The election is just a ceremony since whoever is allied with the Philippine president becomes the speaker in the incoming administration.

Which isn’t supposed to happen given the co-equal power of the executive and legislative branches.

We would be monitoring on January 4 the Day 2 of the wrangling among supporters of McCarthy, a known lackey of former President Donald Trump, and the so-called 19 “rebel” GOP solons who didn’t change their votes to oppose McCarthy during the three rounds of voting.

While the Democratic Party closed ranks and repeatedly threw their collective support behind Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the GOP was splintered, thus they couldn’t mount the needed 218 solid votes that would make McCarthy the new speaker to replace outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

This won’t happen in the Philippine congress.

Once the president has given the go signal to anoint his chosen bet, he or she will be sworn in the opening session of the new congress. The result is a rubber stamp legislature. No independence and eternally dependent on the most powerful person in the country.


A book written by a biochemist from the University of Boston supports critical thinking, and the author did not take his analysis as gospel any more than the Hebrew and Greek scriptures.

Because he was a Jew, Isaac Asimov’s (born Isaak Yudovich Ozimov) commentaries and observations of the Bible are from a Jewish point of view, modified by his science fiction background and thinking.

Asimov brings us through the books of the Bible in King James Version order, explaining the historical and geographical setting of each one and the political and historical influences that affected it.

He went further as providing biographical information about the main characters.

In essence, Asimov seems to consider the bible as one of the most important history books ever written, and treats it as such.

What is so extraordinary about the book is it is just purely information and no commentary.

If we want to know what is really going on as well as what has happened before this book to the Old and New Testament includes biblical verse, footnotes, references and subject indexes.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)