Sunday, August 16, 2009


Among the austerity measures Malacanang and both houses of Congress must agree on are the prevention of misuse of government vehicles and prohibition of foreign travels (a.k.a. junkets) by government people. Ban abuse of government vehicles and ban foreign travels? Such already have whiskers and people think they are one big joke. Indeed, what the master does, the slave shall do as well.

Previous administrations mounted campaigns against the abuse of government cars, but nobody obeyed directives that all government vehicles be marked "For Official Use Only." Honestly, how many of these government vehicles do you see on the streets with these markings? Only a few, right? Hence, these numerous vehicles must be used only during office hours and should be issued trip tickets, and a definite ban on "security plates" must be strictly enforced. Users and abusers of these plates include cabinet members, undersecretaries and assistant secretaries, senators, congressmen, governors, mayors etc.

Malacanang should order the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to immediately recall all these plates and stop issuing new ones. This is one way of checking misuse of government vehicles, and millions of pesos will be saved if the campaign against such rampant abuse of official cars is carried out in earnest. People are fed-up with these abuses even by the wives and children of officials who use them to the market and to schools, golf courses and even out of town family road trips.

Well, they really form part and parcel of the lure of a government job, don't they? It's about time something is done to really ban these frequent abuses. A no-nonsense order from Malacanang must be followed that all government vehicles be marked "For Official Use Only" on each side of the vehicle. And, the Palace can curb this scandal by simply banning the use of security plates - the only thing that enables officials to mock the flood of orders against abuse of government vehicles. There should also be no exemption whatsoever from this ban. But of course trouble is, most Palace officials are always the first to violate such orders.

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