Binay camp: Low rating from only 67 rich traders
He’s serving the poor, not the rich.
This was how the office of Vice President Jejomar Binay explained his bottom-rung rating by the Makati Business Club (MBC).
Having been spurned by the most influential organization of businessmen in Makati City, the office of Binay has decided to pay no heed to MBC’s survey rating that its office is the worst performing government agency.
“With all due respect, 67 wealthy businessmen in Makati cannot represent the sentiment of our people nationwide,” said Binay’s spokesperson Joey Salgado.
“The Office of the Vice President (OVP) is serving our poor citizens and not the affluent members of the Makati Business Club,” he said in a statement that was a sustained diatribe against the business leaders of the country’s premier business district, Binay’s supposed bailiwick where he and members of his family have been holding key elective posts for almost three decades
Salgado said the opinions of the Makati businessmen had little worth, saying “they cannot be expected to give a true and objective assessment of the performance of all government agencies, most especially the OVP.”
Concerns over corruption
In its latest Executive Outlook Survey, the Office of the Vice President pulled the lowest net satisfaction rating of -76.3, dropping 31 notches from last year’s poll, to finish last among the 64 government agencies surveyed.
The MBC survey polled senior executives of 67 corporations and other entities from July 6 to Aug. 7 to assess the performance of the government agencies from July 2014 to July 2015. The respondents represented 16.6 percent of the MBC’s 404 corporate members.
MBC executive director Peter Angelo Perfecto said the huge drop from last year’s survey may be a reflection of the businessmen’s concern over the corruption allegations against Binay and his son, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay.
Binay, his son and associates in the Makati government have been at the center of a yearlong Senate blue ribbon subcommittee investigation into alleged overpricing and irregularities in various Makati infrastructure projects and allegations of unexplained wealth. The Makati mayor is serving a six-month suspension while under investigation for his alleged involvement in the allegedly overpriced Makati Science Building.
Lies and gossip
According to Salgado, there are MBC members with long-held biases against the Vice President and his family.
“Apparently the MBC members are predisposed to believe every lie and gossip against the Vice President,” he said.
He said MBC officials, like its executive director, were present when President Aquino announced his endorsement of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas as the presidential standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party (LP).
“The MBC are the businessmen who have profited from this administration’s economic policy that embraces the rich and excludes the poor. They want to continue the inequality under an administration that is ‘probusiness,’” Salgado said.
“They do not have the knowledge or competence to assess the OVP mainly because they are in favor of a candidate who will just continue to make them richer,” he said.
Higher marks questioned
He said the MBC was selective when it gave high marks to agencies that deal directly with the business sector.
“The Department of Budget and Management fared better than the OVP when businessmen and economists have openly complained about the anemic spending that has a put a drag on the economy,” Salgado said.
Salgado took particular issue with the higher score obtained by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC), an agency first headed by Binay’s rival, Roxas, and now by another LP member, Emilio Abaya.
“The DOTC is the showcase of ineptitude, incompetence and is a threat to public safety, not to mention a cash cow for LP allies,” he said.
Salgado said the Makati businessmen [who presumably gave Binay’s office a low rating] had not felt the health programs of the OVP because they can afford to pay for medical and hospital care in the country and abroad.
“But most of our countrymen cannot. If they are facing legal problems, members of the MBC can easily hire expensive lawyers. Our OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) and their families cannot,” he said.
Salgado defended the operations of Binay’s office, which was given charge of the country’s housing program and of OFWs’ affairs.
He claimed that the OVP has the lowest budget allocation of all the government agencies.
But despite this limitation, the OVP has helped 6,044 indigent clients pay for their dialysis, hospital bills, chemotherapy sessions, medicines, surgery and other procedures, and hearing aids, he said.
The OVP also provided educational support to 9,700 elementary school pupils nationwide, mostly children from indigenous communities, Salgado said.
He said the OVP assisted 1,588 OFWs in 2014, with requests for assistance ranging from repatriation, salary and benefits claims, legal help for detained OFWs, and grievances against recruiters and agents.
“And while we do welcome an honest appraisal of our work, we are satisfied more by the simple gestures of thanks from those whom we have served: a letter of thanks from an OFW awaiting repatriation, a warm embrace and the words maraming salamat [thank you] from a grateful mother,” Salgado said.
The MBC’s board of trustees include Ramon del Rosario Jr. (Philippine Investment Management Inc.), Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (Ayala Corp. chair and CEO), Roberto de Ocampo (Philippine Veterans Bank chair); Aurelio Montinola III (Bank of the Philippine Islands director) and Ricardo Romulo (Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc and De Los Angeles senior partner) as corporate secretary.
Attacks vs Aquino
Malacañang on Friday said Binay’s attacks against the Aquino administration after he resigned from the Cabinet may have contributed to the decline in his satisfaction rating among the MBC members.
“On the observation that the Office of the Vice President is among those that registered the largest declines in satisfaction rating, it may be reasonable to infer that this represents the negative feedback of the business community on the Vice President’s criticisms against the administration in the aftermath of his resignation from the Cabinet,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement.
Coloma noted that the business community had rated the Office of the President better in the latest survey.
“The Office of the President improved its standing from 36 to 27, with a net satisfaction score of +29.5,” he said.
“The survey results mirror and affirm the vote of confidence extended by the international community to the country as reflected in successive upgrades in investment rating, as well as significant improvement in global competitiveness rankings,” Coloma said.
DFA’s steadfast stand
He took particular note of the business community’s positive feedback on the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) handling of the South China Sea maritime dispute.
Coloma said the DFA obtained “broad-based support for its steadfast stand on a rules-based and diplomatic approach to dispute resolution pertaining to maritime entitlement issues in the West Philippine Sea.”
The state weather bureau also “earned well-deserved commendation for its accurate and reliable weather forecasting that is the linchpin of the country’s determined efforts to reduce risks and protect the lives and safety of our people,” he said.
Even the Civil Service Commission made it to the top 10 government agencies “on account of its campaign to instill a strong public service orientation among national government agencies rendering frontline services to the people,” Coloma said. With a report from Nikko Dizon
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