Editor’s note: This article was submitted earlier this year.

Math is my most hated subject in school, and thank God my course in UP Diliman does not require a lot of math.

But I guess numbers and computations are bound to annoy me and make me curse to high heavens.

A recent episode of Probe bared the current figure of unliquidated cash advances (UCA) the Arroyo government issued to its officials and employees in its five and a half years of reign — a whopping total of P322 million. Probe also compared that amount to the UCAs of the past three administrations — Aquino’s totaled P11 million, Ramos with P75 million, and Estrada with P56 million. Compute these amounts and it will sum up to P142 million — still less than half of Arroyo’s UCA.

Legal and finance experts agree that UCA is a form of corruption, of plunder, basically because the law requires cash disbursements and transactions properly checked and audited. To illustrate, a certain government office has a legislated budget X, and the value of X is divided to specific expenses by the office, i.e. procurement of facilities, operational expenses, and primarily the payroll of its heads and staff. UCA occur when the department doles out the payroll budget sans the issuance of cash vouchers, which is a standard operating procedure in all offices and businesses to ensure proper cash flow and transparency. And with Probe’s expose about this unprecedented amount of P322 million we taxpayers lost due to UCA is another proof that this country is run by a plunderer.

And yes, numbers don’t lie, and numbers present the irony of the President’s claim. Arroyo says we are having an economic recovery, and that the Philippines is the most improved economy in Asia primarily because we are having the highest gross domestic product in years, the peso has reached the high 40s, and stock indeces have skyrocketed.

On the other hand, the Consumer and Oil Price Watch predicts that the price of diesel will increase by P8 at the end of the year. And we all know that the higher the price of diesel, the higher the commuter’s fare and food products, since these goods are transported by diesel-powered trucks. Moreover, families of migrant workers complain about the strong peso since their breadwinners earn a weaker dollar. In a “normal” and import-dependent economy, a strong currency must translate to cheaper goods and oil, and more open jobs inside the country. Perhaps, Gloria may be right that she’s met her state of the nation address promise of providing an additional one million jobs in the form of contractual call center agents and blue-collared laborers.

But we’ve just discussed a minute detail of the picture. Arroyo bragged in a government ad that the economic boom will enable the government to be independent to foreign debts. But a Freedom from Debt Coalition study says that as long as the Automatic Appropriation Law is not lifted and a comprehensive debt audit does not take place, we common citizens will suffer the debt burden aggravated by Arroyo, who borrowed more than the past three administration’s borrowings combined. And with this debt burden, basic needs like education, health, and social welfare is compromised. No wonder why UP is coming at par with UST in terms of tuition rate, why the East Avenue Medical Center is called a virtual morgue, and why street dwellers and juvenile delinquents are aplenty, while Arroyo and her kiss-ass minions in the Lower House enjoy weeks of escapades in Europe with our money as their pamasahe.

Yes, Math is indeed a painstaking subject, and with these latest mathematical statistics laid to us common people, there is a crystal clear reason to flunk Ate Glue. The hard-earned money of the millions of workers is being plundered by the hundred millions while a guy named Benjamin Abalos and a pig named Jose Pidal are playing golf, screaming the words “back-off” in every swing.

In this tyranny of numbers, let us be the terror math teacher while Arroyo and her minions be the failing student.

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