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Column: Extreme Realities
« on: January 18, 2017, 04:09:50 PM »
Extreme Realities
By Atty. Aleck Francis Lim
Published: December 17, 2006 by The Bohol Standard

An American investment banker, who was not named in a report, has discovered that the late President Ferdinand Marcos has assets in Switzerland worth $950 billion.

It was Camilo Sabio, chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government who revealed to the media that he had met with this American lawyer in New York, who is privy to Marcos’ hidden wealth in Switzerland.

By looking at the figure, any ordinary Filipino citizen cannot imagine how big a US$950 billion is. Most of us are familiar only with four- or five-figure peso sign, an amount we receive as income in a given month.

Let’s go back to simple mathematics.

One billion is 1,000 million. Wait, this is not a peso – this is a U.S. dollar money, thus a one million dollar, at current exchange rate, is more or less fifty million pesos. And wait, this is not a million figure – this is billion.

What a breathtaking calculation!

Even if you spend P50,000 pesos a day, you won’t run out of money until you die. And you can even buy a pure gold coffin replete with diamonds, and yet you still have billions in your bank accounts.

But what struck us most is the question as to how the Marcoses were able to accumulate such mammoth assets? Did they work hard for it? Were they involved in some international business investments? Well, your guess is as good as mine.

Another disturbing fact is the power of greed that is really at work here. If these assets were indeed existing and owned by the Marcoses, we may ask as to why they had to pile up such unimaginable wealth? For what? For whom? Did they expect to live forever on earth that they need to keep this wealth for personal consumption?

We are only asking questions here, and we don’t expect to get answers because no one perhaps would be daring enough to disclose the truth.

And we are not accusing the Marcoses. Our inquiries are normal reaction to Sabio’s revelation. Whether this report is true or not, we can only shake our heads in disbelief and disgust though we’ve heard in the past of many tales of Marcos’ wealth being kept in foreign banks.

According to the World Institute for Development Economics Research, an arm of the United Nations University based in Helsinki, the richest one percent of the world’s populations owns 40 percent of the total household wealth in the world.

Most of the wealthiest are living in North America, Europe, and Japan. Bill Gates of Microsoft is of course one of them.

Now, if we place the Marcoses in the list of the world’s wealthiest, Bill Gates would appear so small, with his $32 billion assets.

The research firm’s report should have included the Philippines as home to those who belong to the one percent of the world’s population who owns 40 percent of the world’s wealth.

On the other hand, it is significant to mention that the UN had said that 40 to 50 percent of the Philippine population are living in extreme poverty. Poverty is measured, by UN standards, according to income of $2 a day, or a little over a hundred pesos.

Here we see a gaping disparity between the poor and the rich in our country, a disparity that has stirred a nationwide climate of discontent and gloom.

We don’t know how to recover the wealth of the Marcoses. If these belong to the Republic of the Philippines, then these should be returned to us.

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