“(THE) ISSUE of corruption, a social malady that is both a cause and symptom of decadence in Filipino culture” (Rev. Fr. Romero J. Intangan, SJ, “Foreward: “EHEM!’ A Manual for Deepening Involvement in Combating Corruption.” 2003).
No doubt we have a “Culture of Corruption” in the Philippine that continues to worsen every passing year.
In 2003, the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus Committee on the Evangelization of Culture came out with the “EHEM!” Manual mentioned above. Surely much time, effort and money were spent on its preparation. But sad to say, it had hardly caused a dent on the “Culture of Corruption” in our country.
A single institution only in the Philippines to address our “Culture of Corruption” will not suffice. A “Whole-of-Nation” collaborative approach seems to be the more effective way to do this. Of course, if a “vaccine” for corruption with a 99% efficacy rate could be invented, hopefully it will eradicate our “Culture of Corruption.”
But in the meantime, if leaders of our various institutions could only agree to recently collaborate with one another and form an “Anti-Corruption Whole-of-Nation Commission” in the “Filipino Bayanihan” Spirit, we will have a fighting chance to succeed in this challenging task. But will they?
Another good reference in fighting corruption in our country is the book written by former Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago which merited her with a “Magsaysay Award.” The book remains in the dustbin of our national library, ignored by all our Presidents from her to the present.
Our history tells us that corruption in the Philippines was introduced by Spanish government officials and Friars. When we achieved our independence in Kawit, Later on, American government officials with Filipino imperialists joined American colonizers, Filipino imperialists dominated our nation with their corruptive activities to the point of creating a “Damaged Culture” in the Philippines plagued by massive corruption.
In the “Country Corruption Perception Index, 2002”, USA ranked 16, Spain ranked 20 and the Philippines ranked 77. Finland, which ranked 1 was the least corrupt nation worldwide while Bangladesh ranked 102 as the most corrupt. This clearly showed that we Filipino have beaten our mentors when it comes to corruption!
Based on my humble observation, it was after World war II, during the Presidency of Elpidio Quirino, that corruption ballooned in our government service. It was also around this time that Patriotism or love of Country started to ebb while extreme Love of Family began to overtake Patriotism.
There is no doubt that an inverse correlation exists between degradation of Patriotism and over family-centeredness.
George Washington, on the other hand said that “religion and the practice of democracy have been closely intertwined. These two are inseparable.” He followed up in his farewell address: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.
In vain would the man claim the tribute of patriotism. Who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens”. To this we say, “Amen!” The separation between the State and Religion in our Constitution is very limited in scope.
Remember what President Quezon then said that he “rather have a government run by Filipinos like hell than a government run by American like heaven”? Well his prophecy indeed came true!.
Before, we used to be next to Japan in prosperity in Asia. Now we are one of the poorest in this part of the world. Undoubtedly, our “Culture of Corruption” contributed much in our deterioration as a country. The greatest irony is that we are one of the two Asia countries in Asia whose people are predominantly Christian Filipinos are not real Christian in the real sense of the word.
The big question is:” Can we Filipinos heal our sick society of its “Culture of Corruption”? Yes we can if our people will unite to do so. “Pag gusto, may paraan. Pag ayaw, may katwiran.” Filipinos better wake up to this truth”: “Corruption breeds poverty of the spirit that leads to material poverty.”
“Corruption is now commonly defined and viewed as the abuse of official power, mostly but not limited to government positions for private gain and enrichment. Succeeding concepts of corruption are as a “behavior that deviates from the formal duties of public role because of private – regarding pecuniary status,” wrote Ronnie V. Amoranto. He further mentioned a certain Bardhan who elaborated “on corruption as the use of public office for private gains, where an official (as agent) entrusted with carrying out a task by the public (as principal) engages in some sort of malfeasance for private enrichment.”
Awake, Awake, Filipinos Awake, Awake! The “real vaccine” for corruption is spiritual rather than medical or political. It is “True Love of God and Neighbors” that’s what we Filipinos utterly lack in the ultimate analysis.
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