“Kung walang korup, walang mahirap.” (President Benigno C. Aquino III)
HOW TRUE. The cost of corruption in the Philippines is widespread poverty and inequality. Unfortunately, P’noy failed to “walk his talk” in this regard. His administration had also a hint of corruption.
How come our predominantly Christian society is confronted with a “Crisis of the Soul” as former Senator Francisco Tatad rightly pointed out? This great irony is due to our degrading spirituality and morality leading to a “Culture of Corruption.” Our prescription to cure the root cause of this anomalous condition is for our government to declare a “War on Corruption” and initially launch a People Renewal Program.
As far as I know, only President Fidel V. Ramos, among our previous Presidents attempted to confront our declining spirituality and morality with his “Moral Recovery Program.” “Another well-studied Anti-Corruption Program titled “Pamathalaan” was introduced by the Ramos administration in 1996. ‘Pamathalaan’ is a vision. It conceives an ideal Philippine Society based not on foreign models but on values and experiences unique to the Filipino people. It draws wisdom from cumulative experiences of ordinary folks whose perceptions of and aspirations in life have largely remained embodied in their soul despite the long years of colonization and modernization”, Marieta Primicias Goco explained. I learned that “Pamathalaan is a combination of the Filipino words “Pamahalaan” (governance) and “Bathala” (God). Sad to say, President Ramos’ administration likewise was allegedly not spared by corruption.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, on the other hand, wrote a good book on fighting corruption. This should be our “bible”. This should be our “bible” in our “War on Corruption”. It is a sad commentary that the succeeding administrations did not continue nor improve such laudable anti-corruption endeavors. Although an Office of the Ombudsman, the Philippine Commission on Good Governance, and an Anti-Corruption Commission were created, these seemed wanting, not effective, based on our still unabated widespread corruption.
This article is a call for the present administration headed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to seriously consider declaring a “War on Corruption” while there is still time for him to do so.
We must champion the cause of the poor. We must promote solidarity with the vulnerable Filipino families. A “War on Corruption” in its right context, is a “War” for the poor. The least of our brothers and sisters are worth fighting for. Let this be our spiritual and moral concerted efforts. He could start this by adopting KPP’s “Be a New Filipino” People Renewal Program. Our recent “Primer on Real Social Transformation” could serve as one of his references in this challenging task.
I wrote several times before about our Davao-based “Kilos Pederal sa Pagbabago” (KKP) Movement’s “Be a New Filipino” People Renewal Program as our prescription to transform the questionable mindset and behavior of Filipinos in general that are conducive to misdemeanors. There is no harm in discussing this again.
What I am trying to say is that there is no need for the President to “reinvent the wheel” in this regard to save time, effort, and resources. Clearly, time is of the essence here.
KPP’s new enlightenment is that “to effectively change a nation or society, we must change first the mindset and behavior of our people.” This goes also in our fight against corruption. All laws, rules, choices, and actions must be based on values. Thus, in pursuing this confrontation, appropriate values should be promoted. Some of these values are:
Let these values blossom in our society for sustainable peace and prosperity.
Believing also that “learning is the daughter of repetition”, let me mention again that KPP’s “Be a New Filipino” Renewal Program has seven Pillars – three Upper Pillars of 1) Love of God, 2) Love of Country, and 3) Love of Family, in that correct order; and the four Lower Pillars are: 1) Spiritual and Moral Recovery 2) Patriotism Revival, 3) Entrepreneurial Mindset and Behavior, and 4) Physical and Mental Health and Wellness.
For this People Renewal Program to succeed, it must be a collaborative effort of all leaders of our various institutions, it must be orchestrated by our President BBM, Jr. Furthermore, it must be emphasized that this must be a continuing Program that should transcend all future administrations. Our “Crisis of the Soul” demands a continuous “spiritual warfare” for ultimately, the “War on Corruption” is a battle between good and evil. Hence, a “Whole-of-Institution Approach” is imperative for its success. Of course, all government agencies, local, regional, and national must likewise be involved in this confrontation, and the needed budget in this inter-generational “War” must be allocated yearly. This could be one of the legacies of PBBM.
In 2001, leaders of our Catholic Church published an “Ehem! Manual for Reopening Involvement in Combating Corruption”. It consists of “Frequently Asked Questions”. Following each question is a clarification of certain terms as well as available relevant information. In this era of rapid technological advancement, our Catholic Church should use now social media and other digital platforms to disseminate this “Ehem” Manual content constantly. Allow me to quote a paragraph from said Manual below.
“The Philippines’ national anti-corruption framework and strategy defines corruption as the use of public office and the betrayal of public trust for private gain and graft as the acquisition of gain in dishonest or questionable manner (cited in Transparency and Accountable Governance). Essentially, corruption refers to corruption practices in governance while graft refers to corruption in general, including in the private sector. However, the term corruption is commonly used to refer to all forms of corruption and corruptible acts and practices, in both inside and outside of government.”
Profoundly, transforming our “Culture of Corruption” is indeed a challenging task not only for our government but also for our private sector. It calls for the Conversion of our public and private sectors. But take note that Conversion is the work of God. Humans are sinners. Thus, for Conversion to happen, humans must open their hearts and minds, and seek God and His grace of Conversion. Clearly, for our “War on Corruption” to succeed, it should be our people’s war. Of course, the declaration of our “War on Corruption” falls on the lap of our President. This should be a top-to-bottom missionary undertaking.
After launching a People Reform Program, a “Task Force on Anti-Smuggling and Hoarding” that focuses on confronting smuggling and hoarding” in our country must be organized. This challenging task demands efficient and effective intelligence work to succeed. The Task Force should be headed by a military man known for courage, competence, determination, and integrity. “Dito kailangan ang malaking “intelligence fund.
In addition, the University of the Philippines should initiate a scientific study on why Filipinos abroad are honest and disciplined while many Filipinos in the Philippines are dishonest and undisciplined. The result of the study could be a source for our government’s, guidance. I think that the four (4) major reasons for these contradictory behaviors are:
- Poor implementation of our rules, regulations and laws;
- Very slow pace of our justice system;
- Utter lack of political will for serious reforms; and
- Absence of true transparency and accountability.
Let the result of this study also be widely disseminated for the education of our people.
Actually, there are really no such things as government funds. There are only people’s money. And they say that “The hottest part of hell is reserved for those who stole people’s money.” Let there be no corruption in all government agencies and let it begin in agencies tasked to fight corruption.
A “Prayer of a Public Servant” is most appropriate to conclude this article:
“Almighty and Eternal God, I praise and thank you for calling me to serve your people. Anoint and help me not to seek power nor position but rather make me a vessel of your grace to touch the life of our people, and seek to be worthy of your love.
Lord, mold me to your heart. Use me as a channel of your compassion. Keep me to be worthy of your trust that I may be an instrument of peace and hope for everyone.
Give me the courage to be part of a change to achieve our dream of transformation. Finally, please heal our land and restore faith and righteousness in our nation. All these I ask in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.”
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