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RP 'most corrupt' in Asia--PERC
3/13/2007 12:49:06 PM

That's the headline splashed over the front page of today's (March 13, 2007) Philippine Daily Inquirer (http://www.inquirer.net/index_network.htm).

In spite of all the qualifications (such as media censorship that tends to filter out the bad news in some of the nations surveyed), what else is new, really?

We have this penchant for ousting a corrupt political regime more than once only to see the ousted regime replaced by one that is even more corrupt. The downward spiral is simply sickening. We have long validated the unflattering definition of a "Christian" being one who goes to church to pray on Sundays and preys on his/her neighbors the rest of the week. Gosh, I suspect we even screw the neighbors on Sundays! The moral fiber within a nation that's 80% Christian Catholic simply took a leave.

The only "positive" thing about the above survey conducted by the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) is that the rating for the private sector is only about half as bad (4.15) as the rating for the public sector (9.4) which worsened sharply from the previous year's 7.8 rating.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo understandably wasted no time blaming her opposition for the negative image (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view_article.php?article_id=54663).

Nevertheless, representatives of the country’s business elite conceded that corruption remained a major problem. However, they disputed the PERC finding that the Philippines was perceived to be the most corrupt in Asia.

What do you think is a doable solution to ameliorate ("fix" is probably wishful thinking) or reverse the corruption in the Philippines? I'm aware that the problem is too complex and, as such, requires complex solutions. However, if you say, "regulate the schools from churning more lawyers" [no, I've no prejudice against lawyers--I grew up with 5 siblings, 3 of whom chose to be lawyers], or "reform the judicial system to involve more responsible, honest, ordinary citizens as in a jury-like system", then we have some point to start with.

What do you say?



Comments



VF
3/14/2007 11:28:41 PM

Hi Zeny,

After living more than half of my life outside the Philippines, I (we) cannot help but notice the ‘faillites’ and ‘faibles’ of the system – from the corrupt government to the indolence of the general public. We tend to demand the things we see and enjoy abroad – from the infallible government services to the polite police officers and honest shopkeepers.

Now, I ask this: How’s our ‘comportement’ whenever we go back to the Philippines?

Funny but we may be asking too much, yet we don’t really share that ‘good’ attitude we talk (compare-so-much-against) so much about.

Ten percent of the Filipino population are living or working abroad. (Mind you, 10 percent is already a lobbying power, n'est-ce pas?) We pump foreign currencies into the country to keep the economy afloat and the government calls us ‘modern heroes.’ Nice, isn’t it? Yet, how many among us do really share our ‘good’ experiences to ameliorate the lives of our immediate family members, and try to extend that good attitude to neighbours, local officials... so that, hopefully, we may also influence the corrupt minds of the people of the national government?

What do most of us do as balikbayans instead? Hmmm... lemisi: We are very good at parading around town displaying our good fortunes or marching in mock pageantries of imaginary monarchs.

hehehehe... I cannot help grinning whenever I see balikbayans walking around laden with their tons of jewelleries, and jokingly calling them hepatitis-infected cows (because of the yellow reflections of glittering gold) – kasla diay baka ni Tatangko!

HAR HAR HAR.


P.S.
During my recent trip to the Philippines, I learned a good lesson from a very dear friend, Ms. Sherma Benosa.

“VF!” she scolded me while we were eating dinner together. “How about us, honest citizens living in the Philippines, trying to churn our best and make the country going, despite all those ignorance you accuse us of?”

Then she wittingly added “Why not try to look at your glass of wine as half full instead of half empty?”

I was dumbfounded to realize I was not really helping my country. I was not really giving a chance to have that glass of wine getting filled ... in due course of time.

[PS pa: Part of my prayers now is for God not to allow civil war in my dear Philippines, just as the beginnings of the rich countries of Europe and America.]




Zeny Padre
3/16/2007 1:23:13 AM

I know it's important to visit the "old place" every now and then. In fact, I'm all for it to get a sense of what's really going on over there. However, in the past five years, I have involved myself and my family and a few others in a project to provide computers to the elementary and high schools in a rural community back home. During that time, we've spent the money (which we would otherwise spend on visiting the "old place") on refurbishing second-hand computers, buying educational software, etc. and shipping them to those community schools. (We've shipped 22 PCs so far two which were DOA and we have a few more waiting to be shipped.)

At first the teachers over there were slow to realize the importance of learning how to use the computers and the educational software inspite of the fact that we also sent how-to software for both computer hardware (basic PC how-to) and applications software (Microsoft Office Suite self-paced training). The students have, however, shown an eagerness to learn some basic computer skills, prompting a computer hands-on scheduling.

The next step is to bring on the Internet although the ISP providers are rather slow in responding to the need of the community. It seems like there are inadequate relay stations to get a reliable Internet connection in that northern part of the Philippines. It is our intent eventually to provide the people of the community a window on the world (thru the Internet) for them to realize there are certain things and ways to be learned to live a much better life than what they already have.

I urge others to initiate similar projects.

My theory is: there's a huge percentage of Filipinos who lack the knowledge and skills to survive within a certain level of comfort in a "proper" and honorable manner--hence the "indolence". Therefore, to survive, albeit barely, they short-circuit the system by hook or by crook--and that accounts for the rampant corruption.

But give them the knowledge and skills (especially entrepreneural skills) to survive in the traditional, honorable way (with the help of those computers and the Internet), I would like to bet on the eventual trending down of corruption. It may take some time. But a better-informed people equipped with proper survival skills would be more difficult to corrupt; they, too, would be less tolerant of corrupt government officials.





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