With the new administration about 5 months old, some are enthusiastic about the changes while others are
disappointed. In a ventures group, they were gung ho on signs and examples of not succumbing to petty corruption as a signs
of change for the better. On the other hand, some business executives recount scarcity of government contracts at present.
Their interpretation of this is that entrenched government executives and new influence peddlers are still looking around
for who they can corrupt or who they can milk. One foreigner opined that only a French-type revolution can cure the corruption
in this country. The need is to root out the mafias in the government departments which are still there. A Filipino business
man thought that it is better to invest outside the Philippines because unlike in this country, the legal processes of doing
business are transparent and getting permits is helped rather then blocked. Here every petty politician on all levels has
his hand out to would be investors. Of course this is a generalization. Some think that nothing that can be done. Our laws
have been skewed severely so that dictatorship cannot possibly come again. Any investment has to start with permits from the
barangay then to the municipality. Many of the political king pins on these levels have no interest in the national good.
They have to take what they can front end. What is in it for us? Give or we block your project. But can you blame them? In
the past they were neglected. So the pendulum has swung over to the other side.A large project is almost impossible to start.
And it is backed up by the present laws and legalities. Many of these people do not see things with a national perspective
and neither do they look to the future. They only see the present and their own interests. For them there is no such thing
as the national good. The complaint of former President Clinton applies to us that some voters do not consider the future
but only see the present.
Devolution of political power in a democracy to the lowest local level is theoretically correct and
Senator Pimentel's legislation was a whiff of fresh air after the dictatorship. But now the negative side of devolution is
just appearing. Cooperation in projects that will be good for the country is blocked. It is so rampant that articles praising
Bicol where the local officials assist rather than obstruct is worthy of note. The new administration is only five months
old and bad habits may still hang around. It is true that time is needed. However, the laws that make it possible to obstruct
projects for the common good by petty self-interest have to be addressed. One contractor who recently went to Papua New Guinea
was pleasantly surprised that all his legal papers were processed and approved in one and a half days, a process that would
have taken him six months to accomplish in the Philippines.
Is our culture stuck to corruption? Morality before World War II was destroyed with the war and the
years of dictatorship. However, the seeds of corruption have always been there. There will always be those who will take advantage
if they see an opportunity. What are we doing to bring back the sense of morality and respect for property of others? Of course
we can turn to the Ten Commandments of which many of our youth now have not heard. Honesty or the honor of honesty was a victim
of war. Property violations were trumped by hunger and the right to life. This proper violation of property rights has been
carried over to situations where there is no more question of right to life.
Some call it values; others commandments. One of these is respecting the right to property. If it
is a question of culture, what are we doing to make honesty a part of our culture, a part of the way we think, and act, and
do as the habitual knee jerk? There is need for inculcating these values and enforcing their observance. Are we modifying
the laws that made this obstructionism possible? Are we taking the larger picture? Do we consider both the present and the
future? Are we inculcating the common good, especially in our youth? Is honesty the best policy? Is the present administration
looking more deeply and substantially rather than at symptoms and appearances?
Philippines needs unity to address corruption and elitism
by Shay Cullen - Friday, October 29, 2010 IN ENERGY PUBLISHER.com
No wonder that the
new Philippine “Aquino administration” made anti-corruption its main drive against poverty. “If there is
no corruption, there will be no poverty”, says President Noynoy Aquino. This was the slogan that won him the election.
It’s so true and yet the solutions are still so hard to find and reform is almost impossible to achieve at this time
with many corrupt politicians and their cronies still in government. They are entrenched and are opposing and thwarting the
efforts of Aquino to fight corrupt practices.
The Aquino administration is under attack by the opposing elite who
have been removed from the highest echelons of power but can still oppose reform from lower levels. They exercise control
through cronies in government departments having bought them over with corrupt bonuses and money transfers. We cannot expect
the emergence of a clean, honest, corrupt-free government anytime soon. The juggernaut of greed is hard to stop.
Manila Times where this column is published carried the front page headline a while back - RP remains "Highly corrupt".
It quotes Transparency International, the prestigious non-government organization that monitors the ethical practice of governments
and corporations around the world. The Philippines has improved this year but has a long long way to go. It ranked a low 141st
in 2008 in the ranking of least corrupt "virtuous" nations but has come up to 134th. This year, a modest improvement. Denmark,
Singapore, New Zealand ranked first place with identical scores 9.2 out of a top score of ten. The Philippines scored a dismal
People around the world wonder why it’s such a low-ranking in a democratic country such as the Philippines.
Despite the bright hope and trust placed in the Aquino administration as one dedicated to bring about a reasonably clean and
corrupt-free rule, there is still a fierce struggle going on behind the scenes. The shocking reality is that this so-called
democratic nation of vast mineral resources, with a population of 93 million intelligent, generally well-educated, religious,
friendly, hard working, lovely, but very poor people; mired poverty is ruled by a corrupt power-grabbing elite of about 200
This small elite of wealthy people and corporations, masquerades as a paragon of church-going virtue. The
corrupt elite is a deadly devouring rapacious T-Rex dinosaur, at times dressed-up as a cuddly stuffed toy that has misled
and bamboozled the electorate with empty promises and cheated in elections to remain in power but this year that did not work
The most recent election of thousands of local government officials, (many are representatives of the elite
at the village level,) has been no better. The democratic effort was marred by cheating, manipulation and election failure
in some places. In the recent past, whenever the elite saw that its power and privileges and corrupt practices were being
challenged and openly exposed in the media by outspoken critics, it stepped out of it its cuddly toy costume and began to
devour it critics and anyone who stood in its way.
This elite of about 200 families have ruled 93 million people through
a democratic facade for the past decades because they have cleverly bound the corrupt elements in the military and police
to them by turning a blind eye to their corrupt practices. In return, the elite can call on the military to defend them against
popular uprisings and mass protests. Hence the death squads and assassination of over a thousand social critics, community
organizers, opponents and even priests, pastors, and journalists that have been stabbed, tortured and shot to death in the
past ten years.
The idealistic and upright members of the military rose up in protest and staged several failed attempted
coups to end the corrupt practices of the last administration. They have been granted an amnesty by President Aquino. This
is a time of opportunity for the virtuous to exert their moral values, commitment to fairness and honesty, to take a stand
for justice, truth and good clean governance. It’s a time to unite efforts, hopes, resources and talent to work for
the more just and equal society.
Rev. Shay Cullen is a founder ofPREDA.org - a nonprofit dedicated to ending the exploitation of children.
Partner organizations in this website while it was
actively publishing news excerpts:
Ehem -- the anti-corruption initiative
of the Philippine Jesuits echoes the urgent call for cultural reform against corruption in the Philippines. Ehem
aims at bringing people to a renewed sensitivity to the evil of corruption and its prevalence in ordinary life. It seeks ultimately
to make them more intensely aware of their own vulnerability to corruption, their own uncritiqued, often unwitting practice
of corruption in daily life. Ehem hopes to bring people, in the end, to a commitment to live the way of Ehemplo --- critical
of corruption, intent on integrity!
Management Association of the Philippines MAP is a management organization
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executives from the top local and multinational companies operating in the country, including some top officials of government
and the academe.
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