Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Once again, the Philippine President is under scrutiny because of the ZTE broadband deal. Being listed as one the corrupt countries in Asia, this is not a news anymore. From the lowest elected or appointed officials up to the highest elected or appointed officials, everyone is prone to corruption. Even the SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) officials are not immune to this "way of life."

To combat corruption in the Philippines, one has to demolish the very nature of the Filipino psyche. Whether we admit it or not, one of the weaknesses of the Filipinos is being "impatient".

"Mainipin ang mga Filipino. Ayaw maghintay nang matagal. Gusto ay matapos agad ang anumang bagay sa lalong madaling panahon. Ang gusto ay biglang-yaman. Kaya nga, mahilig sa mga sugal, jueteng, lotto, sabong at kung anu-ano pang sugal na madaling pagkakitaan ng pera."

The Filipinos are impatient. They do not want to wait long. They like to finish anything in a very short time. They want to be instant millionaire. That's why they like gambling, jueteng, lotteries, cockfighting and any other games that give them easy money.

And because of this attitude, instead of falling in line, those who have extra cash will transact business with an "insider" or a "fixer" for a certain fee so that they can get their documents faster.

Everything in the Philippines has a price. From birth certificates, passports, driving licenses, vehicles registration and even your votes.

The second way to eradicate corruption is to destroy the close family ties of the Filipinos. "Blood is thicker than water" is followed word by word by the Filipinos. "Kanino pa ang sarap kundi sa kamag-anak."

If you want to be elected in any public position, you need tha votes of your immediate family, your extended family by blood or my marriage, your neighbours, friends, the friends of your friends, and eventually the whole barangay. If you win, the" debt of gratitude" will haunt you. You will do something in return for those who voted and supported you.

How can you say "NO" to your brother if he asked you to give the building contract to his company? Can you say "NO" to your "inaanak" if he asked you a vacant position in the municipal hall?

You will serve a limited time in the public office but those who voted and supported you will be your family, neighbours, friends and "kabarangay" forever.

To combat corruption, the Filipinos have to change their attitudes NOT necessarily their leaders.

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