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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Corruption in the Philippines

Escolta-Jones bridge. Photo courtesy of www.livingincebu.com
Several  research studies have established that the Philippines was an economic power in the early 1960’s. The same likewise confirmed the fact that the island nation boasted one of the largest and developing economies in Asia, second only to Japan.

Today, while it maintains its important role as an  ASEAN member in particular and the world community in general, it is sad to say that those glorious days are way behind us and long over.

At the present time, when asked about the Philippines, economic struggle, political instability, increasing crime rate and corruption are what most likely come into the mind of the outsiders.

Still reeling from the wounds inflicted by the almost 20 years of dictatorship of the late President Ferdinand  Marcos,  the cases of plunder against 2 former Philippine Presidents, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, affirmed the prevalence of  an ailing society that slowly but surely eroded the  moral fiber of the Filipino nation. Add the numerous cases of corruption against both high civil government and military officials make one’s head spin and blow out of its socket.   Only the eventual suicide of a former DILG and Defense Secretary  Angelo Reyes  remained a sad note that tempered  the gravity of these scandalous episodes.  The most recent impeachment of no less than the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court  Renato Corona is the “last nail on the coffin” that sealed the doom of the Filipino nation.

Although the present Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is trying to raise hopes for the Filipino people in his vaunted slogans, “ Matuwid na Daan Para sa Kaunlaran “ and  “Kung Walang Korapt,  Walang Mahirap”, the efforts of present administration  is more of a lip service rather a sincere and effective way out of the quagmire. As if there is no end to our dilemma, the childish bickering of our present  Senators  over the use of public funds makes me puke in disgust and hopelessness. When will this end? I asked myself these days.

Do we still have hope? Even when our political leaders lie, cheat and steal public funds?…. Even when public offices, from the highest level down to the lowest Barangay, become fertile grounds for graft and corruption and satisfy greed with impunity?

Corruption is a serious threat to the social and economic development of our country. Worsening cases of corruption has deprived the Filipino people the right to good governance at the very least and robbed of the his dignity at the very most. I wonder why corruption scandals seem endless. Most corruption cases are only “closed” unresolved and focus is made on new corruption scandals taking its place. WHOA!

It is worthwhile to note that the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report for 2008 – 2009, most private companies have identified corruption in government as their number 1 concern  and admitted having paid bribes to Philippine government offices in order to “get things done”  as confirmed by the 2007 SWS Business Survey on Corruption.          

The country’s mid-term national election is scheduled on May this year. The campaign period for the national posts has started a week ago while local campaign will start next month of March. Watch at how these political aspirants spend money left and right in the pursuit of their political aspirations. Campaign expenses have been estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of pesos for national candidates and lesser amounts, still in the millions, for local ones.
Where these staggering amounts of money came from is a question we have to ponder but to understand why candidates have to spend this much is more perplexing.  Having said that, how will the winning candidates retrieve their campaign expenditures in the millions?  Where?  Your guess is as good as mine.

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