Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Only in The Philippines?

On the way home from Ateneo, I was listening to the evening news through the car radio. The news that caught my attention involved that of a certain former government official who is now being called to testify in front of the senate regarding his alleged anomalous release of funds to government officials not necessarily involved with the goals of that fund. What really got me wondering was not the fact that there was news about possible committed corruption (What's new?), but the statement of a well-known senator (known to be corrupt, but bluntly proven) for the former government official;on TV, he advised the former government official to stop "prolonging the agony," and to start testifying already, as if he, the well-known senator, himself was a righteous man (He may actually be.).

That piece of news just got my attention, but I am not condemning that certain senator for saying that. It is his job to say that, since he is also tasked to do investigations. However, what keeps me bothered is the fact that politicians we usually carelessly brand as corrupt seem to investigate each other on a regular basis already. I wonder what comes to the minds of political investigators when they interview anomalous people. I mean, if they were corrupt too, then they would probably be laughing at the anomalous person they were interviewing for being stupid enough to be caught. We rarely end up proving that a lot of governement officials in the Philippines are corrupt, or have stolen a tremendous amount of money, but we always seem to know, based on rumors, and news of this and that person "allegedly" stealing this and that amount for this or that invalid project. Sometimes, we do not have to prove that someone is bad to know if a system is bad, or dangerous. 

But how the heck did our country end up to be like this? The government functions very much like a company, and we can think of it as the central company that takes care of all major transactions that will benefit the Filipino citizen, its customer and major shareholder. If this company alone is known to be corrupt in itself, then all other companies, or systems attached to it (like the different sectors), are bound to be corrupt in a degree equal to, or less than that of the central government. Therefore, we can say that in our own different work places, like show business or the simple common corporate set-up, different forms of corruption are already present, and they are not limited to stealing money by way of bent transactions. If you noticed, in the Philippines, only the powerful elite help their own kind, and most of the developing kind (those striving to improve their lives immensely) have to struggle against crab mentality, and having to meet the right people at the right time to help them out. Don't we all just wish that our own workplaces felt like school, wherein working hard almost usually meant getting the better grade, and hopefully the better future? PR was not the make or break skill then, but now, the motto seems to be "Who you know will best help you and your company."

As a student nearing the end of my student life, I keep praying not to be eaten up by the damaged culture in my own future workplace, if ever that damaged culture shows up. When we all end up having to decide against our own integrity for what may seem to look better for our own careers, do we succumb to temptation? Seeing that the damaged Filipino culture is an open secret, is being part and king of that system the only way to succeed? When the good people we see are limited to the "heroes" and those who are killed for fighting for what they believe in, can we still be courageous enough to do what's right, and what we love?

We may be afraid to pay the price of doing good, but if we do not do good now, whatever bad we do will eventually contribute to a system that will kill us in the end. I hope more people take the risk.