My experience as a former government employee has allowed me to witness some corrupt practices that are very traumatizing. It did make me sad for my hometown, because I saw directly and peripherally how it was being fooled and milked, and I was not able to do anything about it when I was still there.
They say that everything happens for a reason. That part of my history has become my key to find my greatest purpose, i.e. to advocate anti-graft and corrupt practices in our local government. It may cost me my life, but this, I think, might be the best way to exhibit my patriotism.
I would rather die for a great cause than to die with regret. This is how corruption has worsened and has been deeply rooted in our society. The enablers will actually silence and kill people to proceed to their evil business.
I cannot just look away from it. I mean, it will not be solved if we would just accept our poor situation. Corruption is like a fatal, degenerative disease in our nation that cannot be cured alone or by only a few. This needs a collective effort. This is everybody’s fight. That is why I am launching this local crusade against corruption, hoping that it can wake up and gather more patriotic souls to save our homeland from the vultures inside the government.
But, before we can do it effectively, we must understand first what corruption really means. According to Transparency International, corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private (or personal) gain. It can further be classified as grand, petty, or political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs. Using the government employees (as against their will) and properties such as service vehicles and heavy equipment for personal or private projects, over-pricing of work programs, stealing public funds that are supposed to be utilized for the projects, bidding for and being awarded government projects although they are also working for that same agency that has the said projects (also an issue of conflict of interest), allowing ghost employment, and even not giving the employees their due benefits such as bonuses and allowances – these are just examples of corrupt practices. Yes. That’s how gruesome it is.
Having defined our enemy, how can we then provide solutions as ordinary citizens?
The first and the easiest way is to raise awareness about corruption. Let us make it a habit to open it up to other people, through personal conversations and through social media. Call these corrupt practices out. Let us put pressure to the doers. Expose it until it no longer has a grip on us. These corrupt people tend to see government office as a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. When in fact, it must be otherwise. Public office is public trust. They are there basically to serve us through our taxes, and not steal taxes from us. If they want to get rich and live in lavishness, public office must not be the way to go. They must get jobs from private companies or start a business and live a decent life. Taxes are hard earned money. That is why people expect excellent public service.
Another thing that we can do is to bring up our concerns and get help from anti – corruption agencies. The Transparency International, a global coalition against corruption, supports witnesses and victims of corruption. Presidential Complaint Center (PCC) also accommodates complaints and grievances from the public, provided that the concerns are backed up with pertinent documents to determine the appropriate agency for the specific concern. The Civil Service Commission and the Department of Interior and Local Government are government agencies that also act upon complaints on corrupt practices of government officials and employees.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” That is a remarkable quote from Dr. Seuss that really moved me and awakened my patriotism and activism. We must always believe that there is hope, as long as we do something about it, and we never stop.