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From the point of view of a taxpayer, it is very sickening to witness all forms of corruption in the government. Sometimes, without keen observation, we just don’t notice them, because they already become the norm, the usual, the practice. Many of the citizens even subscribe to it so that their transactions will become faster, and for other heck of reasons, without realizing that by doing so, they are cultivating the problem instead of being part of the solution. This is without prejudice to those citizens but in expression of the fact that some forms of corruption will not happen without our participation.
The crusade against corruption is a very challenging one, for it is not only the corrupt individuals that we fight, but also the system that breeds it.
As we know, the only place where there is no corruption is heaven. We must acknowledge that truth, but it doesn’t mean that we have to tolerate corruption and make it a way of life. It may sound being holier-than-thou, but we must be righteous and conscientious as much as we can and fulfill our obligations as citizens if we really care for the future of our country. If we cannot reverse the ‘flow’ itself, we can go against it. We always have the option not to be eaten by the system.
The crusade against corruption is a very challenging one, for it is not only the corrupt individuals that we fight, but also the system that breeds it. No matter how hard we try, if the bad system continues and will not be revamped, the problem will just go on and on. It seems that the framers and the lawmakers happened to ‘weaken’ the ‘immune system’ of our government, if not totally disable it for the benefit of those in power.
There was a notion several months ago from a famous pro-administration blogger about the idea of shifting the burden of proof to the one accused of corruption and graft. Meaning, the accused public official must prove beyond reasonable doubt that he or she is innocent. The present system provides the contrary, that is why very few corrupt officials are punished and many can easily get away with their liabilities. It is actually a very good idea, but it would hardly become a reality obviously for political reasons. There are other loopholes in our laws that need fixing, but because the public has limited power and participation when it comes to legislation and changes in the constitution, and because MOST of our representatives DO NOT actually represent us, raise our very needs and concerns, and only work for the sake of politics, such old problems remain rolling.
I believe discipline takes a portion of the pie as well. Our education system should focus not only on academic but also on moral excellence of the youth. The younger generation must be nurtured academically, morally, and professionally since they will be our future leaders. Take Japan as an example. It is the 18 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries, according to the 2018 Corruption Perception Index reported by Transparency International. I think that, aside from the government system that they developed over the years, one compelling reason why there is very low risk of corruption in their government1 is that their education system is designed to instill discipline among their youth. In fact, in the late 1800’s, they already established a public education system which helped shape a harmonious and disciplined society that they have until today2. No wonder their public officials and leaders generally have delicadeza, unlike in the Philippines where those convicted of corruption and graft and those subjected to controversies are re-elected, reinstated, or assigned for another office.
To sum it all up, not alone good politicians and public officials will save us, but the good system of government that will genuinely favor and protect the welfare of the public and not the political interest of the few.
1GAN Integrity website: www.ganintegrity.com/portal/country-profiles/japan/
2Japan Info website: www.jpninfo.com/52113