Now that we have identified pork barrel as a systemic manifestation of corruption that kills our country, we will turn to the next question – what and where is the root of corruption?
We can fondly remember what our national hero, Jose P. Rizal said towards corruption – that corruption is the cancer of the society. But I have been wondering about the root cause of this social cancer. In my attempts of pondering, my thoughts circled on values. Please take note that I am not even trying to be moralistic but corruption is an issue of double standard, misinformation and conflict of values.
I usually tell my students during their examinations and classes that cheating and dishonesty are no different to the corruption that they complain of. In my social sciences classes, my students rant about the corruption that they see on TV and read on social networking sites. I ask them about the issue – from the facts that they have gathered down to the way they understand those facts.
Unfortunately, most of the time, I get that mindless ranting – well yes, they rant but no because they are not specifically aware of the details of the issue. Let’s say that these guys are ranting about pork barrel but when you ask them what pork barrel is, they tend to scratch their heads or provide an inaccurate answer.
Folks, to combat corruption, we must first begin with awareness and understanding the facts that we are aware of. It is logical enough to say that how can you rant about something you dont know about? Its like barking at the wrong tree or shooting the wrong guy. This what I usually do in my social science classes – make them be aware of what is going on and understand the commotion that we see everyday.
After the awareness / understanding part, the next phase is to scrutinize / analyze. Establishing the definition of pork barrel based on different contexts is good. But we have to ponder also about its pros and cons, the costs and benefits as well as if one factor outweighs one another. Second, we have to think if the system was abused (which is obvious by the way) and what kind of circumventions these political monkeys have made into the system. Its like that classic knowing how the system works and discover the loopholes that makes it vulnerable. That is how we attack the loopholes – discover them and seal them so that they will not occur.
Then here comes the third part, after identifying the facts surrounding the issue and the rotten system that got our country so deeply embroiled – here comes getting to know the values that perpetuate this hideous thing. We get back to our own values. We get back to our own double standards and try to eliminate them too. Walk the talk. Its like in a classroom when you say you dont like dishonest people but you cheat during your exams. O kaya yung simpleng pagbalik ng sobrang sukli sa jeep na hindi mo magawa kasi iniisip mong nakajackpot ka at si manong ay nakalimot. O kaya okay lang na makiflirt ka sa iba while you are in a relationship tutal hindi naman malalaman ng gf/bf mo.
We identify the double standards. Because it helps us find the attitudes or behaviors that are related to the issue. These attitudes and behaviors also perpetuates the issue – nang hindi natin namamalayan.
I know this part is much difficult than the rest because it confronts us to the reality that whatever we do in this universe has a butterfly effect on the other part of the dimension. But once we take the step forward and walk the talk, then we can influence others to do the same too. I am huge believer of changing one’s self first before you attempt to change the world. Because you will be so empowered with the changes that you have created within you and share it to the rest of the world.
We are not born perfect. But we are born to try our best to improve, to change and create bigger changes in the world we live in.
So much thoughts for today. I’ll see you then in my next posts.