Servants not Masters-A A +A
Friday, September 20, 2013
STANDPOINT is back! The hibernation has ended.
Standpoint, with a new space in this paper, will be now again joining the fray of rumbling pen commentaries. It decided to cease its long voluntary disappearance. The following circumstance is the condition that agitates this writer to pull up again the rug where my pen lays underneath and rejoin the craft of column writing.
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A colleague in the media used to provoke an argument with me over his confusion about my work as a government employee, and being a member of the press as well.
This happened, in an early morning bout over hot cups of coffee at a press hangout in the city downtown area. Our confutation started from a tip off of another colleague in the Dept. of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Office that a high-ranking official is keeping an eye on my media interviews and pronouncement being the information officer of DOLE. My mole in the DOLE office told me that this official is fixing an investigation of all instances of my interviews especially those voice clips and footages that he thinks had “criticized his leadership.” Poor this official, he has yet to know people he crosses.
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My friend in the media wonders how I handle the job. He feels it inadmissible the way I disposed objectivity in my work as a media man in relation to my position as a government officer. “Are you sure you’re in the right place?” he teases me. “You’re in the government bureaucracy, yet, you’ve been hitting the policies and programs of the institution you’re in” he blows like a censorious bureaucrat trying to extract reasons of my disposition.
I understand his disagreement. He believes I am not supposed to criticize the entity which for the past many years I’ve been part of. For all those years, I’ve been soaked into great depths of conformity, into blind servitude for those who wielded authority – the powers that be. With an irremissible hope and dream for good governance and a better future, I have thought that obedience for the sake of unity, submission for the sake of loyalty, and compliance in pursuit of public service were the keys to employees’ survival. These ideas and patterns of behaviors, which had shaped the minds of state workers, reared us to be instruments for concealing realities, and proliferates intellectual stagnancy.
Nurtured by this kind of orientation, service to the public becomes an undertaking not to realize the aspirations of our people but to dupe them into subserviency. Proclaiming themselves to be the servants of the people but in reality, they are their masters. People had become desperate with the way these government officials handle its affairs.
My role as a servant of the people, that as a government employee, is to reverberate that desperation rather than to refute it at the pleasure of those government officials or superiors who want to project their programs’ “success” even if it’s a failure and for a show, for their personal glorification and preservation at the helm of power.
My government position which happens to be my preoccupation can never separate me from a commitment for articulating the real sentiments of our people. With this view, the primacy of public interest will always be my guiding principle. They, the people, are for me the authority and the master, and not those who happen to sit in the corridors of power.
For the many, it is a dangerous existence. This disposition is fraught with great amount of risks and sacrifices. Disconformity, criticism and the like for the authority are acts of dissent prohibited to those who’re supposed to follow orders, to those who’re supposed to kowtow to the line of deceit and subjugation by the very government he pledged to serve.
If you insist not to, then, better get out and find new job somewhere, others would tell. But, I don’t find this contention serious. Rather, it is some kind of an arrogance molded in a culture of bigots where officials had become allergic to dissent.
I’d be comfortable to be called a government propagandist than an apologist because, in the words of the respectable late historian Renato Constantino, “an apologist does not have the opportunity to express what his people needs.”
Instead, though living in disbelief, he becomes a tool of deception and dishonesty. At the other hand, a government propagandist, while endures the myth of free expression, can still dare to expose false assumptions and yet be acquainted with the ideas of the people and be able to use those ideas to unshackle them from docility and apathy. This is my conviction! (Danny Alcoriza - Standpoint)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 21, 2013.