Editorial: Calling us out-A A +A
Sunday, September 1, 2013
IF SUPREME Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen's Baguio Day keynote address did not move the citizenry of the Summer Capital and most especially its officials, then we are doomed.
Leonen delivered a 25-minute long but very rousing speech on steadfast service, the theme of the 104th Charter Day anniversary of Baguio.
"Steadfast service is not enough. Rebuild the foundations of this city. Find your moral high ground once more. Recover the integrity and excellence of our public service. Know your people and empower them. Have the courage to be accountable," Leonen called on us.
Public service, he emphasized, requires integrity competence and passion.
"Corruption deprives all of us the succor from government that we deserve. The lack of care to learn what we should do as public officials insults the many who struggle for a better life. The failure of public service...as public officials shift their perspective from one of public trust to entitlement," the youngest SC justice stressed.
These failures, he said, are evident in families unable to eat three square meals a day; a public uninformed of the evils in society; monsoon rains resulting in disasters; traffic congestion; environmental degradation; the endless labyrinth of government regulations which fail those who most need service.
Leonen said honesty, kindness, respect and care, empathy and courage are what will help us battle all these failures. "These are needed to give the government our people deserve."
But he also told the public to be vigilant. "[Vigilance] does not stop simply because there is a petition on Facebook; or thousand messages on Twitter. [Vigilance] does not stop simply because a rally is held. Without diligence, patience and vigilance to go through the legal process, all the efforts extended in mass mobilization, would just be optics, a feel good affair, a shallow moment...."
The Justice's message could not have been more timely. A country wrought by corruption in all levels. A city struggling against environmental degradation.
In retrospect, the Justice's message is a reminder. What he said, all true, but not new. But we needed the nudge. Or maybe it was a kick in the b _ _ t.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 02, 2013.