The Lure of Governance

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By Evangeline Murillo

Tea For Two

Thursday, May 22, 2014


WE ORDINARY people think many times, why so many want a position in government when the tasks on hand are tedious and complicated.

Government jobs require a lot of sacrifice, time away from family and friends, expenses that may dry up one’s pockets, reputations that may be smeared and plundered. Yet, election time always reveals a long list of candidates vying for various positions. . . And the names are worthwhile pondering on.

Today, the pork barrel scam removes from the ordinary mind the reason why many people undergo such sacrifice and effort just to be in government. This is not of course to generalize, that everyone who runs for office has his eye on the pork barrel and all privileges and perks that go with the position. I believe there are more honest persons than crooks in government service and elsewhere. It’s just that honesty has become so common and outdated; money and power have replaced it.

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There are still many who want to serve wholeheartedly and if given the chance, would do so even without pay! Yet, to be in an elective position means a lot of money. One has to have a minimum amount to spend and many times, the real, sincere and honest civil servants will not squander their savings for such transitory positions.

Watching the news on politicians and other persons involved in the present national scam, one only has to shake his head in unbelief.

How...can people be so callous to enjoy the fruits of government designed for the needy, for projects that can alleviate poverty, projects that can up the national economy, or even improve the opportunities for education? We read the list of people involved, and unbelieving, we ask ourselves, why, or how, can persons in better situations and stations in life still covet what little is left for the poor, the farmers, the sick, the homeless...and we can go on enumerating the countless needs that the lesser have. We reach a dead end with a big question mark. Is money really the root of all evil? Or is it power, or a combination of the two? Sad realizations come after the mistakes have been committed. This is so true even for non-political lives.

The amount of money involved in the Napoles storm could have built homes for the homeless in the national capital region and in many other parts of the country. In these we find people living on the streets, under bridges, beside public waterways, on the sidewalks and even in the parks...the parks for the dead included. Yet, we have people in government who cannot see the needs, who cannot hear the basic calls for help. What happened to these public servants?

In the streets and in the households, many dismiss this scam as part of life, part of what to expect from government officials. In other words, we ordinary people should accept that scams happen, that the poor, the sick and the needy are only alibis to make some richer, more comfortable and more powerful. Then of course, the educated ones who still are imbued with the nationalistic spirit ask, “What happened? Why do they do that?” We question, again and again and then we find greed for money and power stalking the halls where people must decide on the future of their fellowmen again and again. We need honesty, tons of it, also hearts and minds that love the country without measure. Where are you, where are all of you? Have you forsaken us? Baguio, let’s look around and find them!

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 23, 2014.

Opinion

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