Corruption

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By Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

Sunday, June 15, 2014


I WAS struck by a news report of the Inquirer on June 11, 2014 where Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said during the 51st International Eucharistic Conference at Arzobispado in Intramuros, Manila, that parents plant seeds of corruption in their children.

Tagle was asked about the alleged diversion of the congressional Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to ghost projects and kickbacks that last week led to the indictment of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.

Tagle said: “This somehow tells something about ourselves, not just about them. I am appealing to everyone, especially the parents, to see how you raise your children, see how in your relationship with them, seeds of corruption are already being sown.” According to Tagle, corruption, bribery and dishonesty have become part of our culture.

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I agree here with Card. Tagle. In one of my previous columns, I have written about this topic. Dishonesty has become part of the Filipino culture. Ever since I arrived in the Philippines I have experienced that Filipinos can easily ask you if they can borrow some money and promise pay it back soon, but you never see them again.

In this way, I not only lost my money but in many cases I lost also a close friend. It always surprised me. It goes against the way I have been trained as a child by my parents and even in school, to always be honest and don’t let yourself be bribed by dishonest people. Of course, I have failed many times as a child but I always felt that I did something against my conscience.

Now Tagle, referring to our corrupt government officials says: “Let us not point to just a small group. All of us should engage in soul-searching where is the Filipino culture going or where are our weak points. How do we purify our culture, our schools, our system of rewards and punishment?”

The mishandling of the PDAF must also push Filipinos to undergo communal examinations of conscience. All of us should feel affected by this scandal of corruption in our government, teach our children to be honest. Honesty is a Christian virtue. Telling lies, even so-called ‘white lies’ is immoral and unchristian.

On the other hand, we must fight corruption and dishonesty also in a Christian way. Christian resistance is nonviolent, because the peace we want to bring is not of this world. It is brought not by enslaving our enemies, but by converting them; not by showing strength, but by sharing in the confession of a common weakness; not by retaliation, but by turning the other cheek; not by violence, but by love... Jesus’ way is the way without violence and power. Love does not use weapon.

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[Email: nolvanvugt@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 15, 2014.

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