PNoy’s team needs to share his values

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Friday, January 17, 2014


FIFTY-SIX percent of 1,000 business executives polled by the Social Weather Station (SWS) said that there was “a lot” of corruption in the public sector in the country in 2013. This was a sharp increase from the 2012 figures where only 43 percent had the same perception. Thirty-eight percent said there was “some” corruption, slightly down from 44 percent the year before.

I believe in surveys, especially if they’re done by reputable institutions like SWS and Pulse Asia. The numbers could only reflect the growing sense of helplessness not only of the businessmen but of ordinary Filipinos over the apparent lack of success in the fight against corruption.

There’s something that bugs me, though: Why were the respondents certain about the existence of corruption? If they were only told about it, then their answers are hearsay and therefore less than credible.

Is it possible that they were involved in the corrupt practices themselves, either by
directly committing them or by allowing them to happen? In the latter case, shouldn’t they be deemed to have lost all moral right to complain about corruption?

Another thing that I found interesting in the SWS survey was the excellent rating that President Noynoy Aquino obtained from the executives for sincerity in fighting corruption. How does that relate to the overall perception that the government under his watch is still as corrupt as ever?

What it means is that while it is an advantage to have an honest President, it is not enough to eliminate dishonesty in his government. His team has to share his values otherwise they will, as they did, pull his administration down.

Mr. Aquino has not been successful at forming a great, honest team. The case of the executives of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) is a spectacular example of this failure.

Even as thousands went homeless from the quick succession of two disastrous national calamities that struck the Visayas, directors of GOCCs shamelessly rewarded themselves with hefty Christmas bonuses.

The latest report is that 31 GOCCs shelled out a total of P2.313 billion for bonuses and allowances. Two billion three hundred thirteen thousand pesos! Holy cow, that would have been enough to rebuild the houses of typhoon victims in the whole Bantayan island!

I hope that the Social Security System (SSS) was not one of the 31 because it is definitely immoral for a government institution, which just raised the financial burden of its members because it does not have enough money, to splurge on cash benefits for directors and employees.

On the other hand, having witnessed the worst kind of insensitivity from people in government, should anything still surprise us?

***

The picket staged by a group of caddies at the Cebu Country Club (CCC) couldn’t have come at a worse time. This is the Sinulog week and they have a big tournament at the CCC. The mass action may not have forced the club to cancel its tournament but it was nevertheless embarrassing.

Was this the point of the whole exercise?

The caddies, are of course, entitled to the right to organize and gather to demand redress for their grievances. The question is, to whom will they address their grievance? As lawyer Julius Neri explained, the caddies are not employed by the club; they just work inside the club’s premises.

Does the club have any right to choose whom to grant access to its premises?

Absolutely. It’s private property. Neri said that all that they wanted was for the caddies to seek accreditation. It doesn’t seem to be an unreasonable demand.

So why are the caddies picketing? Is there something more to their case than just the issue of accreditation?

(frank.otherside@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 17, 2014.

Opinion

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