Editorial: The great divide between moral and legal-A A +A
Friday, March 1, 2013
MANY a time we are caught in a struggle between what is moral and what is legal. Laws are there to restrict even human emotions so that order can be established. But that removes our humaneness.
Many a time, the moral has been easily set aside. If you’re wondering how, think: ingrained corruption in government. We’ve witnessed how government official upon government official have stood up and shouted name names and prove that in court. But of course, the corrupt knows they are corrupt and will do everything to reduce the paper trail, or at least mislead those following it. In the end, the audit report may find something unusual, but will not be able to pin it down and no one will be held accountable. Legally, that is right. But is it moral? Definitely not.
On the sidelines, millions of poor are deprived of government services because those in government themselves have already fattened and lined their pockets.
Tuesday afternoon, poor residents from Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental mobbed the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) regional office to demand long due government attention to their demands of sustained assistance to help them recover from the ruins of typhoon Pablo.
They brought out sacks upon sacks of relief goods, moved this to a tent outside and used these as their bargaining chip to get what they need.
The next day, the protesters went home with substantial assistance and an assurance of more to come.
On the sides, DSWD officials are crying foul even threatening lawsuits. Same with those associated with its secretary Dinky Soliman. Now it’s a fight between the so-called militants and the yellows. Provincial officials too are saying everyone in their provinces have received assistance. That not one victim has gone home without help.
Let us all step back and see the bigger picture.
1. Typhoon Pablo destroyed homes and crops and the future of many.
2. An ordinary Filipino takes a lifetime to build a home, plant crops, and ensure livelihood up to the future.
3. Relief goods are just that, relief goods.
Let us not stand in judgment against the rowdiness of the crowd and the agitating calls of the left and instead look at each face of the agitated.
Sure, they may have gotten a food pack or two. Had they received it from the Red Cross, then a food pack is estimated to feed a family for 15 days. The DSWD food pack contains less. It’s been two months and 24 days hence (a little bit more than five15-day periods). Is there proof that all those affected, especially the very poor and disconnected been receiving their food packs at least every 15 days? Everyone eats every day, and we are looking at people who are not beggars. They may be poor, but they lived a life out there, eking out a living most likely by plowing the earth. But the earth is barren now, and yet not one has even asked how many has been given seeds to plant.
The all-knowing bureaucrat and middle-class will always say that a little more industriousness will ensure food on the table. But we also sing, “Magtanim ay di biro.” It becomes impossible when there are no seeds. And people who have gone up those mountain lands and seen the poverty will realize that even seeds are hard to come by in those places.
Pablo came one night and stole everything, including, we can imagine seeds. Because if they were not even able to keep the roofs above their heads, do you think a farmer thought about rescuing their seedbags that night?
Trespassing and bringing out stuff you don’t own is illegal. But under the circumstances, was it also immoral? From your answers, let us plan out actions that will really help sustain a life and not just feed for a day. It would help if the militants move aside and tone down their shouts: You’ve done your part, folks, now let the poor people take the stand.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 02, 2013.