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By Atty. Taipan Millan

One Small Voice

Thursday, December 5, 2013

IN the same way that only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart, only an honest way of life can cleanse a dirty hand. The former may draw some tears but it is the latter that is staring us in the eye right now.

Certainly, it would not matter much if the citizens are responsible, they play their roles, they perform their functions, they fulfill their responsibilities – but then they lie, cheat and steal every step of the way.

Definitely, it would not matter much if the institutions are developed – they have legal authority, they have financial capacity, they have advanced proficiency, they have considerable independence, they have industry competitiveness – but then their officers and employees work, not for the common good but for their personal gain, using public funds for private interests.

Undeniably, it would not matter much if the government is accountable – truthful in its financial transactions, conscientious in its performance of functions, profound in its acceptance of responsibilities, reliable in its delivery of services, honorable in its exercise of governance and inspiring in its calls to action – but then its constituents are devious, deceiving, deceitful, deceptive and dishonest.

Indeed, genuine change and real reform can only happen when there is responsible citizenship, institutional development and government accountability, among others. But we must always remember, and never forget, that an indispensable ingredient of change that matters, and reforms that last, is an honest way of life.

The guiding principle can never be to be honest in some things but to be dishonest in other things. To be sure, there are no half-truths, only whole-lies. Without a doubt, there are no ranks, grades, levels, phases and stages of truths or lies – just the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; or just a lie, a whole lie, and nothing but a lie. There are no varieties. There are no categories. There are no classifications.

The point is for all of us to live an honest way of life, not just at work but also at home. Anywhere.

The point is for all of us to live an honest way of life, not just in the offices but also in the communities. Everywhere.

The point is for all of us to live an honest way of life, not just in official transactions but also in personal relationships. All the time.

While it may be true that some people have split personalities, clinical or otherwise, society cannot really prosper if and when people are honest or dishonest based on locations, transactions or relationships.

While it may be true that most people speak and act differently in different and differing circumstances, using practicality or impracticality as an excuse, being honest or dishonest cannot be dependent on convenience, expediency and suitability.

If and when we really desire change and reform, we all have to live an honest way of life. No conditions. No exceptions. No suspensions.

If we retreat on this, principally because we think that living an honest life is going to be difficult, then we have to live with schemes, scams and scandals. Of course it will be difficult for each one of us had, for the most part of our lives, danced with dishonesty. But we have to want the music of dishonesty to stop playing. Now is that time.

If we surrender on this, principally because we believe that living an honest life is going to be impossible, then we have to live with greed, graft and corruption. It may probably be impossible for dishonesty has become a culture across generations. But we have to at least try to break traditions of this kind at this moment of our history. We may never have another chance.

Honesty is the best policy? Maybe. But right now, we cannot see the best. And right now, we cannot see the policy.

Because right now, honesty is frozen.


Comments are most welcome. Please send them to

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 06, 2013.


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