Sunio: The family could be the ‘problem’


MANY offices, agencies, and LGUs in Lanao del Sur suffer because blood is sometimes thicker than water. They flesh out this belief too much.

Political dynasty is just one of the problems related to ‘very close family ties’ in the region.

Meranaw families have very close family ties, not just within the immediate family, but also with extended families.

Some families still keep their “salsila,” a record of their lineage for several generations. These records are still intact among many families.

Some Meranaws can still identify their relatives in far places and far degrees.

Relatives are often involved in raising and taking care of one family member. Even when a relative is hospitalized, almost everyone visits, and even stays, in the hospital to watch over the patient, according to some accounts.

They are also present in many important family events and in making decisions, such as choosing a husband or wife.

Relatives also work to preserve the pride of the clan. They make sure that no member would be in a shameful position.

This is because of the feeling of indebtedness to the relatives for their care, aside from the blood connection. And since “utang na loob” is a debt that cannot be paid once, they have to “return the favor” many times.

That is why when a relative is placed in a high position such as director, president, mayor, or barangay chairperson, relatives line up to seek financial help or employment.

To also keep the pride of the clan, relatives who made it to high positions make sure that their relatives are employed or have stable income.

In several offices in Lanao del Sur, both private and public, it is noticeable that a unit head has some or many relatives employed in his office.

This practice has several disadvantages such as the lack of competence, poor performance at work, and/or may even be negligent of their duties.

Since they were hired not necessarily because of their qualification and not also through strenuous hiring processes, employees tend to feel “privileged” to share the same authority and rights of their boss-relatives.

Though not authorized nor in power, these employees tend to also dictate some office commands such as disbursements, travel orders, attendance records, and others.

Even wives, husbands, and children who are not even formally employed in the office, or are employed but in lower positions, tend to also assert rights to involve in office decisions.

Their only qualification to rise to authority is their filial relationship with the head.

In Lanao del Sur, when these employees misconduct, seldom do their boss-relatives reprimand them as well.

Another disadvantage of nepotism is when majority of the people in the workplace are blood-related, checks and balances may fail, since they will most likely condone the misconduct of their co-workers.

It results to the poor performance and continuing decline of the whole region.

This is not exclusive in Lanao del Sur, but this kind of practice is no longer done quietly here. It is already a popular phenomenon.

It’s not the love for the family nor the culture that causes this problem. It is when people fail to become objective.

It also happens when relatives become too greedy to pressure their upright relatives, emotionally blackmailing them of the possibility of rejection or ring on their conscience.

To be honest, there could have been no problem with employing your relatives, especially when they are qualified, competent, objective, and professional. The problem happens when incompetent and abusive individuals get the position.


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