JUST before elections in 2007, a homegrown movement launched "Huwag Hihingi" a pre-elections campaign against corruption by Ehem!, which has its roots at the Ateneo de Davao University.

As written in its Yahoo! site, "Ehem aims at bringing people to a renewed sensitivity to the evil of corruption and its prevalence in ordinary life. It seeks ultimately to make them more intensely aware of their own vulnerability to corruption, their own uncritiqued, often unwitting practice of corruption in daily life."

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A locally-produced video can be accessed in YouTube and features a very short ditty sang to the tune of "Ugoy ng Duyan":

"Huwag kang hihingi, hindi ka pulubi

"Sa iyong pagpili, gawin ng mabuti...

"Isipin ang bayan, huwag lang ang sarili."

(Do not ask; you are not a beggar. Do what is right in making your choices. Think of the country before yourself.)

In between is a voice that says, "Huwag tayong humingi sa mga kandidato, sa atin rin babawi ang mga mananalo (Don't ask from candidates because they will get it back from you when they win)."

Indeed, what we have right in our midst is a corrupt system that has already corrupted everybody. We often hear stories of how this or that politician is good because he has given this and that person a few hundred pesos. We often resort to giving some amount just to get things done when dealing with government offices. And when the heat is on, we prefer to remain silent for fear that those in power will get back at us.

This is what “Huwag hihingi” is all about. It's individually putting a stop to what we have been used to, because at the very root of all the corrupt practices is a citizen who has asked for a basketball court or a tournament trophy. Patronage politics, it's called, and patronage politics is run much like the feudal lords lived. The politicians being the noblemen to the timawa and the alipin. The timawa and the alipin being the people.

We can always say no, as some women did when they were invited to partake of food at a Buhangin restaurant last week, and were to be given P150 if they were to sign a waiver of sorts promising they will only vote the candidates of this local team who are eyeing local and congressional positions.

"Walang hihingi, at wala ring tatanggap!" is indeed a call appropriate for today's times.

If you're still not convinced that we have to do something to how we allow our government to be ran, and do something fast, then watch television and ask, "Why is it that the Manny Villar song about swimming in a sea of garbage suddenly becomes the same song being sang by children for a party-list?"

Just a few elections ago, when party-list system was first introduced, the sleazy, conniving, greedy politicians who want more than just one seat in congress for themselves, their families, and their cohorts, would field out dummies. Not one politician ever came out to claim a party-list as his. It's sounds so greedy to be running for a national position while your family member runs for another congressional if not local position, and then still organize a party-list whose nominees will be a son or a daughter, or the chole kit and caboodle.

Now, it's openly being campaigned for, we have it right out there being aired on television, a party-list that carries the song of Manny Villar. Delicadeza, anyone?