Luczon: Beginning blows

"There's a vast difference between simple allegations and something with a factual, documentary basis... It provokes a totally different psychological reaction in the readers. Gossip stirs their apathy; facts galvanize them to action." - Pete Carey, investigative journalist, The San Jose Mercury News

*****

THE University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (formerly Mindanao University of Science and Technology), has made it clear through its statements that other than Lorraine Sitoy as its focal person, any statements or pronouncements from any personnel would be considered non-official, but rather it's their personal perspectives.

I have been a full-time faculty in USTP since 2015, and it's a mystery why my papers on getting a permanent status are still held up between the purgatories of Civil Service Commission and our Human Resource Department. And it was not just me, but my other colleagues as well.

But bigger than this internal issue, are the bundles of legal cases and scandals that were brought up a month after the murder of USTP president Dr Ricardo Rotoras, something police investigators should take note seriously and examine it to the smallest details.

What I am going to say now is non-official, and it will not reflect the USTP administration's views. But rather, giving a voice to those workers and faculty who have seen irregularities but preferrred to keep mum, out of fear and survival of their careers.

But with all these revelations, I should say: it is liberating.

The consequences of the corruption charges against USTP officials that included the late president is something for the Ombudsman and courts to come up with a verdict. And it does not mean that those who accused them, like this certain Engr. Selwyn Lao of Wing-an Construction Company have a cleaner hands to accuse these officials.

With all of these things beginning to surface, it is a good thing it happened.

So that it will remind us that government workers and officials are always answerable to the public. And most of all, a reminder that we are not masters of this institution but servants, that means we should humble our dealings with the public and not get spoiled with lavish or extravagant lifestyles, let alone becoming arrogant, even if our families belong to the well-off clans.

For a State University like USTP, this is new. Because it's not everyday the media would turn their eyes on their activities. But checks and balances must be done. And with an administration under Duterte, it should reflect to all of State-run colleges and universities.

Since I still write in the media and actively connected with trusted media colleagues, some people inside in the institution have questioned my "loyalty," like the exposé was because of me sharing information from the inside. But I had no hand in it.

And as to loyalties, of course it is a given that I serve the the institution and the people as a whole as State Universities are an extension of a government service to the public.

What they lacked in comprehension is, I will never be loyal to who is in the position, although equal respect and obedience is dutifully given.

We should look at government officials as shepherds to government orgabnizations, but they should come secondary as you should be more loyal to the public. And therefire, any irregularities committed by officials should be called out.

But in reality it is not, it is marred with "padrino" system and government organizations are seen as little versions of empires that have a hierarchical constructs and personality-based politics.

It goes beyond the walls of State universities and colleges, it is rooted in our government culture and political maturity. If this can't be changed or reformed, the shift for federalism is already a failure.

*****

(Nefluczon@gmail.com)
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