Prints & Traces

The scandalous issue of Corruption in high places  in government has racked the brains of most everyone – rich and poor, young and old alike—that  my good neighbor Lito could not  help but ask:  “Di na ba gyud matabang ning korapsiyon, Bai?  Grabe  na gyud kaayo!   Hangtod sa hangtod na  gyud ni?”  [Is there no  escape from corruption , Bai?  It is so pervasive!   Will it be with us for ever and ever?”]

“Di ko motuo nga dili mawagtang ang korapsiyon.  Bisag unsang problema sa kalibotan naa  gyuy kasulbaran.  Hinoon, madugay-dugay tingali kun dili makatunong  sa  tukmang solusyon.[I don’t think it can’t be eradicated.  Any problem in the world has a solution   Of ourse,  it may take a long time if we cannot come up with the correct solution.]

“Naa ka bay  aydeya sa saktong solusyon? [Do you have an idea of a correct solution?]     

                Yes, there is an antidote to this contagious disease called Corruption.  Corruption is just a bastard child of  Individualism.  But first, what is Individualism? The dictionary gives us these:

                1.The quality of being separate.   2. Personal independence in action, character, or interest.   3. A personal peculiarity; idiosyncrasy.  4. A tendency or attitude, in religion, ethics, or politics, favoring the liberty of the individual; 5.  Excessive self-interest; selfishness.  6.  Philos. Egoism.

Looking at the five categories of meaning, we can expand our analogy  by way of  saying that Individualism takes its “genetic” characteristics from all the five meanings.  But the  Number 5 meaning  seems to be the dominant characteristic.

As a single parent, Individualism has  three notorious  children —  Self-interest, Selfishness  and  Greed.   But these three serve as governesses of their youngest sibling which is a bastard, namely  Corruption.   As such Corruption got all of its nourishment and growth from the three siblings working harmoniously together for the character formation of an individual.  And so, the amazing personality turns out to be A Corrupt Person. 

                In our social milieu, most of the corrupt individuals are the politicians and the bureaucrats.  They make up what activists call “bureaucrat-capitalists”.

            A person afflicted with the Individualism Virus  knows no other concern and preoccupation but the advancement of his self-interest.  And self-interest encompasses not only the self, but  includes the interests of the  family circle.  It is an exclusive concern.  One exhibits a considerable degree of  selfishness and greed that allows wealth and acquisitions only for the self and the family circle.  He  utilizes all his mettle, clever strategy and tactics  and even foul tricks to get what he wants for himself and the family.  At all cost he must outsmart  all others.  It is not far from his practice to take advantage of  and exploit people to reach his greed-driven goals of getting rich.  He is quick at forging alliances with those whom he can use as ladders in his climb to the top.  This is where bribery and the other pernicious traits and nefarious deeds concomitant with Patronage Politics come into play.

While it is true that a condition of “pervasive corruption” has afflicted Philippine society, it is not  too late to administer a therapy to combat the social disease.  Knowing the genesis and nature of Corruption as a begotten child of extreme Individualism, it is not difficult to think of its antithesis as a therapeutic consciousness to oppose and combat it. Nationalism is that therapythe emergency and long-term antidote to corruption.

Nationalism as a method of thought and as a mode of conduct is a selfless ideology.  It is diametrically opposed to individualism.  Its wellspring as a social consciousness derives from the revolutionary ideals of the Katipunan and the Philippine Revolution of 1896.  It abhors exploitation and oppression of the masses of toiling peoples in  society.  The interest of the teeming masses in the cities and countryside is the first order of the  nationalist agenda for national development and progress.  Poverty as a deplorable national phenomenon that reflects the utter failure of our Republic’s national leadership since 1946 will be the primary concern and the target of the fighting agenda of Nationalism.

Nationalism has for its prime and solemn concern the supreme interests of the entire nation.  It takes the welfare of the whole  population at heart.  It is not discriminatory against the toiling masses – the workers, the farmers and fisherfolks,  the indigenous peoples, and the other marginalized sectors of our society.  On the contrary, these are the classes and sectors that are given high premium in the nationalist economic program of government.  Any and all advancement in the economy necessarily accrue to them as FIRSTS  in the order of beneficiaries.

Needless to say, the current revolutionists who are in the forefront of the struggle for genuine democracy and sovereignty are the true nationalists and real practitioners of selfless service  and dedication for the well-being and welfare of the poor population in the society.  They defy  all forms of inconvenience and discomfort  as they work and fight for the rights of the deprived and oppressed masses.  And yet they are the recipients of the various forms of inhumanities and indignities perpetrated by the military and police wherever and whenever they engage in collective actions  hand-in-hand with the people for the flourish of  justice and societal reforms, let alone in defending the people’s  human rights.

Truly, if only our present national leaders who are supposed to show exemplary conduct  in governance possess even just an iota of the nationalist ideals bequeathed by Andres Bonifacio, our country and nation would not have suffered from the deplorable  mess it has sunk into today.  Corruption would not have been the daily fare of  unscrupulous bureaucrats and charlatan politicians,  which has thrown our people to downtrodden miserable existence.  In fact, we are today no different from the social cancer that Rizal had lamented so deeply in his own time.

More than ever, what we need are more and more sons and daughters of Andres Bonifacio whose nationalism has fired up the present generation of activists and revolutionaries  in the cities and countryside.


Don Pagusara is a a multi-awarded author and a Palanca-awardee

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