If you have had to deal with government offices, you will find the entire staff from the lowest to the highest rank, would need a slip of a few wad of bills under the table for documents to be signed and papers to be processed efficiently. It is the most despicable form of corruption, a precedent set by Ferdinand Marcos who required a percentage from contracts from both the private and corporate sectors in order to pen his signature for their approval.
Corruption is systemic and culturally ingrained in Philippine society. It is pervasive not only in government but in the private sector as well. But to set an example to those who practice it, we should first initiate reforms with the government. And to lop off a malignant cancer that has spread, a simple nick will not do.
Lay-off the entire staff and hire in their place, those with a knowledge of how government should be run: fresh graduates, idealists to begin with, from the nation’s best universities. It has been done before, in France.
France has superior schools specialised in forming the top executives of their nation. Entries to these schools are very competitive, making sure that intelligent and capable individuals head top posts in the country’s private and public sectors, thus providing its youth with a national objective.
So after the war, France entrusted these young leaders with the responsibility for their economy. Their dynamism and innovative ideas changed France from a sluggish pre-war country to the progressive nation it is today. The Philippine educational system has to be reformed.
It would not need a war, as when France’s population was decimated by it. All that would require is a strong leadership to decimate the malignancy and clean the stables of government.
But the solution to corruption is not as simple as that. The government must increase the salaries of the public sector. An example for this is Singapore.
Lee Kuan Yu raised the salaries of the government staff with a warning that if they should be caught in the practice of corruption, they will be dealt with severely. The Philippines must do the same, but not with the existing staff. Corruption among these people are so ingrained not only in their pyche, but in the very depths of their being. They must all be removed.
And finally and more importantly, to have a less corrupt future generation of Filipinos, ethics and civic-mindedness should be taught in elementary and high school. When the Catholic Church cannot instil moral values, there must be other ways to do so.
The present anti-corruption department of the government has no teeth. Corruption remains as rampant as ever, and only a drastic solution is critical to a desperate problem.
Foreign traders: Philippines most corrupt in Asia: Foreign businessmen see the Philippines as Asia’s most corrupt economy, a new survey shows, but the Palace yesterday rejected the suggestion that it has failed to tackle corruption.
In a grading system with zero as the best possible score and 10 the worst, the Philippines got 9.40, dropping to the bottom of a list of 13 countries, the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy said.