Government service is definitely not just for profit
THE EVENTS of the past few months validate what many jaded observers have seen and noted as a hallmark of many who serve in government these days. Gone is the concept of service above self (as a civic club is wont to profess as one of its governing principles). Instead, we now have a proliferation of people eager to enter government, hoping to enrich themselves in the process. And, from what is being revealed by the current Lozada testimonies, the proponents have become incredibly greedy and voracious. I still remember vividly Ka Jaime Ferrer (who was certainly a paragon of honesty and integrity when he served as Comelec chairman!) recounting to me how he would react when asked by a constituent to be recommended to the revenue agencies like BIR or Customs. He would lash out at them and scold them for asking for those appointments, knowing that they had only one thing in mind: to get rich! Some two decades back, while the countryâ€™s accounts were being put back in order and the international debt pared down, the policy of using Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and Build-Own-Operate (BOO) became the norm, and the tendency in the past to borrow to fund capital expenditures was discouraged. That is why the brazen (but foiled) attempt at borrowing to fund the government broadband project really strikes one as yet another attempt at personal enrichment at the expense of future generations of taxpayers. But even more stunning is the thought that the basic cost of the project at about $100+ million would have generated more than $250 million in stolen profits for the proponents, using borrowed money at that! My family has just laid our mother to rest after a life well lived and well spent. My mother belonged to a generation of old-school practitioners who believed in God and practiced honesty in their public and private dealings. They also instilled their hallowed beliefs in us, their children, and we -- in turn -- have not tired in pointing to our own children the need to put the Commandments and Beatitudes into practice in their own daily lives. There were so many of my motherâ€™s friends from her childhood and civic action days who passed by to express their sympathies to the family. These were people I had long looked up to and admired over the years, and whose own lives served as formative models. Some had remained purely in the private sector, while others pioneered in education or set the tone in selfless civic involvement. Many of them lamented the apparent loss today of core values and wished for the days when they and my parents would get involved in projects that would help many others without any thought of self-aggrandizement or self-enrichment. And we wonder why our country canâ€™t seem to get off its collective feet and progress like our neighbors are doing?
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