WebClick Tracer

TURNING POINT: An Unwanted Legacy

Column Titles 2023 20230815 170141 0000

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 15 June) – Corruption is the legacy of the 300 years of Spanish colonization, perpetrated then by the friars and the officials in the hierarchy of the Spanish colonial government.

It is a malaise, a heritage that we cannot simply shake off.

Unless we are free from corruption, we’ll remain poor and impoverished.

Through the years, corruption has seeped into and is now rooted in our system of governance. Such that we have terms like ”10 percent,” ”SOP,” “red tape,” and we have fixers, roaming around in government agencies breaking things – processes and rules – so that they will have something to fix.

In our common understanding, a fixer is a handyman who restores the functions of broken things. The fixer who dwells in some government service delivery offices does the opposite. He undermines the rules and procedures of an office in assisting someone finish his business with said office the fastest possible way. Of course, money changes hands in attaining this.

Many government agencies impose so many requirements in delivering their services. Because time is precious and goods could be perishable, many are forced to bypass red tape under the table to preclude great loss. 

A friend of mine who once worked in port where release papers pass through her table intimated that envelops simply drop on her table without her asking. She could not refuse the “”padanglog” (grease money) because everyone is receiving it; she wouldn’t like to be a killjoy. She could only exclaim “gaba na sad ni” (here’s another curse), because, accordingly, everyone in the receiving network believed that the easy money is the primary cause of the hospitalization now and then of a member of the family.

Our lawmakers, recognizing the preponderance of government workers to money-making delaying tactics, passed RA 11032, an act promoting ease of doing business and efficient delivery of government services, the penalty of which includes suspension or separation from the service. Despite, however, the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads, hypodermic lawbreakers simply shrug off the threat because they are apparently assured of protection from the higher-ups who partake of the lion share of the gold mine.

Red tape is one simple mother of corruption abounding in service delivery agencies of the government, such as the Bureau of Custom, Port Authority, and Land Transportation Office.

In consonance with RA 11032, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) was established. ARTA has been visiting fixer-prone government agencies to conduct entrapment operations and surprise inspections that can eventually lead to the filing of cases against the head of the office, as part of its “snake-grab” approach. 

Sensing its inadequacy, the ARTA has teamed up with the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) to beef up its anti-fixer campaign. Under the partnership between the two agencies, PACC will also look into government agencies with reports of rampant fixing and other red tape violations. It will also make sure that involved heads, most especially if presidential appointees, will be held accountable.

But no achievement worthy of media attention has surfaced so far out of the impressive tandem. Corruption in all forms in various agencies of the government remains rampant.

The mayor of Davao City became president of the Republic riding on the problem of corruption. He promised to end it together with the drug menace in six months. Instead of eliminating it, corruption flourished and reared its ugly head in the Drug Enforcement Authority, Bureau of Correction, and lamentably, in the Department of Health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It looks like corruption is in our psyche. We may need to scour ourselves to the bone to rid it.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental.)

Your perspective matters! Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We welcome diverse viewpoints and encourage respectful discussions. Don't hesitate to share your ideas or engage with others.

Search MindaNews

Share this MindaNews story
Send us Feedback