LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… `Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. `Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword’…” (Isaiah 1:18-20, the Holy Bible).
PREVENTING CORRUPTION: HOW? I can only agree with Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales with her perception that “prevention appears to be the only remedy or antidote against the spread of corruption” in the Philippines. That being the case, the real concern now should be to find out just exactly what prevention measures must we undertake so that corruption can be stopped once and for all.
Yes, Morales is correct in saying that some changes maybe brought about by the government’s “Integrity Management Program”, but, with due respect, corruption is not simply a matter of managing integrity among government officials. Corruption, after all, has always been a two-way crime, perpetrated by a bribe-giver and a bribe-taker.
LACK OF MORAL FIBER BREEDS CORRUPTION: If we are to put a stop to corruption, something must have to be done against both the bribe-givers and the bribe-takers. Zeroing in on the bribe-takers in government alone will not solve corruption and bribery. It is a doomed undertaking right from the start, because it does not address the problem in its totality.
The time, effort and money for instilling integrity among government officials would then go to waste, if the public at large, particularly the rich and the moneyed citizens, would continue to be corrupt. Surely, the experience in this country is that, no matter how prudent and righteous government officials in all departments would want to appear, not many of them have the moral fiber to resist the big amounts of money that are given to them on account of their officials positions.
THE ONLY WAY TO FIGHT GRAFT AND CORRUPTION: What prevention measures must then be instituted so that corruption and bribery can be successfully licked and altogether stopped? I can think of only one effective measure, and that is instilling fear and love of God among Filipinos as a whole. Many may say this is nebulous and, considering the conceded corruption among many of our countrymen, maybe impossible to achieve.
But then, here is the plan: among government officials in the executive, legislative and the judiciary, there must be an interfaith study of the Bible (among Christians) and of the other holy books (among those who are affiliated with other religions). The study should focus on what the men and women of God had done, to hold true to their faith, and thereby learn how they feared, loved, and obeyed God.
There must be no doctrinal teachings. We must leave the teaching of church doctrines to the government officials’ own religious groups. But the work of God’s people, and the work of God Himself in showing His love and mercy to those who listen to Him and who obey Him truthfully, must be taught. The objective here is to provide government officials with examples of righteousness direct from the Bible (or from the other holy books of other religions), which could be emulated or imitated daily.
TEACH THE YOUTH THE FEAR AND LOVE OF GOD: Side by side with this study of God’s people by our government officials would be the same study among the young, whether they are in schools or whether they are out of school. This kind of a study for our children will have to be carried out in a sustained manner, from kinder all the way up to college. For those who are not studying for one reason or another, they should be made to attend the Bible studies at least once a week in their town centers or municipal halls.
Again, the objective is not to favor one particular religion or spiritual affiliation. What we must be able to do is to teach our people, both young and old alike, that there is a God who requires righteousness among His people as a precondition for His rich blessings and guidance and protection. If we are able to do this, not only will corruption and bribery cease, but a truly beneficial change will also come upon all of us.
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