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Saturday, July 12, 2008

WHO DESERVES BETTER TO BE CALLED A TRUE RIZALIST?

To once more clarify Lazir's standpoint, after reading through all the IFKOR attachments you submitted...!

Nothing is wrong with those GOALS AND OBJECTIVES/STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES enumerated therein/below! Those are, to say the least, noble objectives and principles, that clearly and definitely comply with Rizalism to the highest standards!

IFKOR cannot tolerate one with the character of a plagiarist, or racist, or forger!

The law (R.A. 646) never said it is WRONG/IMPROPER/ILLEGAL to emulate or copy or borrow Dr Jose Rizal (symbols of him or insignia with his name or picture or color or paraphernalia denoting/showing the national hero)!

In fact, Section 2 of R.A. 646 reads in full thus:

"The purposes of this corporation shall be to study the teaching of Dr. Jose Rizal, to inculcate and propagate them in and among all classes of Filipino people, and by words and deeds to exhort our citizenry to emulate and practice the examples and teachings of our national hero; to promote among the associated knights the spirit of patriotism and Rizalian chivalry; to develop a perfect union among the Filipinos in revering the memory of Dr. Jose Rizal; and to organize and hold programs commemorative of Rizal's nativity and martyrdom."

IFKOR is not only PLANNING TO FOLLOW R.A. 646 but more, in language and spirit (!), come 11-13 September 2008!

If Mr Chavez (reportedly a Judge in the Philippines?) and Mr Aquino are correct, Lazir asks them to please show Lazir where exactly is IFKOR or Sir Jun Zerrudo violating R.A. 646?

Let us point though to where Mr Esguerra and his backers clearly violated the language and spirit of R.A. 646! Take part of Section 2 below (complete Sections 2, 4 & 7 of R. A. 646 are provided at the bottom of this e-mail):

"...by words and deeds to exhort our citizenry to emulate and practice the examples and teachings of our national hero; ... "

When did Dr Jose Rizal plagiarize, act racistic towards others, forge someone's signature?

The Supreme Commander as CEO violated this for going against said R.A. 646, emulating someone else, but not Dr Jose Rizal! As CEO of KOR, Supreme Commander should discipline accused plagiarist Paras and proven racist Alcoba WITHOUT DELAY! By not disciplining even one (Alcoba, who bad-mouthed many Knights, including Sir Barry Bowman!) the Supreme Commander is IGNORANT OF THE LAW (R.A. 646)! The bad-mouthing transpired as early as 2007, yet in July 2007, the same Supreme Commander, then in an "acting" capacity even EXALTED Alcoba to KGOR! Never could Lazir imagine that Dr Jose Rizal, if he were alive today, would ever have anything to do or would associate himself with an accused plagiarist or a racist, even if it is not proven yet!?
Quickly, either Dr Rizal will distance himself or leave the organization (if a plagiarist is not expelled!)! The National Hero's integrity is beyond reproach, very well-known to his followers, except to some few uninformed perhaps.

Here is Section 4 below:

"...good moral character and reputation, who are in sympathy with the purposes of the corporation, are eligible for active membership, ..."

IFKOR qualifies to be a member of the KOR, if only the KOR leadership were willing to work with IFKOR and its members! (Four long years of cajoling the KOR to REFORM were long enough, unproductive! The blame rests solely upon this incompetent Leadership, promoting bad, unRizalian examples worldwide!)

Clearly this Section 4 says, eligible for membership, if of good moral character and reputation! Otherwise, if NOT of good moral character and reputation, EXPULSION from membership (if a member!)!

Hence, Lazir cannot understand why a Rizalist with the caliber of Sir Jun Zerrudo is investigated, persecuted, questioned by the KOR and IFKOR being put in a bad light, although Sir Jun and IFKOR are all-out Rizalian!??? In comparison, nothing came out of reported investigations" against Paras and Alcoba!

Can KOR please show PROOF that Sir Jun and/or the IFKOR are unRizalian? NO!

Can Lazir show PROOF that Mr Esguerra is unRizalian. YES! Mr Esguerra harbors bad characters in the KOR, even exalting Mr Alcoba, instead of taking the latter off the KOR membership list for proven racistic writings!

Supreme Commander could at least have EXPELLED Alcoba, proven many times to have exhibited a personality that is CONTRARY to Sec. 4 of R.A. 646! It is clearly spelled "good moral character and reputation", yet despite bad character, Supreme Commander never lifted a finger to discipline Mr Alcoba! Not even the Canadian member who reportedly "forged" the signature of a KOR official in Canada! Again, what Supreme Commander is showing the whole world is simple IGNORANCE OF THE LAW, by his INACTION to discipline the KOR bad eggs..., an act that indeed is INIMICAL AND DETRIMENTAL to the interests of the Illustrious KOR!

And Section 7:

"Any donation or contribution which from time to time may be made to the corporation by the Government or any of its subdivisions, branches, offices, agencies, or instrumentalities, or by any other person or entity shall be expended by the Supreme Council solely to promote the purposes for which the corporation is organized."

Where is the missing Euro 5,000 (more or less)? Supreme Commander said or wrote it's not with the KOR books of accounts for years 1999-2000! Yet, the donor, Mr Mushake, confirmed to Lazir over the phone that he did give the funds sometime 1999-2000! (Mr Quiambao was 1999-2000 Supreme Commander, per a Souvenir Program of a London KOR assembly.)

Since KOR solely is funded by donations and contributions (membership fees are contributions!), all expenses paid by the KOR for anyone, including the airfare for Mr Esguerra in connection with the Paris assembly last July 2007 must be reimbursed by him back to the KOR treasury without delay! Why? Exalting Mr Nollas and Mr Guansing who were Undeserving to KGOR DO NOT CONFORM with Section 7 of the R.A. 646, to wit: "...shall be expended ...solely to promote the purposes for which the corporation is organized."

The KOR was NOT ORGANIZED to exalt anyone else Undeserving of KGOR rank! How much more the exaltation of Mr Alcoba to KGOR, which then acting Supreme Commander Esguerra did (backed by the Supreme Council?) with all pomp and much Fun!

Nowhere could Lazir see PROPRIETY for the KOR to keep Mr Alcoba as active member, much more to exalt him to KGOR for bad-mouthing several member Knights! Ergo, Mr Esguerra's expenses were UNAUTHORIZED and he MUST reimburse the KOR all expenses the KOR spent for his Paris trip last July 2007! (Recommend, to avoid trouble, that Mr Esguerra pay for his own expenses when he goes to the Toronto Fun! Fun! Fun! Aug-Sep 2008 being organized by Mr Collantes, reported to be another KOR member with questionable character. Ms Maureen, pls see to it that Mr Esguerra does not spend any KOR centavo for questionable trips!)

Neither this current Supreme Commander nor the Chavez and Aquino Committees proved anti-Rizalian tendencies of the IFKOR and Sir Jun!

By careful analyses, it is the current Supreme Commander and his backers who are displaying anti-Rizalian behaviour! (Spending KOR funds, even just one centavo, or one Piso, promoting unRizalian activity is prohibited, per Section 7 of R.A. 646!)

The KOR has good intentions, but its Leadership is shown INCOMPETENT by virtue of VIOLATIONS of the R.A. 646 to even adhere to its avowed purposes! (Funds for Rizalian objectives were spent for airfare to attend the Paris assembly last July 2007 where the acting Supreme Commander exalted Mr Alcoba, Mr Nollas, Mr Guansing to KGOR despite the absence of valid grounds required by the Order's By-Laws!)

Thank you!

Join IFKOR...it welcomes women as well as men of GOODWILL!! Can only be good

For country and people!

:)
Lazir

===============================================


IFKOR

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Article 2 - Purpose, Goals and Objectives
(excerpted from the Constitution)

Section 1 - Purpose. The Purpose of the Federation is to uphold the traditions of the historic organization called Orden de Caballeros de Rizal
(Order of the Knights of Rizal) which was founded in the Philippines in 1911 and to promote the cause of Rizalism through charitable and non-profit programs of:

a. Relief and Rehabilitation
b. Youth Development and Leadership Training
c. Preservation of the Arts, Culture and the Environment
d. Promotion of International Understanding and Cooperation
e. Self-help Community Development
f. Civic-oriented projects and Activities


STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
Article 4 - Statement of Principles (excerpted from the Constitution)

Section 1 - Rizalian Principles. The principles by which the members of the Federation shall be guided in their activities are those practiced in the life of and espoused by Dr. Jose P. Rizal in his numerous writings. These shall be called "Rizalian Principles".

Section 1.1 - Principle of Racial and Gender Equality. All people are equal in the eyes of God and law regardless of gender or color of skin.

================================================

Republic Act No. 646
Charter of the Knights of Rizal
SECOND CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
S. No. 251 Second Session Republic Act No. 646

SECTION 2. The purposes of this corporation shall be to study the teaching of Dr. Jose Rizal, to inculcate and propagate them in and among all classes of Filipino people, and by words and deeds to exhort our citizenry to emulate and practice the examples and teachings of our national hero; to promote among the associated knights the spirit of patriotism and Rizalian chivalry; to develop a perfect union among the Filipinos in revering the memory of Dr. Jose Rizal; and to organize and hold programs commemorative of Rizal's nativity and martyrdom.

SECTION 4. All persons of legal age and of good moral character and reputation, who are in sympathy with the purposes of the corporation, are eligible for active membership, upon unanimous approval of the Supreme Council en banc of a written application therefore duly endorsed by at least two active members of the corporation.

SECTION 7. Any donation or contribution which from time to time may be made to the corporation by the Government or any of its subdivisions, branches, offices, agencies, or instrumentalities, or by any other person or entity shall be expended by the Supreme Council solely to promote the purposes for which the corporation is organized.


Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

Thursday, July 10, 2008

RIZAL ON LANGUAGE


W h e w.. L a n g u a g e !

Discoursing on the Filipino youth's clamor for the teaching of Spanish language (English in our time), in the Seventh Chapter of El Filibusterismo, Bro. Jose Rizal counselled:

You ask for equal rights, the Hispanization (Americanization this time) of your customs, and you don't see that what you are begging for is suicide, the destruction of your nationality, the annihilation of your fatherland, the consecration of tyranny!

What will you be in the future? A people without character, a nation without liberty... everything you have will be borrowed, even your very defects! To what are you tending now, with your instruction in Castillan (English at present), a pretension that would be ridiculous were it not for its deplorable consequences! You wish to add one more language to the forty odd that are spoken in the islands, so that you may understand one another less and less.

"You are letting yourselves be deceived by big words and never go to the bottom of things to examine the results in their final analysis... Spanish (English this time) will never be the general language of the country, the people will never talk it, because the conception of their brains and the feelings of their hearts cannot be expressed in that language; each people has its own tongue, as it has its own way of thinking! What are you going to do with Castillan (English), the few of you who will speak it?

Kill off your originality, subordinate your thoughts to other brains, and instead of freeing yourselves, make yourselves slaves indeed! Nine-tenths of those of you who pretend to be enlightened are renegades to your country! He among you who talks that language neglects his own in such a way that he neither writes nor understands it, and how many have I not seen who pretended not to know a single word of it! While Russia enslaves Poland by forcing the Russian language upon it, while Germany prohibits French in the conquered provinces, your government strives to preserve yours, and you in return, a remarkable people under an incredible government, you are trying to despoil yourselves of your own nationality!

One and all you forget that while a people preserves his language, it preserves the marks of its liberty, as a man preserves his independence while he holds to his own way of thinking. Language is the thought of the peoples..." From translation by Charles B. Derbyshire.

Since the time of President Manuel Quezon and until 1997, August 13 to 19 every year, except during the Japanese occupation, was observed as National Language Week. In his time President Fidel Ramos proclaimed August every year as National Language Month. Such periods were observed perfunctorily, oftentimes devoting a day or two to some sort of cultural activities to extol the Filipino language, to humor the lovers of Inang Wika.

The week, and later, the month, have served merely as a curse of Sisyphus on our country's socio-cultural and politico-economic life. The succession of disquieting events from the several EDSA charades, the Oakwood "mutiny" and the Philippine Plaza standoff had only proved that we, as a sovereign nation, are still going nowhere!

The running controversies among top government officials have brought into clear focus the national dilemma that still confounds the Filipino nation. We have been lost in the labyrinth of socio-economic errors, continually hounded by foreign wheedlings, and blinded by cultural obfuscation.

A meticulous re-examination of our prevailing systems is, indeed, in high order. We need to scrutinize and reassess existing policies to determine why, despite dedicated efforts by our leaders we still do not seem to see the unblazed path which will lead our country and people towards real socio-political stability, and economic prosperity. All indigenous contending forces in our country, ever since this writer can remember, have hoped for real and lasting peace and progress for our people and the generations yet to come. Such had been the dream of Rizal, Bonifacio, Mabini, Quezon, and all other past leaders and the host of many little known and unknown (including pseudo patriots! he he), and unlamented freedom-loving citizens of this country!

However, national peace, progress and prosperity remain as elusive as ever. Have we asked ourselves candidly: What forces, or interests, could really be working against the ultimate fulfillment of our national hopes and aspirations? Is it the will of God, as a highly respected and idolized church prelate once asserted? Could it be because our people -- our leaders principally -- think, act, and pray at cross purposes and so the Almighty conveniently leaves us to ourselves as He gets confused as to whose prayers to grant, that the Philippine nation is in such disarray?

Many think and believe that the downfall and flight of President Marcos in 1986 was an act of God. Was the assassination of Senator Ninoy Aquino not also according to God's will? One might ask! And so, we are all the more confused.

Another thing: have we ever considered what motivations could be truly behind the very "special relations" that the USA, our former colonizer has ingrained into the Filipino psyche? Have we ever mulled on the questions why, though politically sovereign --on paper at least -- the Philippines must yet remain, by all deviousness and cunning, an economic vassal, a raw-material- source-and- market-preserve, a cultural votary and intellectual apologist of the Great White Brother?

It is high time that our national leaders -- especially in the law-(policy) -making body of the country -- should realize that the USA had left us with a three-fold scheme to tie down the Filipino psyche into perpetual subservience to and dependence on American interests. We ought not blame the American people on this account. In fact we ought to emulate the patriotism of our American friends. But this should not deter any Filipino leader, nay, every citizen! from thinking and working for the overriding interests of our country and people, vis-a-vis the interests of any other foreign nation.

What is good for the USA may not necessarily be good for the RP. On this basis must rest, and the same must be the starting point of limitations to the long cherished (or long abused?) "special relations."

The three-fold (Washington) scheme aforesaid are:

1. Prevent the continuity of any (whatever party or group) strong RP national leadership that does not toe the US policies.

2. Thwart at all cost, or delay at any price any move to terminate any US-RP special relations (as the continuing existence of JUSMAG), the Visiting Forces Agreement, and the like; and,

3. Counteract by all means, fair or foul, any and all attempts that would undermine or weaken the influence if not dominance of American culture in the Philippine systems of educational instructions and in the conduct of government.

Of the three, the last is the basic and the most portentous. The US colonizers, even during the Commonwealth era, had assiduously maintained that an American official always headed our country's educational system.

It needs be recognized by those who aspire for national leadership that the imposition of a colonizer's language is an instrument of prolonged -- if not perpetual -- cultural and socio-economic colonization. That exactly adheres to our national hero's admonitions in the matter of language!

That was what America did when, at the start of US occupation and colonization of this country, the famous (or infamous?) Thomasites -- the shipload (aboard the ss Thomas) of soldier-teachers -- were sent to the Philippines to insure that every Filipino child of school age should learn the English language. The speaking of our native languages/dialects was strictly prohibited in the schools -- (which is still true in some schools until now!). The more intelligent and promising among the first products of American instruction were taken as pensionados to US schools, to develpop them as future leaders in the Philippine educational system, and in the goverment.

It was a very clever device of cultural/intellectual conquest!

And for as long as the English language remains supreme in our government-administ rative and educational systems, we can never consider our nation as truly independent. We remain a socio-cultural and economic dependency of the USA. The preponderance of English language in our educational and state-government administrative systems has brought about our country's socio-economic and politico-cultural decadence.

Renato Constantino, in his "Recto Lecture" before the founding congress of the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism (Feb. 8, 1967) said that any national leader who desires closest communication with the people should use the language of his country. "This is imperative, for mass experience can best be assimilated when one speaks the language of the people, and theoretical postulates can be more effectively communicated to them through their own tongue." At the same time, this develops our national language and this development contributes to national unity. (Emphasis supplied).

It is not generally known, but the late Senator Claro M. Recto, also according to Constantino, had complete plans to launch a nationwide campaign on Filipinism, and to found a national language newspaper upon his return from a sentimental trip to Spain following his retirement from politics. However, a suppressed news account indicated that a powerful electronic beam was focused on his heart by means of a camera while being asked exasperating questions during a press conference in Rome. A very healthy Recto succumbed mysteriously to a heart attack, thus cutting short his sentimental journey to Madrid, and putting to rest his planned Filipino periodical. And the Philippines lost a great nationalist!


When Ramon Magsaysay was our President he ordered the tanslation of our Philippine National Anthem (in Englsh) to Lupang Hinirang/Bayang Magiliw (in Filipino). He also caused the translation of English military commands to Filipino. More importantly, he instituted the delivering of his acceptance speech in the native language whenever a new ambassador was presenting credentials as his country's envoy to the Philippines. The "Guy" also died in a mysterious plane crash on March 17, 1957, which the US-AID reported as caused by "metal fatigue"!

In early 1986 the US government was still, at least offically, very much behind the leadership of then President Ferdinand Marcos. And then, sometime in February that year, why was there a sudden withdrawal of Washington support behind Marcos? Except among incisive thinkers, that phenomenon has remained a riddle.

It would be hard to believe, but it is highly probable that the last straw which broke Uncle Sam's patience on Marcos was the latter's memorandum dated January 17, 1986 to the Minister of Education and Culture (and) All other membes of the Cabinet. Contents of that Memo, which never saw the official light of day and was therefore not implemented, are as follows:

"You are directed to create the conditions in your respective ministries and other instrumentalities of the Government for the optimal promotion and development of Filipino as a national language.

"Further the Minister ot the Budget is directed to cooperate with the University of the Philippines in realizing the endowment of a Translation Center for the translation of major literary works into Filipino and Asian languages as well as translation of classical works into Filipino."

That memorandum was officially transmitted on 20 January 1986 through a covering memo by then Presidential Executive Assistant Juan C. Tuvera, to MEC Minister Jaime C. Laya and others concerned. It is safe to assume that such vital correspondence might, or not, have reached the intended addressees, and/or possibly intercepted by CIA surrogates in our government bureaucracy. To the Washington policy makers that act of a former Asian spokesman who, 20 years earlier, held the joint session of the US Congress spellbound when he delivered in excellent English -- "An Asian Message to America -- Trustee of Civilization, " was an act of sacrilege, a fatal error, if not a direct affront to the IMF policy of insuring that English should remain as the Philippine language of administration and for instruction in the Filipino classrooms.

It would be for our country's enduring welfare and interest that our Congress enact a law declaring Visayan, Ilocano (and/or any other major Philippine language) as ALSO official languages of the country, and that after a certain period of time, English shall cease to be an official language, and become as some other major languages of the world, be required for study in the high schools, and an optional subject in college.

It should also become necessary for Filipino journalists and owners of periodicals to rethink their language policy in the matter of reportage and publications, if they still value the meaning of patriotism, or love of Motherland.

irineo perez goce -- a.k.a. Ka Pule2

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

WHAT IS A FILIPINA?

Philippines blasts 'Filipina' entry in Greek dictionary

Asian Political News, August 10, 1998

MANILA, Aug. 5 Kyodo

The Philippine Embassy in Athens has protested to the Greek Foreign Ministry over a new Greek dictionary that defines a Philippine woman as a maid, a report reaching the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs showed Wednesday.

In his note verbale to the Greek Foreign Ministry, Philippine Ambassador Norberto Basilio said the definition of ''Filipineza'' in the recently published dictionary of modern Greek was an insult to Philippine women and was far from its literal translation, ''Filipino lady.''

He urged Greek authorities to call the matter to the attention of the dictionary's compiler, George Babiniotis, so the latter can make the necessary correction.

''In this dictionary, the definition of 'Filipineza' or a Filipino lady was stated not only to mean a woman from the Philippines but also a domestic worker from the Philippines or a person who performs non-essential auxiliary tasks,'' Basilio said in his note dated July 27.

Basilio said while there are thousands of Philippine women working in Greece as domestic helpers, that is only a reflection of their current situation in that country.

Babiniotis' definition of 'Filipineza' ''is severely inaccurate, lacking in academic research and has a negative connotation,'' the ambassador said.

Philippine women have made their mark not only in the Philippines but on the international stage as well, having occupied ''the highest office of the land -- the presidency of the Philippines,'' as well as in Congress, the business world and academe, Basilio said.

This is the second time the Philippine government has found the term Filipina defined by overseas lexicographers as domestic helper. The department earlier protested over a similar definition by the Oxford English Dictionary.

COPYRIGHT 1998 Kyodo News International, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

this from scalabrini migration center: http://www.smc. org.ph/amnews/ amn980815. htm

Philippines

Filipina means DH

Philippine Ambassador to Greece Norberto Basilio said a modern Greek dictionary authored by George Babiniotis defines Filipineza as being not only a woman from the Philippines but also a "domestic worker from the Philippines or a person who performs non-essential, auxiliary tasks". A letter to Athens News by Leodinito Canete, a Filipino student in Greece, alerted the embassy about the erroneous definition. Pres. Estrada and many officials government are urged the Greek government to immediately correct the definition to maintain its "cordial relations" with the Philippines. The Philippine embassy in Athens sent a note verbale to the Greek foreign ministry protesting the definition. This is the second time that Filipina has been defined as domestic helper. During the term of Pres. Corazon Aquino, the Philippines also protested the publication of an Oxford dictionary defining a Filipino as such. The dictionary was amended.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

WORSENING CORRUPTION

EDITORIAL
Worsening corruption

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 10:24pm (Mla time) 06/30/2008

Most Read

A World Bank study released last week said that corruption in the Philippines is perceived to be the worst among East Asia's leading economies. The Philippines is now at the bottom of the list of East Asia's 10 largest economies when it comes to control of corruption, edged out by Indonesia, which scored the worst in the region in the 2007 survey.

The Philippines’ percentile rank for corruption fell to 22 percent from 23 percent last year. Percentile rank indicates the percentage of the 212 countries studied by the World Bank that rate below the rank of a specific country. Higher values indicate better governance ratings. Thus, the Philippines ranks higher than only 22 percent of the countries studied.

The ranking of the Philippines on control of corruption has worsened over the past 11 years, from 45.1 percent in 1996 to 22.0 percent in 2007. It has gone down during the incumbency of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, from 36.9 percent in 2000 to 22.0 percent last year.

Other studies and surveys have shown basically the same trend: the slackening of control over corruption. For instance, the 2005 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released by Transparency International, a global corruption watchdog, gave a score of 2.5 to the Philippines, on a scale of 10, with 10 as the cleanest. The Philippines ranked 117th among 159 countries included in the index, and its rating indicated that it had a corruption problem.

In September 2006, a World Bank Report on Worldwide Governance Indicators showed a sharp decline in the Philippines' ranking in the control of corruption, from 50.5 percent in 1998 to 37.4 percent in 2005.

The 2006 World Competitiveness Survey by the Switzerland-based Institute for Management Development ranked the Philippines 60th on bribery and corruption among 61 countries surveyed. In the 2007 report of the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, using a grading system with 10 as the worst possible score, the Philippines got 9.4, worsening sharply from its grade of 7.8 in 2006.

The problem of corruption in the Philippines is getting worse, and it appears that it is not just a problem of perception but an actuality. The corruption cases are increasing not only in number but in the amount of money involved. In the past, the big cases involved tens of millions of pesos; now, the figures run into hundreds of millions and even billions.

The major cases are familiar to people who have been following the news avidly: the $2-million IMPSA bribery case allegedly involving former justice secretary Hernando Perez, the allegedly overpriced P1.2-billion Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard, the Commission on Elections’ P1.3-billion poll computerization program, the P728-million fertilizer scam and the $329-million national broadband network deal with ZTE Corp. Except for the IMPSA case, charges have not been filed in these cases. There are scores of other cases that have not been given much publicity.

In 1997, the Office of the Ombudsman estimated that the government lost $48 billion (about P2.4 trillion at the exchange rate then prevailing) to corruption in the previous 20 years. Think of what the government could have done with all the money that was lost to corruption. The P2.4 trillion could have financed the construction of hundreds of hospitals, thousands of school buildings, tens of thousands of kilometers of roads and bridges, and scores of seaports and airports. It could have funded, among other things, a new Masagana 99 program that would have increased the country's rice production.

Corruption has debilitated the nation and has deprived it of financial resources with which it could have developed its untapped natural and manpower potential. It has worsened the problem of poverty.

Recently, the people witnessed what havoc natural disasters could wreak upon the country. Corruption is a continuing manmade disaster that is weakening and destroying the nation. David Nussbaum, Transparency International's chief executive, said, "Corruption isn't just a natural disaster: It is the cold, calculated theft of opportunity from the men, women and children who are least able to protect themselves."

If corruption has worsened, it is because the people have been apathetic. They feel they can do nothing about it. But they can. They can monitor and denounce big projects that are tainted with graft. They can pressure government officials to be transparent and upright. And they can, like the Argentines several years ago, humiliate public officials who are robbing them of their tax money.

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE