Why does God allow the corrupt and incompetent public servants to stay in power in the Philippines? I wish I had the chance to ask Pope Francis that question in person. But it would have probably confused him because the incumbent Philippine President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino, in his welcome speech to the Pontiff, insisted that he is not corrupt like a certain two of his predecessors presumably. So although it is a good question to ask the head of the Catholic Church, expecting Pope Francis to answer issues about the Philippines’ local affairs would be expecting too much from him.
Anyway, I already know the answer to my question. Corrupt and incompetent public servants manage to stay in power in the Philippines because majority of Filipino voters keep voting them back in office again and again during elections. It has nothing to do with God or any divine being.
I mean, it seems safe to assume that most Filipino voters are not using their “God-given” intellect. They ignore the fact that a lot of these public servants aren’t doing their jobs at all and then reelect them in the next election. Even those implicated in scams that allow them to syphon public funds are still popular and could still win in the next one.
Simply put, most voters in the Philippines don’t use their heads and it is unfair for them to think that God had something to do with their misery.
Take the case of Philippine President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino. Most Filipinos know that he was a slacker during his terms in Congress, first as a Congressman and then as a Senator. He did not pass a single bill and did not even use his position to speak against the cases of corruption perpetrated by his colleagues who were quite possibly pocketing pork barrel funds through fake NGOs during the previous government. After all, it’s not like he didn’t know that pork barrel funds were being diverted to non-existent projects. If he didn’t know, then that still says a lot about his cluelessness.
The point is, despite BS Aquino’s mediocre performance in Congress and lack of vision for the future, majority of the voters still elected him as President of the Philippines. One can’t even blame the election result solely on the uneducated voters because a lot of those who campaigned for BS Aquino back then are highly-educated members of Philippine society. Some misguided Filipinos even justified his win as part of “God’s plan”. If we follow their logic, God’s plan includes making Filipinos suffer under another Aquino Presidency. Therefore, God must be cruel.
That is not the case at all. The truth is, Filipinos should start taking accountability for their own actions. Shifting the blame to someone else for their bad leadership choices means the cycle of mediocrity in the country will not end. Some rabid Aquino supporters still cannot accept that they made a bad decision in supporting him even when it has become so obvious that he is already a lame duck. The longer some Filipinos support a leader who continues to divide the nation, the longer the Philippines will remain stagnant.
The Philippines has become a global laughingstock under BS Aquino’s leadership. News of the government’s attempts to hide the real condition of poverty during Pope Francis’s five-day visit is being reported by the international media. What kind of government rounds up homeless people and books them in a plush resort just to hide them from international guests? Only a government run by a bunch of hypocrites would do that. They probably wanted to show the international community that the current government has reduced the number of poor people in the Philippines.
Only foolish people like Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman and Malacanang spokespersons would continue to defend their actions even when most people already know the truth.
What were her excuses? Soliman said the homeless were taken because she was afraid that they would be “vulnerable to syndicates and discriminated (against)”. As if living in the streets for so long had not hardened them up yet. If anything, they were vulnerable to the government’s scheme to hide them.
Then Soliman said that the homeless received training as part of a government scheme and “part of the orientation (was) to familiarize them with a room that has a door and toilets.” We have to give her brownie points for that one. I guess it is true that people who live on the streets do not have to open doors and use toilets. They only know of open living.
Soliman also claims that this was not the first time the DSWD gathered homeless families for its program. The question is, why was the program held during the five days when Pope Francis was in town? Didn’t these poor people deserve a chance to see the Pontiff on his Popemobile too? And how come only poor people from Roxas Boulevard were included considering the “training center” was located in Batangas? Were there participants for the “training program” from that area? Probably not.
We have to thank the members of the international media again for highlighting the government’s callous activities. Weeks before the Pope’s arrival, I wrote an article in anticipation of the arrival of the foreign press who would cover his visit. I knew that they would be able to help expose the shenanigans of BS Aquino’s government just like how they exposed the incompetence during the height of super typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban.
Yes, if not for the international media, Filipinos would not have found out about the deception done by the Aquino government. As usual, local media in the Philippines were too slow to pick up on the news. Some of the local journalists are either too beholden to or too scared of the Aquinos. They are pretty much useless when it comes to investigative journalism. This is why members of BS Aquino’s cabinet get away with such impunity.
The problem is, this issue doesn’t seem to be a big deal to Filipinos. For one, some probably agree that the homeless are such eyesores and they are just glad not to see them for a change. They have become so used to poverty that they have become desensitized to the plight of the poor; and a lot of Filipinos do not bother to think of the consequences of the government spending millions just to hide the poor from the international community. Not only does this promote mendicancy, it also promotes resentment among the taxpayers. This is why poverty in the Philippines remains unresolved even under BS Aquino. You can’t blame that on God.
[Photo of street children courtesy Filipino Scribbles.]