Graft and corruption are like deep wounds that permeate every society. It happens everywhere. Unfortunately, the Philippines has emerged as one of the most corrupt countries not only in Asia but also in the whole world. Why is this so? Is corruption a part of our culture? Or is it only committed out of sheer necessity?
In my opinion, graft and corruption is already a part of Filipino culture. It is not something new. In other countries, particularly developed countries, graft and corruption also exist, but not as rampant as here in the Philippines. I think the difference has something to do with each society and culture’s own concept of good and evil. It is really ironic that the Philippines, dubbed as “the only Christian country in Asia”, is the most corrupt country in Asia. The same is true with countries in Latin America, where Christianity is their main religion. The Judeo-Christian foundations provide an absolute standard for right and wrong, and even for truth. It is concerned with truth and justice, and provides strong social restraints upon behaviour: individual sense of guilt and conscience prevent wrongdoing, even if it might never be discovered. Government employees at all levels, along with businessmen involved in government dealings, obviously are not constrained by a sense of guilt or conscience prompting them to “do the right thing.”
Another aspect that may influence Philippine graft and corruption is the Spanish colonial experience. The Philippines was a colony of Spain for four centuries, but much of the country was never assimilated into Spanish culture and society, nor really under control of the Spanish administration. We were viewed by the Spanish as inferior to them. Because of this, the Filipino populace viewed the Spanish colonials as foreign oppressors, and developed an “us versus them” mentality. It seems that even after many years and many generations, this colonial rule and negative attitude towards the government and the...
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