Wednesday, October 29, 2008

“Deadma” to corruption

AN earlier observation that Filipinos are fast to clubber smalltime pickpockets and snatchers but become totally “deadma” when it comes to multimillion peso robbery of government coffers by highly regarded and powerful government officials is true.

The reason being that the common Pinoy is not able to “connect” with the enormity of the amount and therefore fails to grasp the gigantic dimensions of, for instance, a $350-million NBN-ZTE deal or the P700 million Bolante fertilizer. Seemingly, this sounds plausible because most of us who are wont to seeing only the “barya” exchanges of the day will not be able to relate with the vastness of something outside empirical experience.

Of late 5 bishops were bewailing why the Pinoy majority has become so apathetic even after a series of pastoral statements—and that does not even count more than 400 years of Christianity, 2,800 or so parishes and thousands catholic schools—calling for a turnaround from endemic and wholesale corruption, which were anyway bumped only with indifference and futility or so it seemed.

But is the Pinoy really “deadma”?

Mang Caloy’s Barbershop begs to disagree. And so is Aling Tinay’s Sari-sari store down the corner. Right now, all of them are angry. And so are their neighbors and relatives and peers. They know that the husband of Tinay is in Dubai because of poverty. Bunso can’t go to school or get medical attention for the same reason. And they know fully well that the cause of the country’s worsening poverty is corruption. They feel belittled when one columnist calls them indifferent, because they are not. “Kelangan pa bang imemorize yan?,’ Aling Tinay would ask in exasperation.

The perception that the ordinary Pinoy is indifferent is exactly that—a perception; one that comes mostly from above not from below. Because, from down under people are not “deadma”. They are the most hurt. They have the loudest cry for a liberator, for a righteous Goliath to fight a corrupt Goliath—or else, how can a barber, or a teacher or the poor put up a fight and denounce the corruption of, say, a powerful congressman or Malacañang for that matter?

But the rub is, the righteous Goliaths don’t want to lift one finger.

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