I was reading an article about corruption in the Philippines in a local news website. One reader commented that the author should present her evidence before calling the government corrupt. I asked myself, isn’t corruption in the Philippine government too obvious? We can see the physical evidences of corruption everywhere. Sub-standard roads and bridges, low-quality facilities in the public hospitals and schools, unexplained wealth of several politicians in the government seats, you name it. I thought to myself, even the blind people can feel the corruption committed by a number of public officials in our current government.
Corruption is killing our nation. It deprives the Philippines to move up and achieve progress. But corruption is not only what we usually perceive it to be. The act of corruption doesn’t only involve stealing of the people’s money or the public fund. There are other types of corruption in our country that make Filipino life miserable. Moreover, it’s not only our public officials who are committing corruption. Every Filipino can also become corrupt. I believe that the following are 3 major types of unlawful acts of corruption happening in our native land.
1. Malversation of public resources
Our public resources include not only money but also time. Senators, congressmen and other public officials could misappropriate millions or even billions of public money for their own interest. Furthermore, they can also misuse the hours or years they are supposed to be utilizing on meaningful actions. Unfortunately, some or most of them are just wasting the time given by the people to them to do their job well.
The nation’s money is robbed; our country’s precious time is also corrupted. People are asking what our congressmen are doing all those years of their term? Have they enacted several meaningful laws that can make the Philippines a better nation or have they only wasted their time in the house of congress?
But this corruption of time resource is not only committed by the government officials in the higher position. It’s also committed by many employees of the government. Have you seen government employees going home and leaving their office earlier than 5pm? Have you seen any of them doing meaningless tasks in their desks rather than dedicatedly doing their jobs to serve the public? Well, tell me if they are rarely seen in the government offices of the Philippines.
2. Abuse of power and authority
Not only they steal the money and misuse the golden time of our country, but they also abuse the power and authority vested to them by the people and by the constitution. The abuse of power and authority is actually unlawful or illegal. In other words, they are punishable by the law. It’s unlawful for public officials to use their authority for making or favoring government contracts that are only for their self-interest rather than for the interest of the public. The law also prohibits public officials and employees to accept material gifts from any person or organization in exchange of a grant of government permit or license.
But don’t you know that the common citizens can also be guilty of abuse of power?
The power to vote is granted to us by the constitution. It’s our duty and authority. Alas, many of us are abusing this power. Both vote buying and vote selling are illegal in the Philippines. However, many Filipinos are still selling their votes instead of making the right vote that can change the future of our nation. In other words, many voters can also be considered as abusive to their power – the power to vote.
3. Tax evasion
Corrupt politicians steal or misappropriate our public fund. But tax evaders are stealing the public money before they can even reach and enter into the public fund. Taxes are for the public, and not only for any private individual to keep. Filipinos have the duty to pay their income and business taxes due. Although their taxes might only go to the dirty hands of the corrupt public officials, it’s unlawful to evade paying taxes.
Because taxes are for the public, tax evasion is tantamount to stealing the public fund. If the public officials are stealing money from the public treasury and if the taxpayers are also keeping for themselves the tax money before they even enter into the public treasury, then what will happen to our country? With everybody following their self-centeredness, our nation can never progress.
I feel compassion for the Filipinos who are paying taxes more than they can afford. Indeed our tax system is old, and it’s already giving nightmares to small taxpayers who are experiencing the high cost of living in the Philippines. Imagine if you’re an employee who’s earning a basic salary of P25,000 a month and your basic monthly expenses is P30,000. Since your salary is not exempted from income tax, you’ll always suffer from a monthly deficit.
For the government to fight tax evasion, our tax laws should be amended to increase the minimum income that is exempted to income tax. It should be adjusted to our current cost of living so that taxes can become affordable and Filipinos can become cheerful taxpayers.
And more importantly, our government should focus on running after the large taxpayers who can actually be corporations owned or partly-owned by the same politicians who are stealing the public fund. These monstrous politicians steal money from the public fund and at the same time evade taxes before they can even go to the public fund. It’s a double form of corruption, isn’t it?