Let me disabuse your minds a little bit and let me propound one question–what is really the core issue in this elections? Is it the eradication of graft and corruption, as what Noynoy Aquino is saying, or the prioritization of anti-poverty programs, like what Manny Villar is indicating in his ads. Some people blame poverty for the corruption while others see corruption as the leading cause of poverty. Yet, this is far from being the chicken and the egg debate.
Poverty and corruption are both real and states of one’s mind. If you’re poor, you feel it. If you’re corrupt, or somebody is, you sense it. Both concepts are states of mind. You might have a few bucks in your pocket and say you’re poorer than the other guy beside you. You might have seen somebody holding a fist-full of cash and want them for your own. Or, you’re a government employee receiving tax payments and desired in your heart to get it to pay the tuition fee of your kid.
Villar is probably correct when he sees poverty as a leading cause of corruption, yet, he is probably wrong when he concludes that it is the only cause of the nation’s misery. It is noteworthy to eradicate the reality of poverty but that will not be the end of it. If people continue to be misery in their ethical or moral behavior, then, poverty will never be eradicated.
Aquino stands firm that graft and corruption leads to poverty and he cited numerous figures to support his claim. Yet, even though he successfully ends corruption in government, poverty as both real and a state of mind will continue to exist because Aquino presents no concrete program to end it.
I think what lies and probably, THE most important issue in this elections is the fortitude of the Nation’s spirit. Poverty and corruption are emanations of a weakening and sickly National Spirit. They are like boils that appear in our Nation’s Id. The most important issue is how to actually strengthen the National Spirit so that people will not feel poor and they will not see the need to do corruptive acts. If Filipinos have high morale, then, they will not feel hopeless and feel poor. If people have emotional attachments or linkages with their government and trust their government enough, they will not commit grave acts of corruption and promote graft.
Like what I wrote in http://pinoyobserver.com, the next six years will be about re-construction and democratization of damaged institutions. It will not be about eradicating poverty nor completely cleansing the bureaucracy of graft and corruption.
The next President will have his hands full, modernizing our old and decrepit democratic institutions and re-imagining how government works more efficiently and more effectively in servicing the people. Without, however, a re-strengthening of the martial Spirit of the Nation, these efforts will all be put to naught because people will still feel hopeless and poor and corrupt.
The next six years should be about re-instilling pure Filipino nationalism and strengthening the very institutions to reflect the National Spirit. There should only be one message and that is, unity under a democratic regime peopled by individuals who believe that change can happen and it will happen. Whoever has the wherewithal to exercise leadership will be the one respected by the People and admired to lead this country out of chaos and national disaster.