CHAFF FROM THE GRAIN
“No grand idea was ever born in a conference, but a lot of foolish ideas have died there.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte looks tired and dismayed.
Frustration and impatience are written all over his face as corruption remains widespread; drug trafficking is unimpeded, and bureaucracy remains lackluster like barnacles.
There are now more than a dozen open-ended task forces that do not produce earth-shaking reforms and they eventually wither on the vine.
There seems to be something lacking in our national psyche and ethical behavior that hinders rapid growth.
Nonetheless, foreign forecasters and self-appointed credit raters try to buoy up our morale by repeatedly stating that a consumer-driven economy is basically sound and the financials are in place.
Since the Korean War, when the Philippines was the leading Asian economy, the Philippines has lagged and has been overtaken by South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Discounting the risk of exaggeration and generalization, and barring the differences in government efficiency, location, and natural resources, the Filipino seems to lack the culture of altruism and the spirit of Samaritans and innate nationalism as distinct from courage and patriotism which the Filipino has proven time and again in times of conflict and struggle.
Indeed, there have been many examples of these virtues all over the world from the mundane to the extraordinary.
The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, Korean citizens donated their jewelry to their central bank for melting and conversion into bullion.
At the other extreme during floods, torrential rains and traffic gridlocks, many of our city mayors, local officials, traffic enforcers, and policemen shirk their civil responsibility and altruism with disappearing acts until the crisis subsides and fair weather returns.
In successful countries, nationalistic entrepreneurship, for God and country, and creativity come first ahead of crass profit motive.
That is the difference between visionary and decisive leadership from the ordinary.
During this vicious pandemic and economic crisis, the country needs an enlightened and impartial game changer who will restructure and transform society and the economy by cultivating a culture of altruism and civic selflessness not only from high officials down to the lowest less educated masses.
In the process, in the continuing search of the missing substance of greatness, reforms must be made in corruption, drug trafficking, population growth, ethics, nationalism, civic consciousness, education and social responsibility by example.
You be the judge.