by: Ame-phil O. Saquiban
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said in his last State of the Nation Address, “Our journey to progress requires not only unity and social cohesion amongst our people. It is also imperative that our nation remains intact and inviolable, our sovereignty preserved. We will protect our sovereign rights and preserve our territorial integrity, in defense of rules-based international order.”
Indeed, “protecting our sovereign rights and preserving our territorial integrity” is one of the pressing issues in the Philippines. We need to protect our country from outside invasion. However, we should not be blinded of the fact that our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity can also be weakened, not just by foreign oppressors but internal oppressors. Undoubtedly, there can be oppressors within our turf that aggravates or intensify the challenging state of life of our citizens. These are the people who take advantage of their positions to gratify their selfish ambitions and greed, thereby shortchanging our nation’s fullest potential.
Every year, we appropriate budget amounting to trillions of pesos which are not even completely satisfied from our own savings and collections of taxes. We borrow money from international sources to sustain our government operational needs. To this date, we are not self-sufficient. On top of this, there is no guarantee that our big-ticket projects with the budget of billions of pesos are funded fully or accurately because of the ruthless practice of kickbacks and unwarranted commissions. Candidly, there are more unscrupulous insiders than outsiders.
Borrowing from an article of Asia Society on Building a Nation of Integrity, it highlighted that “To achieve a truly corrupt-free Philippines, each and every Filipino, must pledge to live a life of integrity”. Consequently, we can address serious problems such as poverty, increasing foreign and domestic debts, budget deficits, low investment, and the likes. It is beyond cavil that integrity is an inviolable core value if we are to win this nation to its glorious destiny, not just a developing country. The Civil Service Commission identified it right that integrity is one of the values that civil servants should possess. It is in pursuant to the provision of our Constitution in Article 2, Section 27 that says, “The State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption”.
In the same way, private citizens should observe the same. Nation building is the business of all. It is a public-private partnership endeavor.
As we contemplate on how we can significantly contribute in nation-building this year, let us commit or recommit to live a life of integrity. Our words and actions in and outside of the workplace have the power to influence others to uphold the same.
CRFV Winning Team
A company of men and women who have committed their lives to the cause of national transformation.