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Maharlika, Progress and Corruption

Get on track

There is more to economic transformation for the Philippines than money, trade, investments and profits. Oddly, the buzz these days is just all about money when it must be about us.

Our economic managers and congressmen go to great lengths with their “agenda for prosperity” like the sky’s the limit. They are insistent on pursuing the Maharlika Wealth Fund as they have just issued a joint statement: “This will redound to growth and help the country achieve economic transformation towards inclusivity and sustainability” Nice words, but captious, hollow.

Shelve that “Fund baby” contained in House Bill No. 6398 for another time, when the country’s condition is favorable and conducive to economic growth, with surplus funds to gamble. But for now, drop it. Stop chasing the wrong things and you’ll catch the right ones. There is a right time for everything. Matthew 6:33. “GDP expands by 7.6% in the third quarter of 2022,” said the news. But whatever that means, it is meaningless if government corruption and indiscretions hang tough.

Corrupt OfficialThere is no economy that is growing with the people’s plight remaining unaffected and unalleviated, with crooks and spooks as the main culprits. Graphs and surveys don’t feed stomachs. Go figure out where we are now, with money being always the government’s topmost priority, one administration after another. Reality bites.

The BBM administration is obsessed with Sovereign Wealth Fund, courting foreign investments/trade and opening up tourism (or loosening Covid restrictions) to manage/uplift our economy – having overlooked (apparently) the larger life or the more important aspects of progress – the elemental, fundamental imperatives of the time.

Why does addressing crookedness take a back seat? Beating corruption can boost the whole country’s morale and can create a domino effect that leads to an upright, clean, wise and effective governance, and active people cooperation/participation. It builds up confidence and redounds to attracting all the “positives” and necessary ingredients in nation building – toward achieving progress, peace, and more.

In the same vein, corruption goes beyond robbery of the people’s money. It robs leaders of wisdom, virtue and conscience (at times even common sense) in governing the country. And it saps everyone’s spirit/buoyancy about the future.

Get this, beloved officials: Economic recovery/transformation is realized before it is achieved and previous to the upsurge of GDP and GNP. Solving degradation comes first in antecedence prior to solving inflation. Address corrupt and wacky hearts and so rip out what impedes progress. True success has a tag price, and it’s a price that is not measurable by money. Jeremiah 17:9-10.

“We have the best government that money can buy,” Mark Twain lamented. And we, Filipinos, have always the best leaders that think and act as though progress and governing a country is everything about money (and/or corruption). Truth is, even if all the combined money of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Gautam Adani, Jack Ma and Warren Buffett will be transported to the country (simultaneously) in the form of investment or aid, the Philippines will still end up just the same – poor and struggling nation – due to corruption.

Progress or development happens ahead of tangible blessings just as the downfall of a nation starts from within. “National progress is the sum of individual industry, energy and uprightness, as national decay is of individual idleness, selfishness, and vice.” – Samuel Smiles. Money is good, but money is not everything.

Get on track, Philippines.

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