COMMENTARY: Corruption, a Teaspoon Stuck in the Throat

Duterte, in his second SONA, used a solid metaphor for corruption. He said, “Corruption persists like a teaspoon stuck in the throat. It pains and is disconcerting.”

A teaspoon stuck in the throat shuns anyone from talking, or, restricts one from swallowing. This makes one worry and immobile. Substitute “teaspoon” with “corruption”; a powerful imagery emerges. It pounced an endemic disease spread throughout the government’s bureaucracy.  Do Filipinos deserve this?

Politicians nor presidents barely eradicate this social disease, because corruption is embedded like the barnacles. Duterte implored, “We need to put an ending to this.” But how?

Duterte, in his first year of a mandate, plugged holes of corruption among his presidential appointees. But it didn’t spurt to the bottom. The culture of corruption and inefficiencies thrive.

He started “The President’s Complaints Hotline or 8888” for people to call their concern against  — scalawags, fixers, lousy performers.

Yes, they accept the complaints and pass it to the agency concerned. But do these agencies study the root cause of the concern and do corrective measure so that complaints of the same nature don’t occur again?  Duct-tape solution transpires.  If they keep one complainer happy, that’s statistics of their success. Never mind the recurring same old concern.

Hotline 8888 limits its success because the infrastructure that supports government operations are not robust enough. Soon, if the current setup continues, hotline 8888 groove the same pattern of other agencies’ inefficiencies.

Duterte exhorted people to assert, advised to howl, and make a scene, if they sensed wrongdoing as they transact business with bureaucrats. But most people are passive. They are scared of retaliation. They go the easiest route – give them grease money. Or keep quiet and suffer. That perpetuates corruption. That teaspoon stuck in the throat, it shuns them from talking.

Corruption is hard to swallow, too. People have had enough of corruption. They could accept it no more. They decimate of its effect. Worried to death, but confronted with a Sisyphean* task, corruption lingered.

[*sisyphean  –  endless and unavailing, as labor or a task]