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A Shining Moment

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The news about the NEA action on the Zamcelco case is certainly a good one. It is a ray of sunshine in a rather dismal Philippine landscape made gloomy by the continuous reports of corruption, malversation and other unethical/illegal practices in our society, practices which seem to go unchecked and the persons responsible go scot free.

It has reached a point where responsible citizens who definitely do not condone the kind of conduct reported on are no longer perturbed when we come across the news  in the media. It happened somewhere else and there is nothing I can do about it.

However, it is a different kind of reaction when we know of such unwanted conduct right in our own city – we know the people concerned by name and may actually run into them in social occasions. Without meaning to put on “holier than thou” airs we have to make a decision on how to respond to the information we get. Do we simply keep quiet and go on living our own lives,  striving hard to stay ethical? Do we take action to address the wrong we know about and take risks? The risk of  making  people think we are “tilting with wind mills”? The risk of putting ourselves under closer scrutiny and not sure that we will pass?  The risk of arousing deep animosity in people who can be a continuous threat to our life or well-being? The risk of doing battle with our own cultural value of pakikisama? These are not easy questions to answer.

The NEA action on the Zamcelco case did not happen as the natural outcome of things. Truth be told, if the “natural” had been allowed to happen, the shenanigans within Zamcelco would have continued as they have over the years. The happy note in this case is that the natural, expected outcome did not happen. What made things different this time?

A number of  reasons. One is that a group of ZC residents – the Multi-Sectoral Group for a Better Zamcelco -  decided to “tilt with the wind mills” and took the cudgels for the rest of us for no other reason than that it was the thing to do. For a little over a year they worked to pursue the case to the happy conclusion it has come. Two, we had persons in  power who used their authority and power to assist in the campaign for righting the wrongs. Three, those who gave of themselves in this campaign shared a belief in the pursuit of a common good.

The resolution of the Zamcelco case in this way is something we can learn from. We know that corruption in society will never be completely eliminated. But now we know that corruption  need not run amok while we simply stand to the side and watch.  Brave hearts and good intentions do win the day, sometimes.

We doff our hats and give our thanks to the people of the MGBZ!

By Remedios F. Marmoleño




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