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Beyond Bottomlines: Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship Seminar-Workshop

July 5, 2011 Leave a comment

My Christmas list for the Philippines

December 25, 2010 Leave a comment

 

My Christmas list for the Philippines

by: Harvey S. Keh

The Manila Times

http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/opinion/36079-my-christmas-list-for-the-philippines

TWO days before Christmas and allow me to share with you, my own Christmas wish list for our country this coming year:

(1) A more intensified anti-corruption campaign by our government. Even as we ushered in with much hope the new administration led by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd, there are still many national government agencies and local government units that
continue to engage in graft and corrupt practices. I recently talked with a friend of mine who told me that while new processes and policies introduced recently at the Bureau of Customs are good, these additional processes have led to more corruption happening within the agency. If this is indeed true then it is no wonder why Customs has failed to reach its collection target these past five months.

I also heard that not much has actually changed in the Bureau of Internal Revenue with revenue collection officers still going to legitimate business owners, telling them that they need not pay the right taxes anymore. Their modus operandi has never changed, they still coerce business owners who want to pay the right taxes to play by their own set of rules which means that they should give a huge sum of money to the revenue collection officer or they will be slapped with a huge fine or, worse, their business could be closed down.

I certainly hope our government leaders will make sure that those who work under them will also live out PNoy’s campaign promise of “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap.”

2.) Make the eradication of jueteng a priority. Early on in his administration, PNoy already said that jueteng isn’t one of his main priorities since there are a lot more heavier crimes that need to be addressed. What PNoy doesn’t understand is that jueteng is one of the main sources of graft and corruption in our country. The reason why jueteng continues to thrive especially in the provinces is because our police leaders and local government officials allow themselves to be bribed by the jueteng lords.

Jueteng is also a major reason why many Filipinos in the countryside continue to live in poverty since instead of learning the value of saving money, they are often easily tempted to take their chances and use their hard earned money to place a bet. As we all know, these small amounts when pooled collectively over time can help send their children to school or buy medicines when necessary.

Aside from this, jueteng money has been used to fund the electoral campaigns and victories of corrupt political leaders who treat their local government unit’s funds as their own personal bank account. By eradicating jueteng, PNoy will be able to help more effective and ethical leaders win in the coming elections.

3.) Put more funds and support for the development of Philippine sports. As we can see in the experiences of Efren “Bata” Reyes, Manny Pacquiao and more recently, our “Azkals” football team, sports is a great unifier for our country. When our athletes are able to bring home honor and glory against the best in the world, many of us feel better and more proud to be Filipinos. This usually translates to all of us becoming more productive with our work and in the end, our economy will greatly benefit from this as well. Given the lack of funds, we should also prioritize sports that we know we can excel in such as boxing, billiards, bowling, tae kwon do and now, football. I am one of those who are hoping that we can finally win that elusive first Olympic gold medal in the upcoming 2012 London Olympics.

4.) Continue to make access to quality basic education a priority. One of my mentors, Ateneo de Manila University President Father Ben Nebres S.J., has always said time and again that the only way for our country to move out of poverty is to be able to provide quality basic education to every Filipino. Education is one of the main drivers of the economy as we can see from the experiences of Singapore and Japan.  There their government invests so much in ensuring that their youth are able to receive the best education possible.

We can also see it in our country wherein up until now many of our business process outsourcing (BPO) companies still find it difficult to fill-up their need for competent and qualified employees due to the lack of skills of many young Filipinos. If our public education system can continue to be improved then I am sure many more foreign and local investors will decide to set up their businesses here in our country.

5.) A more engaged Filipino citizenry. During the last elections, we saw how people power triumphed over the power of money but the harder part of doing our own share in helping lead our nation to progress and prosperity now begins. PNoy aptly put it when he said during his inaugural address that he needs each and every one of us to do our own share in the promotion of good governance and nation-building.
We cannot become fence sitters once more while many of the evil forces are trying to regroup and reestablish themselves in our country. We need to do our own small share by making ourselves more aware of what is happening in our country, by participating in social outreach programs, by reporting government officials who engage in graft and corrupt practices and by simply following our laws. Only when people feel that they are part of good governance can we say that we are truly a democratic society.

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A Blessed Christmas to all and may we find time in these holidays to reflect and pray over the many graces we have received this year!