Aspiring for more prudence PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 26 September 2014 12:52

By REMEDIOS F. MARMOLEÑO

 

Rich and poor are not absolute but rather relative  terms. Someone who belongs to the middle class can be poor in comparison to Henry Sy Sr. ( of SM Holdings)  but rich in comparison to  someone who had to take refuge in the ZC sports center for over a year.

Keeping this in mind, how do we then rate the Philippines as a country?

The exposes of the 2 billion or so  the country lost in the Napoles scam and the more recent unaccounted for billions  from the DAP funds cannot but make us  ask:  Is the Philippines a poor country?  I once came across a cartoon of a figure seated on a sorry-looking stool representing the Philippines  and under the stool were images  representing the country’s natural resources – ores, marine and forest resources, etc. The caption for the cartoon was “A rich country pretending to be poor”.

But what is really the right adjective to describe the Philippines – rich or poor? For me the adjective that is most apt  is not rich or poor but imprudent. I use the word in these meanings and connotations:

Ø not showing care for the consequences of an action

Ø unwise, by failing to consider the likely results of your actions

In fairness, I can’t say that the word applies to the nation as a whole but rather to sectors of our society as each sector carries out its role.

Consider our  people in their decisions for whom to cast their ballots in an election. Perhaps a scoundrel is given one’s vote simply because he is a relative or that he topped the bar exams or that at one time he gave the village a basketball or that because he is an actor and gives  the women “kilig to the bones”. How else can we explain how someone like the Revillas ever got elected as senators of the country? The Reader can consider different versions of the scenario just described.

Consider how a basketball player named Blatche became a member of the Philippine team to the Inchon Asian Games.  I suppose Blatche is tall and plays the sport better than most and his inclusion in our team would boost the chance of the country coming out the champion team in that sport. So Blatche is naturalized so that he qualifies to play for the Philippine team.  I know that there are not very many people just itching to become Philippine citizens but is citizenship in our country so cheap that it is simply awarded to a  national of another country so our country  can win a medal in basketball?   How does that decision affect  ordinary Filipinos in how they value their own citizenship?

Or consider the decision of a local politician to use public funds to build a pedestrian overpass.  It is minimally needed in that particular spot but it is highly visible . So who cares?

Perhaps the examples I have given are very minor ones and I don’t mean to be simply frivolous by giving  these examples.  But surely the Reader can think of other examples on his/her own that will drive home the point I am trying to put across.

We can be richer than we are now if only we were more prudent.