A cultural phenomenon called “Collective disrespect on people’s purse” reached the peak of its sordid revolting effect in the aftermath of the Ten Billion Pork Barrel scams expose. The netizens deluged their anger, frustration and hate on the different social networking sites against Ms. Janet Napoles, the alleged mastermind of the mother of all scams: against the conspirators of Ms. Napoles in the Philippine’s Bureaucracies: Against the bunch of shameless, thicked face, greedy politicians implicated in the scam. His Imminence Cardinal Tagle, head of the Catholic Church felt so heartbreak he cried of the magnitude of the money involved which could have been used for the poor and the destitute. Half of a million warm bodies congregated at the Luneta Park to show the people’s vehement condemnation of this high degree of corruption. Had it been that the Philippines under the dispensation of the likes of Marcos, Estrada and Arroyo, these expose could have triggered again another People Power.
“Collective disrespect on people’s purse” is that thoughtless and careless attitudinal treatment en mass of the government’s money. It is that pervasive perceptions of most Filipinos that government money can be stolen, can be abused, or can be spent wantonly. These pervasive perceptions are the magnet of corruption. Newspaper stories everyday heralded this observation non stop, and the Ten Billion Pork Barrel scams tops them all.
This cultural phenomenon resides in the Filipino psyche. No matter how much force applied to shake it off, it’s like a tick sticking tight to its host. Most Filipinos in one way or another are guilty of this cultural phenomenon – from the highest office of the land, to the administrative fingerlings of the smallest barrio way down to the ordinary common people. That’s probably one reason why corruption could not be eliminated or at least controlled. People’s attitude and perception must be reoriented to respect of the government’s money. How? That’s the biggest stumbling block.
Efforts had been made by some honest political leaders to fight incidences of corruption, but the silver bullet needed has always been elusive. Laws and mechanisms put in place seemed inadequate, and these deterrents missed the obvious fact: it is the mind set of the Filipinos not having pecuniary respect on people’s purse is the curse.
Filipinos shouldn’t lose hope, however. The P’Noy current administration shows some encouraging signs applying a tourniquet to the hemorrhaging corruption. The leadership could inspire a renewed attitude or positive perception of the use of the government’s money. Or served as a wake up call to people to vote really… really, wisely.