I’ve encountered a proposition that I think merits an analysis. The proposition is that the Philippines already has enough laws to fight graft and corruption.
Do we really have enough laws? Probably. But why is graft and corruption still a problem in our country and more importantly why are those laws not being followed even by those tasked to implement them?
Our laws really should be enough but, unfortunately, they are not. We need better laws. If the problem is implementation then perhaps we need more laws to ensure that malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance are discouraged and dealt with accordingly.
Instead of clamoring for “change from within ourselves” we should instead make demands for better laws.
In the first place, are our present laws good enough? I think not for the simple reason that they were crafted by people with interests to protect.
How can we have good laws then? One way is by getting ordinary citizens involved in the process.
First, we should take a serious look at our system and identify the problems that make it weak. Is it graft and corruption? Yes, that’s one of them. Next, we can put our heads together and think of how it can be eliminated from our system of government. Once we have our ideas finalized we can craft them into clear cut proposals for our lawmakers to consider. Finally, we can lobby for our proposals in Congress.
Instead of forming movements calling for something as general and vague as change, why don’t we form movements focused on creating the kind of laws our lawmakers don’t have the balls to handle, laws that will truly make it risky and dangerous for grafters and corruptors to do their thing.
Who should be part of such a movement? Anyone who has the patience to analyze a dysfunctional system and think up of ways to make it better.
It should be clear by now that Filipinos who truly despise graft and corruption are the most qualified to handle the task of crafting laws against this menace.
Only with better laws can our country become better in the short and long term. Implemented properly (with the help of laws that will ensure proper implementation), laws will force everyone including those in the government to do what is right. Over time, compliance will evolve into obedience.
Remember the time when smoking inside jeepneys and buses was quite common. Then, sometime during the 1990s a law or policy was put in place banning the practice. At first, most smokers resisted the law but they were not given any choice because non-compliance meant penalties. For some reason, the implementation of that particular law or policy was carried out seriously for a good length of time. The result: Today, smoking in jeepneys and buses is no longer as commonplace as before and the practice is now seen by most people including smokers as unacceptable behaviour.
I’m sure the same result would not have been achieved if there was no law or rule against it. Think about it.
Calls for personal change? It’s just a fad.