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Filipino culture helps spread corruption, says Briones

"Examining Filipino culture is part of solving corruption,” Former National Treasurer Prof. Leonor Briones said during the Applied Ethics and Good Governance forum last Sept. 21 at Silliman Hall.

Briones, chair of the Board of Trustees of Silliman University and Professor Emeritus of the University of the Philippines-National College of Public Administration and Governance, explained how Filipino culture contributes to the spread of a social cancer she referred to as corruption.

“Filipinos don’t generate social anger and sense of betrayal every time they hear stories of corruption,” Briones, lead convener of Social Wealth Philippines, said.

Briones said that there is lack of congruence between cultural values and laws against corruption. “What is legal is not necessarily morally and culturally acceptable,” Briones said.

Briones added that political dynasty in the Philippines can be addressed through people’s initiative.

Briones used a view of a psychologist to trace a Filipino culture of corruption.

“Filipinos cannot differentiate between a good person and a good public official. Their notion of an effective and good public official depends on the favors and money they get from the officials regardless if the money they receive came from corruption. Corruption involves the giver and the receiver,” Briones said.

According to Briones, corruption is a combination of inclination and opportunity. However, she said that inclination is stronger than opportunity.

“Opportunity can always be found if one’s target is to corrupt and steal from the public’s fund. The Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) opened the opportunity for public officials to use public services and wealth for their private use,” Briones said.

Briones urged the Filipino themselves to solve this national problem. Briones pointed out that understanding corruption and its causes make it possible for Filipinos to solve corruption in the government.

Atty. Pearl Estacion, dean of the College of Law Negros Oriental State University and Atty. Jesus Ramon Quevenco, dean of the College of Law of Foundation University were invited as reactors.

The forum was supported by the General Education Integrative Lecture and Henry Luce Foundation.~

By Leslie J. Batallones

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