Corruption in the Philippines
If you ask about corruption in the Philippines and get opinions from around the world they might say that its one of the worst. Comparable to China. Well I have never been to China but my guess is that China may be the worst with manipulation of business, currency etc.
However the Philippines is bad in its own respect. In my opinion it will take a long time and some sweeping reforms to change that here. For example, there is a type of corruption is taught to children at a very young age.
I have a step daughter that goes to a public school here. Every year they have a celebration of the founding day the school was started as with all schools here. This is comparable to a high school prom where I come from in the states although the celebration is for different reasons. They have a king and queen of foundation day along with all their court. Including representatives from other countries. Represented by the children. All in all there are about 30 kids that make up the entourage of the court.
So where is the corruption? It comes from how they establish who will be King, Queen and the court. The way this is done is money. Who’s parents give the most money to the foundation day parade is the winner of king or queen. To me, what this is telling the children is that who ever has the most money will be the winner of the contest. (Kinda sounds like the American political system huh.) The fact there is no vote or anything that resembles a fair election was disturbing to me. When they asked us to participate I said no. I really have no desire to teach my daughter that. Although she will learn it anyway during this celebration.
The truly sad issue is the fact that this is the way the schools raise money for books, up keep on the school or any other extra curricular activities. I do know that there is tax money that goes to these schools but it is minimal to what a school might need. So one could say its necessary.
This is really just the beginning step of why this country has the corruption it does. The children are the future. Right?
When I first moved here to the Philippines the corruption was one of my main concerns. After spending one day here I learned a great deal about how it works. When I first arrived in Manila I spent an extra day there to get my I-card. An identification card that establishes me as a permanent visa holder.( Now I don’t have to pay monthly to get my visa renewed because I am married to a Filipina.) I was truly amazed with how it worked. We paid 2 men that work for one part of the permanent visa processing 1000 pesos to help us get my I card in one day. (Something that we have friends that have been waiting 5 years to get I got in one day.) These two men ran me around to all the places I needed to go for every thing I needed to get this I-card. We went to a place where they take your picture for the card and they got me to the front of the line in seconds. Then there was the finger printing which was in a building across the street and right to the front of the line I went. Im sure there were people waiting most of the day for what I did in mere seconds. Of course I was elated to know I could get this done in the 1 day I expected. At the time I had no idea how long this process was taking other friends of ours.
If I remember correctly the grand total for getting through the process and having the two men send my I card to us when it came to them 6 months later was 3000 pesos including the fees for the finger prints and picture and all. The friend I mentioned earlier that has spent 5 years trying to get his I-card has spent more than 45000 pesos and still has no I-card.
These are just examples of the low level corruption that every one is aware of and in reality nobody cares. When you talk to some of the people over 40 it seems like they wear the stigma of corruption like a badge of honor. The younger generations are the ones who care the most but it seems the older the get the more of an acceptance attitude is built and they use it to their advantage the best they can. It is part of life here and will take monumental amounts of effort to change it.