On Failing to Fight Corruption

Something big happened yesterday, and I wasn’t a part of it.

It’s not that I didn’t want to partake. The rally was in protest of the misuse of taxpayers’ money, in protest of corruption. Given some of the frustrating budgeting issues I and my family have had to deal with over the last few months, the idea that I’ve been giving a chunk of my money (which I could have spent for the household) to a government that doesn’t make sure that it gets to where it’s supposed to (projects that actually HELP the Filipino people) makes me want to claw someone’s face off.

But I didn’t go, as my mother and sister did. I had work to do; even if I DID have vacation leaves on hand, taking a day off would have meant being ridiculously behind on my tasks. It also would have made me feel like a hypocrite, rallying against corruption when I myself encouraged it in little ways. I remember paying government officers at one point so they will relinquish a package to me or so they would expedite certain processes that will get me documentation that I need to get a job. I’m sure that there are other little ways by which I have given corrupt people the message that it is okay for them to be in power, that it’s okay for them to remain in power. Those times I didn’t vote, for example. Those times when I let go of an opportunity to help others understand how we are being failed by the powerful. Those times when I didn’t act.

I’m afraid that I’ll continue to fail to act, if only because this time I have lost hope that we will have the right kind of people in power. Apart from the shame I feel over perpetuating this (on way or the other), I also have difficulty imagining that things can change anymore, no matter how angry and vocal I get. All I can focus on now is trying to survive in a country overrun with selfish thieves. All I can focus on now is being selfish for the benefit of my family.

Maybe it’s because we’ve tried so very many times, and failed to follow through. We keep failing to follow through. Even the first EDSA, which has become a significant moment of freedom, was not sustained.

I have doubts that we can make Democracy work. Too many of us are hungry and small-minded–in all sectors. We have been accepting abuse too long, not just from invaders but from our own countrymen. None of us can think straight, not even the ones who have the right ideas. We cannot think straight enough to have a plan of action because we have become too afraid of what will come next, of things getting worse before they become better.

I am failing to fight corruption because, at the age of 29, I feel like we never win. In fact, I wonder if we ever have and if we ever could.

It seems that I’m leaving faith to other people.

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