The Philippines is struggling to meet the requirements of a developing country. Before it can reach the status of an economically stable nation, it will take some time. Issues of transparency, too much politicking, corruption, poor justice system and mismanagement are some of the setbacks that hinder the country to progress.
At present, the Arroyo government is hounded by the number of corruption scandals involving the First Gentleman Mike Arroyo getting a US$100-million kickback from the US$329-million broadband deal with China through ZTE Corp. Then there is the legitimacy of the agreement entered into by the government with China regarding the Spratlys within the Philippine boundaries. Amid these alleged anomalous deals, the Arroyo government had previously been involved in a number of scandals that made the President’s confidence rating to slide down to its negative level. Because of these, many are urging Mrs. Arroyo to step down from office.
Relatively, the Philippines is peaceful. But it could have been better if the government and its elected officials are unified toward one direction. Sometimes, the country’s problems stem from conflicting priorities among legislators. Vested interest on what projects should be prioritized is a common scenario. National projects are not easily implemented because of absenteeism in Congress, the house of lawmakers. The misuse of the “pork barrel” or the community development fund has been an old-time dilemma. Alleged “pocketing” of these funds is common or sometimes overpricing of government projects on infrastructure and other expenditures may be apparent.
Some elected officials were not even competent enough to be part of the legislative body. Some appointed Cabinet members have no vision or have been given a post for the benefit of the government’s personal interest.
Among the other numerous problems that the country faces are violence against women and abuse of children, child prostitution, trafficking in persons, child labor, and ineffective enforcement of worker rights.
Although there are steps in combating all these crises, still they are not enough. People’s initiative needs to be at the forefront to strengthen vigilance against the cancers of society in the Philippines. Perhaps, a change of government in 2010 will make a difference. I hope the Arroyo government in its more than a year existence will gear toward the “truth” and create significant developments in the succeeding months.