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Mar 31st
Home Columns Op-Ed Page Who Is to Blame?
Who Is to Blame? PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Op-Ed Page
Friday, 09 November 2007 04:59

Only in the Philippines!

My brother-in-law said that quote, as he smiled. He made the remark, as we were just exiting the Ninoy Aquino (Manila) International Airport when I went home to the Philippines recently. A man calmly walked up to the front of a passenger bus and with several other motorist (and us) looking at him, answered the call of nature and relieved himself oblivious to everyone looking at him. Then, nonchalantly, he went back to the bus as if nothing happened. I was kind of shaking my head in amusement and sheer disbelief that someone would do such a bold yet clearly-embarrassing act. To think that I just cannot imagine someone doing the same thing here in the USA.

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Editor’s Note: Perhaps readers may want to read this first article of Atty. Ramon Poblete Ocampo in conjunction with an earlier article about the "Religion of Blame."

One sees big warning signs in main thoroughfares in Metro Manila, saying, "Bawal Magtapon ng Basura" and admonishing people not to throw their garbage under the penalty of fine and/or imprisonment. Yet, it is quite clear from the high pile of garbage people see nightly that many residents in the nearby area regularly violate the said warnings and throw their garbage with impunity totally disregarding what is clearly spelled out across the wall. You see traffic rules and regulations being violated by many motorists even during the day with traffic enforcers either helpless or just looking the other way. People are known to be killed because of disputes over a parking space. I even heard of a blind man who was able to get a driver’s license with no problems at all. Why are many public servants like politicians, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) or Customs officers, etc., becoming increasingly notoriously callous for abusing their respective public offices for ill-gotten pecuniary or financial gains? Why have many high-ranking police or military officers entrusted with the enforcement of the law, become bullies, known protectors of crime syndicates and perpetrators of graft and corruption, kidnapping and murder?


Is there such an irretrievable breakdown in the ethical values, moral character and sheer decency of the Filipino people as whole? Let us always be mindful of a rich cultural heritage of the "bayanihan" spirit, peace-lovingness, honesty, integrity and gentle, kind and generous demeanor we were taught and probably had at one time or another. Due to the increasing ineptness, lack of credibility and moral ascendancy of the present administration, there is even a lot of rumor of another pending political upheaval and the establishment of a civilian-military junta to establish a so-called "benevolent dictatorship."

(Editor’s Note: Perhaps readers may like to read this article, "Reinventing the Military to Prevent the Coming of a Junta." )



In Luke 6:41-42, Jesus asked, "Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the plank in your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

Why can’t the entire Filipino people, in the USA or elsewhere, from the President to the ordinary Juan De La Cruz, rich and poor alike, stop being like Adam and Eve blaming one another for our nation’s problems but for once, humbly admit that each one of us, to one degree or another, shares the blame, directly or indirectly, to the gradual disintegration/decay of our once-vibrant but potentially-progressive nation, many of us through greed, envy, self-centeredness, stubbornness and worse, through neglect, sheer indifference and/or apathy?

Instead of finger-pointing, why won’t we, as one people, start to offer ourselves as loving sacrifices for one another, living not only for ourselves but for the sake of others less fortunate than us as well? It seems everyone wants to eat a piece of cake but only a few care enough to bake it. It appears everybody wants to go to heaven but not very many are willing to die! One thing is clear though. All of us, without any exception, are needed to contribute a little something to pull our country out of its rut. Every dollar counts, every single effort towards unity, peace and order, progressive self-reliance, character-formation, nation-building, among others, is integral to our country’s survival. For Catholic or Christian Filipinos, there must be a change of heart, mind and spirit to become more God-fearing, Christ-centered and Spirit-inspired .For non-Christians, we need to renew or instill a spirit which is God-fearing, patriotic and humanitarian (MAKADIYOS, MAKABAYAN, MAKATAO). Together as one nation under God, let us have a focused sense of mission/purpose, a shift from negative to positive attitudes, a readjustment of values from being too worldly to being more spiritual, a reduction of expectations to make it a practical reality, a readjustment of the priorities of the individual Filipino from one of self-importance/self-glorification to servant-hood/stewardship. Indeed, as the late President John Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country? Amen?

Editor’s Note: Please help us welcome Atty. "Bro. Mon" Poblete Ocampo, who will now contribute articles to this web site. He is a practicing lawyer in California and the Philippines. He is a lay Catholic/Christian preacher.

For comments, you can contact the author at

Brother Mon is also a PamagCUSA convenor. To learn more about the Pampangan Crusaders, please go to PamagCUSA or copy and paste to your browser,

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Last Updated on Friday, 22 February 2008 07:51

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