Sapping ‘Inner Resources’

By Juan Mercado
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:22:00 04/03/2008

“Government must be held accountable … at every point of its stay in power,” and beyond the 2010 elections, says the eight-point “Action Program,” drawn up by the Commission on the Social Apostolate of Jesuits in the Philippines. “Democracy cannot be confined to the single act of casting a vote. [It is a] continuing process of citizen participation.”

Neither can “the search for truth be sacrificed in the name of stability,” insists the new “Guidelines for Communal Discernment and Action to Address the National Crisis.” Unresolved issues further sap institutions of credibility. Their persistence reinforces today’s “culture of impunity.”

Today, there’s a “deepening distrust of political leaders and institutions.” This flows from scandals and cover-up for short-term political survival. “There is a real danger that citizens will become disempowered and disengage themselves from politics.” Frustrations can also spur insurrectionary and other unconstitutional options.

“Moral outrage … is critical for a committed response” that must consider long-term consequences, it adds. Rebuilding trust in institutional mechanisms of accountability is urgent. This could “lead to the transformation of the present culture of one-sided dependency on leaders… Generations of patronage have led Filipinos to depend disproportionately on those who have more resources and more power.”

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