Aired on May 15, 2010
Narration by Ptr. RG Foncardas
THE CONTINUING JOURNEY TOWARDS GOOD GOVERNANCE
This election season has been defined by at least two concerns that have shaped the campaigns of the leading candidates: corruption and poverty. Surveys showed that our people’s main considerations for choosing a candidate were the capacity to combat corruption and lift the country out of poverty.
When times are bad, we long for some bright star of a man to lead us out of crisis. But we all know that the president is only one of a host of civil servants responsible for the governance of this country. And government is only one player among many sectors of society that contribute towards its well-being and prosperity.
How then do we move this country towards a greater measure of honesty and efficiency ? How can our governance truly serve the people?
There are at least three main players involved in this project: government, business and civil society.
The main job of government is justice: ‘to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right’ in the language of Peter. The sword was given to the state so that it can punish the lawless and enforce peace and order. It is meant to strengthen the common good in this way. When justice is not done, the state becomes soft and subject to unrest and wars fueled by grievance.
One aspect of this justice-keeping is levelling the playing field so that enterprise, innovation and creativity is encouraged and rewarded. In turn, it is the task of business to grow and enlarge the economy. And studies show that countries with thriving economies also tend to grow a strong middle class that serves as a base for a working democracy.
Civil society is our citizenry, particularly the part that organizes to respond to pressing human needs. The church is one major part of this; it is meant to serve as conscience to society, a moral center that declares what is wrong and holds the powers accountable. A vigilant civil society safeguards the rights of a people and protects them from abuse.
Good governance requires that all these three should function properly. Government, business, citizenry – when all are doing what they are supposed to be doing faithfully, society flourishes.
May all of us of us do everything in our power to ensure that this is so.
Written by Dr. Melba Padilla Maggay, president of ISACC.