10 lessons that Phl needs to learn from Switzerland
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - October 18, 2019 - 12:00am

Zurich, Switzerland. — While drinking the world famous Swiss chocolate in the veranda of our hotel here in Zurich, overlooking a fantastic lake, I am deeply thinking about our country and people, and how we could learn nuggets of lessons from the Swiss citizens. The Filipinos should be humble enough that we are lagging behind by more than 100 years, and we need to do a quantum leap in order to catch up.

The Philippines has a population approaching 107 million, with a measly per capita income of US$10,090, while Switzerland, the world's wealthiest country in terms of per capita income, (with PCI of US $65,910) has a population of only 8.5 million. Here, in Zurich, a city of only 415,367 residents, the people enjoy the distinction of living in one of the top three cities in the whole world, in terms of high quality of life. Bern, the political capital has only 183,333 people. Switzerland is the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful country among the 21 we have visited these last few weeks. It has no pollution, no foul smelling garbage, no beggars, no street urchins, and no pickpockets. Indeed, we, Filipinos can learn a lot from the Swiss people.

First, population should be managed, and whenever more babies are born, there should be a commensurate increase in the family income for every additional member of the family. Second, the people should be well-disciplined; they should have respect for the law and for the authorities, not because there is a penalty for any violation, but because compliance is good for the whole nation in the long run. Third, Switzerland is completely and absolutely clean. The environment is well-maintained, the waters are potable even from the faucets, and there are no rodents, fly or mosquitoes at all. Everyone takes care of every nook and cranny of the neighborhood.

Fourth, in Switzerland, the government truly serves the people, and the citizens have a direct say on the passage of laws and their amendments and even repeal. The people are the masters and the politicians do not abuse their positions. The mayors do not marginalize the vice mayors and the governors do not isolate the vice governors. Fifth, the whole country focuses on the economy first, and politics as the least in their order of priorities. They concentrate on increasing their gross domestic products and on remaining competitive vis-a-vis the other economies in a highly antagonistic global market. Sixth, the Swiss people are very much committed to productivity and quality of products and services.

Seventh, the Swiss roads, bridges and tunnels are forever, not coterminous with the tenure of congressmen and senators who prosper out of pork barrel. There are no pork barrels in Switzerland. Eighth, the Swiss consider research, innovations, and technology as wings with which to soar in the global economy. Ninth, they hold on to their own culture, history and ideology as their strong roots with which to maintain stability and national harmony. And tenth, the Swiss are truly independent people. They never aligned themselves with the US nor with Russia. They have stood firm in neutrality and for that this country has never been involved in any conflict. They were never a part of World War I or II.

France is amazing with its Eiffel and its Notre Dame and Louvre. Spain is fantastic with its cathedrals and monasteries. Portugal is marvelous with its castles and museums. But none of them could match the greatness of Switzerland. The Swiss are perhaps the best Europeans. If I were to choose a second country, I would not choose the US nor Canada. I prefer Switzerland any time.

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