Don't blame the government for all your problems

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - April 23, 2021 - 12:00am

The problem with most of us Filipinos is that we do not take responsibility for our own lives, and we tend to blame the government for all our miseries. And those who are loudest in complaining are those who are not paying taxes, not helping the community and, we are sorry to be blunt about this, the perennial complainers and fault-finders are the very same people who are creating more problems, instead of helping find solutions.

We are tempted to remind them of US president John F. Kennedy's famous admonition: Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. But I know most Pinoys are pilosopo, they will retort: This is not the USA.

These people produce too many children, then blame the government if there is no ayuda for food, if there is no space in schools, if there are not enough health services, and if there is not enough money to vaccinate all. This country is overpopulated and overcrowded, that is why the COVID-19 virus can spread easily and fast. The people from the rural areas keep on migrating to the urban centers and the government has no power to control the inflows and outflows of masses of unskilled, unprepared, and unqualified workers and their families. Filipinos mindlessly prefer to squeeze into polluted, unsafe, and unhealthy urban colonies, trying to exist in urban shanties inside squatters' areas rather than staying in the mountain villages. Hence, they should be ashamed to blame the government for the high rates of infections and mortality.

This nation is a labor excess economy. There are millions of new entrants into the labor markets each year, and the economy is not large enough to provide employment to all new graduates, not to mention the backlogs of unemployed over many decades. Besides, there is always a job mismatch, the skills produced by the educational system are not the ones needed by industry. The problem with parents and students themselves is that they choose courses for white-collar jobs, while those who prefer Engineering, Nursing, Medicine, and IT are studying to become OFWs, instead of gearing up to serve their country. In the Philippines, the people are too self-centered or at the most, family-fixated. We always study for our own betterment, or for the family, and seldom in order to help build the nation. We have a very strong sense of individualism and family orientation. We hardly have a sense of community, much less, nationhood.

There are many Filipinos who blame the government for the traffic, but it is the people who overcrowd the streets when many of them are not doing anything productive in the cities. They blame the government for the dirt and the pollution but many of them are the ones throwing garbage everywhere, urinating and defecating even in public places. They would say “well, the government did not build enough public toilets and provide sufficient utilities.” How can the government afford all their demands when only less than one-fourth are paying direct taxes? The overly rich have many tax shields and tax avoidance schemes and machinations. The poor and overly poor are not paying direct taxes at all. And so, where shall the government get all the funds to finance all the needs and the whims of the very demanding citizenry? Beg, steal or borrow?

It is high time that Filipinos should accept responsibility and be true to themselves. They should paddle their own canoes, solve their own problems, plan their own lives and stop blaming the government if they do not have education, jobs, their own houses and a happy family. We should become part of the solution and not add to the mounting problems. This country has had too many complainers and fault-finders. We need to work hard and not expect anything from others, including the government.

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