Saturday, July 16, 2011

Corruption in the Private Sector

I originally thought that the source of the nation's ills was corruption in government, and that if we just rid government with its bad apples, the country would be in much better shape, and progress would come faster. But after almost a year in the private sector I realized that corruption is not exclusive to government.
I lawyer for an non-profit organization which oversees large-scale social development programs funded by international donor-agencies.  We contract smaller NGOs to implement these projects all over the country. We call these NGOs, Sub-Recipients. Money comes in from abroad and we pass it on to these sub-recipients. They, in turn, use the money to build school buildings, give out medicines, organize livelihood programs or what have you. The fact of the matter is we're all partners in this, and we share one common goal to help people in need.

There's no politico or padrino to deal with. There aren't any election/campaign expenses to worry about. Nothing. So, everything should be fine, right? There shouldn't be any stealing, right? I mean we're all here for the good of the country, right?


There shouldn't be any corruption in the private sector.

But there is. 

To my utter dissappointment, there is corruption in the private sector.

I naively thought that if we take away the padrino system (which is so rampant in our government bureaucracy) and we take away the need to steal money public coffers to fund a campaign, then things will start to run smoothly.
I forgot one element of corruption that transcends all of these petty things.

Pure and simple greed.

And I realized people are greedy, whether in the public or private sector.
As the lawyer of the foundation I work for, one of my duties is to make sure that sub-recipients utilize Grant money prudently and only to forward the interests of the program. Imagine, together with our auditor, we discovered how some of these NGOs siphon Grant funds for their self interests.  Man, magugulat ka sa mga pinaggagawa nila. They hold lavish seminars (AKA: parties) in exclusive resorts. They stay in expensive 5-star hotels. They buy luxury and high-end vehicles (putting the CBCP's Pajero-7 to shame) for their personal use. They report simulated and ghost activities. They fake receipts and pad expenses. O, they're so creative. Grabe.
What makes things worse is that these NGOs think they're not doing anything wrong. Kasi nasa budget naman daw.
Huwaaaat?! Seriously?! That's your excuse?!

Hindi ibig sabihin kung nasa budget eh pwede mo na gastusin lahat!
It doesn't mean that if the money's there you have the right to spend it all!
It's some other person's money, dammit! Money he or she donated so that it could be put to good use. Not for you to reward yourself with an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner at Spirals!
Hay, grabe. Wala na nga ako sa gobyerno, akala ko matatakasan ko na ang lintik na korupsyon na yan. Di ko naman akalain na paglipat ko sa private sector/NGO, ganun din pala.
Now, I honestly believe we will not get rid of corruption in society by simply removing the bad politicians and replacing them with honest public officials. It's not enough.
That's why when President Noynoy Aquino says that our country will be better once corruption is eliminated (or at least substantially lowered) in government, I don't believe him.

And he shouldn't believe himself. Naku, Mr. President, don't be so naive like I was!

If you think you're crusade against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, et al. would lead to "Daang Matuwid," think again!

Corruption is everywhere, in all sectors and at all levels. A witch-hunt will only lead you to another witch-hunt, sir!

The solution is cultural change. First, everybody should admit and accept that we commit or at least consent to corrupt-practices, in one form or another. And second, everybody should agree that corrupt-practices are anti-progress and that we should all stop doing it. Then we're heading towards the right direction.


Mon said...

Sigh indeed, batch.

Bottom line really is the lack of values and deterioration of morals in our society.

Not a few individuals, whether educated in private, public institutions or uneducated at all, seem to have doctorate degrees
when it comes to corrupt practices.

And what compounds things is the overwhelming impression that no one is made accountable for such corrupt practices anyway.

These corrupt individuals are even accorded the highest regard; made ninongs at weddings, guests of honor, outstanding alumnus, etc.

Corruption exists because it is not only accepted, but also tolerated - public or private sector notwithstanding.

red_starlight said...

agree, totally, 100%, wala na akong masabi cousin...grrrrr na lang.

Kris Ablan said...

Tama ka sa lack of values and deteriorating morals of our society, batch. Yun dapat ang tugunan ng gobyerno. Sure, go after Gloria, but go after the private sector as well. Palakasin mo ang 5 pillars ng criminal justice system at i-strengthen ang values education sa elementary at high school.

chimp_rex said...

It seems that that's the mindset of everyone nowadays. I've worked in private schools and universities and corruption is there, although a lot less. It's minimized by fear of losing one's job but it's there in small forms. But I've worked with other smaller private schools and it's to be seen everywhere. It seems everyone has been desensitized because it's around us everyday in different forms and sizes. Greed seems to be the culprit because everyone wants to be 'ahead' of everyone and the mindset is 'paano ako makalamang'. Sigh.

Kris Ablan said...

Tama ka , Rex. Lahat tayo gusto "makalamang" at "maka-isa" sa katabi natin. If it means we have to steal, we'll do it. We have to change our outlook and transcend from this kind of thinking.

Ms. Mike said...

It's much worse in the private sector because the aim is the jugular. It's not just money that's stolen, intellectual property and key players are pirated. It's no wonder why so much is spent on corporate espionage.