Transparency 101, Debut Column
2:19 AM | Author: Conrado Abrugar Macapulay Jr.
To assume a facile dissemination of information in a country where right to information and freedom of speech is uphold in its people’s Magna Carta is impossible. For one, information secrecy is very much essential especially when the reputation and credibility of the involved is at stake, not to mention the interests behind that is needed to be preserved.
However, this concealment of information appears to be the cause of all the perturbing dilemmas of this nation. This has spurred the endless battle between the people and the leader, the left and the right, the cynical and the affable, the opposition and the administration, and the reds versus their government.

When military authorities classify their plans as secret, it gives positive and negative results. Positive for they have to invoke their role to maintain national security. On the other hand, this might lead into corruption and military dictatorship.

A person is a social animal, and as a social animal, he is always thirsty of the information that suffices his concerns. It is evident enough that people, once deprive of information, will eventually start to assume things, put implications on this and start spreading half-truths (this is a usual scenario in a neighborhood). Rumormongers were born.

In a larger context, what seems to be the roots of the vigilance of many Filipinos today is information secrecy or lack of transparency. A lesson in my Constitution subject reminds me that transparency is one important element of good governance.
“Transparency implies openness, communication and accountability.”
Countless tales of graft and corruption arising from not practicing transparency is a known fact. People are throwing an eye for every leader and once a malady in his governance is sense, they will easily plunged to the thought that the leader might have used the funds illegally. Considering this, we can see that as years passed by, Filipinos are becoming extremely cynical and subversive. As long as transparency is out in our system, this public cynicism will never be put into its end.

The episode in GMA 7 program Imbestigador about the over-pricing of materials for some government projects earned my ire. However, I cannot blame them, for our government system offers a corruption-friendly environment for these culprits to enjoy the public funds. Many of the government transactions, like public bidding, were put in oblivion (or they really intend to) and the measures taken by the Sandiganbayan to dislodge public officials and employees guilty of illegal use of public funds is very feeble.
I therefore propose that transparency be a standard operating procedure (SOP) in any government transactions. I never heard of any law that pushes all government undertakings to be open to the press and the public and allows anyone to review budgets and financial statement.

That is why I am very much excited to hear about it during the Isang Tanong, Isang Sagot program of the GMA 7 during the election period. I told myself that the senatoriable who advocate for transparency will win a seat in my checklist.
I look for the term in the speech of Chiz Escudero, Allan Peter Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Manny Villar and others but I failed. Until the last portion of the program I am waiting for someone to mention the word but all I can hear is “Fight corruption”, none of them knew about the solution.
I failed. They failed me.

The need for transparency should not only be addressed to our government officials. This must be integrated to every office, where there is a leader, where there is governed. The cause of distrust of an employee to his superior is the inability of the latter to provide an open and interactive working environment to the former. When the employee starts to sense something wrong in the office, he will be very quick to tagged his superior as the perpetrator behind the problem. This cripples an office towards its maximum potential.
“Where there is transparency, there is trust.”

Anyway, Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, noted that “transparency is practiced when 1) laws, rules and decisions are open to discussion. 2) financial disclosure statement were shown and published. 3) freedom of information legislation exists.

On the other hand transparency plays an important role in every human relationship and society. A couple’s break-up is usually brought by lack of transparency between the two of them. In showbiz, artists are likely to be maligned or sentenced without their knowledge because they keep on evading answering questions that concerns them. The war between the reds and the government is caused by the lack of the latter to initiate dialogues. Civil war between the progressive groups and the administration is deepen because of the latter’s failure to provide convictions to extrajudicial killings.
To sum up, information secrecy causes dispute in this country.
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