The real causes of the grinding poverty in our province is not the lack of investments and “localized brain drain” (“Masbate: Paradise in a pool of blood,” Inquirer, 9/22/11) but the corruption and grave acts of injustice committed by our home-grown politicians.
Even before and during the dark years of martial rule, Masbate was virtually a fiefdom of a political dynasty. Families of murdered victims then (until now) have yet to get justice. Corruption was so pervasive that government projects—many of them “ghosts”—were “milking cows” of greedy national and provincial officials. Even marginal fishermen and rice farmers were not spared—they were also robbed of loans due them. Because of corruption, some investors had to quit even before they could start operations.
Corruption, injustice and greed are clearly the scourges that have brought untold sufferings to many Masbateños but wealth to a wicked few.
It is, therefore, not only ridiculous but also crazy to ask successful Metro Manila Masbateños “to go back home and serve Masbate.” The duty to serve Masbate primarily lies with the province’s elected public officials. The task of eradicating poverty is their job and not the job of Manila-based Masbateños, or of those sweating it out abroad to feed, clothe, educate and shelter their families, who sought their fortunes outside their “paradise” for fear of falling into a “rut” or drowning in a “pool of blood.”
Addressing the problems of poverty and violence requires the ultimate sacrifice—making selfish interests subservient to public welfare; obedience to Divine and man-made laws; and a sincere commitment to public service.
Partly to blame for the cycle of violence in Masbate are the corrupt Comelec officials who mock the electoral process by being parties to cheating and electoral fraud; corrupt judges and prosecutors who deny justice to victims of killings, rape and land-grabbing; and shameless police officials who curry favor with politicians who, in turn, use them for their evil and selfish designs.
The way it looks, this grim and bloody scenario in Masbate will stay for as long as justice remains elusive. Hopes for lasting peace will continue to be a mere illusion—more so that the very institutions some advocates represent remain embroiled in corrupt practices, thus making it extremely hard to enlist the cooperation of a public grown wary and weary of political promises and demagoguery.
Some quarters blame “unfair publicity” as one reason investors don’t do business in Masbate. This is pure baloney. Media should not be faulted for reporting the truth, for Masbate’s earning the moniker “Murder Capital of the Bicol Region,” if not of the whole country. Investors shy away from the province because of corruption and its volatile peace and order situation. Unless these problems are effectively addressed, Masbate will remain a “paradise in a pool of blood.”—EDGAR J. TAMAYO,
Blk. 8, Lot 2, Aster Road, San Lorenzo Homes, Robinsons East, Barangay San Jose, Antipolo City