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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Will Plato’s notions about the ideal ruler work in the Philippines?

“No ruler, in so far as he is acting as ruler, will study or enjoin what is for his own interest. All that he says and does will be said and done with a view to what is good and proper for the subject for whom he practices his art.” This couple of lines lifted from The Republic really caught my attention of what a ruler should be.
Philippines is always faced with many problems like poverty, injustice, illiteracy, foreign debts and, most especially, graft and corruption. The question is why these problems have arisen. Basically, it boils down to the leaders since they govern the people and they are responsible for them.
The most recent issue of corruption, I think, is the alleged fertilizer fund scam by former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante, which was investigated and exposed by Che-che Lazaro in Probe. According to the Nov. 11 P.D.I. issue, Bolante invoked PGMA to acquire a political asylum because he accused the senators of “politically persecuting” him. Some other scenarios that fit in here are the plunder case of Erap and Atong Ang, and the PIATCO scam and election fraud of PGMA.
In cases like this, Bolante and PGMA as rulers “have used” their power for their personal interests and not for the ruled’s. An ideal ruler of Plato sets aside his personal interests and seeks answers to solve the problems of his people. The exact opposite of this is being exercised by most, if not all, of the Filipino politicians. They prioritize their own sake before their people’s. And to top it all off, the politicians don’t posses the gift of wisdom because only through this quality, they will be able to know the right and the just for their constituents.
Moreover, rallies take place because people see that there is something wrong with the government. They don’t protest for nothing. So, if the politicians are like the ideal ruler of Plato, the abovementioned problems of the country would be eliminated, and, hence, there would be no rallies or chaotic happenings because the politicians would give emphasis to the needs of their people and not to theirs. Less people would be below the poverty line if the politicians would allot enough national budget for education and would provide job opportunities to meet their financial needs. Foreign debts would sooner or later be paid off; thus, there would be already sufficient budget for health, housing, and education. Since they don’t think about themselves, graft and corruption would not be an issue anymore. This problem only arises when they become selfish and greedy for money. Therefore, Plato’s ideal ruler will definitely work in the Philippines. ■


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