ALEJANDRO ROCES: GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS SHOULD SET EXAMPLE

MANILA, September 20, 2003 (STAR) ROSES AND THORNS By Alejandro R. Roces  - There are reports that now the administration is monitoring the private lives of its top officials to check if they are living according to their means. And as a follow up, policemen and government employees are now prohibited from going to nightclubs and bars. Sad to say, we often read reports of policemen who get into shooting situations in such places and often for something as flimsy as who should have the mike in a sing-along bar. Definitely, armed people should not be allowed to enter any place that dispenses alcohol because drinking and carrying a gun simply do not mix.

What we have serious doubts on, however, is whether the policeman who is off-duty, unarmed and in civilian clothes can legally be prohibited from entering a nightclub or bar. This prohibition may be an infringement on his right as a citizen.

We do, however, subscribe 100 percent to any move to make the army, police and government personnel and officials to be the examples of a model citizenship, particularly in their public comportment.

Night clubs propagated in Metro Manila during the liberation. There were so many GIs who were hungry for civilian company and entertainment and night clubs provided that need. Ermita and Malate before the war were the two prime residential districts in Manila. Today, they have become the center of bars and discos. Now bars and discos are not necessarily places that peace-loving citizens avoid. The trouble is that many of them have so-called popular entertainers that go beyond popular entertainment. In short, they are call-girls.

But our main point is that government employees must set the example of being model citizens. The main motto of President Diosdado Macapagalís administration was simple living. And that is what we must all do during these trying times Ė live simply.

The Philippines is now classified as the third most corrupt country in Asia. The main cause of corruption is greed. It is also what makes people live beyond their means. We must not only live within our income, we have the obligation to save some of that income, not only for our future, but our childrenís future.

It will be good if we had an established institution that would annually recognize people who it considers as model citizens of the year. A lot of people are doing a lot of good for the country, but they never gain recognition. It is a fact that news is generally bad news.

In the past, the two greatest influences in every personís life were his family upbringing and his school education. Today, the greatest influence in our young is television. And television, sad to say, is mainly sex and violence.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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