The Filipino Conscience

The Philippine Daily Inquirer lauded it as “one inspiring story” and I fully acquiesced to this observation. Three Filipino seamen---namely Jonathan Sanchez, Jimmy Piamonte, and Florencio Tolentino---and another ship worker were rewarded yesterday for having had their hearts and mind in the proper places at just about the time they are needed most.

Read the Entire Story.

The United States government rewarded sizable amount of money to the persons mentioned above for having “squealed” on their ship’s unscrupulous act of dumping waste material into the Pacific Ocean. Their testimony was apparently crucial to the victorious prosecution of their former employer for violating U.S. and international environmental laws. A U.S court fined the DST Shipping Company a million dollars for the malice they have done to our oceans and also, the ship captain and some other officers were left with no other option but to plead guilty for their indiscretions.

Each “whistle blower” got four million pesos except for the ship cook who only got a third of the amount for his additional testimony on the case mentioned above. According to Joseph Mussomeli, the U.S. charge d' affaires here in the Philippines, the reward given were sufficient enough to stifle the consequential difficulties of the said seamen to seek re-employment especially in the same industry. Their “turning against their boss” might just be a stigma that would be stuck with them tightly from now on and no ship owner, especially those with malevolent schemes similar to their former employer, would be wont to take them in as ship workers. No matter, their brave and courageous acts could just be their badges of honor that could overcome any difficulties that they may encounter in their future pursuits. They may enter instead other industries and I am pretty certain that their marked credibility is just but the exact virtues that some of our employers are looking for. Or they may enter the government service for surely their honesty is a welcome respite to an organization full of snakes and thieves.

What Jonathan Sanchez, Jimmy Piamonte, and Florencio Tolentino accomplished is a reflection of how we can still rely on “the Filipino conscience”, where we could still believe that in these days of desperation, we Filipinos could still be seen as a people not only industrious and hardworking but also honest and forthright. For this alone the three Filipinos should be deemed heroes to our nation and purveyors of the “The Filipino Conscience”.

What I see also is a case study for possible legislation in our shores. You see, we must adopt and incorporate the good things that have been brought about by this “whistle-blowing” where an insidious act was brought to the attention of the authorities by entities close or connected with the malicious act. We can surely use a “Whistle Blowers Act” where we can apportion sufficient amount of money as rewards to persons who are willing to come out in the open and expose the malpractices that have been done in the government, according to their first-hand knowledge. With this reward system, many may just be prodded to “squeal” on their bosses’ or co-workers for their thieveries and excessiveness. In this manner, the fight against graft and corruption in our government may find some success albeit just fairly.

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