General Admission

‘Bayad na tayo’ aka ‘public trust’

By Al S. Mendoza


A public post is a public trust.

What is the meaning of that?

Once you get a government position—elected or appointed—you must treat it with respect.

Protect it with your life even.

It’s like you are dealing with your mother at all times: Respect her from beginning to end.

Show her unmatched love till the last breath of your life.

It is said that our mother owes us nothing and the gospel truth is, we owe everything to our mother.

That is not hard to fathom but, sadly, many do not understand that—or simply too stubborn to ignore that truism.

A friend of mine said to me:  “My sister is trying to collect a debt that my mother owes her. Please advice?”

“What debt?” I said.

“Money,” he said.  “About five thousand pesos.”

“With all due respect,” I said to my friend, “your mother owes your sister nothing.  That five thousand pesos is not enough payment for your mother’s immortal decision to deliver your sister to this beautiful world.”

He embraced me tight.

“I will personally give my sister five thousand pesos to put closure to the matter,” he said.  “And then I will tell her what you said to me about the worth of our mothers: priceless.”

Months later, when I bumped into my friend, he said to me: “My sister didn’t receive the five thousand pesos.  She hugged me tight and begged for forgiveness.  Thank you, brod.”

Remember what President Duterte said after his election in 2016?

“Bayad na tayo,” he said.

Ramon Uy, my environmentalist-friend from Bacolod City, said of that classic Digong line:  “I still consider that as the defining moment of his presidency.”

A bit profound?

He continued:  “If you really think a little deeply, the President was trying to say then that as government officials, our public servants have been already paid—paid in full in fact—so that it should always be their sworn duty to be worthy of their work at all times while they are serving the people.”

Sadly, if not unfortunately, many public servants treat the “public trust” aspect of their positions for granted.

That is why corruption persists in every nook and cranny of government.

Many have become unreformed despite Mr. Duterte’s incessant pleas to mend wicked ways.

They’ve become so callous in fact that stealing from government coffers has almost become second nature to them.

When will reform, total reform, ever dawn upon this benighted land of ours?

The President’s political will to fire even his dearest friends who had gone astray has been giving us hopes almost midway into his six-year tenure.

“Bayad na tayo” as Ramon so succinctly reminds us is a pointed reference to the “public trust” tenet that every government worker must embrace to the fullest even if he has left the service.

In fact, the “bayad na tayo” aka “public trust” mantra must be a way of life to make this country upright again.

Keep punchin’, Don Ramon!

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