Corruption In The Philippines Government Essay Scholarship

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Snapshot  

High corruption levels severely restrict the efficiency of businesses operating in the Philippines. Extensive bribery within the public administration and vague and complex laws make foreign companies vulnerable to extortion and manipulation by public officials. Favoritism and undue influence are widespread in the courts, leading to time-consuming and unfair dispute resolution, and to an uncertain business environment. Corruption plagues the customs administration, and fraud routinely occurs for companies when filing import and export documentation. The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act criminalizes active and passive bribery, extortion, abuse of office and conflicts of interest. Giving gifts, except for gifts of insignificant value given in line with local customs, is prohibited. Facilitation payments are not addressed by anti-corruption regulations and private sector bribery is not criminalized. The legislative framework for fighting corruption is scattered and is not effectively enforced by the weak and non-cooperative law enforcement agencies.

Last updated: October 2017
GAN Integrity

Judicial System

Corruption risks are high in the judicial system. Bribes and irregular payments in return for favorable judicial decisions are common (GCR 2015-2016). The judiciary is formally independent, but the rich and powerful have frequently influenced proceedings in civil and criminal cases (BTI 2016). Procedural fairness and transparency are severely undermined by nepotism, favoritism, and impunity (HRR 2016). Companies do not have sufficient faith in the independence of the judiciary and they rate the efficiency of the legal framework in settling disputes and challenging regulations as poor (GCR 2017-2018). Investment disputes can take several years to resolve due to a lack of resources, under staffing, and corruption in the court system (ICS 2017). Low salaries for judicial officials are said to perpetuate the problem of bribery (BTI 2016). The judiciary is underfunded by the state and often depends on local sponsors for resources and salaries, resulting in non-transparent and biased court decisions (FitW 2017). Foreign investors have noted that the inefficiency and uncertainty in the judicial system are disincentives for investment; investors regularly decline to file disputes due to the perception of corruption among personnel and the complex and slow litigation processes (ICS 2017). Enforcing a contract takes much longer than the regional average, but the costs involved are significantly lower  (DB 2017).

In one recent case, a businessman filed an administrative complaint in the country's Supreme Court against Makati City judge for allegedly asking for a PHP 15 million bribe in exchange for a favorable ruling in an insurance claim (Inquirer, Aug. 2016). At the time of review, no further updates on the case were available.

Police

There is a high-risk of corruption when dealing with the police. The national police force is widely regarded as one of the most corrupt institutions in the country (ABS CBN, Jan. 2017). Reports of the police and military engaging in corruption, extortion, and being involved in local rackets are widespread (FitW 2017). Companies report that they cannot rely on the police services (GCR 2017-2018). More than half of firms pay for private security (ES 2015). Businesses rate the National Police's commitment to fighting corruption as 'poor' (SWS 2016). President Duterte has accused several police generals of being involved in the trafficking of illegal drugs (ABS CBN, Jan. 2017).

In one corruption case, Police Commissioner Mr. Sombero, is under investigation for allegedly facilitating a PHP 50 million bribe from gambling tycoon Jack Lam, who tried to bribe immigration authorities in order to release approximately 1,300 Chinese nationals who were working in his resorts illegally (CNN Philippines, Feb. 2017).

Public Services

Companies contend with a high corruption risk when dealing with the public services. Approximately half of business executives reported being asked for a bribe by someone in the government in 2016 (SWS 2016). Nearly three out of five business reported expecting to give gifts in order 'to get things done', but only one in ten reported expecting to give gifts to get an operating license (ES 2015). Irregular payments and bribes in the public utilities sector sometimes occur (GCR 2015-2016). Philippine officials involved in processing documents related to civil and property registration and building permits are more likely to solicit bribes compared to officials dealing with other types of services (Ombudsman's Office Survey 2013). Inefficient government bureaucracy is ranked as the most problematic factor for doing business in the Philippines (GCR 2017-2018). Civil servants often do not have the resources or abilities to fulfill their tasks free from corruption and red tape (BTI 2016). Furthermore, civil servants are generally not recruited in a competitive manner; appointments are based on a practice of patronage (BTI 2016). 

The total number of procedures required to startup operations, including registering the company with local government and getting a construction permit, are significantly higher than regional averages (DB 2017). Getting electricity takes significantly less time than elsewhere in the region (DB 2017).

Land Administration

Corruption risks in the land administration are high. Two out of five companies report expecting to give gifts when obtaining a construction permit (ES 2015). Property rights are formally recognized and protected in the Philippines, but in practice the law is not always upheld (ICS 2017). Businesses have insufficient confidence in the protection of property rights (GCR 2017-2018). Corruption and arbitrariness in the application of the law is common (BTI 2016; ICS 2017). Multiple agencies are responsible for land administration, which has led to overlapping procedures for land valuation and title registration; this has made the process costly (ICS 2017). 

The court system is slow to resolve land disputes (ICS 2017). Land records are not properly managed due to a lack of trained personnel and funds (ICS 2017). Foreigners are not allowed to directly own land, but they may lease land for up to 50 years with a possible one-time extension of 25 years (ICS 2017). Expropriation is possible under Philippine law; the law calls for fair market value compensation, but coming to a mutually acceptable price can be a lengthy process in the court system (ICS 2017). Registering property takes nine procedures in the Philippines, which is double the regional average (DB 2017). However, the total time required is less than half of the regional average (DB 2017).

Tax Administration

There is a high risk of corruption when dealing with the tax administration. Around one in seven companies indicate they expect to give gifts in meetings with tax officials (ES 2015). Tax regulations are among the most problematic factors for conducting business in the Philippines (GCR 2017-2018). Companies indicate that they perceive that only a fifth of businesses in their line of business pay their taxes honestly (SWS 2016). Officials at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) are believed to be prone to corruption and known for embezzlement and extortion (Manila Bulletin, Feb. 2014). A typical example of this can be found in a recent case in the city of Bacolod; an officer with the BIR was caught extorting PHP 125,000 from a local company (Philippine News, Mar. 2017). Businesses rate the BIR's commitment to fighting corruption as poor (SWS 2016). On a more positive note, there are signs that the BIR is pursuing more cases of tax evasion (BTI 2016). 

Companies make twenty eight tax payments a year, which is higher than the regional average (DB 2017).

Customs Administration

There is a high risk of encountering corruption when dealing with the customs administration. Companies indicate that irregular bribes and payments in import and export procedures are very common (GETR 2016). About a quarter of companies indicate they expect to give gifts when obtaining an import license (ES 2015). A business survey indicates that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) was the only agency receiving a rating of ‘very bad’ when it came to its commitment to fighting corruption (SWS 2016). Companies cite burdensome import procedures and corruption at the border as being among the most problematic factors for importing (GETR 2016). The efficiency and time predictability of procedures are rated as poor (GETR 2016). Border compliance costs in the Philippines are significantly higher than the regional average, whereas the time required is in line with the regional average (DB 2017).

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has indicated that smuggling of goods, among which cigarettes, vehicles, and oil, into the Philippines has led to the evasion of taxes worth at least USD 1 billion yearly (Philstar, Feb. 2017). Consistent fraud in the form of under-invoicing when importing and exporting costs the state USD billions in revenues each year (Wall Street Journal, Mar. 2014). In 2016, the BOC alleged one of its employees accepted as much as USD 4 million in bribes monthly (Rappler, Aug. 2016).

Public Procurement

There is a very high risk of corruption in the public procurement sector, which is subject to rampant corruption, irregularities, and inconsistent implementation of legislation. Likewise, more than a fifth of businesses report they expect to give gifts in order to win a government contract (ES 2015). Two in five companies indicate that most companies in their sector give bribes in order to win contracts (SWS 2016). Diversion of public funds as well as favoritism in the decisions of public officials is very common (GCR 2017-2018). The public sector is obliged to procure goods and services from companies with at least 60% Philippine ownership (ICS 2017). Local-level public procurement lacks transparency, fostering a culture of corruption through the misuse of the pork barrel system; which are funds for discretionary use by representatives for projects in their respective districts (BTI 2016). Philippine law allocates responsibility for monitoring, investigating and sanctioning irregularities in public procurement to a number of different state institutions, leaving potential misconduct, inefficiency and impunity unchecked (Sunlight Foundation, Oct. 2013).

Natural Resources

Companies operating in the natural resources sector face a high risk of corruption. The Philippines has shown marked improvements in its natural resource governance in the past few years; the country has a good enabling environment and its regulatory quality and control of corruption are judged as adequate (NRGI 2017). However, poor value realization and revenue management have caused the country's overall resource governance to be judged as 'weak' (NRGI 2017). The Philippines has been working to achieve compliance with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) since joining in 2013 (EITI 2016). Some mining contracts are publicly disclosed via the EITI portal. While transparency in the sector has improved, poor regulation and overlapping policy responsibilities between local and central governments have meant that small-scale mining is still a contentious issue (EITI 2016).

Government corruption has allowed mining companies to evade government regulations, which has resulted in large-scale deforestation, flattened mountaintops and water pollution (New York Times, Apr. 2017). The government responded by cracking down on illegal mining operations; and as of 2017 Secretary of the Environment Gina Lopez shut down 28 of the country's 41 mining companies for polluting the environment (New York Times, Apr. 2017). However, Lopez was removed from her job by Congress in May 2017 after mounting complaints from the pro-mining lobby (Mining.com, May 2017).

Legislation

Companies should note that the legal anti-corruption framework in the Philippines is complicated and poorly enforced; there is a lack of cooperation between law enforcement agencies, and officials are rarely prosecuted and convicted for corruption crimes (HRR 2016). The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act criminalizes active and passive bribery, embezzlement, extortion, abuse of office and conflict of interest in the public sector. Bribery of public officials and trading in influence are also criminalized in the Anti-Red Tape Act. The Act forbids office-holders from accepting any gifts or material benefits in exchange for any government permit or license. Under the Revised Penal Code, gifts are classified as indirect bribery. An exception is made for gifts of insignificant value given as a token of friendship in line with local customs. Facilitation payments are not addressed in the law. Private sector bribery is not criminalized (UNODC 2014). Under the Code, public officials are required to regularly file a statement of their assets and liabilities. In case of any discrepancy between the official's asset declaration and the amount of property or financial assets actually possessed, the official is subject to immediate dismissal. Punishments for corrupt acts includes imprisonment of up to ten years, a fine, removal from office, and/or confiscation of property. The Anti-Money Laundering Act criminalizes money laundering and organized crime. The Act Establishing a Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees formulates standards for the personal integrity and accountability of civil servants. The Government Procurement Reform Act requires competitive and transparent bidding. Philippine legislation does not contain any provisions on protecting whistleblowers who report on corruption. The Philippines has ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Civil Society

The Constitution guarantees freedoms of speech and of expression, but in practice these freedoms are not consistently upheld (HRR 2016; BTI 2016). The media environment is largely privately owned and diverse, and the state generally exercises very little censorship (BTI 2016). The views represented in the mainstream media are heavily influenced by the oligarchical owners of many of the outlets (BTI 2016). The Philippines is the second most dangerous country in the world for journalists to operate in, as measured by the number of journalist deaths (BTI 2016). The state is not directly responsible for the violence, which can mostly be blamed on local strongmen and criminals and the weakness of the authorities (BTI 2016). The existence of libel and defamation laws remains a problem and are frequently used by officials and powerful individuals to try to silence journalists (FotP 2016). The media does frequently report on high-level corruption cases (FotP 2016). Independent observers report that bribes and other incentives are often used by high-level officials to motivate journalists to create one-sided reports for the official's benefit (HRR 2016). Internet access is widely available, but there are concerns about the government trying to install some degree of censorship (FitW 2017). The Philippine press is classified as 'partly free' (FotP 2016).

Philippine civil society is active and is represented by a wide variety of different organizations. Public participation is high and civil society organizations (CSOs) enjoy a high level of social capital (BTI 2016). CSOs are normally not included in formal decision-making, but they play a large role in initiating legislation and steering debate in Congress (BTI 2016). There are a multitude of watchdog organizations monitoring implementation of policy (BTI 2016).

Sources

  • World Economic Forum: Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018.
  • World Bank: Doing Business 2017.
  • US Department of State: Investment Climate Statement 2017.
  • Freedom House: Freedom in the World 2017.
  • Natural Resource Governance Institute: Philippines Country Profile 2017.
  • Mining: "Philippines Shows Anti-Mining Environment Minister the Door", 3 May 2017.
  • New York Times: "Philippines Moves to Shut Mines Accused of Polluting", 27 April 2017.
  • Philippine News: "NBI Entrapment Operation: Bacolod BIR Officer Caught Extorting Money", 16 March 2017.
  • CNN Philippines: "Sombero Tries To Clear Name, Says There Was 'Extortion' Not 'Bribery', 16 February 2017.
  • Philstar: "Customs Sets Probe on P50B Smuggling", 12 February 2017.
  • ABS CBN: "Long History of Corruption in Philippine Police Force", 18 January 2017.
  • Social Weather Station: Survey of Enterprises on Corruption 2016.
  • Bertelsmann Foundation: Transformation Index 2016.
  • US Department of State: Human Rights Report 2016.
  • Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative: Philippines Country Profile 2016.
  • World Economic Forum: Global Enabling Trade Report 2016.
  • Freedom House: Freedom of the Press 2016.
  • Inquirer: "Trader Claims Makati Judge Sought P15M Via Middleman", 24 August 2016.
  • Rappler: "Customs Bureau Submits 'Strong Case' vs 'Corrupt' employee to DOJ", 22 August 2016.
  • World Economic Forum: Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016.
  • World Bank Group: Enterprise Surveys - Philippines 2015.
  • UNODC: Philippines UNCAC Implementation Review 2014.
  • Wall Street Journal: 'New Philippines customs chief cracks down on corruption', 10 March 2014.
  • Quartz: "Smuggling Cost the Philippines USD 3 Billion in 2011", 3 February 2014.
  • Manila Bulletin: 'If the price is right', 2 February 2014.
  • Office of the Ombudsman: 2013 National Household Survey on Experience with Corruption in the Philippines.
  • Natural Resource Governance Institute: Resource Governance Index 2013.
  • Sunlight Foundation: 'Transparency case study: public procurement in the Philippines', 7 October 2013.

POVERTY IS NOTHING
Poverty - it is everybody's problem.  Everybody in a sense that boy or girl, young or old, even rich or poor, that is one of their problems.  The rich ones are affected for the fact that they are irritated by the poor ones, isn't it true?

Almost all of the Filipinos are considered poor.  And it is so hard to accept the fact that the innocent children are the one who are affected too much.  At their very young age, they are taught how to earn for a living, just for their own selves and for their family as well.  At their very young age, they are already prone to accidents or diseases which can kill them and their future.  No play, no childhood, no education  -   no progression.

As a student and one of the youths, poverty is a serious problem to deal with.  If you are poor, your future is not secured.  You have to pay first to have a security of your future, which is not present to the poor ones.  Your education seems to be endangered when you are poor.  There are instances that you have to be absent because your money is not enough.  And of course, your grade will be affected.  When a student is poor, his seems to be miserable.  He cannot pay the obliged school fees for his money is only enough for personal necessities, but sometimes, it is not even enough.  He cannot avail the required projects.  Even a single peso is very important. Every single peso is his future.  That is what a typical poor student is experiencing.

Financial problem is the hardest thing faced by the poor people.  Without money, no future.  But, there is always a hope.  Poverty is not a hindrance to ones' success.  If you will work very hard, nothing is impossible. Determination-that is the word.   One word that could change ones' life.  One word that can defeat poverty.  If everybody is determined and working hard, no one is poor, no one is begging for help.

As what was mentioned, poverty is the greatest obstacle of ones' education.  But, let us just treat poverty as a challenge.  When you are poor, that does not mean that you don't have the right to dream big.  When you are poor, that does not mean that you will never succeed.  When you are poor, and you don't have anything to pay for your education, make an action.  Prove to them that they are wrong.  You can escape from poverty because you are striving hard.  You can beat the odds because you have enough determination.

There are many people who proved that there is nothing impossible even when you are poor.  There are many people who were once poor, and now they are one of the elite people.  They are now owning those tall skyscrapers out there   -    from rags to riches.  Yes, they didn't have enough money when they were still poor, but they had the character which is the best armor in a battle.  That is why they are now enjoying life, opposite on what they had experienced in the past.

Poverty is a big problem of the society.  But, even how big is the effect it is making to us, let us not focus too much on that problem.  Yes, poverty acts as an obstacle to our education, but it will not last forever.  Let us just make an action to beat it.  Find a solution.  Don't rely too much on others.  Work hard.  It is important to develop ourselves holistically.  Study well and focus on your spiritual life-there must be a balance of everything.  Love what you do, motivate yourself to keep working hard.  Then it's up to us to make our own choices and live by these choices.  After all, our future is still in our hands.  Don't take problems very seriously.  Follow what was written and you will see.  Time will come and you cannot even notice that you had already escaped from poverty.

Furthermore, as a student and one of the mostly affected by poverty, I can say that "No Guts, No Glory".   In dealing with poverty, you have to take risks.  If you have the guts, you can do what you want to.  You can really gain glory if you will take risks.  Swim against the current  -  beat the odds.  If you will not move, nothing will happen.  Yes, you must focus on it too much, but you must take an action.  Don't be too lazy.  See what is happening to people who are not working for their selves.  Of course, they are just relying on others.  They are looking pathetic.

If you want to progress, strive for more.  Start making a progression on your own self.  Don't settle for good, go for the better and if possible, for the best.  But despite of striving for more, be contented.  Never ask for something which you don't have if you are already hurting others' feelings.  Always remember that if you have the freedom, there are also limitations.  Never invade others rights.  You must always mind not only your own feelings, but also others'.

Your education is the most important thing to be successful.  It is the key to ones' achievement in their dreams.   It will be the nicest gift for your own, especially when you worked hard for it.  So, never let anyone, or anything stop you in achieving such things.  Grab each opportunity that comes your way, if you think it would help you.  This is the only thing that would change your life.

Nothing is impossible in this vast world.  Even if there are problems that would come your way, you can still beat them and be successful.  Always remember that poverty will never become a hindrance to success, if you want it. Be determined and work hard.  Take risks.  Be spiritually complete.  Balance everything.

We can change not only ourselves, but also the whole world if we can beat poverty.  Dream big and believe in your own self, and it's up to us on how to develop it.   After all, success will come on your way.

Award-winning essay by B. R., 3rd year high school Scholar, Cebu

What main obstacles have you experienced in getting your education? How did you deal with them and whatdid you learn in doing so?

 My school is far from our place.  It is located at the city of our province almost 100 Kilometers from our hometown.  Only few students from our place able to study in college because it is more expensive to live in the City where most of the University and colleges located.  Aside from school obligation, we have high cost of living and space for us to live.  The prices of groceries are increasing. Some students went home once a month because of expensive bus fare.  Because of this given situation I decided to be a working student so that I’ll be getting free of board and lodging that student also spent aside from tuition fees.

 Being a working student our common problem is the time.  We always run out of time in working and studying.  It is hard to keep our journey going just to get especially college education.  Everyday, before the sun shines, we’re out from our bed and start working my daily chores.  I tried to finish it early so that I will not be late in the school.  If we happen not to wake up early, we might miss the class for that day. Even though when we got sick, still we work for our daily house assignment and accomplish them all. 
 
Sometimes, I missed my meals just to be there before the class starts.  We are not able to concentrate because of hunger and tired.  Sometimes, when our master gets mad to us because of our mistakes, we can’t escape his anger.  At the start was a big adjustment in my part to cope up the situation.  However, this problem was minimized when I taught myself a time management and discipline.  I make a weekly schedule.  I finished all the works I supposed to do each day.  The heavy works which requires enough time like cleaning the garden was usually scheduled at the weekend. 

 I am both time pressured at my house work and school.  At dawn, I have to study my lesson.  It is nice and good to study anyway if you used to it already.  No one can disturb me.  I can concentrate well and easily understand.  When I’m studying, I should not think about my routine work which can normally disturb me.  On other hand, I just set aside my lesson when doing other house work and give all attention on it.  I spend an hour to fix myself to be completely ready to go to school.  In my situation, I learned how to consume and manage time and its importance.  I must not waste time.  If I waste it, it might be complicated afterwards.

 I may consider obstacles to be some of my teachers in my class.  There were two teachers that I considered problem in school.  They are opposite to each other in attitude and the way they handle discussions.  The first teacher is our Physics 1 instructor.  A very strict and terror instructor.  Although he is good in discussion, we disagree with his attitude.  His voice is the rule and must be followed.  He always demanded a good performance from us.  In examination, we are given a very difficult problem. The topics were notsubstantially tackled and he will then discuss later after the examination.  Almost all failed.  In one session, while I’m writing, he looked at my paper.  He scolded me about my penmanship and advised me to transfer to other course.  It was one of the insults that I experienced being with a teacher like him.  It hurts me a lot.  After all the discouragement I accept it, I still controlled myself.  I considered it as a challenge and inspiration to continue my hard work.  I knew it was common to meet a teachers like him.  My goal is to deal with him with passion and perseverance.  We follow his rules and are humble unto him by serving like a servant.  We didn’t react his preachings.  We just listen until he stops.  We do always our counterpart as a student by doing our project that fits his criteria.

The second teacher was our Physics 2 teacher.  By looking at her, she seems okay.  She is kind, friendly and approachable.  Almost all students in her class were friends.  One thing that I complain was that the way she teaches.  She lacks of experience enough to share with us.  Sometimes, she can’t answer our question.  We are confused if she can’t solve a problem.  Her subject is one of the foundations for higher subjects.  We needed to be knowledgeable on this subject.  Our bonding was a way that remedied solves our problem.  In our vacant time, some of us together with our teacher stayed in the library and study the topics which we didn’t understand.  Sometimes, we just ask the topic and we just do research about it.  After all, I realized how important the teachers are though they also limitations that they need our cooperation.  Teachers are our second parents and they assumed our parents’ responsibility. Discipline was their purpose to build each of us.  They train us to be good and responsible someday. 

 One of the main obstacles to get education is our payment in our entire school obligation.  Sometimes we got shortage to pay especially during examinations not allowing us to take if we have still balance for the period.  Sad to note when failed to pay the balance there will be score deduction.  So, I just find ways to approach my teacher about it and asking a favor to take the examination.  With this, I learned to discussed things with my teacher and I am able to conquer my shyness.

 One Sunday morning, while attending a mass, my attention was caught by the homily of a pastor about our journey in life.  It also deals about obstacles.  The priest said that life is like a dish and obstacles and problems are the spices.  It makes our journey more exciting.  Every problem we conquer teaches us a lesson and be able us to be ready and aware if we encounter it again.  Our life is boring if there’s no problem and conflict that challenges us.  Be thankful to have a problem.  You may have an unforgettable moment in this world.  Don’t be afraid that it may not be solve.  Never stop fighting and play the game of life.  Always think, “God is with us and always behind us”.  We can conquer all the problems and obstacles and get the reward of success and joy.

Award-winning essay by J. D., Bohol college Scholar





Making Heaven on Earth


In my own thoughts, heaven is a place where everyone is happy.  It is where no one is hungry and there is no problem.  Heaven is a very peaceful place where the people there are always singing and dancing.  Everyone is always helping each other and heaven is so clean because the people there are not throwing garbage anywhere and are keeping the surroundings clean.  Everyone there are friends.

While earth for me, is a place where people are always quarreling.  It is a place where there are parts of it that there is no peace. Here on earth, sometimes people are happy and sometimes sad.  The air is also dirty because of the pollution from the cars and trucks which are smoke belching.  The surroundings here on earth are also dirty because the people here are always throwing garbage anywhere.  There are also lots of problems encountered by the people here on earth because of different circumstances we cannot control.

There are many things that we can do to change and things we should work on to make our world a better place.  One is that we should help each other so that the people on earth will be happy.  To make people around us happy, we should show them also that we are happy. In showing others that we are happy, we can influence others to be happy also. We should also be responsible in keeping the surroundings clean by sweeping the floor, cutting the tall grasses, plant more trees and water the flowers. We should also make sure to throw the garbage in the proper places. We must also segregate the garbage properly in the designated places where they should be placed. We also need friends so that if we have a problem we will have someone to ask for help. Friends also make us feel happy and beautiful.  When we feel happy, our friends are also happy. When we feel sad, our sadness is lessened because our friends are there.  Everyone should be more understanding with each other so that there will be no quarrels and fights.  All of us should also be respectful in order for everyone to be at peace with each other. Respect is an important character that we should have. It helps in making everyone appreciate other people more.

The two most important things that we can do to change the world are to keep the surroundings clean and help each other. Our surroundings are very important because it provides us with everything that we need. Plants in our surroundings provide us with foods like fruits. We are also provided with oxygen by the plants. We also get our materials for clothing and shelter from plants and trees that’s why it’s important to keep our surroundings clean. Without trees and plants, it would be very hard for us to survive because the things we get from the trees and plants are important for us to live in this earth.

The second most important thing we can do is to help each other. It is important that we do this so that the people around us will not have difficulties in the things that they do. Helping and supporting each other is good for the people because it will make their life easier.  If we help each other the world will be peaceful and united.

By helping each other we become better people.  It will help us to be more concerned with our surroundings and the people around us. If everybody will help each other in the problems and trials that are encountered   in our everyday life, all the people will be happier and contented with their lives. Happiness is essential in making the world a better place because when people are happy, they do good things to people around them.   If people are happy, it is like heaven on earth.

In order for heaven to be felt here on earth there are also things that I can do to make that happen. I will plant some trees and plants to make our surroundings beautiful and clean. This will help in making our surroundings beautiful and clean. The trees in our surroundings should also be taken cared of because the trees are important for us and our surroundings. I also have to help keep our surroundings clean and neat. Some of the things I can do to make this happen are to sweep the surroundings and not throwing garbage anywhere. So that there will be less garbage in our surroundings, I will also practice recycling. Recycling is one thing that people around us should practice because it can lessen garbage and trash in the environment. There are also other benefits that we can get from recycling like new things from the used garbage that can be used again. We can get the following from recycling; bags made from plastic juice packaging and decorations for our home from old newspapers and magazines.  In our home, we practice recycling.  We have some decorations in the house that made our place beautiful.  We also have a compost pit where we throw the wastes from the kitchen like peels from vegetables and fruits.  We can use the compost as fertilizer.  We have a very small space to plant in our place.  But my mother planted many kinds of plants and trees around our home.  Every morning we can hear the birds on the trees singing.   Another thing that I can do to make the people happy is by helping them. I can help my friends and classmates by listening to them and giving advice if I can, if they have a problem. I can also help by being good to my friends and be nice to them always. I will not quarrel them and always make sure that if we quarrel, we will immediately be friends after.

There are many things we can do to make our world a better place. We should start small in our own ways and show to others that changes can happen if we do it all the time. Being a good example is good so that others will follow us and help us in making our world like heaven.  We should also follow the good example shown to us by those who are older than us and follow what our parents say. We should do our best to make heaven on earth possible.



First Place, High School Essay, 2012   S. G.  Bohol





An ideal concept of theologians to have “Heaven on Earth” is excellent one yet not that easy to realize, so this call for essays will be of great assistance by providing valuable information to come up into a good decision on what are the best things to do to make this concept a reality.

First we must differentiate Heaven from Earth. We knew already that GOD created the Earth in a way that is perfect for all his creations to live in; we can read this in the Book of Genesis Chapter 1 Verse 1-31. And according to the Bible also in the book of Revelation Chapter 21 Verse 4 which described the new Heaven states that “And GOD will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away”.

As we observed the Earth now, it is so disgusting to view that what GOD had created before was now changed in such a way that is not pleasing to see. We can think what might cause these changes? Probably because of the following reasons: Because of early marriage andrapid increase of population , many people will experience shortage in terms on their basic needs, other tend to do illegal things to survive like committing crimes; people became wise in holding the  funds of government and corruption is very rampant nowadays; the drug abuse done by human specially youth; the poverty suffered by many because of lack of support from government and underemployment; also the improper waste disposal method adapted by most businesses especially manufacturing type of organization and unconcern citizen that would cause pollution to air and water, which in turn causing the extinction of our marine resources and destroy the ozone layer; and the politics problem. Those underlined words are the things which I believe that people could possibly change to make this world a better place to dwell in.

I propose that early marriage and rapid increase of population must be the priority number one. The molding of one’s physical, moral, and spiritual aspect is done at home. Every parent has a responsibility to make their children good citizen. The problem started when their kids become many, the lack of time to oversee their offspring, the scarcity of food and other basic needs, and the financial difficulties causes them and their children to do immoral things. Other will commit crimes and abuse drugs since they are hopeless and frustrated of the life they had. If every couple will do family planning, the result would be the decrease in birth rate and if this will be followed by generation to generation, surely the problems relating to overpopulation will diminish gradually. Making people aware the awful effect of overpopulation and the importance of birth control will be of great help to solve this existing problem. This can be done through conducting seminars and orientation, educating them on how to use birth control method effectively and teaching them on how to be a good and responsible parent. Other country like China had a policy concerning birth control.

Priority number two will be the corruption. Corruption causes also numerous problems which everyone has experiencing now like poverty, poor public assistance and etc. Too much love of money can make someone do bribery. The solution of this problem will commence within one’s heart. Learning on how to be in command of yourself will make you a well rounded individual. Another possible solution will be implementing an effective internal control on the funds of government. If the assets of government will be guarded perfectly, proper allocation of funds will be attained. If that so, many projects can be extended to different areas and surely the government can give jobs to those who are unemployed, grant quality education to students, support the poor, build public hospitals, allocate a specific dumping place for waste and garbage and help everyone alleviate its economic status.

It is true that changes can be started through the actions of only few people acting together. Changes could be achieved if there is teamwork. As a student, I can persuade the Barangay Health Worker Association of each Barangay in our municipality to conduct the seminar regarding family planning, the different methods involving it and its proper usage.  And so the head of BHW in our municipality will get in touch with her colleague in another municipality to do the same, little by little the changes would be made if every married couple will understand by heart the rationale of the orientation and will cooperate.

With regards to corruption, the possible way to lessen if not eliminate this problem can be done prior to election of officials. As I observed during election, the running candidate who had more money will win. People will choose him/her not because he has a good personality and capable enough to manage his constituents but because of money, undue influence and fear. This bad practice lead to corruption in the since that the candidates who spend too much will surely do fraud to cover up his expenses during the election. If all voters will use their conscience in casting their votes, so that the right officials will win then corruption can be reduced. One more potential solution is having a law which will forbid the use of money during election and letting people choose the candidate whom they think the right one.

Above are the problems which I consider encumbrance towards the realization of “having heaven on earth”, and its corresponding proposed solutions. Everything would be useless without application so it is a must that everybody will give his/her utmost support for this matter. Let’s begin this by evaluating ourselves, how dedicated we are to commit the changes we’ve wanted? “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your understanding. In all your ways acknowledge HIM and HE shall direct your path” proverbs 3:5-6.


First Place, College, 2012    D.G.  Bohol



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