Culture of corruption


The court has ruled that the 80-percent salary hike for public officials is unconstitutional. This is embarrassing for the 29 lawmakers who are supposed to be conversant in the basic document. Obviously, it’s a pathetic show of reading deficiency!

Other gaffes include the spending of $400,000 without legislative appropriation and allegations of more taxpayer money abuses by the mayor of Rota recently.

Didn’t these folks take the oath of office to uphold the laws of the land? The NMI Constitution is written in plain English, explaining how public funds are spent. Why the voluntary use of jungle rules in these instances? Is there purposeful ignorance, hoping nobody would detect violation of constitutional law?

These infractions are known otherwise as “internal” corruption limited to a clique or the “we few.” Somehow, these folks take on the role of an octopus, stretching their tentacles to grab as much as they could, convinced nobody’s looking.

The use of public funds per the Constitution requires legislative appropriation. Such provision doesn’t leave any room for political excuses. After all, it’s public funds or taxpayers’ money requiring accountability!

The use of political arrogance to chance “influence peddling” is the perfect pathway to “meet and greet” a federal law known as the Hobbs Act. It’s a bad way to learn the details how one gets to tango with it. Do it on the dance floor, not at the chamber of the federal district court. It’s all about transparency, not unintelligibility!

Is it really hard understanding, accepting and strengthening the dictates and conviction that the CNMI is a government of laws? The irony is in your taking the oath to uphold these laws, constitutional and statutory. Where did it say that you could recklessly ignore them?

Woe! Efrain Atalig allegedly screwed the taxpayers, yet has the audacity to look for a court-appointed attorney whose salary is paid for by, yes, “we the taxpayers”! Are we supposed to be his lifetime slaves? You misspent our tax contributions and still want us to pay for your legal defense? Call it ignorance or arrogance or both! Have we really allowed complacency to establish the culture of corruption here? Mind-boggling, isn’t it?

Digital age: The digital age brought with it advances in medicine, education, and the entire nine yards. While we inch our way through its dense forest it should pique our interest how it could facilitate information sharing and improve upon the conduct of business here.

Digital health and technology are areas we can’t ignore. For instance, getting sick may be unavoidable but your survival rests on wearable digital healthcare technology. We’re not talking computers or iphones and iPads but technology.

Wearable technology has specific purposes including monitoring critical heart conditions while you walk about the ward, among others. Other digital healthcare innovations continue to emerge as we explore what they are for use by patients.

Biopharmaceutical firms have “invested heavily in treatments and cures for Alzheimer’s, various forms of cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and dozens of rare diseases—and are seeing tremendous success with the power to transform patients’ lives.

Then we have digital education where updates are no longer enough. A whole new approach is needed to meet the exponential growth of technology, according Professor Erik P.M. Vermeulen.

“This is the result of the global proliferation of new technologies. We all now live in a ‘digital world’ that is characterized by fast-paced, technology-driven social change.

“The future will be full of tremendous opportunities, but it will also be a world of tremendous uncertainty.”

In a recent Japan Times article, Yoko Ishikura said, “As jobs undergo transformation and the way we learn and work is affected by new technologies, we cannot assume that the three-phase sequential approach to life—school, work and retirement—will remain efficient and effective in the future.

“We need to depart from the conventional thinking that a majority of learning takes place when we are young and mainly at school, with little additional learning and development of new skills during the work and retirement phases. Must shift!

“With life expectancies increasing in the advanced economies, we need to constantly update and refresh ourselves, keeping up with the changes in the world, in order to have purposeful and meaningful life. We owed it to our people.”

John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Contributing Author
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.

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