Shaping the minds of the Maranaws: Imperative need for true learning

By : Alexander Mangorsi Mindanao Today/12:23:00pm 08/31/2021


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By Alexander Mangorsi


(Last part)

Politicians and bureaucrats: Possessing knowledge without values

THEY say knowledge is indispensably a potent source of power and influence, especially when used with the basic tenets of essential social mores and moral values.

But knowledge coupled with a weak character and moral values can be tragic and devastating to society.

Imagine placing unbridled discretion over the use and possession of power, wealth, treasure and political authority (elective or appointive) in the hands of highly knowledgeable but ruthless, callous and heartless individuals without any shred of genuine interest and compassion for the welfare of the poor, educated individuals without any sense of conviction and commitment to public accountability, the development of society and the prosperity and affluence of the future generations, they will just use that knowledge, that learning and education as a tool to achieve and obtain their own narcissistic advantage and benefit even at the expense of the common good and public interest of the common men.

Politicians and bureaucrats: Without ethical and moral foundation

In a nutshell, when intellectuals among us in our own community – those of us who are lawyers, doctors, CPAs, Engineers, custom brokers, etc., – who are bereft with solid foundation for ethical values and moral principles, are duly endowed with the opportunity and privilege to serve in the government service either by election or appointment would most likely be tempted by the most compelling dictate and propensity for illicit shortcuts to wealth, power and other carnal desires of the body and the flesh even if doing so would lead them to commit graft, bribery, embezzlement, theft, larceny or other means of plunder, misuse or misappropriation of government funds, or other abuse of public office such as excessive nepotism, and patronage.

Politicians and bureaucrats: Without devotion and commitment to principles

Imagine a regional director or head of office of a regional agency charged with social welfare and development functions, due to an absolute lack of religious devotion or commitment to the highest call of ethical principles and sense of justice, instead of being able to help the destitute, the indigent and the most impoverished segments of society, particularly the disadvantaged victims of an existing crises or calamity by providing them ample, continuous and adequate relief goods, grocery items and other basic needs for survival.

They would conspire with merchandise suppliers to procure items at a discounted or reduced price and distribute the same items to victims of force majeure on a bloated expenditure cost.

Meaning required goods and services intended for relief distribution were obtained on an overpriced procurement arrangement to create self-centered impetus or advantage in favor of the corrupt bureaucrat or politician.

Bloated expenditure cost

Moreover, to justify a bloated imaginary expenditure cost, they have mastered the art of social media marketing and image building by taking lots of pictures with lots of smiling unsuspecting beneficiaries here and there to show extensive, huge and immense delivery, circulation and distribution of goods and supplies to the target beneficiaries or victims of emergency situations.

Photo-shoot, giving few but liquidating more have become a common currency for liquidation reports, a surefire for embezzlement of public funds.

Politicians and bureaucrats, when charged with infrastructure projects, the outcome is mostly substandard, delayed or abandoned.

Likewise, imagine a head of office of an irrigation agency allowing the construction of an irrigation system to supply sufficient amount of water needed to help develop the farming industry in our community but because of their unrestrained greed and voracity for corporeal desires and material headway, such irrigation would only last for a few years because the funds were plundered by a number of officials involved and the final construction irrigation output was substandard.

Its strength and endurance do not meet the plans and specifications.

Imagine a number of municipalities where up to now, their residents have to get their water from the very polluted tributary rivers in Lake Lanao because funds earmarked for laying water pipelines were pocketed by politicians.

Imagine government funds earmarked and allocated for the construction of schools, bridges, roads and other essential public infrastructures which could not be completed on time because the funds were already in the pockets of some officials and they have to wait for another rounds of budget request to fill the vacuum.

Imagine a teacher getting salary for a job or school that does not exist or schools constructed in remote areas where only animals could benefit because of difficult terrain and lack of road access.

And imagine, a municipal local office where staff and employees come to the office only during Mondays, because even the mayor does not come to the office daily.

What do you expect will come from this half-cooked public service and governance in our own community?

I doubt if there could be any big result. The BARMM’s allocation of funds for our community has just made many monster politicians out of the block grant.

Character, morals and manners are an essential part of faith.

In Islam, Good character, morals, and manners are an essential part of faith. Islam enjoins its adherents towards refining the Muslims’ inward and outward behavior and their relationship with Allah, with the society, the Ummah and humanity at large.

It has been established from the Prophet and his companions that the transmission of ethical knowledge is an essential objective of the religion of Islam.

Hence, every rule, concept, and practice in Islam is meant to ultimately affect our inward and outward behavior. Ibn al-Qayyim writes:

“The religion itself can entirely be expressed by the Muslim’s good character, so whoever surpasses you in character has surpassed you in religion.”

Good character and manners are an expression of our faith and it involves honesty, conviction, integrity, accountability and compassion.

When these basic values are transformed into the public life of a leader, the inevitable outcome is development, progress and empowerment.

Seeking knowledge of Islam, obligatory for every faithful

It is therefore IMPERATIVE for every Maranaw who aspires to take part in the affairs of society to learn the basic rudiments of Islamic learning on governance, the economy, Islamic laws, Islamic Finance, public accountability, transparency and so on.

This solution is a return to the Quranic foundation of Knowledge and the Sunnah as the primary sources of all that rulebooks, policies, guidance, procedures, political postulates, directions and instructions that truly govern the affairs of men – for the sake of Allah, for the benefit of the people, the welfare of the Ummah, a just, ethical, caring, inclusive and orderly society and for the good of humanity in general.

(Alexander Tomawis Mangorsi is the admin of the Bangsamoro Policy Caucus Facebook page. The Bangsamoro Policy Caucus is an internet-based policy advocate for issues of indispensable relevance and significance to the common welfare and collective good of the Moro People.)


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