Have Filipinos lost their capacity to trust?

Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

American social and moral philosopher Eric Hoffer once said:  “Someone who thinks the world is always cheating him is right. He is missing that wonderful feeling of trust in someone or something.”

Leptospirosis is persistent in flood-prone places. During the recent floodings brought about by typhoons and habagat (southwest monsoon), leptospirosis claimed hundreds of victims. . . . Why? People stayed in their house reportedly to guard their belongings from thieves, and in so doing their feet (and even other parts of their bodies) were soaked in floodwaters mixed with rat urine.  Many of them died of leptospirosis.

Rather than go to evacuation areas, they feared robbers, not possible diseases. They value their worldly treasures so much and risked their lives in the process of protecting them.

Mistrust, distrust, lack of trust seems to prevail and have enveloped the mind and heart of Filipinos around here. I was in Japan last March and I went all around, fearlessly. I didn’t have to embrace my bag close to my body.  I didn’t have to secure my camera, cell phone, purse, etc.  I didn’t have to worry that somebody would cheat me—charge me more for purchases, give me insufficient change, use a deceitful measuring device, or substitute an inferior product for the one I originally chose. We could leave our house unlocked even when we go out for an extended time. Trust is all around in Japan.

What is our government doing aside from counting their own personal treasures?  (Ei, good sources told me that a legislator withdrew P80 million in cold cash from his personal account immediately before the filing of cases pertaining to Priority Development Assistance Fund.)

I had a conversation with a doctor who is lamenting the fact that he is one of those who pay their taxes diligently even before our Bureau of Internal Revenue started to breath down on professionals, accusing them of nonpayment    of proper taxes. He said the common lament is that there is  so much graft and corruption in government that they would rather charge lower fees, thus giving  benefits directly to their patients, than pay high taxes, which they suspect is being misspent by people in government.  The current controversy about PDAF and the Disbursement Acceleration Prog-ram (DAP) bears them out.  There is no trust in government anymore than people don’t trust their neighbors.

Trust. A word that comes from the Old Norse traustr, meaning strong.
According to authors Joseph O’Connor and Andrea Lages, trust is:

* Not an object you can possess, but a relationship created between people.

* We trust in what we think is true.

* When we trust someone, we believe them to be strong; we can metaphorically lean on them without fear that they will collapse.

* Trust takes time.

* Trust is not about “objective” truth. We need trust when we cannot see what is happening for ourselves.

* Trust comes from knowing yourself.

* Trust is flexible. It is not an all-or-nothing quality.

* Trust criteria: sincerity and competence.

What will it take to bring back our trust to one another and to our government?

Abolish the PDAF and DAP and other lump sum provisions from the national and local budget. Pass the Freedom of Information Bill. Serve speedy justice to all those involved in graft and corruption. When justice is delayed, mistrust and distrust set in.

Without trust, many Filipinos will die of leptospirosis and many other causes brought about by a corrupt government.


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  1. Im a brit & unlike in japan i wouldnt go out & leave my house unlocked or a thief would go in & steal my belongings. Its not distrusting people its knowing the reality of life. People will steal. Ive been held up in this country at gun point, we had a small restaurant & 3 guys came in 2 with guns. 1 had a gun in my chest & the other in my wifes chest. These thieves are everywhere in this country. Would i go into business with a pinoy no never again as my experiences is they will steal it from you whenever you give them the chance, they are very clever at thinking of how to cheat you out of your money. My stepsons inlaws were asking me to go into business with them & were upset when i told them the same answer i just gave you. Thats their problem, & the mother in law of my stepson borrowed money from her neighbour & now wont pay it back , she makes her adopted daughter live in the house to deal with the neighbour whilst she stays with her other daughters to avoid paying, & she wonders why i wouldnt go into business with them, they are liars & thieves.

  2. I tell you why they stayed with their belongings & not go to evacuate areas, its because they are very poor & if their meagre belongings are stolen they have no way of replacing them. They dont earn a good salary like you do, when you dine out at a nice restaurant you wont see these people there, they are lucky if they have a half decent meal once a day. Again i think this shows how out of touch you middle classes are with the poor in this country. Try living in their shoes for 1 month i dare you. You wouldnt survive it.