Land of Giant Crocodiles
Philippine Daily Inquirer Photo
On Sep. 3, a giant crocodile was caught in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur after an extensive hunt by the local villagers. It’s said to measure 21 ft (6.4 meters) long and weighs more than a ton. It could be the world’s largest crocodile caught alive.
For sure, it calls for bragging rights. but I suggest that we hold off on the celebration until the Guinness Book of World Records makes it official. Anyway, it won’t be long now. Their representatives are arriving shortly to check on the croc’s claim to fame. The fact that a crocodile this huge was caught in the Philippines is hardly surprising. It has an ideal environment for reptiles of all sizes providing them with wetlands and freshwater habitats where they can thrive and multiply.
According to the news, the folks who captured Lolong, as it’s now called, aren’t resting on their butts. They’re said to be on a mission to catch a much bigger prey terrorizing the neighborhood. Well, if this happens to be true, what should prevent the Guinness Book of World Records from declaring the Philippines as the land of crocodiles?
They might as well, don’t you think? In the Philippines, crocodiles flourish everywhere. You can find them even outside of their natural habitats. As the ongoing senate hearings show, you can also find them masquerading as high-ranking government officials, army generals, and politicians of all stripes and colors. They all swore to uphold the public trust. But, instead, they used their positions to enrich themselves. Their wanton greed as well as those of their superiors have made the Philippines one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
In a speech on corruption given in Manila last May, international anticorruption expert, Tony Kwok, said that the fastest way for the public to take on the fight against corruption seriously is for the government to go after the big fish.
Unfortunately, in the Philippines, big fish like former first gentleman Mike Arroyo and his cronies have already morphed into giant crocodiles. It would really, really take an enormous political will to catch them and put them in jail.
However, it seems that all is not lost. I see silver linings. First, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her allies failed to keep her in power beyond her term either through charter change or martial law. This paved the way for the national elections in 2010 where Benigno Aquino III was elected as her successor. The former president also run for a congressional seat and won, but she didn’t become speaker of the house thus losing most of her clout. Lastly, crocodiles aka crookodiles, who have been gouging on public coffers for a long time, are finally being brought to justice under the new administration. One of them, former General Carlos Garcia, who became a poster boy for military corruption, went to jail last week. as things are going, the biggest crocodiles of them all, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and first gentleman Mike Arroyo may someday follow in his footsteps. You betcha, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.