To say it clearly and briefly, the dignity, unity and equality of all people – it is hereon that the “Principle of the Common Good” squarely rests. In other words, the more people in society live with dignity, live in unity and live with equality, the more felt and manifest is their common good. The reverse is not hard to conclude. When certain individuals in society wallow in wealth and luxury while the rest suffer from hunger and want; when some powerful families look down at everybody else as miserable people with neither rights or rightful claims; when certain public officials lord it over the citizens practically treating these as one big composite inconvenience – then, there can be anything in the society concerned but the common good.
While it is somehow understandable to say that the good of every individual equals the common good, it is however more proper and right to say that the common good is the opportunity for people to strive and benefit from the opportunities afforded them by public welfare. Equal opportunities, equal possibilities, equal chances – these are the premises of the common good. But then, while the same possibilities for the realization of the common good are present for everyone to accordingly sweat and toil and thus enjoy the fruits of their labor, not all individuals however have the same potentials to be duly benefited by it – for lesser talents and/or strength, for lesser education and/or possibilities.
The reality of the above-said phenomenon is precisely the basis for the admirable pronouncement of a known national leader, saying, “Those who have less in life, let them have more in law.” If this proposition of concern and advisory were brought to fulfillment, then the Principle of Common Good for society in general would not only be right but also real, not merely an ideal but also a fact. At this writing and these times, the “Principle of the Common Good” appears to be unheard of and unknown even in some countries, the Philippines well-included – as proven by the following phenomenon: The so-called “Upper Class” of people has become fewer but richer. The “Lower Class” instead has become so distressed that it is not altogether wrong to say that it has become the “Lowest Class”. And the socio-economic ID of so-called “Middle Class” seems to have been in effect dissolved and consequently disappeared.
More concretely speaking about the Philippine socio-economic situation, it is not a secret that there are people living by merely collecting and selling garbage, by looking for, picking and eating leftovers from street food stalls. This is not to mention families wearing rags, living under bridges, staring at nothing. No wonder then that there are even the phenomena of not only child labor but also child prostitution.
Meantime, a good number of public officials are feasting on public funds by nonchalantly engaging in enormous and repeated graft and corrupt practices, by making politics a great business, a very profitable dynastic venture. All these and other hideous egoistic actuations of a good number of people in government make the common good an impossible dream.