In its more simple understanding and elementary appreciation, the Common Good of a people is their common welfare brought about by public service as rendered by public officials using public funds gathered from taxes taken from private individuals and corporations. So is it that the common good such as in terms of the provision of public utilities, the pursuit of socio-economic development, the application of justice and the pursuant reign of peace, is eventually for the benefit of people – irrespective of race, color and creed – with their ingrained human dignity and pursuant innate human rights. So it is that the Common Good infallibly includes the common tao with their common needs and common aspirations. After all is explained and understood, simply said, the Common Good is the good of all – not merely some, neither simply these nor those, but the people as a whole.
“Your responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this Country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representative. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the aim of all politics.” (Pope Francis: Address to the US Congress, 24 September 2015)
Some observations are well in order to emphasize certain key contents of but rather a short portion of the above-cited Papal Address: One, Congress is for the purpose of enacting legislations for the common good of the people, for the common welfare of the Country – not for the good of the members of the Legislative Department, much less for the benefit of those individuals in the Executive Department. Two, Congress represents the concerns of the people in general, not simply the interests of the rich and powerful, much less merely the concerns of business and industry that is all geared for profit earned at expense of the people. Three, Congress wherefore has the focused and continuous mandate to observe the fundamental aim of politics which is nothing less than the common good.
Politics is “dirty” when its main preoccupation is the benefit, the promotion and protection of the politicians themselves. Politics is scandalous when the individuals therein involved merely advance their own concerns and assure their own personal options and/or dynastic interests. Politics is thus a marked liability if not a downright curse of the general public when those behind it think, act and behave like members of an exclusive club. In all these instances, politics becomes a curse. And sad to say and sadder even to admit is the truth that such by and large is the who and the why of the now still existing Philippine politics.
There are exceptions to the rule. But the majority of the members of the now ruling Congress of the Philippines is exactly that. They place themselves under the command of the Executive Department, acting the way they are told and receiving their rewards as promised. Would that the forthcoming elections bring about a Congress that is pro-common good – contrast with the present one that is pro-individual benefits.