Conquering the Hydra

Conquering the Hydra

The Greek hero Heracles as he battles the Lernean Hydra as part of the 12 Pillars the son of Zeus had been set to accomplish. (Photo: ArtStation)

Corruption is the enemy of development, and of good governance. It must be got rid of. Both the government and the people at large must come together to achieve this national objective.

— Former Indian president Pratibha Patil

CALOOCAN CITY, Metro Manila — In Greek mythology, the second labor of the hero Heracles was to kill the nine-headed Hydra which from the murky waters of the swamps near a place called Lerna, rose up and terrorized the countryside, attacking people with poisonous venom.

And the gigantic serpent was no easy prey because one of its nine heads was immortal and therefore indestructible—so much like the corruption problems that plague our bureaucracy and sprout ever so often (despite the promises of every president we’ve had who vowed to go after the cancroid that has infected almost all agencies of the government) like the multi-headed Lernean Hydra.

Our presidents—from Corazon Aquino until now—set off like Heracles to hunt the nine-headed menace, but Zeus’ son did not go alone as his trusty nephew, Iolaus, was by his side. This is what should be done with our problem of corruption as we need everyone’s help to get rid of it successfully.

To triumph over the Hydra, Heracles first lured the creature from the safety of its den by shooting flaming arrows at it, and once the huge serpent emerged, he seized it. But the monster was not so easily overcome for it circled one of its coils around Heracles’ foot and made it impossible for the hero to escape.

With his club, though, Heracles attacked the many heads of the Hydra, but as soon as he smashed one head, two more burst forth in its place! To make matters worse, the Hydra had a friend of its own: a huge crab began biting the trapped foot of Heracles.

Quickly disposing of this nuisance, most likely with a swift bash of his club, the demigod called on his nephew to help him out of the tricky situation. Each time Heracles bashed one of the Hydra’s heads, Iolaus held a torch to the headless tendons of the neck and the flames prevented the growth of replacement heads, so finally, Heracles had the better of the beast.

Once our hero had removed and destroyed the eight mortal heads, he then chopped off the ninth, immortal head which he buried at the side of the road leading from Lerna to Elaeus, and for good measure, he covered it with a heavy rock. As for the rest of the hapless Hydra, Heracles slit open the corpse and dipped his arrows in the venomous blood.

The mythical exploit of the son of the king of the gods in Olympus is very much similar to what should be done to triumph against corruption in our government. The multiheaded problems we find surfacing every now and then seem endless: rising prices of prime commodities like rice, sugar, and even salt; healthcare concerns that include billions of pesos of anti-Covid emergency funds sopped up by a small pharmaceutical company; overpriced laptops costing billions of pesos more of public funds; huge amounts lost in a widespread conspiracy within PhilHealth; and many more.

What is alarming here is the fact that the funds were sourced through piled-up government loans that run in the trillions of pesos and each Filipino still alive for a couple of generations would be scrounging to pay so as to avoid default and suffer the shameful status of being a pariah to international lenders like the World Bank.

So we ask, can’t we do something to stop this Hydra?

For your comments or suggestions, complaints or requests, just send a message through my email or text me at cellphone numbers 09054292382 for Globe subscribers and 09391252568 for Smart. Thank you and Mabuhay!

Leave a Reply