Rioting in London: How it could happen in the Philippines

Rioting. Looting. Mugging. Stealing. These are activities people would normally associate with street gangs. But the recent mayhem in London that involved all those activities has baffled every expert in every society. They are baffled because the people involved didn’t just come from the “alienated poor, those without hope, lashing out in rage and despair.” They came from all kinds of backgrounds with some even coming from impeccable institutions of education and enjoying comfortable lifestyles.

As of this writing, there were more than 1,200 people arrested nationwide in connection with the violence that spread out on the streets of London. Among those arrested were two straight-A university students, one of whose father is a millionaire, and an 11-year-old boy. It just doesn’t get any more difficult to solve a situation like this. Britain, you have a problem. And apparently, the problem has been growing for decades.

Usually, people could dismiss society’s problem with outlaws as something having to do with economics, lack of education and overall discontent with social division. But growing discontent growing up in “da hood” is not limited to not having any money or opportunity for most British youths today. It is also discontent with of being alienated from their comminities’ adults.

The symptoms of the social disease have been obvious, even blatantly. The rising criminality, excessive drinking, drug-taking, and promiscuity among kids as young as 11 should have been hard to ignore. But for the British, the obvious has always been shrugged as being just part of growing up. Some claim “British kids are less integrated into the adult world and spend more time with peers.” And that “many British adults seem to view children as an entirely separate species.” This results in their young feeling unimportant and disconnected.

A 2008 TIME magazine article described the relationship between British adults and their kids:

Britons have never been very comfortable with the idea of childhood. (“Culturally, Britain just doesn’t like children much,” says Batmanghelidjh.) In Victorian England, rich children were banished to nurseries and boarding schools, while their poorer contemporaries were sent out to work. The British are still expected to function as adults from an early age. At 8, Scotland has the lowest age of criminal responsibility in Europe, followed by England and Wales, where youngsters answer for their crimes from the age of 10. Yet children venturing into the adult world often feel rebuffed. “I don’t get the feeling that Britain is the most child-friendly culture,” says Emily Benn, who was selected to contest a seat in Britain’s House of Commons three weeks before her 18th birthday. “When you go to France they’re nicer to you in restaurants, on the streets and on transport. When I go around Britain on the railways, I get treated like rubbish by guards and officials.”

So it would seem that there is an underlying problem among the British youth that goes beyond just adventurism. It is definitely a cry for help.

Filipino Youths echoing the same sentiments

I cannot help but see similar problems creeping up on our society today. With more and more Filipino adults leaving for work overseas to earn money, a lot of Filipino kids today are left to their devices long-term. Sure, most parents leave them with extended family thinking that they will be ok. But in some cases, that is just wishful thinking. I can imagine that caring for your own child would be different from caring for someone else’s child. It’s the same psychology behind renting a house compared to owning one, the latter being treated with more tender loving care than the former because it represents a longer term investment.

The absence of adult supervision is not just our society’s problem. Filipino kids are sometimes treated as another species as well. Like I had said in my previous article, “the biggest problem with our society is that young people are taught what to think, but not how to think.

From a young age, we are told not to question authority, with an emphasis on giving deference to our elders. Young kids are to be seen but not heard. This was evident in the last election when some young adults who did not see the relevance of “People Power” anymore were voicing their disgust at how some Filipinos are still beholden to the Aquino family.

But these young Filipino adults were quickly silenced by threats from the family elders, even coming just short of being stricken out from the family tree. Scared of being ostracized, young Filipino adults have no choice but to follow what their elders say, never mind if what the elders say defies what they had learned at school. This is because smart people somehow know that it is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument. Someone once said that one moron can ask more questions than ten wise men can answer and that ignorant people rely on insults instead of facts.

I personally think that young Filipino adults are the key to the Philippines’ future. Young adults have fresh ideas and fresh perspectives. Adults should listen to them more often because they can see what grown ups cannot see because of their relative lack of prejudices or biases. Fresh out of school, young Filipino adults still know by heart the theories and skills from their school lessons. Young adults can tell the Emperor that he has no clothes on.”

If we want to reduce the possibility of the kind of violence that engulfed the streets of London this week erupting in Manila, we need to address the issues concerning the Filipino youth as soon as possible before their discontent explodes. Some people might dismiss this concern as fear mongering but I personally think that the symptoms of the disease in our society have been showing for a long time now.

At the moment, religion still has a strong hold on the minds of our youth but a growing number of disconnected kids are slowly leaning towards atheism. The minute kids realize that their parent’s beliefs do not align with what they experience outside on the streets, today’s simmering power struggle between ideas of the youth and their elders could boil over.

One of the things that the Philippine government must do is to prioritise measures that stimulate creation of more jobs locally so that adults with young kids are not forced to go looking for jobs abroad. This will eliminate that stressful collective separation anxiety between the Filipino parent and the Filipino child. Education should be made mandatory with parents or guardians penalized when kids don’t attend school. Lastly, and this is a long shot, it would also help if the government or any private enterprise could take the initiative to create programs for young adults like, say, forums where they can voice their concerns. Sometimes just airing one’s frustration helps relieve pent-up angst. The worst thing that could happen in our society is seeing alienated kids with too much time on their hands wreaking havoc on the streets of Manila, rioting, looting, mugging, and stealing.

[Photo courtesy]


Post Author: Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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33 Comments on "Rioting in London: How it could happen in the Philippines"

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Despite the small similarities between the treatment of children, there aren’t enough parallels between the Philippines’ culture and theirs to say that riots like these are likely. Even if they are, they would be for entirely different reasons. Children may not be allowed to talk back much in the home, but the Philippine culture of family solidarity and closeness between children and parents (or guardians, in the absence of parents) is still there. The London problem was that kids were expected to be adults who can take care of themselves; Filipinos do not have that problem. If anything, Filipino kids… Read more »
The riots in London is just one of the symptoms of a dying civilization. UK, like the rest of Western Europe, has a dwindling population, leaving them no choice but to hire foreign workers, and in the case of UK, their first priority are their former colonies like in Africa and India. The result is a clash of cultures that are totally different from their host countries, which lead to disenfranchisement of many of their people, both native English people and immigrants. Now, with the emerging recession (depression is such a “depressing” term) in US which would mean a global… Read more »
Laws in other countries punish these stupid kids with just a slap on the wrist. Kids in the Philippines would think twice to riot lest they want to get salvaged or shot intentionally or accidentally by the police or military. They wouldn’t think twice using excessive force. They will have a great time committing human rights violations and beating the crap out of these kids. Anyway, the poor expendable youth of the Philippines are too busy sniffing glue and are probably too weak to riot as they are malnourished. The well off youth on the other hand are busy partying… Read more »

I think it’s suffice to say that we only need to worry if we see this trend in our SE neighboring countries.

Excuse me, I’m still part of the youth, you see. Just to raise up some points: 1. I’m leaning into atheism, but still my parents are working *here* and I’m living with them. I argue with them, but you don’t see me thinking of rioting against adults. 2. You think, in the future, that Filipino youth would somehow start the same riot as the British youth did. But you also contradicted yourself by saying in your argument with Yves that Filipinos have become wimps because of how they’re brought up. 3. From previous point, I’m a strong believer of the… Read more »
Hyden Toro

The OFW slave/Drug Mule program by the government, has destroyed families…Father or mother goes abroad to work; with children on the care of relatives, or grandparents. I have seen marriages ripped apart, because of these situations. Or the children, grew up wayward…
Jobs created locally; is the only good solution to this problem. The British are different from us. However, this situation may trigger also the British problems are having in our country…


This kind of riot has already happened in the Philippines. I think twice. Remember the failed EDSA III?

Curiously, these riots in Europe and US are mostly – 99% (?) instigated by the liberal/progressive loonies.


I know someone whose parents are far worse. “Parents Pimp”.

Because of our down economy, youths of today can’t afford thinking about rioting or voicing out their disbelief in the system. Because of their current situation they are forced to resort to prostitution, or by marrying a rich foreigner and making a career out of it. Of course, with the help of their “Parents Pimp”.

This is the real Filipino family is.

Lucky are those who has a well-off family.

I f*#ck%n hate the system.