Criticizing PNoy is good for us and democracy

President Noynoy Aquino still has until 2016 before he steps down from his post. That seems like a really long time for him to remain in office and have photos of him taken while “working” bandied around as evidence of “achievement”. It would seem even longer, like an eternity, to Filipinos who have lost their trust in his capacity to lead the nation. Whether or not his popularity ratings remain strong by the end of his term is not really important. When the result of a popularity or satisfaction survey is favorable to him, PNoy is more than happy to ride the wave of “support” from the public. But if the result is unfavorable to him however, PNoy just shrugs it off and ignores it — which is precisely why publishing these surveys and making a big deal out of them is essentially pointless.

Considering that it is going to be a few more years before the next Presidential election, we need to ask ourselves: Are Filipinos doomed to a mediocre existence until then? The answer is: Only if they allow it to remain that way. But what can ordinary citizens do to uplift their conditions? The answer is: a lot more than they would normally imagine. In short, we need to be a bit more clever in the way we regard our future.

I guess one can say that those who do not trust PNoy or the government to do the right thing are lucky. They are lucky because they see beyond the story told to them by the Establishment. As a result, they are not only more critical of PNoy, they also actively participate in politics than those who trust him; they can take radical and concrete steps to do something to improve their own lives without waiting for the government to do it for them.

Just think about it. After each change of government or People Power revolution in the past, most Filipinos simply go back to their apathetic ways and let the newly installed government run the country without bothering to check if the right things are being done. It is like a cycle and this is part of the reason why public servants get away with not doing their jobs properly.

Most Filipinos become dissatisfied and act only after the term of the incumbent President is almost over – when they have had enough of the “corrupt” activities or when the lack of progress is undeniable. This is evident in how they would rather mount street revolutions to remove the incumbent President than guide him by being more vocal or involved in the crafting of government policies from the very beginning. In other words, prevention is better than the cure. And being more critical of whoever is the sitting President can prevent corruption and help progress along.

By putting pressure on the government to shape up, ordinary Filipinos will have a better chance of making their public servants work harder. The fact that Malacañang’s communications team was compelled to show photos of the President supposedly working after activists branded him lazy is proof that criticism is an important input into a successful democracy.

A recent study also showed that being involved in politics can make people happy:

Democracy depends on the time, energy, and engagement of ordinary people. But it remains quite difficult to motivate average citizens even to vote, much less to engage in the more intensive forms of political activism needed to counteract powerful forces that work against rule by the people.

Statistical analyses showed that after controlling for demographic factors like age, race, political orientation, and education, study participants who scored higher in political activism also reported higher levels of personal well-being. Specifically, political activism scores were associated with feeling more pleasant emotions, reporting greater life satisfaction, and having more experiences of freedom, competence, and connection to others. Our application of past research on “psychological thriving” further showed that 28 percent of the politically active adults had reached this highest level of well-being, compared to 18 percent of the community sample.

Politicians and activists typically attempt to motivate ordinary citizens to participate in democracy on the basis of moral appeals or attempts to fix a problem. Our results suggest that it might also be worthwhile to highlight the internal rewards citizens can obtain from being politically engaged: A sense of satisfaction, the experience of pleasant emotions and of connection with others, and a feeling of aliveness.

While we are criticizing our government, we should also work on improving our own personal welfare. Since we know that we cannot rely on the government for handouts, we need to take stock of what we can do to make ourselves more financially stable. Working as an employee is fine as long as we take pride in what we do and do it well. After all, not everyone is born with an aptitude for entrepreneurship. Having a fixed income can mean that we can only dedicate a small percentage of our salary for partying or splurging on ourselves, which is probably why Filipinos need to think less about such indulgences. The idea of saving or foregoing instant gratification might be an alien concept to some Filipinos especially since we are known for our penchant for organizing fiestas. We should, instead, consider radically changing our outlook towards how we view partying. There is so much work to be done to reach our goal of becoming financially independent. We can learn new skills or increase our knowledge of the world and the environment. We must resist the temptation to engage in activities that give us only fleeting moments of happiness because it will only lead to regret and sadness in the long term.

If each of us worked harder at elevating our status and aim for no less than first-class, only then can the nation have a fair shot at taking its place among the first-class societies of the world sometime in the future. As the saying goes, “Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution. It represents the wise choice of many alternatives”.

It may take a while before PNoy steps down from his post but we can do a lot to make the most out of the long wait ahead. Asking him to step down is also one of them.

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Post Author: Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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51 Comments on "Criticizing PNoy is good for us and democracy"

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Anonymous
Guest

Great article as usual ilda!
Unfortunately, some rabid and stupid supporters of the yellow regime like VBA would rather ignore the truth than accept it.
The truth being that this current administration is way way WORSE than the previous administrations.
People like VBA would rather accept a MEDIOCRE way of life.

brianitus
Guest
I love this part, Ilda: “While we are criticizing our government, we should also work on improving our own personal welfare. Since we know that we cannot rely on the government for handouts, we need to take stock of what we can do to make ourselves more financially stable. ” Not doing anything makes a critic a lousy nagger. LOL. I think one of the steps should include forcing this administration to come up with metrics that people can actually see and feel. In a way, I liken the administration to a poker player trying to bluff people into thinking… Read more »
Zoo Yorker
Guest
Very well said maam Ilda. From politics which the mediocrity of Filipinos is at its worst. Many fellow Filipinos hate suggestions when you give them a piece of suggestions that will eventually help them in the end. I also point out those people who hate suggestions when you dare them to go to the sites that will give them a clear picture of efficient leadership or in an organization, an efficient team policy, they’ll just tell you in words that I can say pure name calling without bothering to think what the person’s telling them. Even in sports, I can… Read more »
Hyden Toro
Guest

I have a co-worker He is an African-American. He was born of poverty. Grew up in a poverty stricken place called Gheto, like our slums. His mother was a cleaning woman. His father abandoned the family, when he was young. This man did not just believed in his fate. He studied hard. Went to a University scholarship. Then, now have a good job in a Technical Research and Development for a large Defense industry corporation…I am really inspired by this man…who lifted himself out of poverty…

FallenAngel
Member

It was Americans from whom I first heard the concept of “criticizing country out of love for it.” Why can’t it be done here?

When someone comes around and tells Pinoys to be more active in politics, many automatically assume that all it entails is barking louder than anyone else. Because using their kokote is an alien concept to them, many fail to shape informed opinions.

I believe that although dissenting voices like GRP walk a fine line between critic and crab, we never cross it.

BenK
Editor
Think of it from my perspective: It would be very easy for me to live an insulated, pleasant tropical life here like about 90% of the other expats I know do. The whole country could go to shit, but as long as I have Internet, access to the duty-free shop, and things in my little gated village (wherein the good private school I send my children to is also located) are kept peaceful and orderly (because we can afford to pay whoever we have to in order to make sure they stay that way), what concern is it of mine?… Read more »
FallenAngel
Member
BenK, I realized that what I wrote is open to misinterpretation, so just to make sure that we’re on the same page, let me clarify things here. I was not complaining about any apathy from expats but I was wondering about why Filipinos can’t develop the mindset I mentioned above. Your perspective, it seems to me, is also applicable to locals who are from the affluent community. Yet on the other side of the spectrum we have Filipinos who are trapped into thinking that criticizing their government will not put food on the table which they so necessarily need. So,… Read more »
Phriel
Guest

The common Filipino view of critical thinkers are National Activists who seeks political unrest. It’s sad but this is true especially among those who are frightened by the capabilities of government officials.

Joe America
Guest
I agree with the notion that criticism of the President, or anyone in public office, on the acts of government he undertakes, is constructive. Just as it is constructive of people to criticize the critics (Raissa Robles when lose with facts, or the Catholic Church when it engages on HR legislation, or GRP on when it is dogmatically unobjective). Even critics of the critics (like Joe America) can be off base and need to be hauled back into line. But there is a difference between criticizing the deeds done in office and personal insults. When the dialogue goes uncivil, it… Read more »
BenK
Editor

Who’s calling for him to step down, Joe? You said it, not anyone here that I’m aware of. Freudian slip?

Joe America
Guest

BenK, Ilda does, last line: “It may take a while before PNoy steps down from his post but we can do a lot to make the most out of the long wait ahead. Asking him to step down is also one of them.”

This is consistent with other comments she has made expressing a desire to see him out of office before the end of his term.

benign0
Admin

It was an option that was articulated. That’s all it was. You’re suffering from a bit of that same cognitive bias that you keep accusing some people here of applying in the posts and comments that they publish.

Joe America
Guest

benigno, ilda, I am glad I miss-interpreted that one, too. I think asking the President to step down is a poor option. I have a cognitive bias for letting a President serve his term, unless the fate of the nation is at risk. In the Philippines, many seem to believe the fate of the nation is at risk if the President is treading on their turf, thus, relentless and destructive coup mentality.

But I am happy to know that no one here is calling for President Aquino to step down, just presenting it as an option for the intellectually open-minded.

Trosp
Guest
Yuk, that’s how this Maher boy’s aka Joe America mind works. This is the one I like most: “When the dialogue goes uncivil, it is not constructive.” How about dishonesties? And this one: “If I were Filipino I would want to show I could be more dignified than that rat’s nest of lies, deceit and venom in America.” Just be honest and fact-based and one is going to earn the respect of level headed comment readers of this blog. Bill Maher’s always defence when caught pants down with his obnoxious remarks is always “It’s a satire. I’m just a comedian.”… Read more »
Karachu
Guest
I totally agree with you. There is a big difference between insults and constructive criticism. Ilda is right on some things. I also found that many Filipinos want instant gratification. That is why they are so easy to please and easy to manipulate. People find it easier to express their hatred than directly improving their situation. They get so heated that it’s hard to reason with them, more-so if they think themselves high for being intellectuals. I do respect Noy for his good intentions, but I calculate that he won’t be able to achieve all that he promised during 1… Read more »
Steve
Guest

While Mr. BS Aquino talks about “The poison from the last term overflowed into his.” That the funds had have dried up.. was also about the time when he gave away the “savings?” to some lawmakers for their DAP.

I have my reasons to be NOT so very trusting to his very good intentions and honest governance. 😉 *winks

Daido Katsumi
Guest
PNoy should get the first because he is the President. For the past 2 years, everybody is annoyed of his incompetence and stupidity. The Manila Hostage Crisis, his criticisms against the past admin (which is an act of COWARDICE), trying to make a PD which is UNCONSTITUTIONAL, and so on. And the likes of you still love to suck his d8ck. Yes, you would rather accept a MEDIOCRE way of life, right? And why the hell would you put up the $100,000 dinner issue, eh? It was her OWN personal money. On PNoy eating hotdogs, it’s more like ‘pakitang-tao’, like… Read more »
Lord Chimera
Guest

Also the King in Yellow never got the “memo” that any leader good or bad are suffers from criticism and if he can’t handle criticism he shouldn’t have become the head of state.

Daido Katsumi
Guest

Yehey, VBA’s comments are automatically deleted! This made my day! 😀

Anonymous
Guest

Finally!
I say good riddance to that stupid sack of sh!t.

Alas VBA, We hardly knew ye…well not really.

K3
Guest

Noooo!!!!!!

Goodbye my favorite clown 🙁

Der Fuhrer
Guest
@Nutzi Vincenzo As usual you are the lead black propagandist of the do nothing administration. Are you trying to say now that the administration of Mr. BS Aquino has no corruption? Explain the mansions of his cronies. This is just the tip of the iceberg. You blame his perceived enemies as bad without proof. You tag the dictator wannabe as good. Great lie principle at work. Explain the panic button on the Nokor missile launch. They say a worst case scenario would mean forced evacuation. Evacuate where? Would this not cause widespread panic and block the roads? The AFP, PNP,… Read more »
K3
Guest

“While we are criticizing our government, we should also work on improving our own personal welfare.”

I completely agree. Whiners and haters are are just as bad as fanatics.

Der Fuhrer
Guest
Joe America
Guest
DF, Thanks for the reference links. Both articles present interesting cases. Let me see if I understand the pork issue. • The Budget Office (Secretary Abad), with the President’s okay, is withholding certain pork payments requested by legislators in order to certify that funds will go to proper uses. Pork money is given to legislators to improve their districts and often to help gain re-election. Because elections are next year, the withholding is creating considerable angst. • Opposition Senator Honasan hotly criticized the withholding and suggested that it is for political reasons. Rep M. Magsaysay agrees that the withholding is… Read more »
Jonas
Guest

While we are criticizing our government, we should also work on improving our own personal welfare. Since we know that we cannot rely on the government for handouts, we need to take stock of what we can do to make ourselves more financially stable.

I cannot agree more. I think that’s the most positive message this article imparted to the readers.

Noysucks
Guest

Hehe. Ika nga “Bato-bato sa langit, ang tamaan………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..SAPUL!” 😛

So sorry na lang, AbNoy, kung napikon ka.

Noysucks
Guest

Hehe. Ika nga “Bato-bato sa langit, ang tamaan………………….SAPUL!” 😛

So sorry na lang, AbNoy, kung napikon ka.

Jerelle Ortiz
Guest
I don’t believe it, you understand exactly whats going on with our people. I’ve been living here in the Philippines for more than seven months now and have done a lot of research and study on philosophy and economics by myself through books and research online. I have made few friends and have only been able to talk to very few individuals on higher learning and education. The majority of the people either take what I say in stride or don’t understand. I feel that people can make their lives better just by changing their outlook on it. Instead of… Read more »
bene
Guest

who said it is not allowed to be different? china? marcos? fools! u referring to what sample of society? it is entirely allowed to criticize but is also allowed to criticize the critic. idiots!

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