Is the solution to a socio-cultural problem a political one?

The socio-cultural problem, Filipinos need to be reminded, is comprised of the dysfunctions in Filipino culture that have kept them chained to a perpetual state of impoverishment. The political solution, Filipinos would like to think, is to merely focus on changing our leaders into those “different” from the corrupt bunch that currently infest government.

Is there really a solid deterministic link between quality of leaders and prosperity?

Filipinos seem to think so. There is no shortage of Filipinos who seem to believe that running for government office is the best, or even single valid way to effect change in the country. They can range from those who spout the overly defensive statement “Ang galing niyo! Kayo na lang kaya maging presidente!” (Why don’t you guys run for president if you’re so smart?!), to those who are just plain curious: “Who are the candidates that GetRealPhilippines (GRP) thinks embodies its ideals?”lying-politician

But is running for office really the best, or even single valid way, to effect change in society?

If that were true, then despite the few bouts of good leadership that the Philippines has had, how come the Philippines essentially remains the same wretched, impoverished, dysfunctional society that it has been since the 1900’s?

Filipinos removed a person they perceived as a dictator under the assumption that being free would lead to the improvement of their plight in life. If we look 27 years after, it doesn’t seem that anything much has changed.

Roughly, the trend of quality of leadership that the Philippines has had resembles a wave with its crests and troughs – Marcos, Aquino the Mother, Ramos, Erap, Gloria, and now Aquino the Son. And now Filipinos look towards the next one. That’s saying it nicely: simply put, the quality of leaders has been inconsistent, and yet the national plight has all but remained the same.

The assumption that one needs to run for office to effect change is a flawed one.

If one is under the impression that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to become a government official in the Philippines, think again. One just needs a lot of money and connections, and one just needs to be popular among the easily starstruck Filipinos. The ultimate example that backs this claim up is the fact that Filipinos chose Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III, arguably the most inexperienced, most unqualified, and least deserving of the lot. As it turns out, many Filipinos didn’t choose according to a stringent list of requirements that they would like fulfilled; many of them instead voted on the bases of popularity (helped in no small measure by the ubiquitous media machinery that backed him up) and the lesser evil that BS Aquino projected himself to be. The least corrupt? Please.

As I’ve said in one of my earlier articles:

”When the President is selective of whom he considers corrupt, and when he either does nothing about corruption or is powerless to stop it, the significance of his own personal incorruptibility shrinks, if not goes out the window entirely”; and “Incompetence overshadows incorruptibility any day of the week.

But I digress…

Let’s go back to the unanswered question: “Who are the candidates that GRP thinks embodies its ideals?”

Well, we don’t endorse any candidates.

As disappointing an answer as it may seem to many of you, think about this: if we were to endorse names, what would make us different from any “pundit” who presumes to know what is best for the country?

GRP is not a political entity; this is a misconception of us that has cropped up more often than it needs to. What binds the members of this community – owners, contributors, readers, and commentators – is the shared approach to evaluating issues found in Philippine society. That approach is called critical thinking. Since GRP is not a political entity, there is no GetRealPhilippines platform, and there will never be. GRP does not attach itself to any dogmatic principles. Our work is not intended to be an instrument for policy, but it is an alternative – a counter-balance if one must say – to the heavily co-opted media that is the main information source in this country.

As such, it is this critical thinking approach that more Filipinos need to imbibed with.

Is it clearer now why GRP does not endorse candidates? Why it doesn’t name names?

Naming names is an example of a top-down process of reforms – spoonfeeding. It would simply continue the persisting process of feeding fish to the Filipino electorate.

Change must come from the bottom-up. Filipinos must take it upon themselves – not a bunch of heroes, not a bunch of messianic complexes, and definitely not a bunch of politicians in robes or barongs – to think about how to improve their lot.

That is ultimately what sites like GRP are for – to teach the Filipinos to fish so that they can feed themselves. We are here mainly to show the door; it is ultimately up to the Filipinos to walk in by themselves.

As has been said in this site before, people looking for more are free to organize something and to apply the ideas here in GRP and other sites to their actions.

So why don’t Filipinos change the process, and consequently, the requirements, by which they measure the potential leaders they will vote in? Why don’t they take that critical approach to evaluating what potential candidates have to offer?

Because it’s much, much easier to not think, and be spoonfed.

Given this, do we expect Filipino society to change any time soon?

Can problems be solved using the same thinking that created them?

Obviously, Filipinos think so. This is why it is no surprise that they are mistaken for an insane people. The results have been speaking for themselves ever since.

[Photo courtesy: bellscorners]


About FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

Post Author: FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

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51 Comments on "Is the solution to a socio-cultural problem a political one?"

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Good answer to “why don’t you just run for office,” and “who is your candidate?” And who is the right person to vote for… eh di, mag-isip ka!


You go to a Jollibee in Laguna, Dumaguete or Basilan and you can get a Champ Burger or Chicken Joy or Spaghetti or all three. GRP does not work like that. Like I say in my own posts, I may not give you absolute answers but if I can make you think of more questions then I am making you think. Thinking is something this government seems to abhor since they seem quite incapable themselves of it.

Johnny Saint
When Australia and the United Kingdom granted independence to Melanesia (Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, etc.) in the 1970s, they established parliamentary style democracies there. According to our local “CORRECT” Movement, this should have set them on the path to socioeconomic development. It should have made Melanesia one of the most progressive regions in this part of the world. In fact, the exact opposite happened. When this political system was transplanted to Melanesia, their societies became more chaotic. The reason? Most Melanesian voters do not vote for political programs or ideologies. They vote for political PERSONALITIES. Usually this was… Read more »
Hyden Toro
Filipinos are used to being deceived and deluded by political propagandas;PR lies of politicians, and False survey firms. Being President of this hopeless Republic, takes a lot of patience and brains. We have a Culture of Corruption. We have a Culture of Political Patronage. We have political Warlords in the Provinces. Our economy is a “Bubble Economy” , floated by OFW earnings. Then we elected actors, actresses, comedians, show biz personalities, etc…to be our leaders. Who are barely literate. Change comes from all of us. It is my duty to inform my countrymen, as a GRP Blogger. To tell the… Read more »

Just a friendly warning to the trolls/butthurt individuals who would use spiels like “Pa-Ingles pa kayo dyan e mga Pinoy kayo!/Sige, kayo na ang magaling, kayo na ang maging presidente!/Puro kayo salita wala naman kayong ginagawa!”…

I think GRP has already provided with many articles to detail on what is wrong with this country. Understand the message then applying the knowledge remains on the individual itself.

Problem is there are still people who are dreaming that everything’s better because all are provided by their benevolent ruler. Hey, if they enjoy getting butthurt here, it’s not my problem anymore.

elmer c solidon

it makes me sad and at times frustrated that many of us like to be screwed by a lot of our politicians as evidenced by the kind of people we choose as our leaders. this article exactly echoes my own sentiments, thank you very much. keep on punching……

Jhay Lapinid

TL:DR GRP ranting about how even though they are all talk no action they are still noble and relevant. The same dozen posters commenting on their own articles to pad the otherwise empty comment section.

Another day, another sweet peso laughing at you wannabe-but-toogutless2b traitors, muahaha


After living with the dysfunctional behavior of politicians for so many years, people regrettably can become invested in defending their dysfunctions rather than actually changing them.

this applies particularly in societies where levels of education are low, and cult followings are high.

Jhay Lapinid wrote: “TL:DR GRP ranting about how even though they are all talk no action they are still noble and relevant. The same dozen posters commenting on their own articles to pad the otherwise empty comment section. Another day, another sweet peso laughing at you wannabe-but-toogutless2b traitors, muahaha” It’s really kind of pathetic to see trolls derive satisfaction from being a troll and beat the bushes just out of spite every now and then. And they always exhibit passive-aggressiveness in the form of fake laughter (ie., “muahaha” or “lol”) in a poor attempt to deflect criticisms and avoid having… Read more »
@ FallenAngel Political decisions and solutions have dominated and changed human history from the ancient Sumerian civilization, to the Roman Empire, to Hitler’s Germany to the present time. All the wars in recorded history were political. Space exploration was political. Assassinations are political. The recent events that shook the financial houses and nations economies was political. Although poverty, overpopulation, lack of education, unemployment, inequality, corruption, low salary and high prices remains to be the core issues the country faces today, other challenges like religious issues, drugs, health care, abortion and same sex relationships and marriage have further complicated the country’s… Read more »
Johnny Saint

Politicians are like diapers. They should be changed often and for the same reason.

A good point, BUT since the gov’t. is the only entrepreneur allowed to profit, due to the never ending red tape and regulations governing business’s, it really is the only way to get ahead in the country. IF you are an employee, the wages paid are PATHETIC. If you are a retailer you have to deal with the end of the line proposition that the tariffs already imposed on the products being sold have been passed all the way along to the retailer so that any and all profits have already been taken out of the product for sale. IF… Read more »
If it’s one thing I hate about Filipino culture, it’s the over-emphasis on collectivism where individual critical thinking and individual freedom is considered a social taboo. There is limited individual thinking and limited freedom here. Not “freedom” in the legal sense, but in the social sense. People here are so afraid to express themselves. They’re so afraid to be individuals. They’re afraid because the collectivism and mob mentality is so strong. Nobody wants to go their individual way and shine as an individual.(Gays are an exception. Kudos to Gays) Anyone who attempts to do so is subtly hissed, jeered, sneered… Read more »

This forum is an excellent medium of communication for the intelligent. What about the below-average IQ citizens who comprise the majority population? Even if they were computer literate (enough to post on Facebook or register on dating sites) I don’t think they’d be able to grasp the concepts discussed here, i.e. to think critically. It’s as if the burden of educating the population (of dulled minds) falls on those who are privileged and blessed with intelligence, which would require a grass roots effort — a monumental task, but not impossible.


The problem is those of you who realised the problems with the country are a the minority, whilemany of the people are ignorant or choose to be ignorant.
The education and message need to reach the common people.
Only the people can change the country.
But the underlying deeper issue is the culture, the nonchalant attitude towards what is happening over and over again.