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?”
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]
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