Why democracy does not work in the Philippines

The 1986 EDSA “People Power” revolution has been credited with bringing democracy back to the Philippines. However, three decades after the historic event, it seems majority of Filipinos still do not understand what democracy is about. The system of government is there in principle but Filipinos do not know how to use it properly. Worse, Filipinos do not realize that democracy involves hard work for the system to work. Recent events prove this.

Hanging by a thread: President BS Aquino
Hanging by a thread: President BS Aquino
The deadly clash between members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Forces (PNP SAF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebel group on the 25th of January has exposed not only President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino’s treacherous agreement with the rebel group, it also exposed the Filipino people’s weakness, specifically their lack of courage to take matters into their own hands.

BS Aquino has been marketing the deal his government has negotiated with the MILF rebel group under the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law as the key to lasting peace in Mindanao. The massacre of 44 SAF troopers has proven that the deal is anything but. As previously mentioned, under the deal, the MILF will get billions of pesos on an annual basis from the national government to assist the group in creating their sub state. Aside from that, all their previous atrocities including the above-mentioned massacre of the fallen troopers will be “pardoned” after the bill is passed. The national government does not even have a say in how the funds given to the MILF will be spent. They could simply spend it all on upgrading their weapons.

Why BS Aquino has crafted a deal that would burden the taxpayers and threaten the country’s sovereignty remains a mystery. Some people have speculated that his quest for a Nobel Peace Prize has been his primary motivation. To be sure, before the tragic event, majority of Filipinos did not realize that BS Aquino negotiated such a terrible deal and, with a rebel group who cannot even convince other Muslim rebel groups to join their cause and lay down their arms. Considering Muslims in Mindanao are still a minority in the region, a lot of people are baffled as to why BS Aquino seems cool about giving away parts of the Philippines that are abundant in natural resources. There are even unconfirmed reports that Malaysia could be using the MILF as a front in its pursuit to colonize Mindanao.

Up until the recent tragic events, majority of Filipinos did not question BS Aquino’s policies. They trusted him too much. That was a bad thing. Filipinos did not realise that in a democracy, they had to be consulted first prior to any deal being made. Filipinos did not know that they should have a say in how public funds will be spent. Likewise, Filipinos were ignorant of the fact that they can participate in policy deliberations through their representatives in Congress prior to any bill being passed. More importantly, Filipinos were not aware that the Philippine government should not even be dealing with a rebel group particularly one that has committed atrocities against the public.

Democracy involves using critical thinking to evaluate candidates for leadership and holding them accountable once in office.
Democracy involves using critical thinking to evaluate candidates for leadership and holding them accountable once in office.
I suppose Filipinos are not used to participating in crafting of policies because they see their President as a father figure. They are accustomed to showing deference to their “leader”. Yes, questioning the President’s decisions is still frowned upon in Philippine society. This is probably a legacy from years of being ruled by a strongman. It does not help that the incumbent President is the son of a revered political couple and so-called “democracy icons”. The mind conditioning is made worse by the constant reminder of the Aquino “legacy” and the family’s “sacrifices”, none of which resulted in any significant improvement to the country and its people.

Sadly, Filipinos have been made to believe they owe the Aquinos for the freedom they enjoy today. Never mind that that notion isn’t even true. It was the people who marched down the streets of EDSA to rally against former President Ferdinand Marcos. Cory, Ninoy or Noynoy weren’t even present during the three-day revolt. However, the propaganda to keep Filipinos beholden to the Aquino name makes some people uncomfortable about criticizing BS Aquino despite his irrational behavior and the lack of progress in the country today. Ironically, freedom of speech has not given Filipinos a strong enough voice to air their grievances. As Voltaire once said, “It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.

To be fair, after news broke out about the massacre of 44 SAF troopers in the hands of MILF rebel forces, public outrage was slow but eventually erupted. BS Aquino’s dishonesty about his role in the lead up to the tragedy and insensitivity towards the grieving families of the fallen have contributed to the feelings of anger of the public who sympathize with them. The President’s two speeches addressing the nation and subsequent meetings with grieving families could not make up for his diplomatic faux pas – being absent for the arrival of the bodies at Villamor Air Base to pay his respect.

Despite the public uproar, calls for BS Aquino to step down have been met with some opposition from those who are afraid of Vice President Jejomar Binay taking over his post. This has put Filipinos between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, they know BS Aquino has betrayed the people’s trust but on the other hand, they do not like the prospect of having someone they know they cannot trust to replace him either. This dilemma is quite unique only to Filipinos because the Vice President is from another political party — the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). Had Binay belonged to the same political party as BS Aquino, members of Liberal Party would not have engaged in negative propaganda against Binay and Filipinos would hardly worry about the succession. In any case, the fear of Binay is mostly justified because BS Aquino set a precedent for acting with impunity.

Lurking in the shadows: Vice President Jejomar Binay
Lurking in the shadows:
Vice President Jejomar Binay
The Filipino people’s problem with BS Aquino’s replacement has certainly exposed another flaw in the country’s system of government. Likewise, it has exposed the lengths to which the incumbent will go to, including subject his opponents to political persecution, just to ensure his political party remains in power in the next election. If Filipinos want to lessen the political bickering, the candidates for the Vice Presidency and Presidency should be voted for as one team rather than separately like the way it is done in the United States. Better yet, the Presidential system should be replaced with a parliamentary system of government under which the leader of the ruling party could be replaced anytime. Unfortunately, both solutions will require amending the Constitution and are not things that can be done overnight.

In the absence of a perfect system of government, Filipinos will have to rely on vigilance and hard work to keep their public servants honest. If they want the next President of the Philippines to develop a conscience and prioritize the country’s interests over his own, they have to hold BS Aquino accountable for the indiscretions he committed during his term. Holding him accountable includes asking him to step down for lying to the public about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the 44 SAF troopers. They have to ask him to step down even when they know Binay will take over. This will prove to the next in line that he too can be asked to step down if he does not shape up.

Democracy is hard work. It means Filipinos have to be involved in nation building and be more critical about how the country is being run by their public servants. Most of all, it means using their critical analysis in voting for the right person to avoid another disastrous President like BS Aquino. The real question is: are Filipinos up to the challenge?

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118 Comments on “Why democracy does not work in the Philippines”

  1. To quote another disgruntled Expat, “Democarcy is bullshit if people are easily led by the media.”

    Democracy, for all its glory only work when people are educated and capable of sound judgement. Considering the typical Filipino who makes decisions out of emotion and not logic, this will fall flat on its face. Considering that Noynoy got voted in because the masa really felt bad for him when he lost his mom and because he’s “the son of the heroes” (I wish I was making this up.)

    If one wants to change the Philippines, they must not only change the government’s workings, they must also influence how the people think. To do that, our culture needs an overhaul.

    Because even if the government is changed, it will simply grow corrupt again because of the people who go in there with poor values. And if trying to change the people on how they think will be met with great opposition: in form of Oligarch-controlled media who will try to assure them everyone is fine as they are. (Doesn’t help that most Filipinos actively seek out said controlled media for entertainment.)

    Unless the status quo is changed, this country may end up collapsing in the weight of its own stupidity.

    1. It doesn’t work specially when jeje-Pinoys cry “nosebleed!” everytime someone speaks in English. Democracy, after all, is a Western system of government and the specifc flavour of it applied to da Pinas, an AMERICAN one.

      So Filipinos will NEVER grasp the full point of democracy if they prefer to think within the comfy space of Pinoy thinking that their native dialects imprison them in.

      Pinoys need to step up to the challenge of exchanging ideas in the lingua franca of the INTELLIGENT world.

      1. Those people are just too stupid to realize that if the all games are rigged nobody benefits from the game. Even the winners are paying more for everything. The whole country becomes weak and inefficient, food, energy, transportation, water, even services aside from prostitution.

    2. Hi Ricardo_Diaz

      It is actually ironic that PNoy, who was voted in by emotional voters after his mother’s death, is now accusing his critics of being too emotional about the deaths of the SAF troopers. While there are people who only now acknowledge how insensitive and arrogant he is after the tragic event, some of us have known this about him all along even before he was voted into office. Therefore, it is not true that all those who criticise him about the Mamasapano clash are just “emotional”.

      The padrino system, which is the primary reason corruption cannot be eradicated in the Philippines is not just prevalent in people in government; favouring family, friends and allies over those who truly deserve it, is also something ordinary folks in Philippine society do. This is why some people do not find anything wrong with PNoy’s habit of letting his allies off the hook even when they are incompetent or commit violations. Unfortunately, this is not a habit that can be fixed overnight

      1. Definitely. Alot of social changes took years, even decades before it took effect. Such is the case of Singapore and Hawaii. But those changes took root because the people in power kept it consistent.

        As many expats have noticed, the primary reason why the Philippines is failing is because of its own caustic “culture”. In fact, many Filipinos who are successful financially have learned to let go of their culture and embrace their new country’s ideals.

        Look at the world – there are countries suffering from overpopulation as well as sanitation and yet they are more successful than this country. India being prime example. Because they have a culture that strives for excellence no matter what.

        For the Philippines to ascend, it needs to learn how to shed its own culture. Something 90% of them willing to fight to death to defend it because they perceive it to be “right” and never realizing how it is destroying them. A truly insidious, self-serving poison.

    3. I completely agree with you, Ricardo! I just don’t know how on earth we can effect a culture overhaul in this country. The problem seems very deep. If we had an enlightened bureaucracy, it could work towards that after recognizing that that’s the root of the problem, but then again, an enlightened bureaucracy will have to be voted in power by an enlightened people, which doesn’t exist in this country. So it’s a roundabout thing that seems to defy a neat solution. I guess we have to storm the heavens for answers. I know that’s not enough as God gave us minds and wills that we should use to solve our problems, but honestly, I no longer know how we can solve the problem that is the Philippines.

      1. It may be a complicated mess, but just remember there has been points in history where seemingly hopeless situations were turned around when the right people go into the right places.

        For example, Theodore Roosevelt managed to make sweeping changes in America when he got the presidency when his predecessor was assassinated. Funny part, he was put in vice-presidency by the syndicates so he can’t do anything about New York anymore.

        (South) Korea and Singapore’s sweeping changes were made by men with a mission to improve their countries. They did so by fixing their culture.

        But you may say that its nigh-impossible for men of value to exist in this country. And to that end, I see why.

        The other alternative sadly would be hostile takeover. A civil war won’t work as it will only replace one bad head with another. (My money again, is on China)

    4. Considering that Noynoy got voted in because the masa really felt bad for him when he lost his mom and because he’s “the son of the heroes” (I wish I was making this up.)
      ========
      Having Cory and Ninoy Aquino as parents definitely helped Noynoy get elected as president. The masa “feeling bad” for him is dubious at best because Erap got the bulk of them in the 2010 election.

  2. I believe that the Filipinos are in a terrible bind. I used to think that a federal/parliamentary system of government will work well for the Philippines, and I still do, but I now think that no matter what system of government we have, it won’t work if the people are not interested in how the government and the country are run. I observed that so many Filipinos don’t really want to be vigilant of the government’s actions; to them, that’s work, and work is tiring. They just want to vote for whoever they think will run the country well (many in fact couldn’t care even to do that) and then leave that person to do whatever he wants to do, trusting that he’ll have their interests in mind. For many Filipinos, thinking and debating are work and not play (not second nature to us, unlike to the people of many advanced countries), and anything that has to do with those is shunned. It doesn’t help that many don’t think in terms of what’s good for their fellow Filipinos, especially for the marginalized among us, only for themselves and their families. My FB friends, almost all of whom belong to the educated class, don’t want to talk about anything even remotely connected to politics; it’s like they just want to pretend nothing of consequence is happening in the country. It sometimes baffles and disorients me, pretending that nothing’s happening. It’s like there’s an elephant in the room and no one wants to talk about it. Unless the Filipinos, including the educated (or miseducated?) class, become a different kind of people, which is a long shot, this country, sad to say, is doomed to fail.

    1. Hi Chrissie

      You have written exactly how I feel about a lot of things. I was very careful about endorsing the parliamentary system of government. It is not a guarantee that it will get rid of the political bickering. That’s why I used the word “lessen” instead of eliminate. As long as Filipinos still practice the padrino system, it will trump any other system in place. This is something that staunch advocates of the parliamentary system refuse to accept. While I agree that it is better than the Presidential system, it will not solve the penchant for nepotism and favoritism that Filipinos are famous for.

      Yes, a lot of Filipinos would like to pretend that everything will be okay as long as they keep a positive outlook. They think things will eventually get better while turning a blind eye to wrong behavior. Sadly, the reality is too difficult for some to accept.

  3. How could you implement democracy in the Philippines when the average voter has average or below-average IQ, not to mention that they are uninformed about issues and have no concept, whatsoever, of what democracy means and what influences they have as citizens? It is common knowledge that politicians take advantage of dull minds, buying votes through give-away t-shirts or other trinkets that easily entice the impoverished. It would take massive effort to inform citizens and raise awareness of what democracy means. But if media is powerful enough to bombard its massive viewers with brain-numbing programs, why not use the same medium to bring education and knowledge that would empower and equip citizens to vote intelligently and discriminately? But perhaps those who control media design their programs as such to keep the majority ignorant and numb. Perhaps a grass root level approach would work, and that would require revolutionists. But isn’t that what EDSA attempted; and what is there to show today? Obviously something went wrong.

    …just some thoughts and 2 pesos.

    1. Aryianna

      Unfortunately, owners of mainstream media are more concerned with their bottom-line than educating the voters. It doesn’t help that a lot of the youth of today are more preoccupied with selfies and updating their social media accounts.

    2. @ Aryianna

      I don’t think it’s just IQ but EQ that is missing. As a people, we aren’t maturing “emotionally”. Most Pinoys are about as fickle as an emo-teen.

      However, I do agree with the media being the key to improving or destroying the next generation. Unfortunately, it keeps choosing the latter.

      1. Agree. Filipinos are lacking in EQ as well, another area of bankruptcy. In general, they are very broken people, and collectively they produce a broken society. Healing must occur on an individual level and it must include radical change in character, mindset and spirit which would require nothing short of divine intervention. :-\

        A very affordable (free wi-fi) and far-reaching type of communication is the internet. Why not use this to promote awareness to citizens? There must be a better use of Facebook rather than to flash one’s latest selfie.

  4. In all the time that I have posted on this blog and in other blogs, I made it a point not to condemn Filipinos in wholesale fashion. I do that because I’m not perfect and I don’t possess any magic bullet to cure what ails the county. I’m not even sure of my recommendation every time an opportunity to give one arises. I know talking down, insulting and criticizing is the easiest thing to do. It is so easy that everybody can do it with flair even. I don’t take it against those who resort to such style of commentary. Especially, the one’s who really have something to say and not just parroting others or repeating not only what has been said about in the past but also twisting and exaggerating facts.

    I’m saying this because most of what I read in almost all the articles is about Filipinos and what ails them. Or why Filipinos are dumb or hopeless. Or why they deserve what’s happening to them, etc. it’s all about the Filipinos’ fault, Filipinos’ folly, ignorance, etc. Anything to hurt the Filipinos will do.

    Which brings me to what my view is in relation to the topic of the article. I think democracy works in the country. If democracy as we know it as a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system, then by that definition alone we can conclude based on facts that we have a working democracy. But how effective is the working democracy. I submit, could be a subject for discussion.

    However, blaming Filipinos indiscriminately and condemning them in a sweeping manner under a working democracy is very unfortunate for the system accord them the right to choose people who will represent them in running the affairs of government. Isn’t it proper to direct the guilt to those who have the responsibility in managing the gov’t.? Why make it a chicken and egg thing when it’s very clear that our representatives exercise the powers vested in us under the system?

    I mean, why use a shotgun to kill your enemy in the crowd and collect more casualties when you can use a gun or a knife and kill him for you already know his identity?

    1. Lol! Nah. Actually we don’t use a shotgun. The shots we fire at Pinoy society, its culture, its traditions and its practices, attitudes, and other ululations are sniper-precise.

      To get a good grasp of just how exceedingly uber-CLUEY we are about what ails Da Pinas, and how expertly competent we are in the business of exposing the black underbelly of Da Pinoy Psyche for all the world to scrutinise, check out this brilliant slide show. 😀

    2. “If democracy as we know it as a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system, then by that definition alone we can conclude based on facts that we have a working democracy.”

      Therein lies the problem, Jameboy: While it’s true that a democratic government is one where the power resides in the people, the power of the people does not lie only in voting for their representatives and then just allowing them to do whatever they want to do while in position, until the next election comes along. It also lies in being very vigilant with regard to our government officials and their actions so as to make sure that they are using the power we gave them for our good and not against it, and if need be, to remove them from power if they’ve rendered inutile all constitutional means of removing them from power (which is not likely to be needed if the populace is sufficiently vigilant as it will nip in the bud all diabolic efforts to thwart the common good to further the government officials’ selfish interests). Besides, there is evidence that even our power to vote for our representatives has been violated in 2010 and 2013 and will be violated in 2016 thanks to the PCOS machines that were and will be used, which were and could be divested of all their safety and accuracy features, thus allowing the election results to be pre-programmed in favor of the controlling party, as attested to by reputable groups of computer and election experts.

      1. Chrissie,
        What can I say? I agree in the essence of what you said and I think for the most part the Filipinos have been transparent in what and how they feel and think with regard to what governance is and the responsibility of every one under the system we have.

        As to election violation, I have to admit I’m not up to date on that issue.

        1. Read The Manila Times Online and even Philippine Star, especially the Opinion sections, so you’d know what’s really happening in our country. Unfortunately, the conscript media (Philippine Daily Inquirer, ABS-CBN, GMA, etc.) hide important news from us or just gloss over them, preferring to report tabloid news like CCTV images of petty crimes. If you get to know what’s really happening, you’ll find our current situation distressing and therefore needing major action to correct. And no, simply chitchating about the latest national scandal doesn’t count as the rightful action of an enlightened citizenry of a truly democratic country. Making our voices heard, such as by starting or participating in a social media revolution or even going to the streets for a non-violent, meaningful protest, is more like it.

        2. Making our voices heard, such as by starting or participating in a social media revolution or even going to the streets for a non-violent, meaningful protest, is more like it.
          ========
          And for what reason? I mean, we can do all those things why not but let’s be clear why were going to start a ‘social media revolution’ and where do we go from there?

        3. Every time our government officials do something patently against our will, we can make our voices heard in one way or another, such as through social media, to put pressure on our government to do what’s right. If there are varying opinions about what’s right, then we can start an honest-to-goodness but healthy debate about it. Anything that will work to communicate to our government that we’re all watching them and won’t take anything less than what they promised us, or we’ll boot them out of their posts and replace them with better leaders, as the social contract goes. The Aquino government has become so bold in continuously doing one bad thing after another because they have always been able to get away with anything.

        4. Besides, we should make it clear to our government that they can’t do just anything they want to do because we want to be part of the process of deciding what’s best for us, we want to be party in governing ourselves.

    3. I’ve watched the video and pardon me I thought I’ll see something in there that would surprise me. Nothing. In fact, a great many of them have been uttered and debated and talked about as far back as the 1980s. While I was not surprised it doesn’t mean they don’t matter, of course they do. I understand the hardships brought about by separating families in cases of OFWs; the pollution, the issue of remittances, etc. They need to be addressed and attended to not because it will destroy us, as insinuated on the video, but because we need to exercise control over them.

      On the democracy video, I’m not sure whether to contradict or agree with what was said there. Maybe we can talk about the details and find out where we differ some other time.

      And since those videos are really an output of GRP, let me say this, those are your views and you have the right to share it. I may not agree entirely with it but it doesn’t mean we’re poles apart permanently when it comes to the concerns of the country. You chose the shotgun, I opted for the 357.

      In the meantime, I’ll have to stick to the issue of the article re: democracy does not work. I say, and also based on your video, it works. Just because we suck doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

      1. If democracy works in our country, Jameboy, we’d be a progressive country by now considering all the resources we have, and our people won’t have to leave their children behind just so they’d find jobs that will enable them to give their children a brighter future while our politicians rob us blind. That’s just one manifestation of a perfectly working democracy. Don’t get me started.

        1. Well, you can start all you want just don’t start on perfect working democracy because there is no such thing.

        2. To expect to be perfect on the first try is unrealistic, jameboy. What should be expected, at the minimum, is that Filipinos exhibit a learning curve, i.e., they make a mental note of the things they don’t like or things that didn’t work, or the flaws they would like to correct. And then they make sure those things don’t happen again.

          As it turns out, they don’t.

        3. Amir Al Bahr,

          I have no idea about the “perfect” and I’m lost as to what exactly you’re pointing out. Can you elaborate further, please? Thanks.

    4. Obviously many are confused with semantics and terminology, specifically the term Generalization. Generalization should not be equated with Absoluteness. There is a big difference between these two words and sadly many still think it implies this
      absoluteness or no exceptions.

      Generalization, though it implies broad “sweeping” statements, aims only to describe a set, a group, portion or segment with out becoming too scrupulous or obsessing over too much detail.

      The beauty of Generalization is
      that it does provide for exceptions when given the proper context.

    5. No offence, Jameboy but you are so long-winded. Please get your point across as soon as possible. You can do this by removing the melodramatic intro next time. If you easily get offended by the truth, this site is not for you.

      If you think democracy is working in the Philippines, then I won’t argue with you. However, I don’t agree. I don’t think democracy is working in the Philippines. You can see it in the results. The Philippines is still a Third World country 30 years after Marcos left the building.

      Filipinos just squander their freedom particularly the freedom to choose their leaders. Some voters sell their votes while others choose to be indifferent to the issues plaguing the nation.

      Filipinos always throw the opportunity to:

      1) Vote for the right leader;
      2) Hold their leader accountable;
      3) Assert their power over their leader.

      No wonder the country is still considered a basket case 30 years after EDSA.

      1. I can’t help it Ilda because in responding to articles/comments I have to give it a thought and make the person reading my post where I’m coming from with the idea/opinion I’m sharing. In a way, by thinking and not just blabbing, I’m able to make the writer of the post I’m commenting on know that I’m not just jiving him or her or wasting their time. That is why almost always I comment on articles because making an article takes time and effort. To respond to it with one-liners or empty paragraphs would be a disservice to the article writer.

        Yes, I think we have a working democracy. You may not like all the results coming from it but you cannot deny that it produces result. I don’t think voters squander anything by voting. If ever, it is those whom they chose to represent them that squander the opportunity to prove their worth as leaders.

        Yes, there is corruption in election. Even on rich countries election gets to be bastardized. How much more to a poor country like ours? But that doesn’t mean we don’t do something to correct it. We have the Comelec, Namfrel, international observers, etc. just so elections would be done accordingly. I say, we’re working on it.

        With regard to being offended by truth, why would I? There is no reason for anyone to feel that way for no one among us hold the truth. We’re all jockeying for position with our own respective “truth”. I love discussion, sharing of ideas be it serious or otherwise. I love to tease and banter too. The witty and entertaining the banter is, the better. I believe in not taking things too seriously and make enemies in the process.

        Make love not war. Peace! No offense taken.

        1. Nah…too much introduction is BORING. Not to mention, you make it difficult for others to understand your point.

          But of course the voters squander the opportunity to vote for the right leaders. They voted for Noynoy just because his mother died, right? What made them think he would be “honest” just because he is the son of Ninoy and Cory? Those two weren’t completely honest in the first place.

          You should stop making excuses for the voters and stop blaming everything solely on the leaders. It’s one thing for someone like PNoy to win the election, but it’s quite another for the public to allow him to keep violating the law just because he is an Aquino.

          We can present both sides of the argument but only one is the truth. The reality will tell you which one it is. So go out there and see which argument matches the reality.

        2. I find writers who load up the early parts of their piece with background and context before getting to the point in the latter part of their work (what is called the “drumroll” style of communicating) are really apologising in advance for the point they are going to make.

        3. It’s not actually an intro but a premise. Anyway, I think we should focus on the substance than the form.

          If you are a voter and you voted based on your choice, you squander your vote? I don’t get it.

          The scope of your opinion is Noynoy which according to you voters squander their votes for. I was talking in general and not really particularly imagining certain personalities about the squandering issue.

          I’m not making excuses for the voters I’m merely pointing out the other area of the issue that is being conveniently ignored or forgotten. The discussion is not limited on whether I agree with you or not or vice versa. It’s also about the ‘other’ elements that are within the issue.

          But you know what, I’ll accept your accusation that I blame the leaders. Yes, I’m guilty. And that’s because they are supposed to represent us. We exercise the rights and powers granted to us under the law THROUGH THEM. I thought that is what you are doing everytime you go after Noynoy Aquino? If public officials screw, why blame the voters? Is it wrong to put your trust in other people to administer the affairs of the gov’t.? I don’t think so.

        4. Bottom line, Jameboy, is that in a democracy, you don’t just vote; you vote INTELLIGENTLY. Those who used their minds optimally when they exercised their right of suffrage and well before it, when they deliberated on and finally chose whom to vote for, would not have escaped the realization that Aquino would not have made a good president because he did not have what it takes to be president: preparation for the extremely challenging job, mental acuity, and character, among others. If we exercised our right of suffrage intelligently but the leaders we chose nonetheless ended up betraying our trust, we have a right to blame them and to boot them out. Otherwise, we’re part of the blame for non-performing and criminal presidents.

        5. @jameboy

          You simply add too many irrelevant statements that distracts from the issue.

          If you are a voter and you voted based on your choice, you squander your vote? I don’t get it.

          It depends on why they voted for the candidate. If they voted for the candidate simply because his mother passed away or because the candidate gave them a sack of rice and P500, then they squandered their vote.

          I’m not making excuses for the voters I’m merely pointing out the other area of the issue that is being conveniently ignored or forgotten. The discussion is not limited on whether I agree with you or not or vice versa. It’s also about the ‘other’ elements that are within the issue.

          The above is another example of an irrelevant statement. It just doesn’t make any sense and just comes across as too defensive.

          But you know what, I’ll accept your accusation that I blame the leaders. Yes, I’m guilty. And that’s because they are supposed to represent us. We exercise the rights and powers granted to us under the law THROUGH THEM. I thought that is what you are doing everytime you go after Noynoy Aquino? If public officials screw, why blame the voters? Is it wrong to put your trust in other people to administer the affairs of the gov’t.? I don’t think so.

          The voters put PNoy in power. That’s one issue. The other issue is, they think by electing him based on his pedigree, they can simply let him do what he wants. The point is, it’s one thing for the voters to elect someone like PNoy but it’s quite another that they do not hold him accountable for his violations.

          You simply cannot trust any politician even when he is an Aquino. What’s happening in the Philippines is pure laziness on the part of the public. They should be more vigilant in watching how their public servants do their jobs and criticise them whenever they see them doing something wrong.

        6. First things first. It’s clear that your point of view about the topic of discussion (voters, squandering of opportunity, etc.) is mainly anchored on Noynoy Aquino. Fine with me. That’s your opinion in Noynoy’s case and you are free to do so. I say that because I do not have the same focus. My view is geared towards the general situation with no specific person in mind. Hence, we can apply it to anybody.

          Chrissie, we have no quarrel on voting intelligently. I’m with you on that. In fact, there are more slogans that comes up every election like, ‘vote wisely’, ‘vote with the future of the country in your heart’, ‘vote for your children’s future’, etc. Those are the usual mantra come election time and I like them all. But, like it or not, the reality on the ground is different.

          Voting intelligently oftentimes depends on the person’s status in life. And that may include the educational background, age, economic or political status, etc. of the person. An intelligent choice to the poor or the masses may not be the same with the rich.

          For example, those in the upper echelon of society may see Loren Legarda or Miriam Santiago as an intelligent choice for president, whereas for the poor Erap or Binay is tops. There is really a discrepancy when it comes to what constitutes an intelligent vote.

          We have a lot of problems relating to elections or voting and we really need to work overtime to make a difference and minimize those problem. But we cannot do that by just blaming one party and ignoring the other elements that completes the whole picture. It has to be comprehensive and all-inclusive.

          If we cherry-pick our way to solving the problem by just pounding on the electorate and turn a blind eye on the other components of the issue we’ll never be able to find a genuine solution to the problem.

          Never.

        7. You simply add too many irrelevant statements that distracts from the issue.
          ======
          I, too, sometimes raise the issue of irrelevancy but I make it a point to explain to the other party why I think a particular statement is irrelevant. I do that to avoid suspicion that I’m hiding behind ‘irrelevancy’ simply because I cannot refute a statement.

          It depends on why they voted for the candidate. If they voted for the candidate simply because his mother passed away or because the candidate gave them a sack of rice and P500, then they squandered their vote.
          ========
          True, it depends on why they vote for a candidate. And that’s the problem. We do not control the voters, hence, they are free to vote for whom they want to vote. If they have to vote for a candidate because it will bring food on their table for the next two months they will do it. For us, who are not in danger to die of hunger, those people just squandered their votes. For them, its a wise and life-saving decision. So?

          The above is another example of an irrelevant statement. It just doesn’t make any sense and just comes across as too defensive.
          ========
          I’m sorry if I made an irrelevant statement.

          The voters put PNoy in power. That’s one issue. The other issue is, they think by electing him based on his pedigree, they can simply let him do what he wants. The point is, it’s one thing for the voters to elect someone like PNoy but it’s quite another that they do not hold him accountable for his violations.
          ========
          Again, I’m sorry. I’m over the issue of PNoy getting elected. If there would be a coup d’état anytime now that will eventually oust him, so be it. If he finish his term, fine. It doesn’t really make a difference to me.

          You simply cannot trust any politician even when he is an Aquino. What’s happening in the Philippines is pure laziness on the part of the public. They should be more vigilant in watching how their public servants do their jobs and criticise them whenever they see them doing something wrong.
          ========
          I agree, we don’t trust politicians. Until they deliver, we should not accord them trust nor confidence and even respect.

      2. I agree that democracy does not and will not work in the Philippines for the simple reason that Filipinos are like little children that have to be told what to do. Leaving them to their own devices, i.e. giving them the right to vote for the leaders who will run the country, is a recipe for disaster. The road to political maturity and astuteness is a long journey that will span several generations, at the very least. Change has to happen within each and every Filipino. Filipinos need to see beyond their own circumstance to see the bigger picture of nation-building. Personal values also need to change for true progress to be even remotely possible. What is needed is a strong but benevolent hand to guide the Filipino through the different stages of growth similar to how a loving parent nurtures a baby into a child, a teenager and ultimately, into an adult. Re-shaping an entire population’s way of thinking and values require radical changes which span years of constant reinforcement. Marcos was the only one of our past leaders who saw this. No matter how one may feel about him or his legacy, he was on the right track. Unfortunately for him and ultimately, for the Filipinos, the mistakes he made led to his eventual downfall. One only has to look at Singapore and Lee Kuan Yew to see how this could work for the Philippines. As the Filipino grows into a more mature and responsible citizen, then democracy can be slowly re-introduced.

      3. Ilda, I see a lot of discrepancies with these assumption:

        “1) Vote for the right leader.”

        How do the people vote for the right leader(s) when they don’t have any clear and accurate information about the candidates they’re want to vote for, when the only source of public information available is through self-interest media sources like ABS-CBN, GMA-7, and other lop-sided newspaper publications, radio broadcasts, and internet sources?

        “2) Hold their leader accountable.”

        It’s very hard to hold a leaders–any leader–accountable in a system that has no valid and realible accountabality record; and, when government officials are indicted for wrongdoings, but never prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law.

        “3) Assert their power over their leader.”

        It’s very hard to assert anything on anybody in the Philippines, not alone government officials, unless you want bring harm–including death–to yourself and your loved ones.

    6. @ jameboy

      Very intelligent mini assessment of the state of affairs of a people and the attitude of a blog whose ideas you fervently oppose…and you seem to be winning your argument against a group that aspires to be the next Rappler or Huffington Post.

      Nothing wrong with that because after all we all want to see GRP grow and make that big advertising money every blog post aspires to have. LOL @ jameboy have fun.

      1. LA702,

        Oops, you may be putting me in hot water by saying that! 🙂

        I’d like to believe that we’re all friends here and combatants at the same time. We agree and disagree on issues where we hold differing views or viewpoint. I think it’s healthy.

        Kudos to benign0, et.al. for providing a space for people to talk and share thoughts and having the concern for the country as the main objective.

        1. @ jameboy

          Nah, being a lone wolf is exciting.

          I must say that GRP has improved a lot in terms of insightful comments. Three years ago when I first found this site, GRP was like an angry mob everyone called you a troll when you made an opposing view or you get deleted. LOL…It was like talking to a thirteen year old on a Justin Bieber site, you know what I mean.

        2. What is your basis in saying jameboy “seem to be winning his argument against a group that aspires to be the next Rappler or Huffington Post”?

          Your comment is another lame attempt at insulting GRP writers. At least the writers here are successful in creating something that people like you can only dream of having. You’re just jealous coz you can’t create a successful blogsite even if you tried.

        3. @Istambay sa GRP

          Some people think they’ve won the argument just because they had the last say. Meanwhile, I chose to spend some of my precious spare time writing another article instead of responding to time-wasters like jameboy. Paikot-ikot lang sya. I don’t have time for nonsense.

      2. @LA702: Nah. Unlike Rappler or any major new or old media presence involved in Pinoy politics, we don’t schmooze nor maintain any personal relationships with anyone nor do we have direct associations with any sponsors or advertisers. We value our independence too much to be concerned about how likeable we are within any community or clique and we will not compromise that independence by putting ourselves in a position where someone outside of our inner circle of editors could tell us what or what not to write or how to write what we do write.

        So, yeah, we have our aspirations. But being “the next Rappler” or the next whatever is not amongst those aspirations. Indeed, very few people know us deeply enough to know exactly what we aspire to be. You’ll just have to wait and see… 😉

  5. Let us recite with feeling and sincerity the original version of Panatang Makabayan, with emphasis on last three phrases:Tutuparin ko ang mga tungkulin ng isang mamamayang makabayan at masunurin sa batas
    Paglilingkuran ko ang aking bayan nang walang pag-iimbot at ng buong katapatan
    Sisikapin kong maging isang tunay na Pilipino sa isip, sa salita, at sa gawa. Wishful thinking ba ito, or panata????

  6. But if media is powerful enough to bombard its massive viewers with brain-numbing programs, why not use the same medium to bring education and knowledge that would empower and equip citizens to vote intelligently and discriminately?

    —-

    Miles Teg in Heretics of Dune answered that superbly. He said, “One of the most dangerous things in the universe is an ignorant people with real grievances *the rebels and the masa*. That is nowhere near as dangerous, however, as an informed and intelligent society with grievances. The damage that vengeful intelligence can wreak, you cannot even imagine.”

    That said, if you empower and equip citizens, hindi magpapangyari si Erap, si Binay, si Aquino, ang MILF at iba pang revolutionary group, hindi mapupunta sa iilang negosyante ang pag-aari sa malalaking kabuhayan sa bansa, at hindi mamamayagpag ang ABS-CBN o GMA7.

    1. Because the tv stations and media (aside from the internet) are controlled by the local Oligarchs who in turn have government ties. This is made clear with the latest news trying to downplay the outrage of Filipinos towards Noynoy and trying to show that the MILF do want to work with Philippine authorities.

      Other than that, Philippine media is more concerned with money lining their pockets rather than enlightening the people. As evident in their telenovelas, movies and popular culture here.

  7. Ilda,

    This deference you spoke of, as you already know, is not something Filipinos show only towards the Aquinos in particular. While you mentioned that this may be probably a result of being under a strongman for quite some time, there may be something more underneath it all.

    At a fundamental level, Filipinos are afraid of speaking out for fear of sticking out. It has been drilled into their society since time immemorial: the need to fit in, the silly notion of pakikisama, the forced fit to a group consensus. Filipinos are so easy to sway into groupthink; all it takes is a silly catchphrase, a catchy song or jingle, or an emotional tug.

    On the other hand, Filipinos are so afraid to question their authority figures intelligently, as if to do so means nakakahiya. The key word is intelligently; what I’ve observed that certain Filipinos do is that they answer back. There is a way to question authority while maintaining proper decorum, but all to often Filipinos put “respect” and their notion of “entitled respect” first and foremost.

    Filipinos also seem to think that their participation ends once their vote has been cast. As you’ve mentioned, it takes hard work to keep elected officials in check. This hard work requires a lot of willpower and drive to see things through; the lack of it seems consistent with an attitude that is typically Filipino: ningas-cogon.

    Another thing I wanted to pointed out is that a democracy, in practice, enables all voices to be heard, even opposing ones. Filipino society, on the other hand, shuts out voices that its members don’t agree with. Collectively, Filipinos lack the emotional intelligence to properly deal with opposition and criticism, and they also lack the ability to separate the person from the argument. This despite their being one of the most emotional people in the world.

    Where am I going with this?

    Once again, this tells us that the political character derives from the cultural character of a people. And boy, does the cultural character of the Filipinos suffer tragic flaws. Tragic enough that they render the concept of democracy seemingly fundamentally incompatible with their society.

    1. Hi Amir

      Yes, you are correct. The over the top show of deference to elders is something that I have discussed in several of my previous articles in the past. I just can’t remember the particular articles because there are so many of them. It is quite baffling why Pinoys in general are averse to dissenting views. It seems most are too sensitive and take things too personally.

      In a truly free society, there is no place for misguided reverence and awe for public officials. The last thing we need is to narrowly-define our place in Philippine society, especially with a president like Noynoy Aquino who ascended to power thanks to the passing of his mother and whose win in the election is still being questioned by some who believe that the first automated election was a sham.

  8. @ Ilda, I thought you’d finally written a good article, UNTIL you cited Aquino not meeting the soldiers coffins at Vallamoor AFB.Look ,how many coffins do you think George Bush or Barrack Obamma have met coming back from battle? NONE, Because it is not their job ! and it isn’t Aquino’s either.I agree the guy is a bumbling idiot and he may just be selling Mindanao to Malaysia behind the Filipino people’s back’s.I would not put anything past a Filipino politician.BUT, its starting to look like you just cant get over your dislike of everything the guy does that gets in your own way of writing a really good article.too bad.

    1. Nice try, James Gang. Unfortunately, you don’t know what you are talking about. Here’s something for you in response to your question: “how many coffins do you think George Bush or Barrack Obamma have met coming back from battle?”:

      Obama Cancels Schedule to Meet Returned Bodies of Fallen Troops

      President Obama arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday to honor the 22 Navy SEALs and eight other American troops killed in Afghanistan on Saturday when an insurgent shot down their helicopter. Reports from those at the scene indicate the president paid his respects to the soldiers in private.

      Obama led a delegation of senior administration, Pentagon, and military officials to salute the flag-draped caskets of the troops who died in the worst single-day loss of the long Afghan war. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen led the military delegation, the Defense Department said, which also included the senior military and civilian leadership of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.

      When he arrived at the base, the president boarded each of the two C-17 aircraft that were used to bring the bodies home to pay his respects. He then met with approximately 250 family members and fellow servicemen and women of the soldiers for about 70 minutes to offer his condolences. He was accompanied by Panetta, Mullen, and Adm. William McRaven, the leader of the U.S. Special Operations Command.

      You even contradict yourself. I would never use the words you used to describe PNoy but here you are accusing me of disliking him. Tsk tsk…too bad.

      1. @ Ilda WOW, way to go ILDA, OBAMMA met what, 20 dead soldiers coffins? out of how many war dead the country has had in 8 yrs.? maybe other Presidents met a handful as well, the point being made(and I actually have to spell it out,every time !) is that ITS NOT THE PRESIDENTS JOB, it just isn’t.It is not Presidential.The chain-of-command has others way down the chain that do that sort of thing and MOST people know that.Apparently emo Filipino’s do not.The RP President,and I have zero respect for the guy(his Dad is a different story)or any other living Filipino politicians, is supossed to ACT Presidential,like most world leader.He is not good at it as most people know but failing to meet dead soldiers coffins is not his job.
        Have a tiny victory drink(shit,have 10) if you think you’ve won a point….but to me, if you’ve won anything, it was TINY and you missed the point by a mile.and its not too bad,I am glad. By focusing on having to be right (typical)….I’ll not repeat myself.It is your country and I am glad it is not mine.I do,at times, TRY to point somethings out,that are obvious to those coming from a different view,but it almost never gets through. I know some solid Filipino’s,good people who deserve a better country.One that is not run by a criminal syndicate.

        1. @JamesGang. Listen, dude, anyone can be an “expert” on what a president’s “job” is. Thing is, the office of the president, like Congress, is a political office. So regardless of what the black-and-white print says (which you seem to be suddenly beholden to), what people think about how the President is doing his job ultimately determines how well or not well the president is gonna be going as far as winning the popularity contest which, at the end of the day, this whole office is really all about.

          Seems you’re the one missing the point here. It’s politics, mac. The only place where written guidelines on what is or isn’t a “president” matters is the Supreme Court which, unlike presidents and congressmen, imposes specific qualifications for the membership of its officers and lays out a clear code of practice in the delivery of its services.

          Presidents and congressmen, on the other hand can behave like buffoons all they like. If their constituents like that sort of thing, well, they win and people like you will be going around stomping their feet wailing about what being a “president” is and is not.

          Tough luck for you, boss, you’ll just end up aging a lot faster than folks like us who chill on the back of our brilliantly acute sense of what is REAL.

        2. @JAMES GANG

          Oh…but PNoy’s priority is to stay popular with the public or at least that’s what he prioritises. Why else would he lie to the public about his role in the Mamasapano massacre? He never really stopped campaigning even when they already declared him the “winner” of the 2010 Presidential elections. So even if it is not written anywhere, it is part of PNoy’s job to stay popular otherwise, he can lose his job.

          Unfortunately, his popularity went down after he failed to show up at the Villamor Air Base to receive the coffins of the fallen 44. That was an epic fail on his part. I don’t think he can redeem himself after this fiasco. So you see, it doesn’t really matter whether being there is part of his job or not. What matters is that, the grieving public WANTED him to be there. I hope you get the point.

          By the way, you’re the one who brought up the US Presidents in the conversation. I was merely responding to it.

          Ta-ta!

    2. I beg to differ, JAMES GANG. The president is the father of the country he’s president of, and as father, he has the important duty of consoling his “children” in their time of grief. Of course he can’t be there to welcome all coffins all the time, but in incidents of the magnitude of that in Mamasapano, not being there was a fatal mistake, to say the very least. The matter is even underscored by the fact that no less than 44 of his “children” lost their dear lives under very sorry circumstances, that their families – also his “children” – are of course also grieving, and that the 44 men who died were directly under him as CIC and he was in fact instrumental in leading them to their deaths by authorizing a suspended CPNP to lead the operation.

      1. @ Chrissie, ‘The Father of the country’? OH BOY.
        It is exactly thinking like this that will get YOU nowhere.The guy won an election, and quite possibly a rigged election, and you see him as a ‘Father’.OK, you win, he is the Father of your country.Remember that when your are an old woman and no better off than you are now.WOWO !

        1. The president is the father of the country by virtue of his election, whether or not he deserves it or whether or not he has what it takes to be a father. Believe, my head swirls every time I refer to him as our country’s father, but I can’t change the fact that that’s what he is if he was indeed elected (groups of expert computer programmers doubt that he was only elected president by the tampered-with PCOS machines used in the 2010 elections). We’d all be happier if you communicated in a more decent way, without using curse words and without resorting to ridicule.

      2. I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings on the ‘defense’ part of my post. It is not really intended as a personal attribute but a general response to the idea (it is not the president’s job) which you don’t have a monopoly of. In fact, unlike your post, you will never find a word “YOU” in my post simply because there was no intention to exclusively aim it at you. It was directed on the idea you happened to share with other people or possibly with PNoy himself. I, too, think that the president is not required to attend funeral or grieving for it is a matter of discretion on his part. Am I insensitive for thinking that? Of course not. The “insensitive” part falls squarely on the president’s lap because he, not us, is the center of the issue. It is personal to him as commander in chief.

        Of course you are simply making a point and there’s no reason to get personal because we’re talking of ideas and opinions here and not about ourselves.

    3. Frankly, I have some doubts on criticisms of PNoy in failing to show up to honor the remains of the PNP personnel. But taking into consideration all that has happened, I think the president, whether it’s his job or not, came up short in joining the relatives and people who shared in expressing their grief in that moment.

      Whether or not he attended another function doesn’t make a difference. He should have been there for every reason possible. You are the commander in chief and the men under your authority perished in a questionable circumstance and you’re not there to be one with their love ones at the moment where your presence will surely inject solemnity, dignity and respect to the departed? His presence would have sent a clear signal to the families and the citizenry that he will not allow the death of their love ones to go to waste.

      Raising the issue of job description as a defense for failure to appear in the event smacks of insensitivity to the highest order.

  9. To answer the question asked at the end of the article: No, I serioulsy doubt it. For reasons to numerous to get into right now,but NO, definitely:NO.

  10. actually, democracy works very well in the philippines.

    in any national population (dunno, except possibly singapore and hong kong), you cannot expect the majority to be smart. this can’t be any truer in the philippines.

    hence, come election time, the stupid majority number enough to bring their stupid choice to power.

    magtaka kayo kung sa dinami-rami ng bobo’t tanga sa pilipinas, ay makaboto ng mga pinunong epektibo at hindi kurakot. if only (as boy abunda calls it) collective prayer actually works.

    1. actually, democracy works very well in the philippines.

      Does this mean you actually like the results of how Filipinos use their own version of the democratic system of government?

      I’ll just put this right here for you to read:Study find humans are too dumb to pick the right person to lead us

      According to the theory, the democratic process relies on the assumption that a majority of citizens recognise the best political candidate, or best policy idea, when they see it.

      But a growing body of research has implied that democratic elections produce mediocre leadership and policies.
      Research led by Professor David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, shows incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people’s ideas.

  11. Democracy is For the people; Of the people; and By the people.

    Philippine Democracy which is Feudal Oligarchy is: Fool the people; Buy the people; and OFF the people.

    The timidity of Filipinos to participate in the deliberations of Public Policies; and the Decisions of their Political Leaders…led to this kind of government, full of Abuse; backdoor deals with enemies; and outright thievery of National Funds.

    “Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty”…it was stated by a noble statesman.
    We have this kinds of leaders and governments, because , we are not vigilant.

    The country owes nothing to the Aquinos…they are the worst political opportunists, I’ve ever seen in the world’s political arena. The U.S. helped them removed Marcos. And now, our country is suffering under their stupid rule..

  12. I think Duterte can make some changes for the better for the Philippines if he can win the Election. Sadly, i dont think he can win.

    1. The guy is a thug and so is his whole family. Ha,if his daughter ever punched me I’d knock the bitch out cold.A flying clenched fist is neither male nor female.

    2. Whether Duterte wins or not, the Philippines is never going to change for the better. There are way way waaaay too many political and business dynasties monopolizing the whole country.

  13. You should start calling the President, Benigno “Simian” Aquino the Turd.

    “Had Binay belonged to the same political party as BS Aquino, members of Liberal Party would not have engaged in negative propaganda against Binay and Filipinos would hardly worry about the succession. In any case, the fear of Binay is mostly justified because BS Aquino set a precedent for acting with impunity.”

    I remember back then, there were a lot of Noytards pushing for a “Noy-Bi” tandem. I think there was even a faction in the Liberal Party devoted to this purpose, driving a wedge between Aquino and his running mate. Now there is a demolition campaign against Binay.

    To be fair, the documentation of his corruption and “trapo”-ism is so clear now that no one in their right mind (or who hasn’t been bought yet) would vote for him.

    What I want to say is that, its these Noytards’ fault that Binay is VP now. They let Binay take advantage of PNoys’ popularity during the campaign and now were stuck with both these jerks.

  14. Hi all,
    I’m USA born of Filipino decent where both my parents are Filipinos who immigrated to the USA (Hawaii). I Just came back from the Philippines on month long trip and discovered this blog site. So, its my first time blogging so bare with me.
    After 10 trips to the Philippines for the past the past 26 years I think the Democracy or democratic process the people of the country is looking for is still a long way off. On the surface, this is what I see:
    A) There’s two recognizable classes in the Philippine society:
    1. The very wealthy 10% of the population that control the majority of the politics and economy. They include the political family dynasties with their private armies who cripple progress for their self interest.
    2. The majority are the people who are impoverished or border line, barely maintaining basic life essentials (food, shelter,clothing, hygiene and health). They are often manipulated by politicians like selling their votes to them in return for short term relief thus allowing those politicians to maintain their grip on the community. I see this first hand starting with the Brgy. Captains to the local mayors in the community they serve.
    3. The middle class is invisible because they are too few. Most are afraid to speak out. The ones who can, work abroad because their skills are valued else where and thus contribute in other countries society and eventually get the life they want.
    They send money home to their families so they can go to school but are encouraged to immigrate and work abroad. Very few encourage their family members to stay and use their skills to make their community a better place to live. If they try to run for office they get shot or threatened (worst case) by the ones who already hold office.

    I do believe a strong middle class needs to be established for Democracy to work. They need to be the majority. These are the skilled workers, small business owners and professionals that know enough to be aware of the issues and try to do something about it as it affects their livelihoods, families and community they live in. However, most i talked to over the years think it’s hopeless and are now either working abroad or planning to work abroad to look for a better a life. The ones that remain are too few too make the difference. I salute the ones who remain or come back to make a difference in their barangays (not sure if I spelled it correctly).

    One thing I learned is you cant sit on your buttocks and hope that government will figure what you want of them and act on it. You have to be active and participate. Voting is a start but it’s the bare minimum. For me, I’m involved my neighborhood board to listen to issues that affects my community like a proposed new land development (its pro’s and cons) and what I want my elected council members (who represent us) to do so they can act on our behalf.The elected officials are accountable to us.
    It takes some effort as it takes place after hours for me but at least the people in government are aware that we are tracking at and expect something positive.
    Bottom line:
    Establish that middle class as the majority starting point in order for the democratic process to be effective. So how do keep individuals that can be the middle class from the leaving the country?

    RB

    1. Thanks so much for this, richie b. I agree with you 100%, but I don’t know how we can empower the middle class. The Philippines’ problems are really so murky. Boggles the mind.

      1. You are welcome Crissie!
        This is a great blog site concerning Philippines issues. I’ll spread the word on my side to provide their views on the issues posted.
        At least we can agree on empowering the middle class is major step for the democratic process to work in the Philippines. The devil is always in the details as to how empower the middle class. I have no clear thought as to how it might be done. I’ll have to look at how it’s been achieved here in the USA. At least it seems so. We take these things for granted here in the USA as it always been so.
        As for the idea of Empowerment, I believe it takes shape in the early childhood and how we are raised and taught.
        Here’s what running in my mind now reflecting values of those Filipino Americans born in the US and Filipinos raised in the Philippines I’ve come across:
        I. Philippines early upbringing.
        According to discussions with family,wife friends and professionals living here,abroad and the Philippines, who been raised/educated in the Philippines and what I observed during my visits, I see:
        a) Deference to elders and superiors is heavily emphasized. Children rarely question their teachers and elders/parents even if they are unsure of the instruction. To question is kind of sign of disrespect especially if you look into the elder’s eyes.
        b) This idea of questioning kind of leads to shy away from speaking out even they know they are right or not correct them as they are concerned of the other losing face, and not be in the spotlight sort of speak if they are wrong.
        1) I just noticed this recently at a festival when my fellow Filipino-Philippine Architect counter part was addressed by the local mayor as an Engineer 3 times with out correcting him, although he had the opportunity on several occasions to correct the Mayor. The local Mayor addressed me as an engineer as well. But I quietly corrected him and explained I’m an Architect in my Country and also clarified my friend as well. The Mayor was grateful. During the opening speech he addressed both of us as Architects. So there is a way of doing things with out someone losing face.
        2) At work, I see this with many of our experienced Filipino trained architects and Engineers deferring to others of other nationality even when they know they are correct and shy from sort of challenging them for benefit of finding the best solutions.
        When they are on my projects, on my team, I often encourage to offer solutions and speak up and get out of the shadows so they get used to it. I put them on the spot during presentations especially if know they have something to offer. Deference is good but sometimes it develops reliance on others and pass on leadership roles even if they know they are well qualified to do so because it’s risky if they are wrong.
        2) In contrast, in the USA, in schools, we are taught early on to question if we don’t understand and look at the teacher in the eyes so the teacher knows we are paying attention when being addressed, and speak up if you see things differently, with respect of course and also taught to take criticism so we can express our selves even if there are some risks to ourselves. If we are wrong then we admit we are wrong and pick up after ourselves if we fail and try again. We are taught to give deference to others but respectfully question them or offer an alternate solution.
        Some words I live by:
        “You don’t ask then how will you know”. “No guts No glory”. “Take risk but manage them”. “Acknowledge/accept but confirm”. “To lead is to take risks.”
        This kind of develops the traits to empower ones selves and to lead others. I’m the first to admit that questioning leads to disrespectful and rebellious if not taught responsibly in the USA. I see a lot of this here in the Mainland (State side) than in Hawaii. So. there much to be admired and learned from Philippine culture.
        So if the first step is to Empower people in the Philippines then we must some how teach the upcoming generations at a very early age that it’s okay to ask questions if you don’t know and offer or share your ideas with elders and teachers even if it maybe wrong or don’t agree but at least they will provide a reason. But at the same time maintain the respect the Filipino culture is known for.
        It’ll probably take generations to catch on but I think this will lead the ability for people to begin to empower themselves and develop that middle class that empowers its self for the democratic process your looking for.
        RB

        1. Sorry Corrections from previous:

          At least we can agree on empowering the middle class is major step for the democratic process to work in the Philippines. The devil is always in the details as to how empower the middle class. I have no clear thought as to how it might be done. I’ll have to look at how it’s been achieved here in the USA. At least it seems so. We take these things for granted here in the USA as it always been so.
          As for the idea of Empowerment, I believe it takes shape in the early childhood and how we are raised and taught.
          Here’s what running in my mind now reflecting values of those Filipino Americans born in the US and Filipinos raised in the Philippines I’ve come across:
          I. Philippines early upbringing.
          According to discussions with family,wife friends and professionals living here,abroad and the Philippines, who been raised/educated in the Philippines and what I observed during my visits, I see:
          a) Deference to elders and superiors is heavily emphasized. Children rarely question their teachers and elders/parents even if they are unsure of the instruction. To question is kind of sign of disrespect especially if you look into the elder’s eyes.
          b) This idea of questioning kind of leads to shy away from speaking out even they know they are right or not correct them as they are concerned of the other losing face, and not be in the spotlight sort of speak if they are wrong.
          1. I just noticed this recently at a festival when my fellow Filipino-Philippine Architect counter part was addressed by the local mayor as an Engineer 3 times with out correcting him, although he had the opportunity on several occasions to correct the Mayor. The local Mayor addressed me as an engineer as well. But I quietly corrected him and explained I’m an Architect in my Country and also clarified my friend as well. The Mayor was grateful. During the opening speech he addressed both of us as Architects. So there is a way of doing things with out someone losing face.
          c) At work, I see this with many of our experienced Filipino trained architects and Engineers deferring to others of other nationality even when they know they are correct and shy from sort of challenging them for benefit of finding the best solutions.
          When they are on my projects, on my team, I often encourage to offer solutions and speak up and get out of the shadows so they get used to it. I put them on the spot during presentations especially if know they have something to offer. Deference is good but sometimes it develops reliance on others and pass on leadership roles even if they know they are well qualified to do so because it’s risky if they are wrong.
          II. Upbringing in USA (my experiences)
          In contrast, in the USA, in schools, we are taught early on to question if we don’t understand and look at the teacher in the eyes so the teacher knows we are paying attention when being addressed, and speak up if you see things differently, with respect of course and also taught to take criticism so we can express our selves even if there are some risks to ourselves. If we are wrong then we admit we are wrong and pick up after ourselves if we fail and try again. We are taught to give deference to others but respectfully question them or offer an alternate solution.
          Some words I live by:
          “You don’t ask then how will you know”. “No guts No glory”. “Take risk but manage them”. “Acknowledge/accept but confirm”. “To lead is to take risks.”
          This kind of develops the traits to empower ones selves and to lead others. I’m the first to admit that questioning leads to disrespectful and rebellious if not taught responsibly in the USA. I see a lot of this here in the Mainland (State side) than in Hawaii. So. there much to be admired and learned from Philippine culture.
          Bottom Line:
          So if the first step is to Empower people in the Philippines then we must some how teach the upcoming generations at a very early age that it’s okay to ask questions if you don’t know and offer or share your ideas with elders and teachers even if it maybe wrong or don’t agree but at least they will provide a reason. But at the same time maintain the respect the Filipino culture is known for.
          It’ll probably take generations to catch on but I think this will lead the ability for people to begin to empower themselves and develop that middle class that empowers its self for the democratic process your looking for.
          Please note, this is based on my observations and discussions with Filipinos with early upbringings mainly in the Ilocos Norte, Sur and La Unionion
          Provinces. Not sure my observations are reflective with with the rest of the country.
          RB
          RB

        2. Here in the Philippines, richie b, if you’re a worker & you ask questions, especially those that your employer doesn’t want you to ask, you get fired unless your employer’s a foreigner or an enlightened Filipino, which is very rare. If you’re a student & you ask a lot of questions, you’re likely to be branded “sipsip,” “trying hard to impress,” or “conceited.”

        3. Hi Chrissie,
          This way of thinking has to change.
          It’s too bad the act of “asking” is looked at negatively in the Philippines. No small wonder why the politicians get away with it with the “How dare you question my authority” mentality.
          But here in the USA, it’s common enough to expect questions from people, like students and employees. One can tell or get the feeling of a person’s intent is sincere because they truly want to understand, know or do their job correctly or just trying to be a “smart ass” or “Sipsip” as you say. In fact, it would be impolite or improper for the teacher, presenter, or boss to not end with “are there any questions”. If there’s no questions than it’s understood that everyone is in agreement or understand what is to be done.
          If the teacher or the boss think the person being addressed is too passive, sometimes they’ll say something that’s obviously wrong or outrageous to test if the pupil or employee is paying attention and respond accordingly. It does no one any good for an individual to pretend to know what is being said when they should be asking or agree to something when they should be expressing their disagreement concern or suggestions. Had that person asked when he did not know or disagreed (expressing concern and offering suggestion), perhaps the outcome would have been for the better.
          In any organization team work is key. Team work (working together) involves active participation, asking questions, expressing opinions solutions, communication and collaboration to get the job done. The democratic process runs the same way. My IT friend in Manila works for Western corporation because of the team work spirit rather than a Filipino one with the “how dare you question my authority” mentality.
          RB

        4. As I understand how important it is to ask questions, richie b, when I was still teaching, I used to REQUIRE my students to ask questions. To counter the prevailing negative mindset about asking questions, I’d tell my students that asking questions is a sign of intelligence rather than dim-wittedness. Sometimes I even conducted sessions by just answering their questions and urging them to ask one another questions. But it’s really hard to change the culture on a bigger scale. One can only try.

  15. JAMES GANG:
    I just prefer polite conversation. As for being “outraged at the people who’re pilfering our resources,” believe me, I am & have been for the longest time.

    1. @Chrisse. I stopped blaming the Philippine government officials a long time ago for pilfering the country’s resources, because they are just products of corrupt culture.

      So each time a government official does something wrong to the country, and its people, instead of blaming him or her, I find the nearest mirror and blame myself, because I, too, am a product of the same corrupt culture.

      When ALL Filipinos start blaming themselves for what is wrong with the Philippines–its culture and its people–that is the moment the country will start moving forward.

      For now, every Filipino is likened to a person addicted to drugs; he will not address the problem, and start doing something about it, until he humbly admits he has a drug problem.

      1. @Aeta…. I agree that many Filipinos are part of our corrupt culture, but NOT ALL are. So why blame yourself if you aren’t part of it? And why shouldn’t we not hold all those who’re part of it accountable for their actions even if everyone else is doing it? If you’re an adult, you decide whether to be part of a culture or not to be part of it, so if you decide to be part of it, you’re accountable.

        1. @Christine. That’s just it: “If you decide to be part of it, you’re accountable.” If you consider yourself a Filipino in any shape or form, then you are still a part of the Filipino culture—and its legacy—whether you choose to or not.

          It’s like being a children of divorce parents. Even if you shouldn’t blame yourself for your parent’s marriage breaking up, you are still a part of that legacy. This is why I think most children of divorce parents, even if they consciously do not blame themselves for what happened to their parents’ marriage, end up being divorce themselves; for the simple reason that they’ve never made a vow to address the legacy of divorce in their families, and stop it from becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy in their own marriage.

          I’ve met thousands of Filipinos over the years—from politicians to businessmen, to your average and poor Filipinos—and they all share something in common: deny that they are a part of corruption that is afflicting our society–directly or indirectly–and are ready to blame others for what is wrong with their country.

          Well, if all Filipinos will play the “blame-game” and point accusing fingers at each other, without admitting to being a product–and a part–of a corrupt culture, then our country’s problems will never get solved, and the long-standing legacy of graft and corruption will continue among our people for generations to come.

        2. Sorry, @Aeta, but I don’t get and buy your point. Yes, I’m part of the Filipino society, but no, I’m not part of the corruption that’s been going on for ages. Yes, I want to be part of the solution even if I did not create the problem because even the innocent ones are suffering from the dastardly deeds of others.

        3. @Christine Diaz,

          My point is so plain and simple everyone misses it: ‘ALL FILIPINOS deny they are part of a corrupt culture, and that they have nothing to do with why the country is what it is today,’ makes us directly—and indirectly—a part of it. Just because we’ve managed to convince ourselves that “I’m not part of the corruption that’s been going on for ages”; yet we continue to subscribe and patronized what this corrupt culture is providing to the public–by way of its vast networks of political and business organizations like shopping malls, movies and television shows, hotels and restaurants, the house or condominiums we live in, and even the automobiles we own and drive—then we are just condoning the “dastardly deeds of others [our corrupt politicians and businessmen],” fattening their wallets, and reinforcing the idea in their minds that they’re doing a ‘wondering deed’ for the country and its people.

          Aeta

    1. @Dodge,

      That is exactly what the ruling and monopolizing elites (corrupt politicians, Chinese and Korean businessmen) want you to do; so, they can have the Philippines for themselves, and make the Filipinos who cannot get out of the country as serfs.

  16. People have different perspective in life and who can tell which is right from wrong. As I read every comment here, most of the commenters don’t believe in democracy. Then what type of government can be best for us? Will it be possible that a unanimous outlook can be achieved as we view our government. Apparently, In this simple discussion about democracy we can’t achieve the respect of one’s indifference from the other instead a total clash of pros and antis,what more if you project this to millions of Filipinos.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If someone finds beauty in democracy in this country, probably there are reasons behind it,same with those who find democracy unpleasurable. But this article makes me think what type of government will fit Filipinos. Its like looking for a perfect outfit depending on body type. =)

    1. @egos. That’s a very inspiring rhetoric on your part; however, in spite of all the beautiful things you’ve said. they will go unheeded by the people of the Philippines. Filipinos are more concerned about furthering their own personal interests, instead of setting their differences aside, to ruminate what you wrote.

      What the Filipino people need is not more flowery language to make them feel good abouth themselves, but an “in your face” approach on the reality of what will happen to their country if they don’t revamp the dysfunctional value system of their Filipino culture.

    1. BrotherSausage. I don’t mean to undermine your plea; but, it doesn’t matter who the people vote for in the next Philippine election, the elected officials will still do what they are inherently designed to do by their corrupt culture: serve themselves first, and the country and people last. This is the way it has always been in Philippines, and it still going to be the same way in the future.

    1. Sean Akizuki. The problem with the Philippines is the self-serving and arrogant nature of the Filipino people, brought about by a corrupt culture that has a disfunctional value system.

  17. “Why democracy does not work in the Philippines.” The answer is simple. The creator of the democratic system that the Philippines adopted did not come from the same culture, with the same values and principles, that Filipinos came from. Therefore, Filipinos and its democratic system are a mismatch.

  18. Democracy will never work for the Philippines as long as the people continue to think, and live their lives, in a self-serving (“makasarili” and “kanya-kanya”) and aristocratic (“hambog”) manner.

  19. Discipline is what we need more than democracy.

    Like that in China which is authoritarian since Han and Qing Dynasty.

  20. @YELLOW Propaganda Boy:

    Discipline is what we need more than democracy.

    Like that in SINGAPORE.

    Just admit that you’re TROLLING.

    1. @Kuroto DAN,

      I am JUST Jew Propaganda Boy not Yellow.

      Because Hitler hated Jews and Yellows.

      I admit I am a terrorist not a troll. Do I terrorize instead of trolling? Do we want Government to close down this website or censor it?

      @DIO

      Take a look and argument.

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