Has the Philippines EVER been truly a country FOR Filipinos?

Think about it. The Philippines is named after a Spanish king. Its current sovereign territory was one defined by its Spanish colonial masters. Its current state religion is an imperial legacy of the Spanish Inquisition — an epic geno-“evangelisation” of an entire native culture by colonial forces.

Then the “Philippines” became an American colony at the close of the 19th Century. Modern-day philosophers can spin that episode in Philippine history as a narrative about how a “revolution” was stolen by the United States ’til the cows come home. But the reality is Filipino natives where outside of the loop when the deal was done between Spain and the United States to cede the islands over to the victors of the Spanish-American War. America merely proceeded to secure its loot much the same way as one would steam-clean the carpet of a newly-purchased apartment before moving in.

The next round of deals was between colonial master and the native oligarchs. That’s a work-in-progress that continues to this day. The Philippine government as we know it today is just a third party in this lucrative business triage that includes foreign capitalists and local industrialists.

The only real thing that makes Filipinos feel like they “own” the Philippines is their so-called “democracy”. Democracy is sort of like a convoluted contract. Filipinos sign “X” on the dotted line but routinely fail to read the contract stipulations. One of these stipulations is that voters need to use their brains before choosing their next leaders and representatives. Not doing so when filling their ballots does not, in any way, diminish the consent they inadvertently give the winning politicians to rule the Philippines and “represent” their interests in the legislature.

So when Filipinos lament how they “made a mistake” supporting and voting for one politician or another, it may make a quaint story about an instance of voter’s remorse. But, ultimately, that mistake cannot be undone. Unlike the retail industry, there is no return policy in the business of politics. Indeed, No Return No Exchange is the order of the day in democracy, Pinoy-style.

As an observer who’s always seen past “vice president” Leni Robredo’s idiotic Tsinelas rhetoric from the very beginning, it is often tempting to take on board with a warm heart news of someone who once supported Robredo changing his or her mind. But then I recall just how obvious and readily-evident the Yellow Camp’s bullshittery was during the campaign and the abject phoniness of Robredo herself and that warmness quickly dissipates. It is stuff that an otherwise lucid mind would have caught. Sadly, this is not the case. If Filipinos routinely take the trouble to apply a bit more modern thinking and less of the medieval superstition and quickness to embrace hearsay to the task of deciding who to support when it matters, we’d see less bozos like Leni Robredo in government and less of the pointless voters’ remorse being bandied around today.

In this sense, Filipinos do not really own their country. So it is really not that surprising that others — both foreign and local — are able to take from Filipinos with impunity. This has been a centuries-long tradition. The natives work the land whilst capitalists and imperialists reap and sell the harvest. To make it up the ladder from labourer to capitalist, you need thinking, not just hard work and subservience. And this goes as well for the way Filipinos regard their politics. To get truly great leaders in this “democracy”, Filipinos need to think of the ideas at stake and not regard the exercise as a mere decision on who to follow.

Unfortunately not much has changed despite all the technology and information at everyone’s disposal. Filipinos are still divided on the basis of who they follow. It does not seem to matter to most that many of the principles at stake transcend personalities and partisan lines. For most Filipinos, personal affiliations and loyalties take precedence over principles.

This seems to be the reason that political and activist alliances rarely persist on a big enough scale — because these alliances (whether in the form of political parties or more informal social media cliques) never endure without succumbing to in-fighting and eventually breaking into fragments and factions. More importantly, it is the reason Filipinos struggle to take their leaders to account — because they lack the context to do so (no stable set of principles and ideologies against which said leaders could be evaluated point-by-point).

To be able to build a country they could truly be proud of and feel a sense of ownership over, Filipinos need to take control of their thinking faculties and stop delegating this to personalities and ancient belief systems. The time is now for Filipinos to unite around principles and wean themselves off personality politics.

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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19 Comments on "Has the Philippines EVER been truly a country FOR Filipinos?"

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patrizia
Guest

thanks to MOST past “leaders of government!” thank god for duterte.

Gunther Benavidez
Guest
Majority of Filipinos doesn’t know how democracy works. These people only cares their freedom and excludes the consequences entailed with it even with simple things. For example, in public utility jeepneys, a common sight is that a Filipino have the freedom to use a cellphone or headsets however this person will neglect the notion that he or she is in a public transport and should be mindful of other who need to take a seat or pay for a driver. Worst case is sometimes the person intentionally pretends to be busy to not hear anything or not seat properly. The… Read more »
Greg
Guest
The Philippines has and continues to be used by foreign corporations and special interests. The same garbage goes on in other countries. The imperial Americans had no right to dictate to Filipinos how to live after the Spanish-American war; they should have ceased operations and left. Authoritarianism is still seen today, in how the UN is lecturing Duterte about the death penalty. This could be construed as modern colonialism, I suppose. Once a country’s politicians are bought off by various predatory capitalists, the people are fucked. I often wonder where the massive VAT tax goes to when I am there… Read more »
actjaxs3000
Guest
The Philippine people will not now or possibly ever let the country be free for three reasons. 1. Most people think the world should give the country stuff for free. Every disaster every military problem with China the people ask where is the world. After the emergency is over the people then reply screw the world and all the foreigners. 2. Most people do not understand that business is business and it is not personal or religious. The top economies in the world do business with enemies like the US and China for example. They are enemies but perform billions… Read more »
marius
Guest
@greg: your post makes no sense. On the one hand you’re complaining that the Cebu airport tax seems to disappear into thin air (ie., is stolen by Filipinos), and then in the same you breath blame a bunch of shadowy “foreigners” for the country’s ills. There are no foreigners to speak of involved in Philippine business. It’s forbidden by the constitution. Certainly foreign brands are marketed here (with massive profits for local partners) but there is no evidence of (say) Americans syphoning off Filipino wealth. That’s local Filipino ruling clans cutting down the forests, digging big holes in the ground,… Read more »
Greg
Guest
Marius, You have misinterpreted my post. Each of my points relates to the article in some way, whether philosophically or otherwise. No, the VAT tax point doesn’t have anything to do with foreigners; however, this article is about whether the Philippines has an identity and is sovereign. The VAT tax does not seem to benefit the public. Do elites take the money? It reminds me of an oligarchy, the concept of which may stem from imperial times. I am wondering if there is a connection because of the willingness of Filipinos to accept this and be submissive. Submissiveness is the… Read more »
Walter P. Komarnicki
Guest
early in the 20tyh century, there were moves to make New Zealand another colony of Australia but these overtures were rejected and NZ developed its own unique style. During Prime Minister Lange’s leadership, he forebade any nuclear-armed ships entering NZ ports and so was cut out of the intelligence loop by the U.S. There are now moves to change the name to Aeatearoa, a Maori word, and it may well happen, probably about the time the new NZ flag will be unveiled. Can not this nation do something similar? Does it always have to wait and get permission before it… Read more »
marius
Guest

>> There are a million or two foreigners in the country and 100 million foreigners.
Sorry, typo: obviously, should read “100 million Filipinos”.

marius
Guest
@Greg: the Philippines reminds you of an oligarchy because it is an oligarchy. Whether all this has anything to do with colonialism is irrelevant: whatever happened in distant history cannot be changed, and besides the actors involved are long dead and gone. The only thing that Filipinos can change is their present and future, and they seem extraordinarily reluctant to do this. Tax money, broadly speaking, is just wasted. I believe this happens because Filipinos in general are absolutely hopeless with money. They have no idea how to use what they have to full advantage, preferring instead to whine endlessly… Read more »
Greg
Guest
Marius, I agree that Filipinos, in general, are bad with money. One of the reasons poverty is so bad, according to my own experiences, is that when one aquires money one blows it on a smartphone or Gucci bag; meanwhile, the electric bill is not paid. There does not seem to be a sense of priority. Yeah, conversation can be productive if the people have an open mind. I don’t believe most foreigners who go there really care about the economy, infrastructure, cultural problems, etc. They are there for sex and I don’t believe the majority have much to offer.… Read more »
Greg
Guest

Correction: acquires not aquires (typo)

Baylee
Guest
Oh so you’re still parroting the unsubstantiated claims of Duterte having murdered drug lords? Have you even lived long enough in the country to learn that these drug syndicates do take it out on each other just to cover themselves up against any accountability of their criminal acts? I’ve lived for 14 years in Cebu until 2005. Around President Arroyo’s rule, Cebu had a load of vigilantes enabled by Mayor Tomas Osmeña to execute robbers they find at random. My dad was a lawyer so he told me these things, and even before Duterte, this had been going on for… Read more »
David Roxas
Guest
“The only real thing that makes Filipinos feel like they “own” the Philippines is their so-called “democracy”” HAHAHAHA! Oh man so funny. Actually democracy is Greek and the Philippines is a republic and not a democracy. I know in this day and age that the two are usually convoluted. Either way democracy is definitely not for Filipinos. It is alien to them in every way and the past century has proven this time and again. Take a listen to what one observer had to say about it over 100 years ago. “There are two prime characteristics of the Filipinos” he… Read more »
marius
Guest
Baylee: not sure who that was directed at, but you’re completely missing the point. Everyone knows that Filipinos entertain themselves by blowing each other away, that the police are basically a gang of criminals, and that this has been going on since forever. However, Duterte does have a high-profile drug war going on and the police happily release their own statistics on the number of suspects killed during raids. Which may or may not be real. The fact remains that the endless blathering about drugs detracts attention from the other 5,682,234 problems that desperately need addressing in this country. Since… Read more »
487Hyden007Toro3452.999
Guest
487Hyden007Toro3452.999
The Philippines , was renamed by the Spanish explorer, Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, in honor of King Philip II of Spain. Our original name was, St. Lazarus Archipelago. King Philip II of Spain, lost being the world’s naval power to England, after the defeat of his Spanish Armada… His government was bankrupt. He lost the Dutch Province , in his reign… Sounds, like our country now. We should change the name of the country… Then, we were sold, to the Americans for U.S. $20 million , in the Treaty of Paris in 1898. We were part of the booty of… Read more »
ChinoF
Member

Filipinos are still the frustrated lords-wannabe who decided to try and cling to whoever has the most power in the country in order to gain favors. For voters, they seem to treat voting like the lottery, just pick the name you remember and hope they can give favors. If they don’t, it’s the politicians’ fault and not theirs. Here’s the result of non-thinking, which the Filipino culturally is more wont to do.

Mystique Girl
Guest
Mass Filipinos can’t progress because of the followings reasons are I observe: 1. No empowerment -this country still rely in Bible to realize things. They can’t decide aside from it than their own realizations and experience. No proper skills training, absurd education system. 2. Superficiality for example.. they believe overseas products is good because they were imported, they don’t think they are good because they were done perfectly with hardwork, skills and quality materials. Just because they too lazy to do it with their own. 2. conforming culture. Filipino are only mindset to find jobs not to create jobs. They… Read more »
Greg
Guest

Mystique Girl,

I agree that the crab mentality is one of the most destructive elements. Filipinos hate it when someone in the family gets something they don’t have. They become jealous. I have witnessed my wife being insulted by her family, because she bought herself a new shirt. The shirt, of course, was purchased with pera that she earned. Her family expects her to give everything to them so they can lay around and mooch. Her brother is favored over her, and she is treated like garbage.

d_forsaken
Guest

The problem isn’t that Failipinos in the Failippines can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Failipinos in the Failippines can’t think. The problem is that Failipinos do not know what thinking is; Failipinos confuses it with feeling.