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Pinas 10-20 years hence
12 Oct 2005

Let's look about 10-20 years into the future so that we can poke some fun into conjecturing about what the Pinas might look like by then. For example, by then, the Manila elite would have further enclaved themselves into the handful of super-elite suburbs -- Ayala Alabang, Forbes/Dasma, Valle Verde/Greenmeadows, LaVista/Xavierville/GrandVillas -- that are interconnected by their own privately funded elevated highways and tunnels, an exclusive airport terminal, members-only parks and recreatiobnal facilities, water supply, power generators, etc.. All of this is funded by some kind of privatised taxation regime (a kind of evolved/consolidated subdivision dues as they are known today). This is administered by a consolidated federation of Residential Associations (kind of a "private government") who also run private security forces (who by then have been granted additional powers that are presently enjoyed only by real police officers).

Below that the upper and middle middle classes continue their malling and auto cruising on Edsa and improved (but oppressively expensive) N/S tollways and flyovers, hanging around in middle class recreational facilities (including the malls) that are owned and operated by the super-elites. The masses are huddled together *still* taking the jeepneys and the (by then) dilapidated and under-funded MRT and LRT systems and required to hold National IDs so that their unavoidable comings and goings through the members only facilities (probably as employees) can be tracked and monitored.

Largely because of the huge investment in infrastructure accumulated by the "privatised government" of the elite, the economy is internally reported in two tiers -- one for the sector of society with per capita incomes above $8,000 (in today's USD's) and those below. The upper tier economy sustainably posts an 8-10% annual growth, while the one below remains stagnant. The lower tier economy is by then 60% dependent on OFW remmittances, with the rest accounted for by employment in *their* government and as low-added-value labour to MNC sweatshops and as domestics to the upper tier. In effect, the elite have set themselves up in their own 'little Singapore' within the Philippine islands and are using the rest of the countryside and population as a source of cheap labour and a consumer market for their malls, imported goods, and showbiz services.

Population by then would be about 110-130 million with 50% of it crammed into major urban areas (forests and agricultural land would have by then been depleted by flash flooding and over-farming, or Pinoy agri rendered uncompetitive by cheap food imports). Pollution has become so bad and public services have become so un-socialised that there are now obvious and extreme differences among the social classes both physically and mentally. Elite folk use special body suits and masks whenever they take "safaris" outside of their enclaves just for kicks. Their vehicles are tracked by GPS to ensure that their private security forces can swoop in whenever they hit the panic button in one of these safaris.

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