20 August 2002
A Solution Framework that aims to address the cultural dysfunction of the Philippine Nation hinges on three solution classes. These classes represent the key roadblocks to change at the cultural grassroots level of Philippine society (in contrast with the more often-highlighted political roadblocks which to a large extent have merely cured the symptoms of our cultural malaise).
(1) Right philosophy -- subscription to a philosophy (or set of philosophies) that will put said society in a collective state of mind that is conducive to sustainable prosperity.
(2) Efficient communication -- a shared strength in a chosen language (proficiency of which is not
monopolised by an elite class) that provides the society access to as big a body of
knowledge as possible
(3) Wealth creation ethic -- the capability to sustainably create and accumulate
Maintaining focus on these three while building up more detailed solutions (i.e. proceeding down to lower and more detailed classes of solutions) will ensure that effective visibility across the proper precedence relationships (between root causes, secondary causes, tertiary causes, and so on...) is maintained and the property of MECE (mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive) within class levels of solution propositions is sustained as the framework increases in detail and proceeds to touch on more operational levels.
Such precedence relationships between sub-classes of solutions can be seen in the following diagram that takes the framework down to the next level:
Using this approach to drilling down to lower and more detailed levels of recommendations, it is envisioned that the Solution (in the above already revealing itself at two levels -- three solution classes and six sub-classes) will eventually yield a suite of initiatives, composed of projects, and, in turn, composed of action steps encompassing.
This structured "drill-down" to the action step level will of-course lead to many action steps, projects, and initiatives that have been on-going or have been conceived in the past. However, taking these discrete tasks in the context of an over-arching cultural framework that strongly defines precedence and root-cause relationships, should mitigate the effects of past approaches to taking "action" on the issues of the nation, such as:
(1) Flippant and rah-rah approaches to developing actions. Unstructured lists of non-systemic "action steps" that show no evidence of logical rigour in their development and aim merely to cure symptoms without addressing underlying problems.
(2) Ningas-cogon. This is the offspring of unstructured solutions development. When the last of the rah-rah's echo in the distance, the slogan-bearing banners and bumper stickers peel off, and the feel-good primal euphoria of the latest Edsa "revolution" gets checked by the Angel of Reality whenever there is a change in administration or a slump in the global market for semiconductors, garments, and, yes, bananas or a spate of domestic terrorist activity, or whatever classic excuse for failure is made by our eminent historians and sociologists, that is when this very Pinoy, characteristic sets in.
(3) Sugar coating the situation. Part of the reason why so many flippant solutions are proposed is because of a lack of desire and will to, or a sensitivity with clearly highlighting deep systemic flaws in Philippine society and culture.
As such, this framework slots into the realm held hostage by tunnel-visioned traditionalism, ethnocentrism, and culturolatry (blind worship of one's culture).
While this framework focuses on culture, it goes without saying that every aspect of our approach to progress has been and is victim to flippant and publicity-oriented solutioneering. And it is quite fair to state that the Philippines is one big un-implemented, ningas-cogon-victimised, flippant solution based on sugar-coated issues. On one end of the scheme of things is our penchant for Edsa "revolutions" as the nationally-preferred change process and at the other end, one example (among so many others) would be our approach to vehicular pollution control (catching offenders on the road -- with the accompanying grandstanding and sloganeering -- in contrast with catching them during the registration process -- quietly and systemically).
Our indigenous automotive industry best reflects the character of the nation. The quality of jeepneys and ohner-type-jeeps run no deeper than their galvanised skins while superficial adornments scream for attention.
This approach proposes to change that mindset so we develop quality in our society and culture that runs deeper.
Trust. We need to create an environment that could nourish this basic virtue. Unfortunately fighting corruption the traditional way contributes to destroying such an environment.
Self-reliance. We pester the elite of our society with calls for acts of heroism when the burden of extra hard work in reality falls on the shoulders of the poor masses.
Work ethic. Cornerstones to any framework to guide efforts to improve the Filipino Work Ethic: "normalise" initiative, focus on results, seek personal fulfilment.
English proficiency. The future is written in English. Continuing to deny the masses a piece of that action by continuing to deny them mastery over the language of the future is a crime that needs to be rectified.