Will the Philippines prosper if we change its system of government?

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philippine_advocacyCan a change in system of government really change the development trajectory of an entire nation? Perhaps so, but the complexity of any causal link that might exist between a system of government and the future success — or failure — of a country does not allow us a straightforward way of determining just how big an influence system of government has on future prosperity.

Consider the the years prior to 1986. Before that seminal year when a spontaneous popular uprising now called the “Edsa people power revolution” suddenly happened, most of the Philippine “intelligentsia” of the time thought that the solution to the Philippines’ chronic inability to maintain a sustained economic expansion lay in “more freedom”. So the 1986 “revolution” gave Filipinos just that — freedom. A new Constitution was drafted in 1987 replacing the old one and changing the system of governance into the ultra-representative government we enjoy today. Did this change in system and the “freedoms” it granted result in a change in the collective ability of Filipinos to create, acquire, and accumulate the vast resource surpluses needed to become a First World nation?

History has already answered this question. The Philippines remains the same intellectually-, financially-, socially-, and culturally-bankrupt country it was before 1986.

Consider too the nine years between 2001 and 2010 when then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was a favourite punching bag of the chattering classes and the “politically passionate”. Back then the thinking was that the Philippines needed to get rid of Arroyo in order to get back to the business of building a prosperous country (as if Filipinos where ever really serious about doing just that). Again, history since 2010 has already answered the question of whether that thinking was necessarily right. The Philippines is fundamentally the same under current President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III. It is still ruled by oligarchs, its politics remain utterly dominated by election winning machines devoid of philosophical substance, and its national priorities are dictated by the interests of feudal clans and deeply-entrenched dynasties.

In both cases, the rallying cries of their respective times were essentially the same in nature: both were popular and both sounded logical.

From the 1970s through 1986 we thought: If people enjoyed the power to select their leaders, then they could have a government that serves their interests.

In the years between 2001 through 2010 we thought: If we could get rid of (then) President Gloria Arroyo, things would get better.

Today there are a lot of “advocacies” premised on one big “IF” or another. IF we change [place thing to be changed here] THEN we achieve [place thing to achieve here]. This tagline template is pretty much the same across advocacies that promise an outcome on the basis of an assumed root cause. What is missing in the National “Debate” is the sort of world-class thinking that ingrains a sustained habit of challenging such assumptions.

Was the lack of a power to select leaders really the cause of the chronic backwardness of the Philippines?

Was former President Gloria Arroyo really the singular reason why the Philippine economy merely muddled along in the usual way it did over the last several decades?

It is easy to answer the above questions now that we are armed with the benefit of hindsight. We now know that given the chance to select their leader, Filipinos will merely choose those who show a willingness to sing and dance before a hooting crowd, come up with the most catchy slogans and campaign jingles, and hire the most popular celebrities to endorse them. We now know that who a President happens to be at a given moment only matters to those who are related to or are friends with said President. Easy.

The challenge then is to apply that learning to the so-called “ideas” around which the current crop of “advocacies” are being built.

Indeed, it should now become easy to see the unmistakable pattern in the way our minds foolishly confirm our own biases when the latest charlatan or demagogue comes up with the latest “advocacy” underwritten by the latest incarnation of that now all-too-familiar IF-THEN tagline template. Thus, when we encounter an advocacy that, for example, insists that IF we “reform” a certain body of bylaws THEN we become better able to “transform” our “economic competitiveness”, we now know that the right question to ask is:

Is this certain body of bylaws the root cause of our inability to transform our economic competitiveness?

Or if we encounter an “advocacy” whose defining feature involves an insistence that a change in system of government will result in better leaders and better outcomes for their constituents, we now know that the question to ask is:

Is the system of government the root cause of our inability to put good leaders in office?

…and;

Is not having good leaders in office the root cause of the majority of Filipinos’ inability to improve their lives?

The answers to these questions seem obvious at first inspection. But perhaps they do because of deeply-ingrained biases in our minds that desperately reach out for confirmation. But we need to be careful that this desperate reaching out for validation does not result in a blind latching on to shady characters who lead dubious “advocacies” underpinned by the sloppy thinking they espouse. The only way to protect one’s self from falling into this trap is to think with a clear and critical mind.

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81 Comments on “Will the Philippines prosper if we change its system of government?”

  1. Absolutely No. Same people, same politicians, same culture of corruption. Same Hacienda Luisita Swines. Only different Swine Pens…
    Wala nang pag-asa. Mag-OFW slave na lang tayo…

      1. And yet corruption is still spreading, the poor are increasing in numbers and prices are going high. Don’t pin the blame on the previous administration since it is already your president’s time in the government.
        Big flaw on your argument there eduardo.
        Your propaganda didn’t work before and you still insist on posting it here?
        What a retard.
        Troll harder,eduardo

      2. Lies. They weren’t determined to begin with. If you are insistent on corruption , then get everybody. Why is PNoy and his family getting away with incident of Hacienda Luisita? How about the other politicians? Barrangay governments on a local level?

        So if Aquino is stern about his anti-corruption, then why did he not do anything the first thing in order when he became president? If you think the idiot will actually be able to pull this off, then sir your problem is your faith in the wrong power and system. Godspeed.

        Oh, you’re just TROLLING. I know it’s you, EDUARDO. Butthurt much? 😛

      3. Still praising your precious Comstock “god” eh Columbian? Here have a flock of ravens to peck your flesh.

  2. If it were a process of deduction, I’d say Philippine political dysfunction is merely an outward symptom of a greater underlying dysfunction.

    1. No, it is corruption within the government that is passed through some family members of politicians who are joining politics.

      1. Lies. Priorities please.

        The reason WHY there is rampant corruption is because of how the people VIEW the government as a spectator sport, put people like Aquino and other affluent familial last names and former showbiz people to politics, then when s&&& breaks out, they react as if they weren’t aware of the repercussions. PNoy’s plan to ‘end’ corruption by jailing the supposed ‘biggest’ corrupt figure from the last 10 years is totally inefficient.

        You totally made a mistake, dude. 😛

      2. Then why on earth are corrupt officials elected? that’s the craziest aspect of Philippine politics.

  3. IDK, maybe!

    First you would have to get rid of all the thieves that are running the country NOW! The way Filipino’s tend to all act the same way(every single Filipino ties a knot in a cellophane bag, for instance) suggests that maybe ,when put in a position of power, they would all do as the current bunch of crooks does. Which is steal everything they can get their grubby paws on! BUT, if the country were able to find some honest people (the late J.Robredo comes to mind) to administer the proper way of raising the ‘people’ up, it could become a reality.
    an up-hill job for sure!

    1. “you would have toget rid of all the thieves that are running the country”

      Agree. Bring back the death penalty and execute those who have graft and corruption cases. BIG FISHES FIRST!

      1. “Agree. Bring back the death penalty and execute those who have graft and corruption cases. BIG FISHES FIRST!”

        And the BIG FISHES you are talking about are the Aquino-Cojuangco clan. That’s the whole truth.

        If you said is no, then you made a mistake dude. 😛

        1. @asiong,

          I mean all of them, every single member of the current Congress! From E-Rap to Arroyo to Aquino and evryone in between.
          The people seem to think there is a difference between these people and all you have to do is look at the penalties meted out to the ousted:Arroyo, not a single minute spent in prison,E-Rap:not a single minute spent in a REAL prison and NO MONEY returned.Aquino has yet to turn over the ‘RANCH’.Marcos is still the richest political family in the country, even after he was ‘exiled'(what a BS story) and forced(LOL!) to give back all the money. Well, the money never was returned was it?
          Until the people understand that political ‘PARTIES'(get it? PARTY?) are all the same and are used as a way to divide and conquer!!! the people can expect NO change what-so-ever,PERIOD!

  4. The root causes of poverty?

    The pathetic wages paid to people is one. the lack of an industrial manufacturing base is another. Thinking an outsourced job is a good job is another (call ctr. agent is NOT a good job).

    The absolute thieving(highest electricity rates in the world!) that is going on in the electricity market is another reason, putting retailers out of business as they can not make a profit. The HEAVY tax put on imports (electronics cost 100-250% more in the philippines) is criminal because the peso’s do not get put into the economy in terms of improving the country. The customs tarriffs? where do they go??? You do not have to guess where these tax peso’s go, do you?

    Until the blatant corruption is ousted, the country has little chance of getting anywhere but even further down, further down than BANGLADESH!

    1. Let us be patient and let the president do his duty. Remember that improvement would not be felt in a few hours.

      1. 3 years have already passed “asiong” a.k.a. eduardo and you still want us to wait?? You really are a birdbrain.

        Changing your name certainly won’t fool anyone here eduardo

        @Benign0
        Maybe you should also ban this new alias of eduardo, he is still posting his stupid yellow propaganda here.

        1. I say let him stay on. It’s good to educate those who are here an example of the kind of citizen whose mind we’re trying to change.

          Actually, I’m wondering… is he really a person and who’d be taking time putting up non-sensical posts?

        2. Guys like him are too far gone to educate since their level of thinking, logic and reasoning is already equivalent to nothing and besides, he’s just a paid hack of malacanang hired just to fruitlessly troll this site and its really really easy to shoot down his pathetic propaganda.
          He is a waste of space and shouldn’t show his face here anymore.

    2. There is pretty much a lot of evidence that it is not the lack of money that causes poverty. Rather, poverty is caused by the lack of expertise in using money.

      1. Sorry Mr.Farol, Where is this ‘evidence’ you speak of?

        What you say could be true when it comes to a ‘trust fund kid’ blowing the family fortune, yes.
        People who have no money to begin with, NO!
        When speaking of money that can exact a meaningful change in the life of a family, you have to consider the amount it would take to effect that change. on a yearly basis at least P1 Mil. for a family of three, and tricycle drivers won’t be making that even if they are not good at handling money.
        ur statementt is not realistic in many ways more than it is realistic.it is also un-provable, and so, not disprovable.

        1. I was actually thinking of beneficiaries of land reform.

          There was a time when it was thought that lack of land was the cause of poverty in this agricultural country.

          After decades of land reform, there are even more poor people despite the thousands of hectares given away.

          For sure, there are a lot more other factors to consider in saying that land for the landless failed to eradicate poverty.

          Apart from land reform, almost every manner of government subsidy or load given to the poor to help them out of poverty has failed to eradicate poverty. Why is that?

          I think one reason is the thinking that the mere possession of capital will result in wealth creation.

          The correct thinking is to put capital in the hands of those who can use it with a great deal of skill.

          Also, people can be born without money, but that doesn’t mean they lack resources to make money.

          Labor is a resource and this resource can be turned into money which can then be used to create more resources which in turn can become additional sources of money.

          The best real life example I have is that of my Uncle Pinong who built a taxi empire (a fleet of 100 or more units). He only knew how to read and write as well as add and subtract, but he knew how to fix cars and knew how to handle money. His first taxi was a junker and it did double duty as a marketing truck. In the morning, he’d use the taxi to buy food at the market which his wife would sell at their carinderia and the rest of the day, the taxi would be used to ferry passengers.

          Two important things about that. One, because of the carinderia, his food was not only FREE but he and his wife had earnings at the end of the day. Two, he was mobile and met a lot of people including bankers who later showed him how to take out loans from a bank.

          Anyway, as the years passed, he was able to buy more and more taxis until he eventually owned a fleet of over a hundred. He became the richest man in my part of Manila.

          You can start with nothing and end up rich, that’s the point.

        2. “I think one reason is the thinking that the mere possession of capital will result in wealth creation.

          “The correct thinking is to put capital in the hands of those who can use it with a great deal of skill.

          “Also, people can be born without money, but that doesn’t mean they lack resources to make money.”

          Consider the problem of our anachronistic concept of land reform. As a means to uplift our farmers out of poverty, it has been a miserable failure. But we still insist on using the same strategy. UP economist Noel de Dios observes that we are forcing the farmer to be an entrepreneur under our current land reform program even though we should know by now that assumption is erroneous. “(A) major reason that interventions in behalf of the poor have been small in scale and limited in scope: the poor are improperly and indiscriminately shoe-horned into the unrealistic role of entrepreneurs…

          “From this misconception flow the many well-meaning but ultimately feckless small credit schemes for ‘livelihood projects’ such as the ineluctable sari-sari stores, jeepney and tricycle purchases, food-stalls, and precarious small-scale subsistence agriculture.”

          “No doubt, individual success stories can always be told. But to think that the poor can systematically lift themselves up en masse by such means is a pipe dream.”

          It’s this inability to step back and reconsider and reassess our thinking that needs to change. And I’d say that was proven handily by our failures in poverty alleviation and land reform.

        3. Johnny Saint… I agree with the quote you gave from UP economist Noel de Dios.

    1. That is a sad pathetic excuse for someone who wants to remain with the status quo.

      You made a mistake, dude. 😛

  5. Here are the senators to be voted on Monday:

    BINAY
    EJERCITO
    POE
    ANGARA
    ENRILE
    AQUINO BAM
    CAYETANO
    LEGARDA
    ESCUDERO
    PIMENTEL
    TRILLANES
    HONASAN

    1. “One thing these frigging yellows should remember is that it is the Filipino people who should have the last say on which candidates they want and if they come from political dynasties, their sovereign will should be respected — not these yellows.
      Never them.”

  6. Never believe in asiong a.k.a. eduardo’s words. Because all of his claims are based on hearsay, assumptions and worse, propaganda. The moderators should need to take a course of action in order to avoid such troubles.

    Here’s my message to asiong a.k.a. eduardo: your efforts are futile because you’re totally butthurt because you’re a totally paid hack and ‘unprofessional’. Real-life frauds love to cause trouble. Frauds that brainwashes people.

    I repeat: your efforts are futile.

  7. Call it the Cult of Personality. The people are like the dog in that cartoon tracking and suddenly he barks “Squirrel!!”. They can’t keep on track to fix things when always distracted. The form is not important until you can change the culture from the elites to the barrio. Need to stop the blame game and just fix the culture.

  8. There is no shame in being an idiot, but there is in voting for one.

    On their honeymoon nancy and her husband went to their bridal suite.
    ” I’d like to make you feel like a woman” he said.
    “Ooh, yes” nancy sighed.
    So he slowly took off his shirt – “then iron this”

    No to dynasties, No to Binaysties.

  9. Vote-buying has reached epidemic proportions especially amongst team p-noy! As straight as undeclared assets, crooked road contracts, and outright bribery.

    Why not just put the elections on Ebay.

  10. Just wondering who be the next president, how about recycle the Marcos? why? we might be lucky this time. He is the only presidential material I could think of who is not a movie star, a boxer, maligno or a political hack:)))

    1. The yellows are making sure that no more Marcos come into power again. It is evident as you can see even after 2 decades they still continue to spew yellow crap reminding the people of the “evil” of the “evil dictator”. Its really not important that when they ousted Marcos, that the Philippines debt was USD 26B and now it has risen to USD 90B, and look where it got us up to now?

  11. Who is this asiong? Why does he hate his country so much that he’d vote for trapos and support dynasties? Are you even Filipino?

    …btw I read here every now and then, and can’t help noticing your troll.

  12. The winners have already be decided on. The people have no say in the matter. Go ahead and waste your time voting, might as well get that P300 anyway. N e one who thinks this whole ‘election’ is anything but a scamm should just go back to sleep.

  13. No to dynasties, liars, cheats, thieves, murderers, incompetents, inexperienced.

    Anyone left that is worthy!

  14. I think I know where Benigno is going with this – he wants the Philippines to look a bit more like Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore. The problem is that in order to achieve that you need a Lee Kuan Yew and indeed a Peoples Action Party – a disciplined group of avowedly moral men determined to gain and hold power.

    Oliver Cromwell’s Puritans ruling England were a rather similar group.

    There were those – including some sensible and knowledgeable people – who thought that Martial Law would be somewhat similar – and who very soon found out that it was not.

    Certainly the institutions that ought to promote liberty and integrity in the Philippines have generally been corrupted in the interests of the dynasts; a first step is to re-model the institutions and by doing that we give ourselves a head start because the dynasts have to waste time re-capturing the new institutions.

    1. Actually, Andrew, IF Benign0 was indeed serious about wanting a LKY and PAP to come to power in the Philippines to fix it, it would actually require a Parliamentary System to be put in place in order to allow a PAP-like party and its LKY-esque leader to win. Otherwise, under the current lousy and idiotic Presidential System of the Philippines, the only winnable candidates are people with name-recall like scions of political families or people from show is backgrounds. Worse, it would probably mean that PAP-like parties wouldn’t win unless they fielded actors and scions of dynasties for their legislative posts.

      Quite unfortunately, Benign0 has once again LOST THE PLOT on this one…

      Firstly, the key point of the foremost Constitutional Reform advocacy is NOT the change in system of government alone, but rather happens to be a three pronged reform advocacy pushing for:

      (1) Removal of all anti-FDI provisions in the Constitution in order to encourage more MNC’s to come into the Philippines to invest and in so doing, CREATE JOBS for many Filipinos back home.

      (2) Federalize the country gradually so that the regions are economically empowered to attract investments on their own so that jobs are created in the regions, not just in Metro Manila.

      (3) Shift to the Parliamentary System since that system is already proven by a majority of PhD-studies/research worldwide to be superior to the Presidential System in terms of stability, efficiency, accountability, reducing corruption, and ensuring a higher probability that competent leaders emerge on top as opposed to the current presidential system of the Phils which favors actors and celebrities to easily win.

      *

      Benign0 was already beaten in an old debate about this topic long ago when he was revealed to have zero understanding in the concept of “ceteris paribus” and the concept of “probabilistic causality.” (He deleted the article whose comments section housed the exchange where he lost his shirt.)

      You see, this entire article by Benign0 is nothing but a pathetic Strawman Argument where he maliciously and idiotically misrepresents the Constitutional Reform advocacy as if it focused solely on changing the form of government, when in fact, the proposal to shift to the parliamentary system only happens to be one out of THREE proposals that make up a more comprehensive set of proposals. Moreover, Benign0 is MORONICALLY ignoring the facts: that parliamentary systems feature a dynamics where politicians are forced to “centripetally” form stronger parties in order for them to get their agendas passed and in doing so, these stronger parties that result from the parliamentary system’s more competitive dynamics are also forced to choose the more COMPETENT members among them to ascend towards party-leadership posts which then translate into a higher probability of better quality leaders for the country since party leaders of parties or coalitions that take a majority of seats in parliament are automatically the people who head ministries, the best among whom becomes the Prime Minister (aka “head of government”)

      Unfortunately, Benign0 is too lazy to read up and do real research on this topic.

      Back when he and I were still friends, I managed to convince him to buy a copy of the book “From Third World to First” by Lee Kuan Yew. Lo and whole, after more than a decade of him buying the book (he bought the hard bound version), HE HASN’T READ IT!

      Had Benign0 read it, he would have better understood exactly what it was in the way a parliamentary system works that allowed the PAP to win and allowed a genius like LKY to become Singapore’s Prime Minister. It is sad, though, because Benign0 uses the book only as a decoration on his book shelves. He never read it and has never had the interest in knowing how to make the Philippines a better country.

      As for me, I have always wanted to find ways to improve the Philippines, which is why my waking hours have been focused on finding practical solutions that will enhance the Philippines’ chances of getting out of its sorry predicament. Benign0, on the other hand, is unlike me in that he became obsessed with proving to everyone that his decision to quit the Philippines and emigrate to Australia was the right one.

      That is why Benign0 is obsessed with proving that the Philippines is a hopeless case and he wants to prove that Filipino Culture is hopelessly dysfunctional and cannot be fixed.

      See, I actually agree with Benign0 that Pinoy culture is “dysfunctional.” HOWEVER, I do not believe it’s hopeless. I spent many years doing research on numerous ways to improve the Philippines and I admit that these ways are not instantaneous magical silver bullets. These are fixes which improve probabilities of success (probabilistic causation) or fixes which change the trajectory of the Philippines so that over time, the country gradually gets on track towards fixing itself and moves further away from being a basketcase.

      Alas, anything that fixes the Philippines tends to diminish the validity of Benign0’s decision to leave the Philippines in favor of emigrating to Australia. That’s why Benign0 is adamantly opposed to any solution that proposes a reasonably successful remedy to the Philippines’ failure.

      Benign0 is like a student who is supposed to submit a project on a fast-approaching Monday but hasn’t been able to finish it and so he devises a plan to get sick on that Monday so he can be absent and BUY TIME by staying up late and doing all sorts of things to get the flu like working up a sweat then leaving his sweaty back exposed to air conditioning… By Sunday noon, he’s coughing and sneezing and is developing a fever.

      Benign0’s mother, however, is concerned about him getting sick, so she prepares remedies to fight the flu: medicine, etc…

      Benign0, however DOES NOT WANT TO GET WELL. He wants to stay sick so that by Monday morning, he is sick enough for his parents to call his teacher to say that he’s going to be absent. So he REFUSES TO TAKE THE MEDICINE and insists to his mom that the medicine she is preparing for him is “bad.”

      See how Benign0 thinks?

      Look at how that hypothetical example is analogous to his situation:

      He does NOT want the Philippines to improve because for him, if the Philippines improves, he seems to erroneously think that his decision to emigrate to Australia becomes LESS JUSTIFIED. If the Philippines continues to remain a shit-hole or a hopeless basketcase, then for Benign0, his decision to leave the Philippines and emigrate over to Australia is seen as logical and highly justified, since in his mind, the Philippines is “hopeless.”

      Anything that makes the Philippine situation more “hopeful” is considered BAD by Benign0.

      Deep down, Benign0 knows that the CoRRECT Three Point Agenda is logically sound and he knows that my arguments are superior to his. But he does not want to publicly admit this because if he is honest to himself, he knows that the Philippines IS HOPEFUL if the Three Point Agenda is adopted.

      Alas, Benign0 wants the Philippines to remain a hopeless basketcase so that he can continue to gloat about having made the “right decision” to bail out of the Philippines.

      That, my friend, is why Benign0 writes the way he writes. He writes to condemn Filipinos because he wants to continue justifying to himself that his rejection of his Filipino-ness and Filipino culture was the right decision. Anything like a proposal that can reform Filipino Culture for the better is evil because it diminishes Benign0’s ability to validate to himself that his rejection of his Filipinoness was the right decision.

      Clearly, Benign0 has issues which is why he psychotically keeps looking for ways to keep dissing Filipino culture and the Philippines and seeks ways of sabotaging proposals or initiatives that can improve the country. This psychosis is why he surrounds himself with other psychopaths like Paul Farol and other self-hating palamunins.

      1. Lots of assumptions, defensive posturing, and ad hominems in this typically kilometric post but unfortunately not a lot of insight to lend more clarity on the topic and questions put forth in this article. tsk tsk… What a waste of space. 😀

        1. Theories are proven or disproved in the real world, not in cyberspace.

          You have to know the difference between a computer system and a political system — don’t mix up the two.

        2. Political Systems 101:

          Political systems EVOLVE… While the starting position can be determined or set by legislation, the dynamics of how people use the system determines its performance.

          What is a political system?

          It is not a set of instructions followed automatically, as in the case of the computer.

          For a computer system or any system to perform as intended, all instructions/rules must be followed exactly otherwise this results in a breakdown of part the system or a crash of the entire system.

          A political system is NOT LIKE a computer system specifically because it is not implemented by a machine specifically designed to execute commands or rules.

          People are NOT machines and as a people, there is scant evidence that most Filipinos (politicians in particular) are good at following rules.

        3. That was my original crticism of this whole confusion between clear deterministic causality and mere correlation — which is the argument of some “constitutional reformists” who put forth the argument that just because some countries with parliamentary systems are prosperous necessarily means basketcase countries who adopt the system will be set down the path to vast national fortunes.

          The fortunes of an entire nation do not have a deterministic causal link to a “system” of any sort because the behaviour of entire societies is not algorithmic in nature but more of emergent (i.e., an emergent property — such as colective prosperity — arises from chaotic interaction between elements acting on the basis of local rules).

        4. That’s why I think that the prosperity of a country has more to do with individuals or small groups of individuals who create valuable services or commodities. In addition to creating valuable services and commodities, these days especially, what also matters greatly is if these people can enforce ownership over these services/commodities — copyrights, patents, etcetera.

          The parliamentary shift route to prosperity is such a round-about way of fixing things.

          First you have to change the constitution on the speculation that this will result in better policy and governance, which in turn is hoped to create an economic environment conducive to the growth of businesses and industries, which is then hoped to provide people with higher paying jobs.

          Clearly, all speculation premised on a speculation…

          Anyway, for all we know all this constitutional change rah-rah could be a “mountain had gone into labour and was groaning terribly. Such rumours excited great expectations all over the country. In the end, however, the mountain gave birth to a mouse.’

        5. If you stop to think about it, wealthy nations are more exceptions than the rule. We seem to have been subscribed wholesale to the notion that universal equally-distributed prosperity is a natural end-game and, as such, we tend to think of this as something that will happen “under the right conditions”. That’s as BIG an assumption as the notion that all kids who get good educations and stable family upbringings will grow up to become top-notch entrepeneurs or top executives and live in fancy houses and drive sleek German cars. Truth is, some people become rich, but the vast majority remain middle-income schmoes or rat-poor wretches. In the case of the Philippines, it seems that this majority is disproportionately bigger than most countries within its home region.

          Certainly countries like Singapore, Japan, and Korea which achieved this level of prosperity within mere decades are seen by these “good-system-equals-good-outcomes” preachers as necessarily serving as fill-in-the-blanks templates by applying the same flawed and lazy thinking. What is really dangerous is how they’d convince an entire people to mount a highly-disruptive exercise to overhaul an entire system on the basis of these notions when there already exists enough latitude within the EXISTING system to provide reasonable doubt that the returns on this exercise do not justify the risk inherent to pursuing it.

        6. “(T)he notion that all kids who get good educations and stable family upbringings will grow up to become top-notch entrepreneurs or top executives and live in fancy houses and drive sleek German cars.”

          That’s like saying people educated in a Catholic/Christian school will live their lives according to the values inculcated in them by the Church. By that reasoning, Erap Estrada could not become a serial womanizer, Gloria Arroyo would never have been accused of being a thief, Kris Aquino would be a virtuous, virginal mother and Fidel Castro would be a priest.

        7. “(T)he notion that all kids who get good educations and stable family upbringings will grow up to become top-notch entrepreneurs or top executives and live in fancy houses and drive sleek German cars.”

          That’s like saying people educated in a Catholic/Christian school will live their lives according to the values inculcated in them by the Church. By that reasoning, Erap Estrada could not become a serial womanizer, Gloria Arroyo would never have been accused of being a thief, Kris Aquino would be a virtuous, virginal mother and Fidel Castro would be a priest.

        8. “Political Systems 101:

          Political systems EVOLVE… While the starting position can be determined or set by legislation, the dynamics of how people use the system determines its performance.”

          In reference to Cynefin model, any political system falls into Complex area.

          Just my thought.

          [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynefin

        9. “We seem to have been subscribed wholesale to the notion that universal equally-distributed prosperity is a natural end-game and, as such, we tend to think of this as something that will happen “under the right conditions”.”

          All that a good government or at least a well functioning one can really do is provide the a beneficial environment.

          Then again, and here’s the thing that flies in the face of those who say good government = prosperity…

          People become PROSPEROUS despite the circumstances they are in.

          While providing for one’s needs is easy enough (a matter of making do with what little can be gotten), only those who are COMMITTED to achieving prosperity will achieve some measure of it.

          Just remembering the story of my wife’s Lolo — a Chinese guy without education who landed here in the 1930s, became a businessman, and was even regarded as the town hero in Sta. Cruz, Marinduque.

          He didn’t have shit to start with here in the Philippines and most of all, he didn’t have anyone to help him — no government to look after his welfare or rights in a foreign land, no relatives, nada.

          He worked at a factory until he had enough money to go into a small retailing business and with the money earned from that business, he invested in land. He made the land he acquired productive and then his son (my father in law) took over the business, which he expanded even further. My father in law had large wooden boats built so he can trade in other islands near Marinduque.

          Most Pinoys aren’t committed to achieving prosperity.

          As long as they have something to eat, a roof over their heads, and clothes on their back, OKS MANOKS NA.

          They’re content with having a job (which is not really bad, not everybody can or wants to be a businessman or entrepreneur), but the thing is, most tend to stick with one kind of job and then count on some mistaken idea that they are entitled to pay increases or promotions just because they report for work. Going into the job market with that kind of thinking, I think, produces your common militant laborer.

          I can go on and on about this all day and I think everyone who has been reading GR Post knows these things already.

          Anyway, to become prosperous as a country, what is needed is a lot more citizens who are COMMITTED TO ACHIEVING IT.

          And my theory is (and this has been proven over and over again), this can be done WITHOUT CHANGING A SINGLE THING IN THE COUNTRY.

          The only thing one needs to change is themselves and that IS IMMEDIATELY IMPLEMENTABLE.

      2. This guy just proved that a parliamentary system won’t change arrogance and bullying tactic used by Pinoys to get their way. Ang yabang pala nitong Orion na Ito. Style bulok.

      3. “Federalize the country gradually so that the regions are economically empowered to attract investments on their own so that jobs are created in the regions, not just in Metro Manila.”

        This is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what the Philippines needs, given the present insular attitudes and personality of the Filipino people. What you are suggesting is outright surrender to the very thing we identified as the root of the Philippines’ many problems.

        Look to history. A federal government evolved in countries like the United States precisely because the people — citizens of DIFFERENT STATES, with LOCAL LOYALTIES — were able to PRIORITIZE national (group) OVER local interests. On the other hand, Filipinos, even today, are characterised as being a disunited and fractious people. Amending the constitution will not serve to create a working federation that serves the individual interests of the different regions. It will more than likely balkanize the country and serve only to reinforce WARLORDS within the locales they dominate.

        Instead of legislating the legitimacy of the local warlords and political dynasties, Filipinos should first acquire and develop moral virtue — social responsibility. What we need are individual officeholders who have demonstrated that they can place the welfare of the group above personal interest. They may even lapse in wisdom. But it is a guarantee that their average performance will be better than the majority of leaders throughout history.

        Alongside a broad-minded leadership with a more cosmopolitan view of nation building, you’d also need a professional and competent bureaucracy to implement the policies of the government on a national level. Not a high school student council, like what the Aquino administration has in place, or a spate of appointees who have no real power beyond the end of their political patrons’ term.

        Once we have those changes in SUBSTANCE, then we can think about the FORM our government will take. The fact is — it might be a moot point. A strong, autonomous central authority can be just as effective as a de-centralized federation if a professional bureaucracy is in place. Sadly, Filipinos have proven that we have not been able to handle either form properly.

      4. “Shift to the Parliamentary System since that system is already proven by a majority of PhD-studies/research worldwide to be superior to the Presidential System in terms of stability, efficiency, accountability, reducing corruption, and ensuring a higher probability that competent leaders emerge on top as opposed to the current presidential system of the Phils which favors actors and celebrities to easily win.”

        I’ll say it again — the Philippines has already experimented with a quasi-parliamentary-presidential form of government in the past. Under Ferdinand Marcos the form government was changed from presidential to parliamentary in 1973. The parliament served largely to rubber-stamp Marcos’ edicts and allowed him to stay in power indefinitely. Elected members of parliament exhibited no more competence or honesty than our current pool of politicians.

        How does the Philippine experience prove that a parliamentary system is superior? If our measure for the effectiveness of a form of government is based on economic prosperity and social progress, how does that explain the success of the United States, arguably still the leading world economy and the main target for anyone who despises (presidential) democracy? Or the success of South Korea? Or Japan’s hybrid system that employs a presidential at the prefectural and municipal levels?

        It comes down to the fact that if our society expects its citizens to wield authority, they must be expected to accept the ultimate social responsibility — that you MUST sacrifice for the sake of the group, risk your life and lose it if need be to save the life of the state. Filipinos need to understand that social responsibility above the level of the family, and the tribe — virtues like devotion and loyalty — must be developed in the INDIVIDUAL first. You can’t legislate it. We’ve tried imposing the burden of social responsibility on our elected officials; it’s been done by others in the past. The universal result is that those compelled to serve utterly rejected the responsibility.

        1. Kung rules pa lang hindi na kaya, paano pa kaya ang moral virtue.

          Let’s be great at rule following first because that’s how you can best discover virtue and principles — all of the good stuff.

        2. Paul,

          We should follow the rules. We should abide by the law. And we should cultivate those ideals and virtues that will allow our country to progress. What we need is “a change in our culture, a change in our hearts and minds, in our nature, in our character” as Teddy Benigno states in his 2003 rebuke of the propaganda for a conversion to a unicameral, parliamentary style democracy. Adherence to the law, eschewing instant gratification for long-term goals, self-sacrifice, self-discipline — developing these higher virtues are all part and parcel of that strategy.

        3. I heartily agree with you Johnny.

          Rules are like the basic moves of kung fu and it is only by painstakingly mastering each basic move that you acquire the ability to master higher kung fu skills.

          One basic rule in instigating change is to embody the change you want to manifest in society.

          If you want Filipinos to be critically minded, you have to be critically minded and commit to be intellectually honest at all times.

          So far, in my assessment, Mr. Dumdum hasn’t displayed much of that.

          He has, in fact, encouraged fanaticism and in a private conversation, admitted to the necessity of deception in pushing forward his cause.

          Then he goes on blaming other people for the failure of his group to gain adherents — yet another fatal, defeatist Pinoy dysfunction.

      5. Indeed, the Filipino Chinese community prospered under the very conditions most Pinoys use as an excuse for their chronic wretchedness. This was the subject of one of the VERY FIRST articles I wrote back when GRP was still a hobbyist site…

        So how does one explain an ethnic underclass that succeeds in hurdling prejudice, poverty, and cultural isolation to turn their ghettoes into today’s prime real estate while the indigenous people bred chaos, mutual oppression, and decay? In this light, any kind of excuse is invalidated. Bad governance and lack of education are the top scapegoats, for example. They simply beg the question: the Chinese community was with us through countless corrupt and inept administrations, they had to register their businesses in the same public offices, and they paid taxes to the same government. Furthermore, they landed on our shores, speaking not a word of English or Tagalog. Now, their volunteer fire brigade is far more reliable (and honest) than the government-run force.

        Pinoys have ALL the essential requisites to build a prosperous society. They just prefer to remain in their comfort zone of intellectual, social, ethical, and cultural impoverishment.

        1. “We should follow the rules. We should abide by the law. And we should cultivate those ideals and virtues that will allow our country to progress. What we need is “a change in our culture, a change in our hearts and minds, in our nature, in our character” as Teddy Benigno states in his 2003 rebuke of the propaganda for a conversion to a unicameral, parliamentary style democracy. Adherence to the law, eschewing instant gratification for long-term goals, self-sacrifice, self-discipline — developing these higher virtues are all part and parcel of that strategy.”

          @Johnny, what I essentially(in essence) said to a group of people back then and continually says to more people now. The problems is interwebbed and only an interwebbed solution can create some REAL impact. I do not essentially shrug off initial approaches to solve problems but if that is the only thing that will be presented into, I would essentially say, “it’s not gonna work”.

      6. I actually can say that you’re comment has merits for reasons that the site has been too much of a “rhetoric of hate” to the very thing it “tries” to fix or what? But Mr. Dumdum, I have to say that I read the post of Mr. Farol and that I have to credit him on his assessment on the weak status of the CoRRect Movement. Can you and your associates find a way to create an impact to Philippine society and to the ordinary Filipinos in general? It kinda sucks really to see this happening to what I regard in a way as a part of the Filipino “intelligestia” under in this situation. But hey, I am just a lone voice but one thing is certain and is true, if we can’t find a way to solve this. The Philippines will completely be screwed up.

        1. BlueStreak,

          Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating political disengagement. Nor am I opposed to constitutional change. And I am fully aware that COMPREHENSIVE changes are needed to put the Philippines on the path to development. That means a transformation in our societal norms and mores, our educational system, political and economic structures AND culture as a whole. We shouldn’t assume that these will come overnight. If it took 30-40 years for Singapore or Taiwan to achieve their success, it will take at least that long to completely transform Filipino culture.

          My point of contention is that regime change or a constitutional amendment to convert to a parliamentary form isn’t necessarily the shot in the arm needed to effect these changes. Given the quality of the electorate and the types of personalities involved in Philippine politics today, I’m convinced we will end up reinforcing the rotten system of patronage politics and warlord power structure that exists today. We’ve been down this road before; parliamentary system advocates would do well to remember that bit of history (1973 to 1986). The Philippines functioned under a parliament with the Marcoses and Enrile and a host of other “trapos” serving as MPs. How it will be different this time around has never been satisfactorily explained apart from a few references to studies made by some PhD in Europe and America extolling the virtues of a unicameral system. As far as the Filipino experience is concerned, IT DIDN’T CHANGE ANYTHING. At best, a unicameral government MIGHT remove one layer of bureaucracy that arrogantly gifts the taxpayers money away at Christmas.

  15. I covered on hand as journalist the three elections in this country elections in 2007, 2010 and now in 2013. Filipino voters and politicians had becoming worst that right smack of faces of authorities vote buying and selling, campaigning at the polling places even not allowed already, transactions for vote buying and selling took place. COMELEC inutile as ever including poll watch groups HELPLESS TO THE BONES.

    I thought COMELEC was boasting all is okay with PCOS machines but it turned out to be the worst as some polling precints I covered voting was delayed for hours due defective PCOS machines. Problems like paper jams, malfunctioning and other are very clear and prevalent.

    If we do not change in the way we vote, We will never progress and other countries will just make a LAUGH at us. GISING NA MGA PINOY HOY HOY HOY!!!!

  16. I totally agree with what Mayor Duterte said that if he became President he will rebel against his own Government! I think that is the only way. If i will be the President, martial law for all the politicians! Charter Change, put Treason as the most dreaded crime. ( Treason- includes Graft and Corruption, put our Country at risk, shame; Penalty will be removal of citizenship of the 1st family and known partner in life and be put at the edge of any Philippine islands nearest to his /her place) Sequester all amassed wealth since 1986 from Politicians, Capitalist. Bring back death penalty by public execution. Provide REAL education not just a school just say they are educated. Strengthen our defensive forces, (honestly, our country is vulnerable to any invasion at any given time now, as in. We can’t defend ourselves, we can’t even beat the Abus and the NPAs! Interconnect 1 island to another island via bridges, trains. Build airports and ports in most islands. I cant imagine even to this date, our household help travel 12 hours from Manila to Mindoro via RORO/Bus. Damn, we can already travel across the globe with that time!we were really rigged by the system.. Run the government like a corporation, Salary with benefits. Its really foolish to have small salaries and steal all you can system.
    I think with treason alone and the consequence it will cause them, they might reconsider of returning everything to our government!

  17. my non college educated view of things:

    Philippines is a republic. It is also an oligarchy, pathocracy and theocracy. A few intellectuals can critically think about the effects of their votes but the majority of the people who CAN vote are influenced by popularity.
    “Sinong iboboto mo? Si kuwan yun ang sikat!”
    I personally don’t vote. I don’t trust the majority of voters to think about making the right choice for themselves and society.

    1. That’s it? Your answer is indifference? Did it ever occur to uou that disengagement only enables the illiterate and the ignorant to remain in place while you complain that they continue to decide on your future?

      ‘Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society’ — Aristotle

      1. I may sound cold and harsh but yes, Indifferent I am it. Why stress yourself to illness by trying to help people who don’t help themselves or don’t care about improvement? You try to explain them how things work and you get insulted for your efforts “nagmamagaling etc..” They like their ways, I leave them alone.

        “Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society.”

        So be it. I don’t know how the status quo was in Mahardlika before the Spanish Colony but since there rule we all have become slave minded, hive-minded, scared to progress yet afraid to be left behind. Everything politics to social aspects we are trained to act like dirt licking peasants.

        If ending society means we can build a better one, well…

        1. That’s precisely the point. You aren’t building a ‘new society,’ you just gave up and ended it. What you advocate will produce nothing but lawlessness and anarchy.

        2. The best case scenario in my mind will be:
          The people will have to fight to survive, reminding them of the basics, what’s important to keeping a society. Global oligarchs and foreign countries will leave us alone while we settle our own affairs. Keeping knowledge from the past we can avoid another shitty situation like in present.

          Nobody has to make it, civilization will evolve by itself.

          I understand this can only come to pass in a perfect world where its not needed anyway.

          In the end I’m just the average person with his own life to worry about, voicing my opinions only because I can. The solution cannot be found in me, not right now.

        3. Let me get this straight. Your ideal society will arise if we follow the plot from science fiction B-movies like ‘The Hunger Games?’

  18. Not necessarily from a science fiction.. I’m thinking a complete dismantling of the sticks of our identity(Filipino) should provide a good work site for something better, stronger.

  19. An effective system of governance happen because of the people and more particularly the leader make the system work.

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