Filipinos have to WANT a better Philippines badly enough to abolish the pork barrel

I realise now after having read an amusing article recently published by one of the staunch apologists of President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III that there is a fundamental assumption that needs to be questioned — the notion that Filipinos actually want a “better country”.


Can Filipinos be considered to be a people who aspire to build a better Philippines?

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pork_barrelCertainly it cannot be said that Filipinos are lacking in a desire to be seen to be part of a “great” country. My colleagues have written extensively about the rather quaint phenomenon we call “Pinoy Pride”. The main premise behind “Pinoy Pride” is that Filipinos see it fit to feel pride on the back of the success of an exceptional set of elite Filipino individuals.

The question is: Can being “proud” to be “Pinoy” because of the achievement of an exceptional minority fuel a journey to national greatness? As GRP writer ChinoF observes, that sort of pride will never save the Philippines

Pinoy Pride never uplifted Filipino lives. Because Pinoy Pride itself is an act to cover up Filipino failings. It is a symptom of other attitude problems, such as sense of self-entitlement, emotionalism, anti-intellectualism and love of the underdog.

Therein lies the answer to the question on whether or not the assumption that underpins certain “holistic” approaches to solving the problem of the Philippines’ bleak future as a nation is valid.

Filipinos want a great Philippines, but they do not necessarily want to make it better.

Pinoy pride overflows in Philippine society. And that tells us that Filipinos want to get from A to Z but haven’t got the foggiest clue as to how to get to B at least. And this is why the only response we get to the confronting question of What happens next? in light of all the in-your-face revelations of institutionalised thievery going on with impunity up and down the command chain in Philippine Government is a lot of head-scratching.

A lot of well-intentioned but naive calls to Filipinos to come together in the spirit of a “shared sense of responsibility” for the building of a “common enterprise” is premised on the assumption that Filipinos want to help themselves at a collective level. We can keep saying that we must be responsible and unified in a pursuit of national goals ’til the cows come home. But there is a deep chasm that separates notions of what must happen and what will happen given what is real about the character of our sad nation.

The reality is that the Filipino character is one that would delegate their aspirations and their will to attain them to heroes and celebrities in exchange for their collective opiates — bread and circuses. We’ve known for so long that Filipinos routinely get their circuses every election day. Now we know they also get their bread from the very thievery they now presume to exhibit some quaint “outrage” over.

Indeed, politicians who have been implicated in one way or another in the pork barrel scam confirm it as do the hacks who apologise in advance for what will likely be the persistence of pork over the foreseeable future. These funds, so the politicians and hacks say, are essential to “less-fortunate” Filipinos who depend on pork to fund the outcome of the unique way their representatives in Congress “understand” their specific local “needs” and, as such, abolishing pork would result in these people being “deprived” of this tender loving local “understanding” that only their honourable “representatives” in the legislature could provide.

As Albert Einstein say, you cannot solve a problem using the same thinking that created it.

A lot of “experts” on Filipino society think that the fundamental problem with the Philippines has to do with powerful people not “understanding” the problems enough “from the ground”, and that the solution on the basis of that “thinking” is to cobble together a pile of money from the national budget that can be given out to other powerful people who do “understand” these problems “from the ground”.


Indeed, the system is flawed. But I hope we will not use the thinking that created that flawed system to come up with the alternatives to replace that very system.

[Image courtesy Silicon Angle.]

15 Replies to “Filipinos have to WANT a better Philippines badly enough to abolish the pork barrel”

  1. Na fried (pride) chicken na tayong lahat. The only proud ones in our country are: the politicians. Imagine, you run for public office. Once elected, by fraud or what have you. You become a multi millionaire thru Pork Barrel. That is being used by any sitting President, to buy your consent or vote. Only in the Philippines…

  2. Another question is why are Filipinos only moving now to abolish PDAF and similar programs out there? PDAF has been around for a long time.

    I don’t think Filipinos want a better country that bad so as to initiate actions to accomplish it. We all waited until the standard of living dropped over the course of time until we begin to feel the effects. Why didn’t we have as many protests during the 90’s? Some may say we are better connected today and we can organize better. I say bullshit on that. We had TV, newspapers and radios long before social media. Besides, during the course of history we’ve seen how ineffective PDAF is. We know that projects sponsored by senators and congressmen are substandard. And we know for a long time that LGUs are the real implementors of projects so by that logic the funding should go straight to them. And of course we know politicians are robbing us are taxes. If you are being robbed you take action and go after the thief.

    I don’t think Filipinos really desire a great nation. To illustrate my point, check these three items.

    1. Mamaya na habit
    2. Crab Mentality
    3. Bahala na Mentality

    Why is it so difficulty to snap out of these three? You’d think that after being colonized 3 times we’d would have learned to stand on our own two feet, that we would have learned a lot from our colonizers and adapt these to our advantage.

    This also leads me to believe that we are too soft on people who trample our rights and dignity. In other countries like U.S. you can stand up to your boss when you are being taken advantage of. Here, it’s different. Clerks and secretaries become waiters for their bosses. That’s not part of their job description. The boss should get his cup of coffee.
    Since my mother worked at a government agency for 27 years, she had done jobs that her bosses were supposed to do and when she demanded for a promotion, they didn’t give it. They were probably saving it for a relative fresh out of college.

    Look at those terrorist groups running around the country side taking hostages and bombing public places. If we really cared about this country the government should have had those wiped out a long time ago.

    I just wish Filipinos stop bullshitting around and start taking things more seriously.

    1. A lot of filipinos sadly have poor sense of conviction and lacking a real sense of unity in themselves. They compete with each other…but for wrong intentions. You’re also downright about how some clerks/people doing some secretarial form of job are also made to do “maid” jobs as if being in that sort of work is any easier. Sheesh. If filipino employees are this terrible, let ’em have the bosses! Whatever happens to the wise saying, “A leader must be a servant for all”? Filipino bosses/employers are the worst bunch. Even more so than the Indians (at least here in Australia).

      At least the Indian boss shouts and hollers at anyone equally. But the filipino bosses are the worst f’ng racists ever. They worship white bosses here, and in their presence, even kowtow to them. But among their own and other coloured workers, they’re downright contemptuous, bigoted and racist. This is true story by the way- from the mouth of my working class dad.

      They don’t wish to see your effort, they wish to control, exploit and manipulate you because it makes up for their insecurities. They also favour only to those who kiss their ugly brown arses.

      And this is why we never get our shit together over there!

    2. Our problem as a people is much bigger than we all think, vibeit, because it goes back to our very roots and may thus be very difficult to address, albeit still possible with a lot of effort and commitment. Pigafetta, Magellan’s chronicler, described the natives they saw when they set foot on our shores as cheerful, lighthearted, and laid-back, content with what they had (and they had a lot–food, gold, other minerals, etc.!) and not wanting to lift a finger to improve their lot. While this may be a virtue from one perspective, it caused big problems when our society became more complex and the goods were no longer just there for the taking. Also, the Philippines as we know it now was not a consolidated state before the Spaniards came, but a collection of independent barangays, each considered a foreign state by another. When the Spaniards came, although they conquered the archipelago in the name of Spain, they took pains to cause division among us (“divide and conquer”), sending the Cavitenos, for instance, to another province to subdue the latter through violence, in the name of Spain. Of course, as we all know, they also made us ignorant by not giving many of us access to good education, and even made us have a very low self-image by calling us “indios” and treating us accordingly. When the Americans came, they did not make the Filipinos love the Philippines or one another; instead, they made us love America & the Americans. Besides, they convinced many Christians from Luzon & Visayas to migrate to Mindanao so that Mindanao would no longer be predominantly Muslim as they could not conquer Mindanao due to the Muslims’ firm anti-imperialist stance (hence, the problem in Mindanao). When the Japanese came, our condition became so dire that even family members stole food from one another, & we learned to betray one another. Which brings us to today. Despite all the chest-beating about Pinoy pride, truth of the matter is many Filipinos don’t seem to feel one with their fellow Filipinos and just look after themselves and their families. Ergo, “as long as my stomach is full, all’s well….never mind what’s right and what’s good for everyone else….” Of course, I may be wrong.

      1. Yes, I agree. Indeed, we have much deep-seated conflicts within ourselves than what’s been written down through history. The main problem is no one in power has dared yet stopped this vicious culture cycle by addressing the issues you’ve mentioned.

        We keep burying these just like how not a lot more are even mentioning about the pork barrel scam in which obviously the whole Aquino administration is heavily involved in.

        We are very aware of the problems around us and yet we just don’t like to confront about it all, straight and clear. When we confront them straight to their faces, we are made to feel like elephants in the room and even accuse us of being this “invisible” enemy. I just don’t understand why they want to remain in the shit they’re in. There is just no logic in avoiding helpful and healthy constructive criticism.

        The colonial days are way over, and yet there are still many who are so persistent in keeping these alive. Why? Even the so-called “educated” here still have this 3rd world mentality. Hence, goons like Aquino, Marcos, Arroyo, Binay, etc.

        If they’re more educated than the masa, then why couldn’t they switch their brains on and turn things around for the better? By even demonstrating straight and responsible state governance?

        It is all too bad, though, that we don’t have the Protestant work ethic and effective governance that the Brits used to apply to their former colonies. And I have even noticed that those under the British Empire even fare better economically e.g. Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, and Australia than all others.

        We don’t like eating the shit and yet when told to stop eating it, we get mad. This is how absurd the filipino cultural mentality is to me.

        1. You know what’s really funny? Filipinos laugh at Indians by referring to them as 5-6 and Bombay. But they already have a space program. Yeah, they are planning to get into space. What about us? Nowhere. Our scientists are either underpaid or are working overseas. Inventors who come up with something new don’t get that much support. I’m sure you’ve heard of inventors who just sell their inventions to other countries like Japan. These are things that we should be using. And that local brand of mobile devices, Torque. China’s manufacturing those devices not us.

          The sad part is that we have not matured as a society. We have this holiday mentality. Maybe if we had winter we’d be resourceful. Cause if you don’t work you’ll die in winter. But does Malaysia have winter?

          The Aquinos, they definitely operate like Hacienderos. Ever saw that news about Luisita farmers who earn P9.50 a day? I saw that on the web on a news article but I can’t remember the site.

          One more thing is that Filipinos don’t like to be disciplined. They’re gonna break the law when no one’s looking. We already fail at the simple act of disposing garbage properly. What the hell is wrong with those people who throw their garbage at the river? Fuck those people!

          You know what I’d like to try? If I am ever labeled as an elephant in the room, I’m gonna tell those people to go ahead and stay in the sorry state they are in for all I care. That mentality and the gall to ask for balato is annoying. Also, screw pakisama and balato mentality.

  3. This is silly. Do poor families, which is what makes up the Philippines as a whole, want access to medicine and all other basic needs? Of course, they do. It’s basic human survival.

  4. Unless your “news” translates into jobs, income, food for the hungry people eating pag-pag, then it’s probably nothing, but scraps being thrown by the king to his zombie subjects.Only too, happy to take it.

    Now don’t answer me that it will take years for the people to “feel” it. That is just plain bull crap if you ask me. Kahit walang investment rating upgrade if Pnoy is doing the right thing for the last 3 years, hindi na kailangan yun.

    1. Read what I wrote. Meaningless to common people. You people are so drunk on that shit, but reality is, people just need good jobs with good salary.

      If you think otherwise then explain that to the people trying to get through each day with pag-pag.

      And please, next time you post a comment, get your point through. I am clear when I stated that rating s are useless kung nagugutom naman ang mga tao dahil sa kawalan ng trabaho.

  5. One question – do Filipinos actually think? I mean the “real thinking”? I mean Filipinos are the fundamental elements of Philippines, the atom that composes matter. If the basic unit of something is wrong then the whole thing is wrong. The problem is like a cancer but the bigger problem is the cancer cells are the majority and are dominating the body. Good cells can only do as much and cancer cells will what cancer cell does – and that is to destroy good cells. Any good cells developed will soon again eaten by the cancer cells.

    1. Yes, Filipinos “think.” You are asking the wrong question. The question we should ask is: “WHY do Filipinos think that way?”

    2. Because I have this notion that Filipinos don’t think. They just follow. Follow someone w.out thinking why/what/when. I mean if a celebrity tells them to eat shit – I wouldn’t be surprise if they actually do. I mean there’s this tradition that you are not suppose to question your parents – why?

      1. Now, that is a question worth pursuing — “WHY do Filipinos follow (blindly)?” And as to your first point, questioning established authority seems to be the attitude of someone who can formulate ideas independently.

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