If the Philippines were a normal country, its government would be paralysed by now. We have a President who’s ability to govern fairly is complicated by his being part of a feudal clan that owns a vast northern Luzon plantation that is on the brink of insolvency and was found to have likely performed accounting “miracles” to scrape together millions of pesos in taxpayers’ funds to pay out “incentives” to legislators to do his bidding. As such, we have a legislature of Santa Claus wannabes largely discredited after they were found to have compromised their integrity and independence for a few barrels of pork.
What are Filipinos to do? Well, perhaps nothing. Isn’t this just another incarnation of national dysfunction in what has been a long series of political eras and ages where ordinary Filipinos have been stolen blind even as flowery promises and messages of “hope” coloured the surface of their society? In short, is there something that can be done differently to improve our chances of getting a different result this time?
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One thing that’s been consistent over the many years since Filipinos “won” their “freedom” in 1986 was the use of protest rallies to drive “change”, something one would consider hilarious because Filipinos wield more power via the vote than via protest rallies. Trouble is, one too many Edsa “revolutions” have likely made Filipinos think otherwise. The legit way is way too dull. In the Philippines, see, it always has to be a fiesta or a circus. Quite simply, Filipinos cannot take themselves seriously enough when it comes to even the most serious of matters.
My colleague Ben Kritz puts it quite well…
The country needs a serious change to the way it does business; the people who are capable of articulating what they think that change should be owe it to the rest of the country to A) not try to stifle others who have different ideas, and B) not spend more time putting together a dog-and-pony show in a misguided effort to be “memorable” than on actually having a message worth remembering.
And add to that a rather dulled ability to focus on results and make that a primary point to whatever “actions” one needs to undertake towards rectifying whatever one is outraged about, and you get the expected outcome: no results, or, for that matter, no hope of any such over the foreseeable future…
“Letting the voice of the people be heard” is for wankers and idealistic stenotopes; grabbing the offender(s) by the scruff of the neck and letting them know they will not only hear the voice the of the people, but will do what it tells them to do or else the environment will become very unpleasant gets results.
We now know there are very few avenues to explore. It is difficult to envision one of those win-win outcomes drummed up by the idealist reconciliationista leaders of the Philippine “activist” scene when just about every one of what are supposed to be the three independent branches in the Philippine government are by all intents and purposes held by the nuts by Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III. Well, for that matter, even an outcome “unpleasant” for one or the other — either the removal of BS Aquino from office (the person ultimately accountable for the funds being stolen with impunity), or the conviction of any one of the offending “senators” is unlikely on account of that same situation.
Perhaps it is Filipinos’ willingness to explore what lies beyond the degree of “unpleasantness” they have come to be comfy with that has become the real question in these times.
[Photo courtesy Aljazeera.]
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.