“Hindi nakakain ang prinsipyo.” (Translation: You can’t eat principles.)
I think that any change in Philippine politics will be superficial for the most part until the larger portion of its politicians and citizens learn to adopt the right set of principles and grow enough balls to stick to them no matter what.
But if there is one principle that most Pinoys have adopted and practice consistently, it is the principle of making going around the rules or breaking the rules beneficial.
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Thing is, most Pinoys just won’t admit it but they actually admire and sing praises to people who demonstrate that “the rules” don’t apply to them and then publicly break those rules.
To a certain extent, rule breaking is equated to “machismo” (ultimately masculine); being “malakas” (which can be translated as being protected or favored by someone with power or being someone in power); or being “ma-utak” (which can be translated to smart or clever).
It is because of the fact that that I see rule-breaking as the norm for Pinoy behavior that I believe that new legislation or even a shift to a whole different set of rules will achieve substantial change.
One argument I’ve seen over and over again is that “system change will lead to culture change” — and indeed, it sounds just about as smart as “walang mahirap, kung walang corrupt”.
Simple. In order to assume that changing rules will change behavior and therefore culture, you also have to assume that people follow rules. In a case where people do not follow rules, then it becomes logical to assume that behavior will not change and therefore culture will not change.