The Philippines: an Ampaw Republic governed by an Ampaw President

It all started with former Congressman Teddy Casiño’s morning greeting on Twitter

Good morning citizens of the Ampaw Republic!

That pretty much made our morning.

ampaw_republicWithin minutes, hordes of Pinoy Pridists descended upon the hapless activist, denouncing his likening of the Philippines to the no-substance low-nutrition Filipino dessert ampaw. Ampaw is made of puffed-up grain (usually rice or corn) stuck together and rolled into a ball. Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III in a speech he delivered to the Hope Christian High School in Manila the other day, used it as a metaphor to describe candidates of little substance that might be running in the 2016 presidential election.

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The amusing irony in that speech, many observers agreed, was that BS Aquino’s ampaw really describes himself. BS Aquino, after all, ascended to power in 2010 on the back of an electorate willing to overlook his being the least qualified among candidates bidding for the post.

Ironic, then, that the rich history surrounding BS Aquino paints a picture of the very Ampaw Republic Casiño greeted on a fine morning on the 15th March 2014. The Filipino vote, after all, represents the character of the nation. And the outcome of that vote, the Philippine President and Vice President, and the Senators and House Representatives in Congress among others, represent the character of the nation. This is the most basic principle of a democracy — that the majority vote represents the will of the people of an entire nation.

Apparently, not too many Filipinos get that. Hardly any Filipino today would disagree that the Philippines is currently governed by a mob composed either of crooks or imbeciles. Filipinos wouldn’t hesitate to agree that they are represented by gangs of inutiles and thieves in their legislature. The results speak for these simple truths. The Philippines is currently the laggard of East Asia. And there is no sign that this distinction will change any time soon. Yet the very same folk who are in agreement on this would balk at the notion of the Ampaw Republic, saying that the Philippines is really a “great country” made up of a great people unfortunate enough to be governed by morons.

So easy it is, it seems, to forget who voted these morons into office. On one hand, we celebrate the vote as a powerful channel of the Filipino people’s will. But when it comes to pinning accountability for the quality of the leaders this vote yields, suddenly everyone is tiptoeing around the obvious target.

To give a bit of credit to President BS Aquino he is a master of coining these political catchphrases. Too bad for him, his latest masterpiece, the ampaw seriously backfired as, clearly, his is the quintessential Ampaw Presidency. And, in a democracy, a people who suffer an Ampaw Presidency make up an Ampaw Republic. The logic is elegantly simple.

7 Replies to “The Philippines: an Ampaw Republic governed by an Ampaw President”

  1. The “Ampaw” President counseled students, not to vote for “Ampaw” candidates. It’s like a Thief, counseling people, about Honesty.

    I have yet to see a Filipino politician, who is not “Ampaw”. They all have no loyalty, other than their bank accounts and stomachs. They all have the “me first” mentality. Look at our political family dynasties. And, they all have “sticky fingers”, to pick on the Pork Barrel Funds, and other government treasuries. This is the reason our elections are violent. If there is no money, to be made in government services. Politicians’ followers, will not be willing to die , for their leaders…look at the devoted and blind loyalties of Aquino’s YellowTards. They must be getting something back from him…including your taxmoney. I bet, Aquino will never spend his own money…

  2. The majority of people are natural followers – and this is magnified in a collective and subservient culture such as the philippines, hence the number of cults, the copycat mindset, and the desperate need to belong/climb on bandwagons. Few type A personalities, predominantly type C personalities, (which also goes some way to explain the general lack of business innovation/entrepreneurship and dynamism)

    It also means people are more accepting of autocratic rule and blindly ‘follow the crowd’, cannon fodder in a misinformation monopoly, and a propagandists paradise.

    The result is an abdication of individual responsibility, personal opinion and political awareness. Life is lived in a bubble of telenovelas and gossip, videoke and rice, selfies and self-interest.

    A benign leadership may be their ideal, but instead their apathy is resulting in a benigno dictatorship, where democracy is a sham, as the rule of law is ignored, the separation of powers inutile, checks and balances non-existent, and corruption both systemic and endemic in all branches of government, the legislature, the judiciary, and the mainstream media. False surveys complete the mind-conditioning of a gullible and naive electorate.

  3. I just have a question to you guys – if you are all so worked up to awaken the Philippines, why aren’t you guys approaching the masses to educate them? I think they are the ones who are in dire need of being educated of their errors. I really love reading your opinions but really, what concrete actions can we take in order for us to change society?

    1. @Mika

      Hmmm…are you expecting us to abandon our day jobs or drop everything we are doing now and go around the squatter areas just to “educate” the masses? First of all, it’s not just the masses who need “educating”. A lot of the members of the so-called upper and middle class still cannot accept that there is something wrong with our culture. Just the other week I was involved in a debate with some Pinoys on Twitter who insist that the Philippines is the greatest country in the world and that PNoy is doing a good job. Second, who is going to fund our move to “educate” the masses?

      It’s better to educate the “elite” first because the poor emulate their behaviour.

    2. +1 on what Ilda said. Majority of folks from this country emulates things that they see. It’s something that I’ve observed in our society, but we can use that in a positive way. I see several post that suggests most Filipinos are like “isip-bata”,so we take it from there. It’s a fact the children emulates the things in their surrounding so if the majority of the populace is like that, then we should look at the “elites”–the ones that they are copying. Then hope that it will have a good “domino-effect” in the long run.

      1. OK, with that premise in mind who among public figures are models worth copying? That is true leadership. You look at what they do and how they do it and what they end up and you can get your ten year old impressionable son and point to that public figure and confidently say “that is how its done!”. I actually go into this in some of my blogs in GRP.

  4. so Benigno (author, lolz shame on the name). Who’s your bet on 2016? Who you voted for last 2010?

    These communist have all the big talks but they are running for the Garbage Partylist System. SMH

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