In these challenging times, it really helps that the Philippines is like a cockroach

How can the Philippines continue to function over the remaining two years until President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III steps down after the completion of his term in 2016? In the last two years, Congress has limped along under the weight of overwhelming public distrust. And now that a presidential slush fund that is the brainchild of BS Aquino’s administration alone and no one else’s has been deemed unconstitutional, the President himself may be facing the next two years as no more than a lame duck. With more than one billion pesos at risk of having to be clawed back into the national coffers, describing the President as such would be the understatement of the decade.

It pays to be 'resilient'.

It pays to be ‘resilient’.

Then again, why worry about how much or how little functionality the Philippines will retain now that its brains trust and executive faculties have been rendered inutile? The Philippines at its core is like a chicken. Chop a chicken’s head off, and it can continue flapping around. The eminent journal Scientific American also confirms that the other legend — that cockroaches can survive for weeks after it’s been decapitated — is, indeed, true. The research into this facinating subject reveals some analogies between the properties of the anatomy of a cockroach that enables it to survive decapitation and the structure of Philippine society…

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Insects have clumps of ganglia—nerve tissue agglomerations—distributed within each body segment capable of performing the basic nervous functions responsible for reflexes, “so without the brain, the body can still function in terms of very simple reactions,” Tipping says. “They could stand, react to touch and move.”

And it is not just the body that can survive decapitation; the lonely head can thrive, too, waving its antennae back and forth for several hours until it runs out of steam, Kunkel says. If given nutrients and refrigerated, a roach head can last even longer.

Indeed, Philippine society, as many of its esteemed triumphalists are wont to gleefully point out at every opportune time, is “resilient”. It can pretty much muddle along in mediocrity oblivious to Manila’s circuses. Top-level political leadership in the Philippines has all but made itself irrelevant in a country that remains carved up into fiefdoms by local warlords and chieftains who, thanks to the country’s porous and unguarded coastline, can pretty much rule over largely self-sufficient tribal units. Like the headless cockroach and chicken, the Philippines — with or without Imperial Manila — scurries or flaps around propelled by primal social reflexes as a matter of national routine.

What? Me worry?

What? Me worry?

Why worry, then?

This, of course, is not a new concept. Filipinos, for so long, have lamented how their national politics is like a game of musical chairs — lots of movement with very little (if any) trickle-down impact on 99 percent of their lot. One Filipino president, for example, may differ from another in name but hardly differentiates in substance. They are all the same at the core.

You wonder then what the whole point in all of Manila’s political convulsions is. Competing with the chatter surrounding the Supreme Court ruling that Secretary Butch Abad’s Disbursement Acceleration Program is crooked by design is Senator Miriam Santiago’s “trending” cancer battle. It’s a personal drama, of course, and no one would wish cancer on their worst enemy. But just the same, the question of whether or not a Senator’s cancer challenge would pass that hypothetical So What? test administered by the average Filipino schmoe when he tunes in to the news after spending a steaming day scraping together five pesos for his next pagpag meal is an interesting one to mull over.

Do Filipinos really care?

Perhaps. But likely not about the stuff we regard as “important”.

4 Replies to “In these challenging times, it really helps that the Philippines is like a cockroach”

  1. The Philippines even survived wars, conflicts and diseases in history, how much more this little political fiasco? this is small compared to the experiences of our ancestors on their worst times they suffered from both economic and political disasters. Yep, Pinoys are resilient and would continue to do so even whose the leaders of the land because their immune systems are highly-adaptive of the experiences wrought in the past.


    The Philippines needs to improve its middle-class to balance things out. In a democratic system, it is relevant to have strong middle-class who will serve as the forefront and vanguard of democracy. As of now, majority are poor. If we try to observe their daily activities, they mostly focus on making a living to survive for a day with their family. They are not fond to read and they have vices and trivial matters to consume on their past time. In short, they hardly care for politics and for the good of their country. And that means, we cannot expect much from them. Others don’t even know the constitution, their powers and basic rights vis-a-vis their public officials. They don’t know the basic functions of their mayors, councilors, governors and representatives. They merely look at them as their donors and helpers in times of dire needs like in a financial form. They look at their environment and place which they grew as normal and the necessary improvement to be done is just secondary and subconscious to their mind. It’s because they are not exposed to the global world specially to those developed communities that’s why their minds are locally limited. They will participate in the elections only to expect dole-outs from the candidates and be entertained by their showdowns and gimmicks. Our expectations should be highly regarded on the middle and upper class, unlike the previous class, they have time to read and update daily news, they don’t sell their votes. They have proper prospect for their future and their families. This really works and proven to be true in the Industrialized Countries.

  2. I totally agree with this. The Philippines is the cockroach of all the nations of the world and is infested with cockroaches who elected a cockroach to the Presidency. But what else can you expect from cockroaches?

  3. BS is confident dahil nakikinabang din ang mga tongressman sa DAP kaya walang gugustuhing iimpeach siya. Dapat matuto na ang mga kababayan natin na wag bomoto ng tao na puro papogi lang. Umaasa ako na pag may nagdala ng pagpapababa kay Ngongoy sa kalye ay back-upan ng militar dahil hindi biro ang bilyon ng illegality ng DAP kahit pa sabihing napunta yun sa mga “proyekto”.

    Angyabang noon ni Trillanes kay Gloria, nanghostage pa siya ng mga inosenteng tao pero takip bibig siya ngayon kay Noynoy. Kailangang magalit ang middle class dahil siguradong di papakinggan ng congress ang panawagan na ipababa yang emo president na yan.

  4. Cockroaches (not the two legged ones) survived even the Dinosaurs. It is because, they eat everything, including animal wastes…”matakaw sila” like the Hacienda Luisita Swines (the two legged ones); feasting on Pork Barrels.

    Aquino is not in control of the government. There are “people behind his shadows” running the government for him. He is not capable of running the government.

    Thieves and corrupt people surround Aquino; because they all profit financially in their relationship with him.

    It is time to inform every Filipino what is happening in our country. Patriots must come forward; there is work to do…

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