It is time for Filipinos to start REFUSING to be victims

Perhaps at the root of all the factors that contribute to the Philippines’ continued and foreseeable failure to prosper is a deeply-entrenched cultural artefact: victimhood. Filipinos like playing the victim card. It is the heart of its politics — a “victimised” people to whom populist appeals to hero rhetoric resonate. As such, Filipino politicians win and lose elections on the basis of success or failure to push a single button — the Victim Button.

President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III, for example, won the presidency in 2010 by successfully pushing the Philippines’ Victim Button — by painting Filipinos as “victims” of their favourite historical bogeymen: (1) the previous administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and (2) the “dictatorship” of former President Ferdinand Marcos. Aquino just happened to be in a rare political sweet spot when the 2010 presidential elections loomed in the horizon. His father, the late former Senator Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr was Marcos’s most famous nemesis and the leader of the Opposition during “The Dictatorship”. He was also “martyred” in 1983 and credited for the rise of ensuing unrest that would eventually topple the Marcos “regime”. President BS Aquino was also fortunate enough to be a presidential candidate that followed the nine-year-long tumultuous rule of Arroyo. This afforded him a wellspring of hunger for “reform” upon which his campaign surfed.

President BS Aquino has since remained consistent to the forumula through the last four years of his term and will likely continue to remain true to his It’s-Arroyo’s-Fault and It’s-Marcos’s-Fault bukang bibigs over the remaining two.

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philippines_victim_mentalityFilipinos finding comfort in being a victim has become a self-fulfilling attitude. The attitude lays the groundwork for the results (actual chronic victimhood) and the results enforce the attitude (perceived victimhood) — a psychological poverty trap at a national level that Filipinos need to escape. Will Filipinos be able to escape this Victim Mentality that imprisons their minds and keeps them mired in the idiocy of their country’s traditional politics? It is becoming quite evident that doing so has become a matter of national survival.

A model for victimhood as foundation for success can possibly be found in the Jews. Because the long-persecuted, shunned, and stateless Jews were reviled by their European hosts and barred from engaging in commerce for centuries, they turned their efforts to mastering a business craft their Christian hosts found detestable — banking and money lending. The rest is history, Jews now control many industries thanks to their willingness to venture to where other men were unwilling to go.

It can be argued that Filipinos are, at present, where the Jews used to be back in the Middle Ages. Filipino Overseas Foreign Workers (OFWs) now toil in jobs that people in their host societies refuse to do. When will Filipinos produce the equivalent of the banking industry’s Jewish Rothschild family in the industries and job sectors they currently are in the process of cornering (or so, we would like to think we are)? The idea that that may happen anytime soon, for now, seems farfetched. Indeed, a key difference is that the original Jewish bankers and traders directly managed and traded in the underlying capital of their trade and fledgling enterprises. The Filipino OFW force (and its cousins, the BPO and outsourcing industries), on the other hand, are mere employees of the world’s capital.

For now, a rather unsavory habit of self-described victims is that they always manage to find excuses for their victimhood. So it will take a monumental change in mindset amongst Filipinos to start extricating themselves from the vicious cycle of self-imposed victimhood and start refusing to be victims. A key to this change lies in reforming traditional Philippine political discourse which, for decades, has been built around strategies that re-enforce Filipinos’ feelings of victimhood by convincing them their poverty was “caused” by an “evil” external force and then selling them one form of hero-based notion of “hope” or the other that so-and-so messiah will swoop in and rescue them from said force.

It’s high time each Filipino step up and shout — perhaps in mass unison, someday — the words I am NOT a victim, and end the intellectual bankruptcy of the traditional campaign rhetoric their politicians have become comfortable with using as a tool to con them election in and election out over the last several decades.

41 Replies to “It is time for Filipinos to start REFUSING to be victims”

    1. No, different than a lot of black people in the US. Both groups love to stew in their “misfortune” to gain handouts and other privileges. Shameful.

      1. This may sound racist, but it’s what I have noticed In my stay in the states for 8 years.

        We and Black Americans have alot in common.

        -We care about only our friends, family and people we are close to.

        -We tend to use our tragic pasts for everyone to feel pity for us to get better privileges based on that alone.

        -We allow religion to do our thinking for us and claim to follow its every word. Yet once we see something we like and it just happens to be against the holy word, we disregard the holy word and do it.

        -We go into an uproar if anything offends us because it criticizes our “culture”.

        -The places we have lived in the longest tend to be infested with crime.

        However, the key difference between our races is that at least Black Americans are willing to do what they deem necessary.

    2. Well, this is going places. Places one wouldn’t like to go but for the grace of God.

      (I wonder if I’d be accused of pushing the Victim Button. Wait and shee.)

  1. Dear Benign0,

    IMHO, it needs a complete make over for all Filipinos to change their mentality and to become part of the 1st world countries.
    Personally, I think their behavior (and thus culture) is completely based on fear. For some reason they lack confidence. And what also doesnt help much, is the old fashioned, conservative traditions. It seems those OFW’s dont learn much from their host country where they work.

    What I really cant understand is that still so many believe in a religion and stick to it (well, at least in public). That as well can be a big factor to always play the victim card. In the after-life everything is better, right? So this life sucks.

    1. Yeah, Catholicism and most organised religions really are about one singular idea:

      The promise of everything in death and absolutely nothing in life.

      Victim Mentality Central.

    2. Fear and distrust is rife here. This country was one of the last I visited when backpacking South East Asia, and I noticed the difference immediately with all the armed guards literally everywhere and my guest house being in a weird protected community that had its own guard (I didn’t even know about gated villages before, now I see guards every time I step outside).

      When you stay for longer and hear people’s stories you learn that backstabbing and seething jealousy are accepted facts of life in most workplaces and neighbourhoods. I don’t think they know that isn’t normal.

      And where other countries have regional stereotypes about their own countryfolk (“anyone who lives outside the dead centre of the metropolis is a slack-jawed yokel”; “anyone who lives in a rural area has intimate knowledge of livestock”), it seems many Filipinos actually believe them, and are regionalist to a laughable extent with their unshakeable beliefs about Manila people, Davao people… anyone beyond their front door, really.

      I don’t get where the notion that the Filipinos are an especially loving people on the whole comes from. Because the kids live with their parents longer (because it’s expensive to get their own place)? From the promoters of mail order bride and dating sites? Or maybe it’s just something that used to be the case back when this place was apparently pretty good, before the rot set in.

      1. Dave,

        here is what I understand about why kids live longer with their parents:

        – For them the concept of privacy is complete strange (privacy must be a western invention, I guess. Or is it human after all?)
        – they are family focused; family-centered & family oriented
        – for many there will be no money to start living on oneself (this contradicts all the above)
        – Plus, kids are not raised (taught) to be alone. So they have a hard time to spend their spare-time all by themselves. Therefore, they lack creativity, inventfullness and all other concepts that are almost innate with people from the west.

        If/when Phili kids are taught the concept of privacy, they might even start to like that concept. The result will be that those kids will spend less time at the parents home, so the kidss will stop support the parents financially eventually or immediately. And that is not what parents can afford to do.
        So for me personally, it is very clear: the way Phili kids are rasied is more or less a form of indoctrination (making them dependent all over). So again, this is also is a form of fear (but they dont see it that way).

        I am also familair with all those guards. Even the smallest shop has one. It didnt make me scared; i laughed about them mostly. And most guards were just sleeping most of the time.

        All in all, I would label the Phili culture as poor by itself.

        1. You have the right idea but not as accurate as a Fil-Am has experienced.
          Fear was instilled in us from childhood, everything outside of our backyard or village is evil and bad. We go against our elders and we loose our spot in the family’s pecking order. Most were taught how to preserve but not how to accumulate what needs to be preserved. Most were taught that family and only family will do right by them no matter what they do. Most were taught the family name bears importance over anything and everything. Most were taught that money makes everything work your way and alliances are only good if they do what you want or if it will raise your standing in society. There is no “WE” just “I” out in the real world. By association is what works and not hard work or perseverance. Most were taught not to rock the boat unless there is a bigger boat nearby. Most were raised to listen but not question. We were also taught how to be Religiously faithful and to not question what the priest preaches. You will be provide for if you abide by the strict rules of the house, hence, most stay longer with the family than others. Most were taught to tolerate what society does because it will eliminate most of the time consuming obligations in life.
          Then high school and college came and some change their way’s, learning the accurate meaning of right and wrong and discovering there are better ways, productive sentiments, principles that carries one beyond the mental and emotional atrocities life throws at us. And then there also some that believes change the ways is too tiring and complicate, so, they stayed the course and now our country is in a deep deep deep hole and unless you have a sturdy rope, your forever going to cling to the sides of the hole with your bare hands.

        2. @RFL,

          “We go against our elders”. Is “elders” here refering to parents only or to just every person who is older?

          No matter, who it refers to, if I – as younger or even youngest person has more knowledge then I will say that (share that with them) and hence do the opposite thing.

          Or is my Phili partner right all along when she told me that “to know too much can be dangerous”?

          The way you describe the Phili culture is very frightening. Its very inner-focused.

          What I dont understand is, those Filipinos (male and female) who are in regular contact with foreigners that that contact can make them aware that things outside their world (their refers to the Filipino world) are done differently and almost always leads to a richer environment (financially and mentally).

          I said it here many times before but its clear to me that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs doesnt apply to the Philippines.

          I think the pyramid only works when “individuality” is the concept and not a collectivistic culture as seen in the Philippines.

          I now also understand – I think – why the Phili government can maintain a culture of corruptness.
          All families are so inner-focused, every day fighting for their existenz that their least concern is the government.
          In an individualistic culture there would be no room for a corrupt government. It simply wont be tolerated.

          To sum it all up: the Philippines will stay a poor 3rd world country for many centuries to come. And that is a sad conclusion.

      2. It also has a lot to do with how kids are regarded by Filipino parents. They are seen as family assets or property rather than as individual people that need to be trained to be independent productive parts of the nation and its economy.

        1. U kno, it is amazing that Filipino parents hope that the children will support them. I could NEVER imagine a child in the EU/USA growing up with the mind-set that he/she was going to go to work so as to be able to take care of his/her parents. It is exactly the other way around and a Western parent would be embarrassed to no end if he/she had to depend on his/her children to support them.
          It is a mindset borne out of poverty, but it is still completely alien to any Westerner.

        2. @Sacre-Blue,

          Thats the difference between a collectivistic culture and an individualistic culture. And guess what? The latter one is doing much better.

  2. FILIPINOS are not taught how to be self reliant and independent at a young age. Look how the country turn out. One big Dysfunctional society.

    1. True. Parents are too afraid to send their kids on their own. When a Filipino kid have an ambition in life, they immediately kill it by saying ako ang magulang kaya ako ang masusunod, not teaching them the right tools to survive. Tambays are at their 40s and still living with their moms. Filipinas are at their 20s and wait for a jeep or bus without their dads. Our nation love cowardice, mediocrity and ignorance.

  3. The victim mentality of the Filipinos are self imposed. The opportunist politicians understand this victim mentality. So, during elections; the politician offers a “panacea” to the voters. The politicians portray themselves as “Messiahs”. And, most of the electorates swallow this “political tactic” ; hook , line and sinker. After the election: “natanso na naman tayo…” This is a vicious cycle, that goes on and on and on…we alone can stop the vicious cycle…no one can…

  4. Dont be generalist…not all Filipinos are victims of fear, mediocrity, and the like. Look who are in the spotlight of sports? -Pacquiao.

    Economically and policatically speaking, who runs the big businesses in the Philippines? Chinese. Who is President Aquino by the way? A full blooded Chinese with roots from Cojuangco and Aquino clan. Greediness has made them rich for their love for power, money and influence. They are the victims for they being the slaves of popularity and power.

    1. Victimization galore! Let me just give you one example: There are 200,000 (two hundred thousand) teenage pregnancies every year in the Philippines. That means Filipino men are having sex with underage girls on a grand scale. The reported pregnancies are just the tip of the iceberg and the actual number of exploited underage girls are higher. We agree that having sex with an underage girl is a statutory rape and a serious crime. The law is very clear about this. I’d like to understand why Filipinos are not outraged, protesting or just say anything critical about this shameful practice against their own sisters that they supposedly care about. What motivates them to give Filipino men a pass and do nothing about it? We all know that when a few white misfits (kanos) have sex with underage Filipinas then it becomes a front page news and the men will be labeled as predators and exploiters. However the media and the law enforcement will not strike down on those Filipino men who are responsible for statutory rape of the two hundred thousand teenage pregnant women. It would be easy to backtrack them since the cases are all documented. Why the gross double standard? Is it because the only time Filipino life has value when the culprit is a white man and the only time they address issues is when they can blame the ongoing legacy of imperialism and colonialism? What motivates Filipinos to give a pass to the rapist of the 200,000 teenage Filipinas every year? Why these concerned people and the church will never find themselves addressing this issue?  Because it doesn’t fit the narrative that the USA and the white men are the cause of the Philippines’ problem.

      Let me add a few more observations:

      Among the “outsiders”, most of the underage prostitution is done by Japanese sex tourist. They have an organized system and they keep a low profile Authorities know about this but choose to be silent. When it comes to legal age prostitution by “outsiders” it get’s interesting: After the Navy was kicked out in 1992 the girl bars where the Navy personnel used to go are now dominated by Koreans. These facts will not make it to the front page of any news media and will not trigger an outrage. Why? Again, because it doesn’t fit the narrative that the USA and the white men are the cause of the Philippines’ problem.

      1. Attila,

        for me its really hard to believe that so many girls will allow men to rape them (without a struggle, without a fight, without screaming for help).
        So, I think there is something else going on here. The Philippines is a male oriented country. The Philippines is still in a tradition where the husband (man/male) is still the head of the family. The Philippines is still a country where most girls are raised/taught to be submissive.
        So, I would blame those retarded parents. They are the ones who raise their own daughters that way. Probably the same happened to her mom. So it a history that repeats itself.

        But anyway, like it is said often times here, the Philippines is a country with a dysfuntional society where mediocitry rules. The number of teenage pregnancies is yet another proof of that.

        1. Rape, including statutory rape is a very serious crime and also immoral. You must understand the definition of statutory rape. When a few white misfits do it, Filipinos will not blame the “traditions” or the “retarded” parents of the teenage girl. They will name the white men as the VICTIMIZER, the exploiter the predator. The same will not apply to the them. The Philippines thrives on a culture of forever painting themselves as victims of whites. What does it matter if their own countrymen commit crimes when sins of a few whites far outweigh the sins of many of their own kind?

        2. Attila,

          I am a white/causasion foreign male but I dont feel offended. By far, so far, I have met Filipinas who had sex before marriage, got pregnant and the Pinoys left those girls. And they (the Pinays) dont even complain. All I can think is, couldnt you at least have used any form of contraception?

          In my relationship with my Pinay partner I always use contraceptives or when possible (away from her ovulation moment) without contraceptives. In my neck of the woods, we dont say “proper sex is only for procreation”. Thank god.

        3. “So, I think there is something else going on here.”

          Indeed there is.

          First off, who says that the men are not under age too? I bet ‘ya that at least 80% are.

          Filipinos are very horny people by nature. It comes from the suppression of everything that has to do with sex in general and religion is to blame for the lack of education. What is forbidden is exciting…. Don’t think for a moment that girls in Europe or the US don’t have sex at a young age (age 14 is not unusual). The Difference is education. They don’t get pregnant.

        4. Jim,

          indeed we dont do things when we are ignorant. Knowledge (education) is power. So should we now bash Philippine education for not giving the right information?
          The first and only party that is responsible for the welfare of the kids are the parents. The parents should inform their own kids about sex.

          But hey, I guess that most Phili parents are as ignorant as their own kids. Quite irresponsible behavior to put kids on this planet without even knowing anything about sex. The world upside down.

          I will only drive a car when I know how to drive a car. If not, I will avoid that car like the plague.

        5. Since it involves transparency and the risk of revenge, I’m guessing the Philippines doesn’t have any kind of sex offenders register? With shame/face being such a big issue in the culture, the risk of public exposure should be some kind of motivator.

          Googling for terms like ‘Philippines sex offenders register’ unfortunately only gives me headlines about convicted foreign rapists being banned from the country. Obviously, it was exclusively a problem with those filthy foreigners and it’s fixed now.

          In the UK in recent years there’s been a trend of ‘vigilantes’ baiting paedophiles with fake profiles and then publishing their photos and details online (eg There are also directories of convicted paedophiles you can search by region (

          Can’t Filipinos put their addiction to social networking to practical use in their neighbourhoods with something similar? It seems they know through the gossip grapevine that these things take place (though sometimes just as another folk tale about ‘rural people’).

        6. With this country’s love of imported TV formats, it’s a shame they haven’t made ‘To Catch a Predator Philippines.’ It’d be worth learning Tagalog just to watch their pathetic reactions. Or they’d just shoot the host on day one.

  5. Although I’m still hoping that perhaps sooner than later Filipinos would stand up against the incompetence and thievery of the politicians and their families and the government officials and employees, but looking at the newer generation, my hope is waning.

    The new generation of children are becoming more lazy, irresponsible and parasitic than their parents. This is due to the fact that most of today’s Filipino parents are scared to discipline their children. As observed they are so proud looking at their children doing despicable undisciplined behavior in public.

  6. The yellow media and the Christian’s religions are mostly to blame. They intentionally want the people to remain brainwashed for easier manipulations. For them, intelligence means independence from the yellow media and their religion’s control. Intelligent people don’t see themselves as victims.

  7. Filipinos always like to play api and kawawa everyday: kawawa naman ang anak ko sa school, kawawa naman ang asawa ko sa pagpila sa MRT, kawawa naman yung pusa ko na nadapa, etc. Great insights, don’t stop writing articles like this Benigno. Let the balat sibuyas get butthurt.

  8. What Filipinos fail to realize that playing the victim card leads nowhere for them. There’s alot of infamous people online that plays the victim card constantly and are failures because of it.

    The biggest example I can think of is Christian Weston Chandler. (NSFW warning) Who because he loves to play his victim card, he refuses to take responsibility for any of his actions blaming it on his autism. And because of his victimization, he feels entitled to things he feels deprived of. Its a vicious cycle.

  9. @Robert H.

    “Elders” meaning elders in the family and that includes grandparents and great grandparents. You be surprised at how much most Filipino families are of Chinese descent and still applies the “Elder Members as the Head of the Family” culture. Those of Spanish descent will encourage independence but still has a say on who your marrying (Prominent Families) because marriage is also strengthening the place in society (Oligarchs)! Most young adults are submissive due to the perks of living within the “rules”, cars, maids, inheritance, guaranteed jobs with the big companies and pocket full of spending money from their own wages. These two cultures are at somewhat parallel in their family traditions with one exception, Chinese will help their own kind when it comes to consumerism, Hispanics will always go with the “branded high end labels” for prominence and bragging rights.

    1. Is it really possible that great grandparents are still alive? That would be a unique situation in my country.

      In the real “upper-class”(this refers to the “old money”) the in-law will be judged very closely before he/she is accepted into the family. But you will see more “rebelious” marriages nowadays within the upper class (in my country). But then again we do have legal divorce and with all kinds of pre-nuptials, the old-money can always be “protected”.

      Another thing what you will NOT see here is, married kids still living in the parental home/house. Thats because we are privacy-oriented.

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