Defining Freedom in Filipino Society

Ladies and gentlemen, this is my first post for GRP so please bear with me at the moment as I am rather new to a lot of the stuff here…

Okay, so before I begin, I would like to ask you the simple question: What does it mean to be “free”?

Of course, with the way society is today, it’s everyone has their own answer. For instance, people will say that freedom is about “freedom of speech” and about “doing what you like”, “loving who you want” and “eating what you want”. But really, what does freedom mean for the average Filipino citizen?

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free_will2While everyone has their own definition of freedom, I believe that its most important aspect is choice and understanding said choices. For example, you are given the choice between eating steak or squash. You know that steak is meat and that squash is a vegetable, you know that steak tastes better than squash but squash is probably more nutritious and, lastly, they probably wouldn’t taste too good together. Whatever the case, freedom can be best defined as being given a variety of choices and actually knowing what said choices entail.

After all, you wouldn’t want to eat food that kind of smells bad because its probably spoiled.

My point here is that are Filipinos really given a choice by their government and media and are they informed of what those choices actually involve? Would you, for instance, consume spoiled food knowing that you could make yourself sick? You have the freedom to do so after all. No one can stop you if you want to.

Now let us move on to our government. Year after year, we elect those who will become our leaders but more often than not, we know little of their plans for the country and what we do know about them isn’t encouraging. Yes, there are corrupt politicians all over the world but Filipinos still seem to handle theirs in strange ways. Corrupt American politicians, when proven guilty, often have the decency to step down from their positions voluntarily before they are lynched by angry citizens. Corrupt Japanese politicians who are caught in the act often outright commit suicide as they cannot take the shame of what they had done. Corrupt Filipino politicians, on the other hand, not only manage to avoid getting arrested, they also manage to get elected again in the next election. At this point, one can only ask: Why is this even possible?

Well, the only answer I get from people is “sila lang ang alam namin” (they’re the only ones we know) or “mas alam nila yung ginagawa nila dahil matagal na sila sa posisyon na iyan” (they’ve probably got more experience since they’ve been in that position for a long time). While this may show that most Filipino citizens have a choice, they are often unable to make choices that count as the media often fails in showing them what sort of consequences they may face in voting for a given public official which brings us to another part of this article…

Ah, the media. In the United States, the media is often thought to be a vast wasteland. However, in the Philippines, it looks more like Mordor complete with a watchful Tower of Sauron with a monstrous eye. Many writers here on GRP from Benign0, Gogs, Chinof, Ilda and many, many more, state just how crappy our media is with its utterly brainless shows and wrong messages to the masses. However, one might want to ask the common people, why put up with these shows?

The answer, again, is that most of them have no choice in the matter. Yes, people will say that they have a choice between watching and not watching but that doesn’t exactly state that Filipinos have any real choice in the matter. You can’t call pointing a gun at someone and telling them that they have a choice between doing what you want or getting shot freedom as this forces a choice on them.

Do or die isn’t a choice at all. That cannot be called freedom when the only choices you have are what people want you to eat and starving to death.

Please people, let’s consider whatever choices we have wisely. Saying that “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know” isn’t always accurate and that the “devil you know” is probably just saying that so you’ll keep voting for him.

16 Replies to “Defining Freedom in Filipino Society”

  1. You’re probably my favorite writer to date in this website, Grimwald. Not only do I feel that you take the words out of my mouth with this piece, your intro is probably the best (by far) I’ve seen out there. Keep it up and I look forward to reading more of your articles (hopefully)!

  2. ‘You will find the cost of freedom when your buried in the ground.’ Truer words were never spoken. Until then try not to let things bother you ,have nothing personal to do with people who do not love you and do your best to enjoy the finite amount of time you have left above ground.

  3. If left with all the wrong choices or left with no choice at all, a person can always add his own idea to the selection, the one that (he think) is right, and fight for it. Beg to differ. What can be done with people’s incapability to go against the grain? I believe you just did it, Mr. Grimwald, following the lead of the regular GRP writers.

  4. Freedom that we know is imbedded in our DNA. It is a gift that should have benefited humanity upon knowing the equivalent responsibility attached to it. Freedom is a personal choice that points towards the common good.
    This is the real reason why man must suffer because of the wrong notion that the use of our individual freedom does not affect our neighbor. It is like knowing the importance of the air that we breath but can not see, and all we do instead is to pollute it. Just as we all dream of good governance from our civil institution, yet the majority elect the crocodiles in our government.
    We defined the problems on how freedom is negatively exercised in our country. Yet, we have to discover how to realign ourselves and come-up as a block that spouse the true freedom needed for our country to progress. As a people first, then economic gains will definitely follow.
    I’m with you Mr.Grimwald.

  5. For me, Filipinos have a choice and they exercise it to the fullest 24/7. In fact, they exercise it always that they tend to abuse it and be used to whatever consequence may result from it. All those criticisms about the wrong ways, bad habits, etc. from governance to personal, including the social media life of Pinoys we often read here on GRP are all true. So true that sometimes it gets annoying because almost all the writers say the same thing over and over again you think they are just copying from each other. Anyway, that’s another story for another day.

    But yes, Pinoys have a choice, which we would assume is an exercise of freedom. A choice they understand and have to live with. But the real hard question really is, what affects those choices that seems to end up, oftentimes, in a not so desirable results? Why is our right to choose gets to be messed up that it produces bad outcome?

    You mentioned about politics where we keep on electing the same people with bad reputation. That is true, unfortunately. However, while electing is a choice which we exercise as a right, the manner which we elect questionable characters is where the crux lies. Why do we do it repeatedly?

    Of course, there are answers to it and, the sad part is, they are not really new. We elect corrupt leaders because they are there. Always there. Just look at the Gloria Arroyos, the Erap Estradas, the Enriles and the Revillas. Then we still have Binays the Aquinos and the Marcoses and other political families and animals that have grazed the political landscapes for decades. To be fair, we get to elect, sometimes, people outside of the political cesspool that we have. But they are so few and far between that they do not actually make a difference. Worse, they get to be ‘infected’ eventually.

    The right of choice we have since this Republic was created was the same right we have now. The only thing that changed are the factors that affect such right.

    Let me give you an example. In the past, at least, until up to the time of Marcos, celebrities, actors, etc. are mere props in politics. The only time you see them is when they are invited to entertain in political campaigns/gatherings. They are there to prevent boredom from creeping in from those long political speeches.

    Back then, Filipinos elect qualified people in public office. That means, aside from experience, the candidates have educational background as well. Financial integrity matters together with family affiliation.

    But when these professional politicians screw up, it made people think that may be it is time to change course. That the option has ran its course and it is time to look for leaders some place else other than the political cesspool. About the same time, the stars who grew accustomed to political rallies and campaigns found out that those politicians are really no different from them. That they, too, can play the game.

    Sadly, after that, everybody now is welcome in politics.

  6. It is Freedom with Responsibility…

    However, if that Freedom to express people’s mind is extinguished, thru murder. It is a different matter. Differences in opinions, including religious opinion, should never be curtailed. Tolerance and respect to other people’s opinion ,is a must.

    Our Power of Choice, must not be taken from us. Either, from : religious dogmas; political ideologies; cultures; etc…

    We got out, from the Dark Age already. It seems that these Islamic Radicals, want us to return to the the Dark Age; with their idiotic “Caliphate”…

  7. The whole point is what is the media doing to educate it’s viewers today? Pairing up celebrities with politicians OR encouraging people to vote for celebrities don’t count!!

    Media is the very instrument that politicians use as a tool to increase their chances of winning. Shame on you ABS-CBN, GMA, TV5 and the likes of these networks for failing to serve the Filipino people!

      1. Not only are they misinforming us, the public, they are also putting so much non-sense in mainstream media that the public is distracted to raise their voice on important social issues. In the end we have a mass that find it difficult to address issues and turn to escapism through entertainment media. Worse, the public comes to the defense of our politicians and of our poor living conditions in the METRO because our people have been “conditioned” to like their politicians because they are paired with or are celebrities themselves.

        The real problem is no one in mainstream media seems to care about this that no one dares to challenge the status quo and provide informative and provocative programs for our people.

      2. it’s actually doing is MISinforming them

        I’ll go as far to say that the Philippine medias are tools for social engineering of Filipinos.

  8. We have a lot of freedom, but what’s missing are accountability and responsibility. In the case of our mass media, it seems to lack that. Too bad the viewers have yet to exercise their freedom to choose the right media that will make them more socially responsible.

  9. The people are kept like sheep, dumb, numb and herded. If they even fail to understand that, then NOTHING will and CAN change.

    1. Robert I Agree With You 100%, I Believe You “HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD”. If We Carefully Look At History With An Open Mind, We Can See That The People Have Been Enslaved By Countless Generations Of…..Well…..Evil,greedy,Self-centered,Dynasty’s, Even Today You Can Hear and See The Hatred Toward The Spanish, Americans, Japanese, and The Like, All Because at one Time In History They Were “Occupiers” Of The Philippines. So When Will 99% of The People Realize That Now The “EVIL OCCUPIERS” Are In Fact Filipinos!! and Stop Being as You Said DUMB SHEEP ?

  10. The Failippines always demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use, or never use at all.

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