Why Simple Solutions Won’t Work In The Philippines

After a brief discussion with some of my friends, we considered the idea that what if we allowed common Filipino citizens to carry guns the same way that Americans do, the “right to bear arms”, so to speak. One commenter here on GRP even mentioned it, if I remember correctly. The discussion went around for a while and we even went on to mention that it might make criminals a little more hesitant about attacking the local populace. However, later on, we came upon the conclusion that even arming the populace probably will probably do more harm than good in the long run due to mindset of Filipinos.

solutions_philippinesI have been a gun owner now for quite some time and my grandfather was dead serious about the conditions on how to handle one: Always keep it out of the reach and sight of children, always assume that it is loaded even if you think it’s unloaded, always keep the safety on unless you actually plan to use it and always take it seriously. “Guns are for killing,” my grandfather often tells me. “They’re not meant as a joke and they’re not for polishing your ego.” While I will not claim any superiority over anyone else, I will still go on to point out that over-emotionalism, a big ego and guns are surely a bad combination in the long run and Filipinos are well-known for the first two.

Now then, for a broader examination of our society, we can see that simple solutions like arming the citizenry will probably only make things worse in the long run. Simple solutions simply won’t work unless they are enacted on a large scale and enforced with firm disciplinary actions. For instance, here are some common aspects of our society that require change but need something more to be truly effective:

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Jose Rizal always believed that education was key in developing a nation. Unfortunately, while this may be somewhat true, the quality of education is also important if you want to turn puling children into productive citizens. Based on what I’ve heard and read so far, many public schools remain to be fully built and furnished with many classes being held outdoors as there are simply not enough room in the school building to contain all the students. Take note that there are even people who admire this kind of practice as they say that it is “reminiscent of the way classes were held in the olden days” even though it is anything but admirable. With overstretched funds, overcrowded facilities and incompetent personnel, is it really any surprise that most of the newer generation are largely apathetic and unproductive?

Now, I do not want to bash the hard work of teachers but it’s quite clear that something is wrong when students who don’t even know how to read are allowed to graduate. That’s right, either through the intimidation of parents or the “awa” (pity) effect, students who need to sit through more lessons are allowed a free pass. Worst yet, there are even teachers out there who openly endorse the “palakasan” system and allow themselves to be bribed to give students high grades. With the growing number of “holidays” and as more and more funds are siphoned away by corrupt politicians, can we really expect the youth to develop into something noteworthy?

We can’t really expect anything out of the following generations if we maintain this kind of attitude towards the education system of the Philippines. If we can’t even implant basic skills into our youth, how can we expect them to gain the more advanced and productive skills to contribute to and improve their ailing homeland?


As I have already mentioned in various other articles, the media has changed from being the protector of the common people to the great deceiver of the masses. Even now, the media continues to corrupt the minds of our fellows, warping them into the dumb and numb hordes that continue to elect officials based on popularity rather than hard credentials. But while this may be bad in and of itself, will changing the media really have any effect on our people as a whole?

As noted by another friend, among the middle-class, there are still a wealth of options when it comes to what to watch. There is always the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and the History Channel which can certainly help people intellectually. Unfortunately, most of the middle-class would rather watch garbage like Showtime or Dyesebel anyway because it’s what’s popular today.

Then, you have your lower class who have no choice in the matter and usually only have the most uneducational channels available to them. With an already poor education system, can we really expect much from the masses if they are fed the same kind of brainwashing on a daily basis?

Simply displaying the correct information probably won’t be enough to dispel the stupidity that permeates our society. Even if there are channels that provide the right information, the correct news and with shows that stimulate the mind, none can deny that most Pinoy viewers go for the least trustworthy and least helpful of the lot. There are countless websites like Wikipedia, Tvtropes and Wiktionary that can help one’s understanding of the world but most Pinoy netizens simply go for Facebook to stalk celebrities and posture to their “friends”. So it goes to show that even with available productive options, most Pinoys will still go for the less sound choices which reveals that our troubles may run even deeper than we’d like to think.


Ah, the government.

You know, I’m a big fan of the Disgaea games by Nippon Ichi. Anyway, the game is about demons and making an army out of them but the funniest thing about it is that in almost all of its installments, there is a part where you must consult the local demonic senate to pass a bill that will benefit your army. To do this, you will need to bribe some senators with various goodies so that they will approve your bill and these goodies range from weapons, armor, alcoholic beverages, cakes or bars of gold just to name a few.

What’s really sad is that I find the senators of Disgaea (as corrupt and demonic as they may be) at least a little more trustworthy than our own. While they need to be bribed, these senators will at least approve bills that can benefit people instead of just benefiting themselves and, when thing go awry, can be beaten into submission. Compared to our petty politics who can’t even be bothered to think of the lesser people and who have gotten away clean despite being caught red-handed, these senators might even bring improvements to our country should they ever take over.

However, I should note that our government is solely responsible for the troubles that we face. It was we, the people, after all who put them in their place. It was we who played along with their ploys and believed in their otherwise implausible promises. Just because they sang and danced for us (like a Russian friend I have says: “Everyone sing and dance when they drunk. Not everyone who sing and dance know how to run country.”), we decided to vote for them because they amused us.

Now, our politicians do have a lot to answer for and need good justice for their crimes. But unless we, as a people, are willing to take action against them and select the right leaders next time, we will be forever doomed to serve scum such as these.

If we want real change for our country, the change should start with us. Let’s save the Philippines together.

32 Replies to “Why Simple Solutions Won’t Work In The Philippines”

  1. I agree with everything in the article. It is truly sad how Philippine society has developed over the last 3 to 4 decades.

    All the problems of society (Shitty drivers, traffic, dumb people, poverty) root from the corruption of this government. It seriously makes me wonder how one could live here for the rest of their life after experiencing life abroad.

    Luckily for me, I have options abroad.

    I came back to live here since I moved away as a young child. Sadly, I have decided to take my life elsewhere as I do not want my future children to grow up living in a society like this.

  2. You are describing a totally dysfunctional society, from top to bottom.
    Any laws that are passed to address these problems, will not help because the corrupt police and judiciary will not enforce the laws. That is a depressing state of affairs.

    There must be something that works the way it should in this country. Perhaps, if we can identify those things and establish why they work well; then we may begin to apply those principles to other matters.

    I can hear the response, now. The Filipino people are warm, optimistic and good humored; DESPITE the chaos. That is something that works the way it should. Actually, that mitigates against positive change because it is a form of therapy that compensates for problems, rather than fixing them.

    How about the social services network? Are the most vulnerable members of society being identified and helped with food, shelter, and medical resources? Are those programs working well? Perhaps, they should be expanded?

    There must be some municipalities who traffic, garbage and safety programs work. Why are they not studied so that those smaller victories can be replicated on a larger scale? There must be some educational programs that work exceptionally well. Why are they successful and most others are not?

    1. Wrong. To “legally” own a firearm, you must undergo an extensive background check. But of course, the mental cases and criminal element can always buy one on the black market.

  3. “…..we can see that simple solutions like arming the citizenry will probably only make things worse in the long run.”
    Arming the citizenry is not a simple solution. In fact, it’s a dangerous proposition.

    Actually, there is no simple solutions when it comes to making one country better. Countries like ours need more than simple solutions because our problems are not that simple. Unity is hard to come by in a country where regionalism, nepotism and other -ism is exercise with passion. Cohesion is wishful thinking in a nation governed and guided by a democratic system where the minority thinks the noisier you are the credible you will be and the majority who sees, hear, speaks of no evil.

    Come to think of it, is democracy the right system for us?

    Anyway, with all those problems confronting us, I still believe that we should all continue to be patient, as we always do, and determined, which we are sometimes, to strive more to contribute in our small way toward the betterment of the country regardless if we can achieve it in our lifetime or beyond. 🙂

  4. The tragic truth is, the only way the Philippines is gonna be forced to change is if it gets invaded and taken over again, or something so wrong in the Philippines happens that causes EVERYONE, not just the rich, the poor, the middle class, the rebels to wretch in disgust that it would set off the decades of resentment built up towards the government.

    It happened to France in 1789. The situation back then is similar to ours.

    Everyone who is not the clergy or the aristocrats lived like peasants. The government is controlled by both parties above, food is getting harder and harder to obtain. People are being led blindly by the church. War is a reality that the country must face and there is a national debt to be paid.

    While one could say that Filipinos are far too up their own rectums to see reality, just remember, what triggered the French Revolution is a mystery. What could set it off can be completely random.

    After all, some of the biggest upheavals in history sometimes begin from something inconsequential.

      1. Are we Americans? Then why do we have a system of government modeled after theirs?

        Ricardo Diaz made an interesting point.

        Jamegirl, being a typical lame troll as always.

      2. One talked about the French revolution, the other one, out of ignorance, talked about the system of gov’t.

        I’m still looking for critical thinking. All I see is non-thinkers who love to tinker. 🙂

        1. Jameboy:

          What is your brilliant solution? “Be patient, determined, and strive to contribute in a small way?” What evidence do you have that this has worked in the past, will work now, or will ever work?

          I guess you believe in the magic of positive thinking. That is hardly the clear, reasoned judgement that you criticize others for lacking.

        2. Sea Bee,

          Obviously, you either have not read this part in my post or you completely ignored it for cheap points.

          “Actually, there is no simple solutions when it comes to making one country better. Countries like ours need more than simple solutions because our problems are not that simple. Unity is hard to come by in a country where regionalism, nepotism and other -ism is exercise with passion. Cohesion is wishful thinking in a nation governed and guided by a democratic system where the minority thinks the noisier you are the credible you will be and the majority who sees, hear, speaks of no evil.”

          I was surprise that you casted doubt on a simple positive exhortation I wrote just to get back at me regarding the issue of ‘criticism’. Really?

        3. Jamebo:

          I ignored that first part of your post because it had patently obvious observations like: “Complex problems defy easy solutions.” Duhh! How about another incisive observation: “In a democratic political system, groups of people disagree with one another and unity is often hard to achieve. Duhh!

          If those are your premises, what is your conclusion?????
          Democracy is not right for us?

          I hate to be picky but the Philippines is not a democracy; neither is the United States. They are Republics. In a democracy unity would be easy to achieve by means of a simple vote of the majority. For example, the people could vote to disband their government and to select a cardinal from the Catholic Church to be emperor for life.

          However, a republic has a constitution which states that certain rights are inalienable (they cannot be granted or taken away.) This protects the minority populations from being disenfranchised or persecuted by the majority.

          The “cohesion” that you wish for sounds like closet fascism. Debate and controversy is the life blood of a Republic. Our political system works best when we ask hard questions of our leaders and hold them accountable. You seem to think that we should be citizen cheerleaders.

        4. @jameboy

          like your president, you are a coward. you only care about yourself, your ideals and the status quo. You are a typical filipino upper-class brat who, even if intelligent, lacks wisdom and refuses to look at the big picture. Or youre just plain selfish. Do you even pay taxes? because if you dont, its no wonder you dont even care where your “donations” to the motherland are going. Every post you have made on this site reeks of fallacies (we’re not french? what kind of childish reply is that). I refuse to elaborate more on how much you piss me off, so FUCK YOU. now i know that wont change anything so i’ll just repeat myself FUCK YOU

  5. It was here on GRP that I read the words “dysfunctional society” for the very first time (I think it was by Benign0 who used those words). And yet it took me only 2 visits to the Philippines (read: Cebu) to see that those words were/are 100% accurate and precise.
    The main question now is: how to turn that coin and make it a functional society?
    Well as you all know: Rome wasnt built in one day. So it needs time. But it also needs a start. Now, who should start? You? Me?
    Words dont make changes, only behaviorial changes and change of mindset.
    So why does the majority do not start?

    The poor? They have no time. They are strugg;ing every day to get food, shelter, money etc.
    The middle class (if there is one in Phili)? They are still busy upholding their new status of belonging to the middle class. Their position is fragile.
    The upper class? They dont need to change (according to themselves).

    So here we go. No movement at all.

      1. I would discount anything that Fox defecates out of their newsroom. As journalists, they are international laughingstock. They are being sued by the mayor of Paris for their recent reporting of the Charlie Hebdo attack. The British PM called their reporter a complete idiot. They are right wing hacks with zero credibility.

        It is problematic to compare the USA with the Philippines. In the USA, there is a clear distinction in philosophy between Republicans and Democrats. In the Philippines, you have liberal oligarchs and conservative oligarchs vying for power. There is little distinction between the groups. There is no political party representing the unions, the workers, or the poor. It is called a democracy; but is more like a feudal fiefdom.

        1. I wish you could have talk about the ‘dysfunctional’ issue because that was the focus of the conversation.

          You may have issues against Fox and I would gladly listen to it had you talk about them with regard to their poll mentioned in the news.

        2. @ Sea Bee, No dude ,your way off. The Republicans and Democrats,in the USA, have become the same exact thing: Corporate shills that dance to the tune of the Corporate and banking interests that have run the country into the ground.

  6. I believe in Education…the higher level you attain, the better you will succeed in the Real World…however, we have politicians who are Barely educated. We have a President, who is educated, but mentally retarded…

    Media is the source of information. If the media is used to further political agendas; and makes Dumb the viewers…we have a situation, like we have now.

    It is the CHOICE of every Filipino, to better themselves; or remain as ignorant, as they are now…

  7. One of the few groups working actively for change is the BAYAN
    (communist/socialists) groups. However, most people have been brainwashed into believing that they are evil terrorists.

  8. ‘Like Americans do…”, WHAT? Has the author been to the USA? Ever? in the USA a person buying a Pistol at a gunsmith/store needs to produce to state issued forms of ID and go thru a three day waiting period before he/she is sold the pistol/weapon.
    Guns shows are a bit different story but they have been cracked down on.
    The 2nd amendment,in the the ‘Bill of Rights’ in the USA’s constitution is important as it is there to protect the individual as well as limit the Tyranny that can be inflicted upon the citizenry.VERY important.

    1. I’m just saying that firearms are more readily accessible in the U.S.A. and that Americans have a more “colorful” history with them. Most mature adult Americans probably see guns for what they are: dangerous and highly efficient tools for killing. Most Pinoys probably see guns as magical items that give you power over your fellows. 🙁

      1. And that there is part of the reason why guns should be kept out of the common pinoy and why guns are hard to obtain here unless you go through hoops and hurdles of paperwork.

        1. Indeed. I got mine after months of processing. I can’t believe my Shrink seems to think that I’m “sane” enough to own one. Oh well, she probably doesn’t know that I’m actually the writer called “Grimwald” on the GRP…

          Anyway, for me, the pen is mightier than the gun and also much more satisfying to use… 😀

        2. IDK, being an EX-Pat in the country I carried a legally obtained & licensed pistol for years in the country, under my button down shirt in a holster in my waistband and no one ever new I was carrying it, 24/7. My partner owned a business and got a permit to carry easily. the delay was due to the ‘election period’ being in effect. BUT when it was over, the pistol was handed right over.For about P32,000 = E 550/$775 a .357 revolver can be legally obtained and licensed in less than 30 days.it is actually the same,or easier, as in the USA and can take less than a week depending on the reliability of the gun-dealer, some of them are real shyster’s/POS.

      2. @ Grimwald, IDK where you get that from.What ‘most Americans’ think of firearms as is a subjective observation with many answers.The USA has gun laws that prohibit certain types from getting a weapon/firearm,and they work too. In NYC, and the so-called ‘Tri-state’ area (NY/NJ/Connecticut), a citizen is prohibited from owning ,nevermind carrying, a pistol.The USA is not as trigger happy as you may think.BUT, No money means real stress in the USA.Try being homeless in NYC, UGH !!!The gun violence problem in the USA is a complicated and vicious cycle.No jobs,Drug dealing to make ends meet etc…..mental illness from being stressed out from NO WORK.Round n round n round……

        1. Yes, I know that too. But most of what I know about American gun laws comes from my grandfather and his relatives in Virginia. They’re country folk who like and are proud of their guns. My grandfather (in his youth) could easily operate a shotgun in his early adulthood but his father was very serious about how he handled the weapon.

          While he and his family seem to like firearms, they are also concerned by the fact that too many of the wrong people are getting their hands on them. Namely, teens and children.

          And yes, you’re right. It’s a vicious cycle. But the Philippines already has a vicious cycle of poverty, corruption and crime. Introducing guns to the country will probably just make things worse.

  9. Fear is the lack of faith in one’s ability to create powerful solutions.

    I doubt if there is any problem in the world today – social, political or economic – that would not find a happy solution if approached in the spirit of the sermon on the mount.

  10. before you go blaming the government for all your woes, first ask yourself: what have you done as an individual and as a citizen of this country?

    especially for representative democracies like ours, the people (as a whole) have the government they deserve.

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