Filipinos and their Squatter Mentality culture

Whether it be Moros demanding the “right” to carve out big resource-rich chunks of Mindanao and call it their very own autonomous Sharia-governed Islamic paradise or actual squatters that are, well, squatting on property owned by law-abiding tax-paying people, the argument of choice fielded by apologists of these “oppressed” communities is that they are “victims”. Never mind that every Filipino, whether they be Moros or squatters live in a relatively free and democratic society — one where opportunities are open to everyone who can apply a bit of brain to the task of laying the foundations for their respective future fortunes.

populist_rhetoricWhat, for example, is preventing the average Filipino Muslim from profiting from the Philippines’ open and free market? The huge community of Muslim-Filipino traders and entrepeneurs who hawk their wares in Greenhills and Quiapo are evidence enough of how well-integrated into the Philippine economy our Muslim “brothers” are. Movement of goods and services between the Philippines’ largely Christian north and Muslim-dominated areas in Mindanao is largely unfettered — even to the point of being an underground economy. This is enough evidence that the most enterprising of Filipino-Muslims already benefit immensely from the Philippines’ laissez-faire open market.

Likewise, the Philippines’ vast squatter community cannot be considered to be an oppressed people. Nothing in Philippine law prevents them from seeking a prosperous and legal way of life. What keeps them mired in squatterdom? Perhaps it is because squatting is the easy option. Because some squatter clans have been squatters for generations, the very way of life of squatting is deeply-ingrained in the psyches of both ancestors and descendants. The psychological poverty trap that dooms many Filipinos to a way of thinking that is framed more by a wallowing in victimhood than a search for opportunities is a deep hole indeed.

So, yeah, Squatter Mentality. One can say that it has become a prominent feature of Filipino culture. Bleeding heart Filipinos and the “activists” that pander to them are repelled by the idea that Filipino culture suffers from an acute Squatter Mentality infestation. It is like the way African Americans find profound offense in that-N-word-that-must-not-be-uttered. Every now and then, however, someone begs to differ. In the case of African Americans, Chris Rock takes up that role and, in his now-seminal words, delivers the same sort of challenge to his community

Who’s more racist: black people or white people? Black people. You know why? Because black people hate black people, too. Everything white people don’t like about black people, black people don’t like about black people. … Every time black people want to have a good time, niggers mess it up. … Can’t keep a disco open more than three weeks. Grand opening? Grand closing. Can’t go to a movie the first week it opens. Why? Because niggers are shooting at the screen. … I know what all you black readers think. … “It isn’t us, it’s the media. The media has distorted our image to make us look bad.” … Please. … When I go to the money machine at night, I’m not looking over my shoulder for the media. I’m looking for niggers.

Seeing the N-word being thrown around so gleefully gives us the heeby-geebies, doesn’t it? But Rock, challenged by the interviewer in that piece to give a good reason why he finds the need to make liberal use of that “heavy-duty” word, issues pure gold:

It’s not that heavy-duty. The thing with “nigger” is just that white people are ticked-off because there’s something they can’t do. That’s all it is. “I’m white, I can do anything in the world. But I can’t say that word.” It’s the only thing in the whole world that the average white man cannot use at his discretion.

Recent “viral” issues have once again shown that Filipinos suffer the same condition Rock highlights about his own people. Filipinos hate everything that is Filipino. You can see it in the way that upwardly-mobile Filipinos spend their big bucks on a life-long effort to look more American (with apologies to the coño community who prefer a more Euro look). But the moment non-Filipinos step into the discussion to air their own personal views on the matter, Filipinos all of a sudden have their claws out launching into shrill tililing rampages all over the Net.

Even more interesting, some of these “non-Filipinos” who have become tight-lipped about their personal views about the Philippines’ world-renowned dysfunctions (lest they be targetted by riding-in-tandem assassins) are long-time residents of the islands and pillars of the economies of their respective local communities. Talk about wasted insight! Indeed, all that knowledge technology has made so widely-available is all but wasted on the ignorant.

We are seeing the dawn of an age where the idea that poor people are “victims” — in Filipinospeak, Squatter Mentality — has all but been worn to a ragged relic of Cold War thinking. Of course this by no means saying that poverty can simply be eliminated by calling out poor people for what they are. It just means that, perhaps, it is time to recognise that the infestation of squatters (both literal and figurative) in Philippine society — the way their parasitical numbers utterly dwarf the nmore self-reliant amongst us — is a statistical reflection of the nature of our society; that perhaps ours is still a society that is more primitive than we would like to believe.

Bottom line: finding the real root cause of poverty in the Philippines is not as simple as believing the victim card traditional “activists” would like us to play every time we decide to participate in that “noble” endeavour. The key to that quest may lie in our collective resolve to face the confronting notion of our society’s profound Squatter Mentality.

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29 Comments on “Filipinos and their Squatter Mentality culture”

  1. I’m just wondering, specially on the part where you relate how black people are more racists than white people since they even hate their own kind, don’t you think we suffer the same fate as them? I’ve heard so much hatred of our own kind far worse than how the Chinese and other ethnics in the Philippines has to say about Pinoys. Sad but true.

  2. Living a hard life being poor, if not “how can I get out of poverty”, you’re supposed to hear a ‘victim’ of poverty asking “how can I be rich”? Unless that person have a squatter mentality.

    The media could play a big role here. Just recently “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho” featured this Filipino couple who became millionaire starting off with selling ice candy from a P300 profit selling ice water or “yelo” with P20 capital. We have a lot of cases of Filipinos getting out of poverty and not by sheer luck but by taking risk and hard work (we also have the case of a welder, OFW, and a garbage collector turned millionaire). If the media can show more of this, they can urge the people to again ponder on the right question. Also, they can feature notable leaders like Dick Gordon on how he was able to transform Subic from “sin city” to a “model city” or Duterte on how Davao City became three-time outstanding local government under his charge, or the Filipino inventors being pirated by other countries.

    Of course, getting out of poverty is not an overnight affair like when luck gets you winning big cash from a game show or a lottery. That’s more of a fantasy than a reality. Phil media could show the people a more realistic and reasonable way.

    1. Well, yeah, some may reason “wala na ngang makain” so ang maiisip na lang how to survive o saan kukuha ng pangkain. It’s difficult if people limit themselves with that kind of thinking. See, natira kami sa lugar na one side tinitirhan ng mga magbobote. Ang mag-asawa mangongolekta at maghuhugas ng bote. Every family has atleast 3 kids and one or two of the kids in the family don’t go to school and help instead in washing bottles. ‘Yong mga magbobote aside from collecting bottles, they are also into sales. Maabilidad sila. They would buy old or broken things, electrical appliances ipapagawa sa kilala nilang electrician, clean it up and sell it for a better price. My mom was able to buy antique chairs, Coke fridge, and a table from them. Another neighbor bought a burger fryer from them. Hindi sila nagbebenta ng palyado since they know they will spend more for having the stuff fixed twice, if you have little hindi mo maiisip paano malugi. Two of the magbobote have their own little land and place in their province. If they have the chance to go “home”, when they return they have a lot of “pasalubong” (vegetables, fruits, crops) with them. As to why they remain poor is because they stick with washing bottles and they only buy and sell stuffs pandagdag sa panggastos. They also always have drinking session on weekends. Anyway, they all have a television to tell them okay lang to be poor and a time will come when they will gain something out of their poverty.

    2. The filipino couple who turned millionaire with a start up capital of P20. is not telling the whole story. It’s too good to be true, similar to the story of a jeepney driver turned millionaire being told by ‘Forever Living Products’ to their unsuspecting investor-victims in their seminars. That ice candy story segment in KMJS episode is more likely an advertorial than a true, realistic story!

      1. 😀 It can’t be the whole story of course. We can’t fit the whole story in less than 10 minute clip especially if their story took 5 years in the making. Anyway, care to share the true details?

  3. Every time I, as an American, offer some constructive criticism or suggestion I am told “go back where you came from (if you don’t like our ignorance and dysfunction).”

    As to the Muslims making money…I once attended a Pacman fight in SM, CDO and by the time I returned to Malaybalay, Bukidnon 3 hours later, the Muslim shops nalready had the fight available on VCD for sale. Those people somehow are industrious, even if doing illegal work.

    1. LOL, it has been said that ‘Some people prefer the comfort of their own idiocies’, truer words have ne’er been spoken when it comes to 3rd world idiocy. This mentality it is truly idiotic and in the entire 3rd world this mentality is prevalent,not just the Philippines. I have seen it in many places,differing contexts but same mentality…..pure mind-numbing idiocy.and BTW, the response is always the same:”Go back to where….”, it is as if their idiocy is the only thing they have and if they give that up,OH SHIT….they will really have nothing (be fucked). It is both SAD and yet Funny at the same time.

      I have been in Malabalay many times (when I could stand making the trip on the highway from CDO to Bukidnon, UGH!!!)and stayed in the ‘HOMESTEAD HOTEL’ in Valencia,is it? A nice rural area that has some really nice streams to fish and swim in.Very natural and serene environment when you can get there with only a few people around.The U.S. miltary built a spot close by there that has some really great places to swim, the name escapes me but I always thought the place was just beautiful.

  4. Lets talk about racism.

    Again, you run into a trap of nazi ideology. At first, if some black guys behave begot it does not judge racism against them. Chris Rock simplyfied this issue he talked about.

    The issue is more complex. Think of a 16 year old white high school student in the US who is caught pickpocketing. It is likely that he will be sentenced to do some hours of community work during weekends or to join some educational treatment. But a black guy, same age, same school, same neighborhood may be sent to jail. There he may get first contacts to criminal gangs. A jail term means he has to drop out of school and may start a gangster carreer. Then he learns the behavior Chris Rock is talking about and ones he is grown up he mayforward it to his kids.

    So if we talk about racism we have to consider more the structual racism than individual behavior.

    1. Stefan,
      I totally agree with you regarding that pickpockting (PP) situation (black vs white). But if you and I know this, shouldnt we stay away from “pickpocketing” or do you wanna proof a point and continue pickpocketing? We can also join a gang straight from the streets without PP.

  5. It is the “Collective Unconsciouness” of most Filipinos: FREEBEES. Look at during elections. The candidates give to the voters: free “tsinelas”; free t-shirts; free “tuyo, sardines, rice, noodles, etc…

    Politicians know this “Freebees Mentality” of Filipinos. So, if you Squat on somebody’s property or on government lands. It is “Free Land”; Free Rent ; Free Housing; Free Water; Free Electricity; Free Taxes; etc…

    You have also to pander for sympathy of people: that you are “poor”, and a victim of the circumstances you are in…it is like the “Slave Mentality” of the ancient Israelites, who wondered in the desert for 40 Years…
    We cannot enter our “Promised Land” of our own, with this kind of Filipino mentality.

    1. I forgot to mention…it is Free Toilet, also. Compromising the Sanitation of the community, where these Squatters are dwelling.
      You can see the idiocy of these people. You can blame the government for tolerating this kind of situation; politicians need the block votes of these squatters.

      1. We cannot enter our “Promised Land” of our own, with this kind of Filipino mentality.

        Unfortunately some of them believe they’re in the “Promise Land” (squatter) since they’ve already attained their ultimate goal of amassing freebies (t-shirt, corned beef, etc). Low self-esteem leads them to believe that’s all they’re worth.

    2. Pa-side comment lang po. ‘Yang tungkol sa freebies ay parte po ng prohibited acts sa Election Code. Malinaw po iyang nakasaad doon. Kulong at disqualification na po ang katapat n’yan. Dahil po sa mga freebies na ‘yan kaya bumababaw ang basehan ng mga tao sa pinipiling mamumuno at lumalaki rin po ang campaign funds. Maluwag po ang COMELEC. Hindi nila ginagamit ang totoong kapangyarihan nila sa eleksyon dahil maraming nakakaligtas sa kanilang ilegal sa campaign season. Dapat rin po maamyendahan ‘yong sa disqualification of candidates. Masyadong maluwag ang batas natin ‘pag dating sa mga tumatakbong kandidato. ‘Yan po ang dahilan kaya walang improvement sa mga politiko natin. Kahit hindi qualified o kahit nakaka-corrupt nakakatakbo o nakakabalik sa pwesto. Malaking tulong po sa mga botante at sa malawakang pagbabago kung bibigyang pansin ng lawmakers natin ‘yang disqualification at qualifications ng candidates. Iba ho kasi ang totoong intelihente sa tusong politiko.

  6. racism – the belief that one race is superior to others and we are all guilty of being racists

    if i can translate this to the Filipino setting, i would call it regional racism..the belief that one who comes from a different region in the country then they are better than the rest..the tagalogs are better than the cebuanos, the cebuanos are better than the ilonggos, the illongos are better than anyone else and so on and so forth..the tagalogs are better than people from the south..and if you come from further south, then the lower your status becomes..that is one reason why we are never united as one people….we call the whites as racists but in truth we are racists as well..because we look down on other people depending on where they come from…hey, we even think we are better than the african-americans because they are black and we are brown and brown is closer to white than black..why do we buy all those whitening products if we are not racists..maybe losing that mentality can solve all our social ills and unite us as one…no tagalog, no cebuanos, no ilonggos, no aetas, no muslim, no christian…just Filipino

  7. The squatting problem gone lare courtesy of Joey Lina and associates (Hence called Stupid Lina’s law.) Tayo lang ang may batas na pag nagtrespassing ka sa isang private land e wala kang criminal liability at di ka mapapaalis unless merong relocati site na nakahanda para sayo. Ilang presidente na ang dumaan pero di pa rin naabolish ang Stupid Lina’s law dahil lahat ng politician ay interesado sa boto ng mga mapanlamang na squatter. Mapanlamang dahil wala silang binabayarang amilyar, karamihan sa kanila ay hindi tax payers at karamihan sa kanila ay unemployed at umaasa lang sa pera ng bayan. Tama ang ginawa ni Lee Kwan Yu na hinihiya ang ayaw magtrabaho sa Singapore, malabong umunlad ang Pinas kung lagi nating iniisip na kawawa ang lahat ng mahirap.

    1. “Tayo lang ang may batas na pag nagtrespassing ka sa isang private land e wala kang criminal liability at di ka mapapaalis unless merong relocati site na nakahanda para sayo.”

      Agree. I was shocked when I first arrived here from the states to discover that if you found a squatter in *your own* property, you would have to go to a lengthy legal process to evict the squatters from your own property which which they trespassed in the first place! Mind-boggling.

      Squatting is parasitic behavior. It comes from a mindset of lack. Politicians feed the parasites, and they multiply, so politicians are the bigger problem. They’re in a position of leadership, but they abuse their power, and instead perpetuate societal problems. Parasites need to be transformed to become contributing members of society instead of being a blood-sucking burden.

  8. VICTIMS ARE VOLUNTEERS !!!! There is no such thing as a victim that is of legal age,21 yrs.+.
    The ‘Less-Affluent’ Filipino does indeed remind me of the ‘NIGGERS’ in the USA, it is EXACTLY what they remind me of. With one subtle difference, not all ‘Less-affluent’ Filipino’s want to kill people they feel insulted by.’NIGGERS’ in the USA use it as an excuse to kill people and even go so far as to ‘look’ for these alleged ‘excuses’/perceived insults/imaginary slights to do so.
    As for the ‘root’ causes of poverty in the Philippines,WOW !!! That is a big issue. Slave wages has A LOT to do with it. I mean,seriously:When a Filipino lands a job as a ‘Call Center’ agent, they actually have one of the better paying jobs in the country ? Holy Shit ! THAT IS PATHETIC!!!! P500/day to speak English to Westerners that really do not want to talk to them but have no choice because the banks/credit card companies are too fuckin cheap to hire an American/European to to do the job.Filipino’s take these jobs or go abroad to work as OFW’s because there are no decent opportunities at home. Working in a store for P300/day? Who the fuck would even want to show up ?
    This type of poverty wage is what supports ,rather than eliminates, the ‘Squatter mentality’ as it offers no better living conditions than that of a squatter anyway,yes? SO why even bother?I’d have to say that lack of opportunity and high taxes and electricity rates(THE WORLD’S HIGHEST ELECTRICITY RATES !) are big hurdles in the arena of overcoming stagnant and poverty wages. Having to resort to ripping off tourists and ex-pats gets a li’l difficult because they all know they are targets and are ready for the Bull-Shit stories and scams that many Filipino’s THINK they are good at,HA…they don’t realize that the people they are targetting are the ones that lived in the places where those scams wer dreamed up 50 years ago !!!
    Finally the corruption plaguing the gov’t and therefor eliminating the trickle down economics from taking place is a contributing factor as well.
    THE COUNTRY IS TRULY FUCKED and I am glad I was not born there, for sure.! FUCK ME, if I was !!!

    1. Bing Bong,
      as far as I know Dutch (and probably other European) companies move their call centers to low-wage countries. They also did this in the past with their factories/plants (to Eastern Europe).

      I dont know that much about wages in the Philippines and I dont know much about the workforce in the Philippines but there is a very important economic principle that looks like this:
      If there are more employees than jobs then wages go down.

      So there are 2 variables here:
      the total number of employees (the total workforce) and the wages.
      Only the government can do something about the wages by installing a certain minimum wage (the government can only facilitate here).
      As far as the workforce is concerned the government can do little to none.
      Maybe people should start procreate less.

      1. @ Robert,the cheep as shit banks send the jobs there and pay crap wages to people.and yet in the USA they get bailed out, after stealing 100’s of billions,with a B, of $$$$ losses to the tune of a trillion $$$.The cheap fucks.I hate cheap! because its cheap.

  9. These squatters aren’t just aliens, drifters and undesirables. They’re new world barbarians, conquering free spaces and making them their own.

  10. You fucking suck real bad you evil people. YOU HEAR ME. YOU’RE GONNA GO IN HELL. If religion is true then it serves a good purpose.

  11. There is a strong similarity between the oppressive, victim-like thinking of African Americans and that of Filipinos. The manifestations of both cultures are also similar: in the states impoverished African Americans abount in ghettos and depend on the welfare system to survive. Squatters are the Philippine version of African Americans who are for many generations dependent on hand-outs from the government and some activists blame slavery (colonization in the Philippines) for their many disadvantages and misfortunes.

    What I see is a stronghold (mindset) in both cultures that keeps them stuck in repetitive self-defeating behavior and thus ghetto enclaves. The mindset includes self-pity, spirit of poverty, spirit of failure, etc. With this kind of believe system, even if you were to hand them opportunities, they’d still find ways to sabatoge them, because the problems lie in their mind/belief systems that binds them to perpetual failure. What they need is radical change in belief systems that, after internalized, would produce successful behavior. Unfortunately, strongholds, by nature are difficult to overcome without divine help, thus the name “strong”hold, and upon overcoming them must be immediately replaced with Godly, scripture-based principles that would build up the person to think and act in ways accordingly, i.e. successful.
    There is a strong similarity between the oppressive, victim-like thinking of African Americans and that of Filipinos. The manifestations of both cultures are also similar: in the states impoverished African Americans abount in ghettos and depend on the welfare system to survive. Squatters are the Philippine version of African Americans who are for many generations dependent on hand-outs from the government and some activists blame slavery (colonization in the Philippines) for their many disadvantages and misfortunes.

    What I see is a stronghold (mindset) in both cultures that keeps them stuck in repetitive self-defeating behavior and thus ghetto enclaves. The mindset includes self-pity, spirit of poverty, spirit of failure, etc. With this kind of believe system, even if you were to hand them opportunities, they’d still find ways to sabatoge them, because the problems lie in their mind/belief systems that binds them to perpetual failure. What they need is radical change in belief systems that, after internalized, would produce successful behavior. Unfortunately, strongholds, by nature are difficult to overcome without divine help, thus the name “strong”hold, and upon overcoming them must be immediately replaced with Godly, scripture-based principles that would build up the person to think and act in ways accordingly, i.e. successful.

  12. “Even more interesting, some of these “non-Filipinos” who have become tight-lipped about their personal views about the Philippines’ world-renowned dysfunctions (lest they be targetted by riding-in-tandem assassins) are long-time residents of the islands and pillars of the economies of their respective local communities. Talk about wasted insight! Indeed, all that knowledge technology has made so widely-available is all but wasted on the ignorant.”

    The non-Filipinos are withholding their comments for the same reason non-African Americans do: to avoid being misjudged as racist. That’s the usual knee-jerk reaction to someone from a differing race who makes insightful, non-favorable remarks about the weaknesses of a certain ethnic race — “bigot!”.

  13. I must confess that I have, at times, entertained a scenario wherein a legitimate landowner decides to implement a “scorched earth” policy on his own land. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, it follows the premise that “if I cannot keep it, I will destroy it.”

    And then I imagine how it would play out against a land heavily infested with squatter colonies. For some reason, I just can’t finish the hypothetical scenario.

  14. The real victims of the squatter mentality that pervades and invades every aspect of Philippine society are the hard working intellectuals. They are literally robbed of the right to a decent living by the disproportionate allocation of the hard earned money they pay in taxes, most of which goes to support the lazy and self-entitled patrons of corrupt politicians. That being the case, it is no wonder that a large portion of the more educated and capable people are leaving the country to find greener pastures. It’s not just for the money, it’s largely for the peace of mind and for a fair allocation of benefits due them and their family. Please look deeper into this, your next article is much awaited. Thank you! -Matthew Bernardo

  15. The problem with the Philippines, and with many former-colony-developing countries. The systems left by the colonizers were never meant to benefit the many. It’s not just about working hard. Saying that would be disrespectful to the many “poor” people who work hard (sometimes two or three separate jobs) but never seem to become “rich” (whatever that even means. For some it means having a big house, big car, being a millionaire, etc. Finding the real definition of “rich” is another issue). The Philippines, unfortunately, did not benefit from the societal values and systems imposed and left behind by the Spanish and the Americans. Take a look at Spain today and you will see that it’s not the best example of a fair and economically healthy society in Europe, compared to, say, Denmark or Sweden. Take a look at the United States with their high levels of inequality, incarceration levels and gun violence and you will see that it is not the best example of a fair and socially healthy society in North America compared to, say, Canada (full discolure: I am Filipino-Canadian). This is not even to blame the Philippines’ colonizers , although they did a lot of damage. Many Filipinos still knowingly or subconsiously subscribe to the values that were left behind by their colonizers. Everything from “the American Dream” to our veneration of the old Spanish-Filipino aristocracy. What the Philippines needs is not to work harder but to realize that the current system only benefits the rich few. The ones who control power and money. What the Philippines needs is a strong social-security net that will help lift people out of poverty so that it’s not just the people with “connections” who get ahead in life. But to get to this stage there needs to be a hell of a lot more trust in society and a lot less selfishness perpetuated by our obsession with American-style consummerism and Spanish-style focus on “family name/clan affiliation”. People need to stop thinking only about “me me me and my immediate family only” and start trusting each other to build communities.

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