We have long held on to the notion that the Philippines is actually a nation in the modern sense. On the surface, it does seem that way. If one looks hard and deeply enough, however, one can see the Philippines for what it truly is: a patchwork, broken glass, glued together puzzle made up of ethnic groups who do little else but tolerate each other. The Philippines, unfortunately, is an example of an entity where the whole is much less than the sum of its parts.
Countless times have proposals been thrown for the Philippines to change from being a unitary system, where the central government holds all authority over and makes decisions for the subordinate local governments, to a federal republic, in which the subunits are considered self-governing and sovereign. In the context of the current discussion about granting the “Bangsamoro people” autonomy, it seems like a good idea to fully federalize the Philippine republic so that not one ethnic group is to be favored over the others; give all ethnic groups within the scope of the Philippine Republic the chance to “govern” themselves.
My impression of successful nations, however, is that regardless of the set-up (unitary or federal), is that even if the sub-units or ethnicities governed under that nation go their separate ways, i.e., go about their daily local affairs, they are a part of a union that has agreed upon a collective ideal that all parties concerned share. In other words, they perceive or see something in the union greater than themselves worth aspiring and becoming part of it for.
So, now we ask Filipinos a few uncomfortable questions:
What is there in the Philippine nation worth being part of it for?
Why do you remain part of the Philippine nation, and;
Is it still worth it?
GRP webmaster benign0 has expressed quite well just what kind of nation, what kind of entity the Philippines really is:
The Philippines, after all, is no more than an artificial state originally created by the Spanish crown mainly for the purpose of consolidating and streamlining colonial administration of its assets in the region. The former countries of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, and now internally-unstable Rwanda, come to mind when one thinks of what the Philippines is all about — an agglomeration of fiefdoms that remain stuck together for the purpose of keeping alive nostalgic relics of 19th Century “nationalist” thinking and not for any real practical or measurable ends befitting a modern 21st Century society.
It was not even the ethnic groups now comprising the Philippines who decided to form that entity in the first place. It took a foreign power to lump us all into one bunch. After we were granted independence by the colonial powers, we never quite coalesced into a cohesive union with any grand, all-encompassing ideal to stand for.
The many ethnic groups here in the Philippines live amongst each other, even despite each other, and it seems much easier for them to say “I am of this ethnic group” rather than “I am a Filipino!” Therefore, it seems that they end their loyalty to their ethnic group, and do not see themselves as part of an all-encompassing national cause.
Visayans and Mindanaoans, in particular, do not hide the contempt they feel for “Imperial Manila”. They do not hide their sentiment that if the Philippines were a federal republic they would have seceded a long time ago. Who can blame them; the members of the other two island groups apart from Luzon feel the presence of the central government only when they want something, or when a natural calamity arises. And even in the case of the latter, the response is either delayed or dictated by party lines. So therefore pretty much they’re all on their own (bahala kayo sa buhay niyo!) under ordinary circumstances.
The Philippines seems too big an entity for Filipinos to govern properly, much less effectively. Filipinos are doomed by a heritage of smallness, as Nick Joaquin calls it, that keeps them from becoming into something bigger than all of themselves. The skewed sense of “unity” that Filipinos have continues to cause their society to unravel.
It has been said that adversity brings a team together. The Philippine “nation” has had no shortage of adversity, so why hasn’t the team come together?
Filipinos in the Philippines seemingly can’t find in themselves to keep their egos in check and be part of a team.
They want to be the lone star.
They place their own interests above everybody else’s.
They are more concerned about being in the spotlight than they are about performing their role well, and are more concerned with “what’s in it for me?” instead of “how can I contribute to the greater good?”
Filipinos are more interested in “star quality” than they are with “high quality”.
They want quick results and generally have disdain for hard work.
They brag a lot, but ask them to back it up and usually they turn up hollow.
They are fond of doing, but not of thinking.
Their tendency is to frown upon unconventional thinking and act like crabs, because it pushes them out of their comfort zone and violates their sense of “tradition”. It also forces them to think, something they don’t like doing.
They don’t value diversity, and can’t take criticism and adversity very well.
They think that being Filipino confers on them an inherent special quality or greatness.
Filipinos choose their “coaches” very poorly.
Filipinos do not feel a sense of belonging to a bigger “national cause”, so what then keeps them together?
The evidence seems to point to the fact that Filipinos excel more apart than when together. All you have to do is ask the millions who have gone overseas to seek greener pastures – and have never come back.
Divorce is still far from becoming a reality here in the Philippines. Conservatives consider it an affront to the “family as an institution” belief that runs deep in the Philippines. But they would rather have that marriages that don’t work out or have become abusive, usually for the woman, keep the pretense of marriage going for show, kasi nakakahiya.
I guess, in a similar way, Filipinos are still denying that they are not really a nation, nor were they ever, in a modern sense. Nakakahiyang aminin na hindi talaga kami nagka-isa. It would be mortifying to admit that they never came together. Much like a marriage kept up for show, Filipinos would rather stay in a “union” which keeps pulling them down. All because of some comfortable, “traditional”, romantic notion of a “union” that is outdated.
Now would really be a good time to re-examine the concept of a Philippine “nation”, especially since the current president Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino is not shy about giving away parts of his country to a terrorist group. As a result of kicking out the American bases due to some nebulous sense of “national pride”, the Philippines now stands to lose territory to China – territory that it could never defend by itself without America’s help. Who knows how far China will go and how much more land they will claim?
Perhaps the time has indeed come for the Philippines to dissolve for good.
- Things of the past - November 30, 2018
- The difference between Duterte’s words and the Opposition’s - October 31, 2018
- Why are Filipinos reluctant to call wrongdoing out? - September 30, 2018
- Going around in circles - August 31, 2018
- Resurgence, relevance, and regard for the future, all in the SONA - July 31, 2018