The folly in Pag May Laya May Nilaga


The trouble with the Philippines is that it hinged all of its aspirations on one thing: being a “free” and “democratic” society. Thus, on that idea, was built the flawed notion that freedom under a democracy was the one and only key to national prosperity. And so out of that was bred the ideas that (1) authoritarianism was singularly behind the failure of the Philippines to prosper and (2) freedom and democracy was to pave the way to achieving that long-elusive prosperity.

Well, it’s been 30 years since 1986 when that “revolution” supposedly transformed the Philippines from a dictatorship into a democracy and supposedly “liberated” Filipinos from oppression. Has the Philippines prospered since? Whether or not Filipinos are better off will forever remain debatable as 30 years of “freedom” has not convincingly delivered results. Indeed, democracy “won” in 1986 removed a “lack of freedom” as an excuse for failure. In short, the failure to prosper in the last 30 years is, by all intents and purposes, inexcusable — because Filipinos no longer have anyone or anything else to blame for that failure but themselves.

Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

The Philippines was liberated from Japanese occupation and gained its “independence” in 1946. Strike 1. 1986 was Strike 2. Thirty years is a long enough time to prove that Pag May Laya, May Nilaga (“where there is freedom, there is prosperity”). Instead, Filipinos have since proven that freedom does not necessarily pave the way to prosperity any more than a lack of corruption underlies a lack of poverty. President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III’s Daang Matuwid (“straight path”) slogan and its derivative Pag Walang Kurap, Walang Mahirap tagline are products of the same thinking that came up with the notion that freedom causes prosperity.

Pag may laya, may nilaga.

It sounds nice and poetic. Unfortunately, like its cousin Pag Walang Kurap, Walang Mahirap it is a non sequitur on a national scale that Filipinos latched onto with fatal consequences. Rather than make freedom work for them, Filipinos abused their freedom. Instead of expanding their horizons and enlarging their minds, freedom’s effect on Filipinos was to further shrivel their collective intellect as well as broaden and deepen the scope of their idiocy.

The truth has finally dawned on Filipinos that “freedom” cannot be served with rice on their dinner tables. Nor did it result in a faster road trip between Quezon City and Makati. Neither did freedom support Filipinos’ efforts to develop a longer-lasting lightbulb. Indeed, the lights, instead, went completely dark recently at the country’s premiere international airport named, in all glorious irony, after the supposed “father” of that “freedom” Filipinos supposedly enjoy today.

Rather than lament the thought processes of today’s Filipino youth, more credit should be given to them. To the consternation of the aging guardians of these old Yellow notions borne out of that 1986 “revolution”, the Philippines’ young voters are showing what real reform is about — by solving a problem using ideas different from the thinking that created that problem.

What is the Philippines’ biggest problem?

None other than poverty. It hasn’t changed. The Philippines remains an impoverished Third World basketcase. Did “freedom” prove to be enough to bring about prosperity? There is ample evidence that it didn’t. Freedom in the hands of Filipinos was more akin to a blowtorch in the hands of a two-year-old let loose in a wooden house. Democracy was more a form of entertainment than a means to work. Instead of being used to lay a sound foundation to build a strong nation, democracy was used to demolish what little was left of the pillars of dignity, discipline, and capital in Philippine society.

Credit to finally seeing beyond the much-vaunted but ultimately-poisonous perks of “freedom” and setting sights on the disciplines required to earn that freedom should go to today’s youth — the “millenials” who some people would rather diss for not properly interpreting history. On the contrary young Filipinos have learned history’s lessons a lot better than people twice their age have. They have earned their right to vote.

11 Replies to “The folly in Pag May Laya May Nilaga

  1. Many Filipinos don’t know what are the different views of freedom rather than to be free from oppressors. The financial independence, a lot of us still dependent for living, lazy to create their own living, emotionally independent which is you don’t need someone’s opinion to be the validation of your worth. Mentally or psychological independent, this one happen when we prison the mind in only one perceptive, that’s why many had brainwash easily. When someone is mentally with strong sense of ethics, he don’t need the opinion of others if he think he’s right but he is not closed to criticism ‘coz he know either they are constructive or not.

  2. Filipinos national psyche is forge in tyranny and opression,and have no value or esteem for self and others. Most of our societal ills is based on the fact that we have not develop the sense of National Conscience and commitment to build and make this Nation strong, amongst ourselves, our greatest enemy is ourselves no one else, it’s dog eat dog culture no pun intended.

  3. To quote the great late Ferdinand Marcos, “sa ika-uunlad ng bayan, DISIPLINA ang kailangan”

    We Pinoys have become so spoiled with democracy, we need a leader like Duterte to impose some sort of “martial law” to keep us in place.

  4. “Freedom is not Free”. Freedom is used by the Aquino YellowTards to sell their ideas to the ignorant Filipinos. On the other hand: we are not a Democracy. We are Feudal Oligarchy.

    Freedom is just a concept. It cannot bring us three meals a day; or feed our families. Freedom is not a “ticket”, to do anything, for free. We are bound by laws; whereby, if we violate these laws….we could end up in jail.

    To Aquino and his YellowTards. Freedom is the right to make a lot of money, on deals (legal or illegal)…the right to use : DAP, PDAF, Pork Barrel Briberey, vanish the Typhoon Yonada Relief funds, etc…freedom to them is good. It made them rich , at our expense….

  5. The problem is that the Filipino did not really become free in the truest sense of the word. Anarchy is not freedom. Trading one political family for another is not freedom.

    Real freedom and real self-determination will result in prosperity… but only if, when freedom and self-determination is had, the people can handle it. If they can’t, they can’t be called free.

    A person who refuses to leave an unlocked cage is still caged—we cannot and should not equate the fact that it is unlocked with the stooge being “free” and then blame “freedom” as being unsatisfactory.

    A person who has to “vote Yellow” just to be seen as a person who “can freely vote” is not really “freely” voting.

  6. Freedom is a right given to anyone to act, speak or think without hindrance or restraint. It is not however equivalent to run amok, tramples other’s right and deliberately cause anarchy to society.

    Also, the government of any country is the representation of it’s people. It’s somewhat, in a sense mirrors the people itself. What can be said to it’s government can be also said to it’s people. The problem probably is that people don’t actually realize that they and their government is in a sense the same.

    The government is always responsible for it’s people and the people responsible for their government.

    1. Dusk, you are my hero. People many times do not understand freedom here in the Filipinos nor does the poor in the USA understand freedom. Freedom give you the right to fail or have success by your own free will. Many people life themselves out of poverty as I did in America. I still have friends that I grew up with that always want money when I go home to visit. This are the same friends that blame the government for their problems and want the government to take care of them. I actually think the Philippines just like most poor people do not belong in a free country. These people need a socialist or a true communist country to tell them what job they will work and how to live their life. After all people always want to compare how strong China and some other countries are. They should be given that life. Especially the rule of only having one child. That rule only would fix alot of problems of the poor and the standard Filipino.

      1. It goes beyond one-child policies. It also involves centralising all government operations, re-nationalising public utilities and transport, among others.

        China only managed to ease into capitalism easily because of a framework strenghtened by decades of COmmunist rule

      2. William, apparently there’s a truth to some of what you said. I really do not understand why the people in the Philippines are to complacent. Although they complain a lot but that’s it no action just noise.

        Upon so many years of observing, I guess you’re probably right to say that it is socialist country that they need. They just want to be spoon fed all the times.

  7. Failipinos in the Failippines don’t want children to know what they need to know. They want their kids to know what they ought to need to know. If you’re a teacher you’re in a constant battle with mildly deluded adults who think the world will get better if you imagine it is better. You want to teach about sex? Fine, but only when they’re old enough to do it. You want to talk politics? Sure, but nothing modern. Freedom and Religion? So long as you don’t actually think about it. Otherwise some furious mob will come to your house and burn you for a witch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.