The REAL reason why killing is easy in the Philippines


“Human rights” is the current rallying cry of the Philippines’ “civil society” today. This renewed interest is backdropped by the noticeable escalation in the number of homicide cases reported in the media recently which, activists allege, can be traced back to words of encouragement supposedly issued by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself. So the logical leap being taken by these “activists” is that Duterte’s words caused this sudden rise in homicides.

That may be true. Then again, maybe it is not.

The abundance of human life in the Philippines puts downward pressure on its per-unit value.

The abundance of human life in the Philippines puts downward pressure on its per-unit value.

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The more important question is, why. Why is it that so many Filipinos (if indeed Duterte’s call to kill resonated across Philippine society) so readily stepped up to heed the call? Why do so many more give tacit approval to all this by remaining silent? Why are Filipinos so ready to kill given the command from a respected leader?

What these “activists” lament as travesities against “human rights” evidently highlights a disturbing reality about Philippine society — Filipinos’ low regard for human life. In short, Filipinos do not value human life as much as other societies do. These latest travesities against everything the First World holds dear serves as a reminder that the Philippines remains a backward society — one that finds its aspirations trapped at the lowest rungs of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

At its most benign, a low regard for human life can be found in the banal manner with which precious hours of the average Filipino’s life is routinely wasted away in her daily commutes to and from work. A society that can tolerate an enormous number of its people being imprisoned in a daily commute on such a vast scale that we see today cannot be considered to be a society that values human life.

Consider too, Filipinos’ attitudes towards punctuality. “Filipino time” (the anti-thesis to Western concepts of punctuality) is deeply-ingrained in Philippine society. To be always late is to be quintessentially Filipino. People from the First World would be deeply offended when kept waiting by a tardy party. To Filipinos, however, the nature of this offense taken by a Western victim of Filipino time is hopelessly beyond the grasp of their damaged minds.

And so it starts with little things. Benign evidence of a lack of respect for human life — such as a lack of regard for punctuality or a lack of appreciation for ways to improve quality-of-life — snowballs into ever bigger things. Further up the scale of criticality as far as regard for human life is safety consciousness. Filipinos aren’t safety conscious. We see it day-to-day; the way manholes are left uncovered, the carelessness with which roadworks and construction sites are left exposed to public access, etcetera etcetera. And as if it weren’t enough that the time one spends in their daily commute adds up, over a lifetime, to a prison sentence befitting murderers, Filipinos are exposed daily to high risks of preventable injury and death going to and from work. A road network populated by drug-crazed jeepney and bus drivers, demented motorcyclists, and motorised assassins may make for a good video game scenario but, unfortunately, describe the reality of routine motoring on Manila’s streets.

The list is long. We can keep citing ever-escalating instances of lack-of-care-for-human-life that rachets up the level of accountability for that travesity progressively from mere apathy to the top rung of it all — criminal intent; i.e. actually killing people. Given that perspective — the way Philippine society is basically rigged from the bottom-up to be uncaring about people — makes the killing we see today really not that surprising at all. It’s like the inclination to kill has long been there. It just took a spark to ignite the spree.

All this ultimately points to that important thing that needs to be said about the supply side of this equation. The confronting fact is that the enormous supply of warm Filipino bodies puts downward pressure on its value. That’s just plain economics. The Law of Supply-and-Demand dictates that when supply exceeds demand in a market, prices fall. In the Philippines, there’s just too many people and not enough need for those people. And so the market corrects this imbalance — much the way Mother Nature does in any ecosystem. Something’s gotta give.

The “killings” we are seeing today are just the most recent (and, at the moment, the most media-hyped) of such market correction mechanisms at work in the ecosystem of Philippine society. There is no “evil intent” at work here. It’s just human nature rearing its ugliest head. Ugliness is a subjective adjective people use to describe something that offends their moral sensibilities. But in a free market, there is no morality. There is just the market and the dynamic that is a function of the ebbs and flows of supply and demand. No amount of prayer to a “moral” god or any high-horsed notions of “human rights” parroted from European textbooks can supplant the supremacy of that demand-and-supply curve.

Filipinos’ aspirations to be a society that places a premium value on human life can only be realised when the imbalance between the supply of human life and the demand for it is corrected. Until then, Filipino life will always be cheap — and killing will always be easy.

[Photo courtesy Forbes.]

45 Replies to “The REAL reason why killing is easy in the Philippines”

  1. As an OFW living in the USA reading this is hilarious and sad at the same time. To think the author states ,with a straight face?, that there is ‘no evil intent at work here’ in regards to the recent spike in murders of drug dealers on the streets of the city I call home is absolutely and unequivacally the most uninformed statement I have ever heard uttered by a felow countrymen. Has this guy been under a rock during the run up to the election and fail to hear what the elected President said prior to it?i’m half way around the world and its real obvious over here. ‘Market forces at work’? You can not be serious. Never in my life have I seen or heard a more evil intent to murder people proclaimed by a Presidentiable and then carried through right after the election.
    If this article is not said with tongue firmly implanted in-cheek there is no hope for the guy who wrote those words to ever be taken seriously again.MABUHAY !!!

    1. Haha. You made the right decision by leaving for the US. Don’t worry, when all this killing is over and balance is regained, you can come home to a clean, orderly and safe Philippines, where public transport is safe, reliable, fast and has reach.

  2. When we attempt to clear up the mess others have made, or when we love the unlovely, we demonstrate the kind of weirdness God likes. We give the lie to the evolutionary survival of the fittest maxim.

  3. So how would Duterte’s relentless stance against criminality lift us up from this disregard of human value? Do dutertards like me sadly, contribute the culture of devaluing life even more?

    1. Dutertetards value life. They value the lives of their cops whom they don’t want risking their lives trying to arrest crazed low-lives. When the person they need to arrest resists, they must shoot him dead before he can bring his guns to bear on them. They value the lives of innocents and of the working man. This scourge of contractualization must end. They value the lives of non-imperialist Manilans by presenting the regions with an opportunity to govern themselves autonomously through Federalism.

  4. VALUE is inversely proportional to QUANTITY – it’s the universal law of markets/economies. A healthy ecosystem requires balance. In fact culling is done in the wild to keep the various species surviving. However, we can’t possible do that on humans – right?

    And Filipinos suffer; many naturally leave for more breathing room and to find decency.

    We have a chicken & egg problem: overpopulation & poverty/ignorance go hand like the banging pendulum balls of Newton’s cradle.

    So how do you fix it? Sorry folks…The solution is “well guarded secret”

    But I really can’t help wonder about this newest viral picture in town.

    How in the world can you even fart in the middle of the night with the face of a tattoo-filled convicted killer just next to your butt?

    1. After the Black Death in Europe, there was actually a significant economic boom because lots of jobs still needed doing and there were very few people to do them. People had to up their game, and life got easier and more interesting for the survivors.

      Given the general lack of hygiene, overcrowding, and woeful standard of medical care, the country is long overdue for an epidemic (not counting the epidemic of crime, of course, which doesn’t work the same way as an infectious disease). In other words, human populations usually cull themselves eventually.

      1. That piece of insight was actually written about by Peter Ackroyd in his book The History of England which I cited in a past article of mine

        Ackroyd describes just such a situation in medieval England following the decimation of her majesty’s population by the plague. English labour actually became so valuable that her feudal administrators at the time had to implement a maximum wage law to curb skyrocketing labour costs…

        1. Due to advances in vaccination/medicine in our modern age, we might not see another major plague hitting the population, but that’s unless someone develops a new disease artificially (as they say, the next war will be that of the biologist).

          But there’s hope for the Pinoy. In the book, “the Next 100 Years”, first-world countries will be having such an alarming negative population growth rate, they will be literally competing for skilled workers from abroad. That’s where Pinoys come in (esp. since we pose no radical terrorism threat).

          And we all know Pinoys: they’d rather settle for 2nd class citizenship in a DECENT FUNCTIONAL first-world society than remain in their 3rd world shit hole where they reign supreme.

          And about all those warm bodies in our ever growing prisons, let’s just send them to North Korea for “processing”. Who knows, they might just come back with technical know-how on missile launch technology.

        2. Zaxx,

          “That’s where Pinoys come in (esp. since we pose no radical terrorism threat).”

          The EU (European Union) has strict rules when it comes to non-EU people to enter the EU.
          To allow to happen what you suggest, those rules have to be changed/altered first.

          Let me give you just one example what YOU have to go through if you and your Dutch GF want to settle here in the Netherlands for good:
          YOU have to do an exam in Dutch concerning the Dutch language and the Dutch culture (in the Dutch embassey in Manila).
          (I understand that the Germany has the same rule for such an exam).

          The rules for getting a Tourist Visa are different.

          Furthermore, with the tsunami of refugess we are getting at the moment, Europe isnt really waiting for another tsunami of people from the Philippines who most of them still have a backward background and a distorted world view.

          My advice is: up your (not personally meant) mindset first in line with that of advanced Europeans and then try again.

          A few years ago, a group of Russian nurses were sent back to Russia bec they didnt meet our demands. They were brought in here bec there was a lack of domestic nurses (probably not a very keen job to do among Dutch people).

        3. Zaxx,
          Although I dont know the guy, he is for sure a dork and daft.
          And she couldnt reach the airport bec she was recovering from plastic surgery? Couldnt she tell him that before he departed Amsterdam airport?

          Normandy? That is France. Do many Pinoys/Pinays speak French? The best way to be successfull in EU for pinoys/pinays is by going to an Eastern European country or a South European country. There is where you will find the most religious (read: Catholic) countries still (Spain, Italy, Poland)

        4. Then there is the issue of diplomas. A Dutch high school diploma is worth nothing to get a job. With a high school diploma a pupil will be unemployed. One needs a specific diploma or end up becoming a garbage collector.

        5. Robert,
          Well maybe the Chinese girl is still recovering emotionally like this guy…

          Plastic Surgery gone wrong

          Really, who “nose” what can go wrong!

          Good tips on how Pinoys can get into mainland Europe there. Yup, Pinoys will better adjust to the southern regions alright: Spain/Portugal; most Pinoys won’t have the mental fortitude to learn a difficult language like French or German.

          “Normandy” just represents the “gates” to conquering mainland Europe – it’s figurative based on D-day. You know Pinoys – meant to “conquer and fill” the world as OFWs/slaves/spouses.

  5. It is apparent – when visiting the Philippines – that life has little value. The lack of safety rules and awareness is very apparent. Taking a van ride through Leyte is almost suicide; people there drive like maniacs. On my last trip – riding in a van or car – I would see motorcycles and cars try to pass the truck in front of them, and almost crash into the on-coming vehicle. People there accept this danger and disregard it as a part of life. I saw so many close-calls while on the roads. No one seems to care.

    Look at the lack of emergency vehicles in the Philippines. The country received a tremendous amount of pera in donations and aid after Yolanda…where is the safety equipment that could have been bought with that pera? In most 1st world countries there are adequate ambulance services and fire vehicles. There are also medevac helicopters. Why do Filipinos accept this lack of safety? The Philippines was second to Japan – economically – in the 1980s; correct me if I’m wrong.

    There was violent crime before Duterte was around. There are millions of desperate people there, with looks of hopelessness and misery on their faces. Perhaps one reason Filipinos like fiestas so much is because they provide a break from the poverty, misery and danger many of them always feel. As long as there are desperate people, there will be crime. The culture that does not value life also contributes.

  6. So this leaves us with just one unanswered question: what, where, when and how is the break-even point reached? When does supply meet demand?

      1. LOL, as if you have a say in the matter.

        MURDER IS MURDER and the President condones it, its a fact.Deny it all you want but your denial rings hollow, and you know it. The darkness that comes in the form of a saviour is nothing but evil incarnate.The beast will wear 666, so they say, and the beast shall at first appear as the answer to everyone’s prayers.

        Do not get me wrong,Duterte is nothing but a THUG, he surely is not a beast.His lack of eloquence(not a real good spokesperson,speech deliverer.Yes, he tries, but he is just not the sharpest tack in the pack),penchant for violence and disregard for the Constitution speak to that very quality.

      2. Tough call.

        In a perfect, ideal situation the total number of available jobs equals the total available workforce so that there is no unemployment. But that is wishful thinking and only happens in theory.

        Both sides of the coin (jobs and workforce) are changing (in numbers) over time where it is evident that the number of jobs will decrease (due to automation and robotization) and the workforce is not flexible enough to adjust to that. So unemployment increases and number of jobs drops.

        To solve this inequation by just simply killing the surplus in number of people being unemployed is not really something I will endorse/advocate. Its better that future parents will take matters into their own hands and start procreate less or not at all.
        But this is also wishful thinking and theory in and for a predominant religous country like the Philippines is. They rather serve god than serving the future of themselves and/or of their kids. So Maslow’s pyramid goes down the drain with this god forsaken preference.

        Furthermore, Maslow’s pyramid doesnt work in a collectivistic mindset. It only works in an individualistic mindset.
        If it worked in a coll. mindset then by now, the Philippines would be a member of the 1st world.

      3. I’ll answer the how part: WAR (and it looks like we have a good one going, right Mr. President?)

        At least, it’s the proven American/western solution; typhoons and OFWs are still not enough to cull Pinoy population in the country.

  7. We are the enemy itself just to name a few. First our own dialects give us the disadvantage to fully engage ourselves with one another, how can I serve my own countrymen if I can’t even understand them, that is why Corrupt politicians use it to their advantage to bring more chaos to a chaotic society. We will just keep butting heads against each other because sympathizing is not convenient for most Filipinos they rather resort to violence. Ergo crab Mentality

  8. Lack of education.
    Lack of empathy.
    One dimensional me, me ,me thinking.
    Add to it filipino wanton disregard to ignore humanity and idolize anyone in the spotlight.
    Wether you choose to believe the spike in murders is just a coincidence that directly collaborates to the presidents promises( or his past where the same thing happened in davao on a smaller scale) or if you can put two and two together and realize telling people its ok to take the law into their own hands from the leader of the country sparked these events.
    Well thats really up to you which truth you want to live in.
    Leaders through out the eons have done the same thing over and over again.
    Find an enemy. Demonize him. Blame him for the countries woes.
    Destroy him.
    When that does not fix the problem find a new enemy.
    Befriend the police and the armed forces. Get their loyalty.

    Funny how noone was belittling ” human rights” when the whole world pitched in and helped the philippines from the aftermath of Yolanda.
    To claim ” human rights” is a european or western concept is complete hypocrisy.
    Are filipinos now not human?
    I swear the author and owner of this site is a complete whack job in his beliefs and i can see the communist propaganda in his every word.
    The real question is how much does he get paid for this propaganda?
    Who is he really?
    what delusion does he live in where this article does not come across as wriiten by a sociopath?

    1. Lol! Here we go. For lack of a better argument (if any) you predictably go down the path of the “paid hack” angle. And you wonder why my key assertion here is the evidently low value of Filipino lives. Ha ha!

      You can view the assertions I make here through the lens of your quaint morals. But the facts shoot straight. Filipino lives are low value. And this is evident in how Philippine society as a collective regards the well-being of its citizens in general.

      No regard for developing any of the modern perks that support any aspiration to be a just society. The fact that seriously working on this aspiration ranks low in Filipinos’ list of priorities further proves my point. Deal with it.

        1. And who are YOU really?

          It’s really sad and pathetic that you now resort to ad hominem. That’s not gonna work here, son.

    2. I swear that you’re an actual TROLL as you continue to accuse the author as a “paid hack” w/o even realizing that everything you wrote here makes you a hack with your one-sided thinking, which is also being a simpleton.

      Please set your priorities for once.

    3. What does human rights have to do with foreign assistance after Yolanda?

      Actually, human rights – from a Western standpoint – is generally bullshit. Saudi Arabia is on a UN human rights panel and they have one of the worst human rights records in the world. That’s the west’s example of human rights for you. Most people who talk human tights don’t actually believe in it; it’s all for political gain.

        1. There is a very real push to condem ” human rights ” in this country at the moment.
          Unsure what they mean.
          My objective has always been failure of due process.
          ” human rights” is what empathatic humans who have evolved enough to understand we are all connected and there is not really true” evil people” just shades of grey.
          Do i think duterte is evil?
          No. I think he is just small minded and has not thought of the consequences for his actions.
          The author here though.
          Its like he is saying that because life is cheap here ALL filipinos are likely to murder.
          I have watched over the last month or two how the blood lust is rising and how creating an enemy for the people to hate and rally against quickly turns them against their basic emapathy and their value of life.
          Why do i wonder who bendigo is?
          Why not. Its his site.he is the owner.
          These are his thoughts. Why not own them?

          The reason i ask is it feel like he is a very different person to the person who started the GRP.
          That guy was not so negative.
          Was always critical of whoever was in government.
          Wanted and believed this country could evolove into a democratic nation and he it could aspire into a emulation of a western first world country.
          What happened?
          Where is the critical thinking and the outspoken benig0 that once upon a time would have condemed a government that appeared to be going into the direction that this one is.

          For the last time.
          I am not trolling.
          Trolling is to intentionally piss people off for shits and giggles.
          As for being one sided or a simpleton, if thats truly how u think i am by what i write here, then so be it.
          Not sure why u bring saudi arabia into a discussion about the philippines nor the UN.
          But im used to that sort of passing the blame onto other countries for being worse and that somehow makes the philippines and what is happening here ok.?
          There is very little political gain in doing what is right for fellow humans.
          But there is immense gain politically and financially by not caring about humans and their welfare.
          This is a hard cold fact that is true.
          Not an opinion.
          In 2003 the thai government tried the exact same crack down on crime and drugs.
          It got a lot of innocent people killed, very very big boss arrests and created unrest, panic and armed vigilante gangs.
          Some of which still operate to this day.
          Create an enemy. Befriend the police force and the army.
          Rule through fear.
          Praise the good ideas but Ffs u know. With over 700 people killed in one month.
          That this is not going to end well and is not leading to the sort of change or country i want my kids to be living in.
          Im surprised benig0 who in the original GRP was and wrote some inspiring articles is the same guy now.

        2. ‘Human Rights’ is not the issue, ‘CIVIL RIGHTS’ is. Filipino’s cant even get that which they are upset about right. Fuckin morons.

  9. People can’t even be bothered to use the overpass in a busy street. They don’t care about their own safety, so why the hell should they care about other people’s safety?

    1. I have read benig0 for a long time.
      Even back when he used to post on other sites.
      I just feel like he is a different person.
      Perhaps time changes people.
      But i miss the guy who was critical of a government.
      Not one that praises them.
      Not one that defends them either.
      He has always been critical and i think its far to early for him to jump on the duterard bandwagon.

      1. Voice,
        I know your comment is not directed and pointed to/at me but I will comment anyway.

        Thank god (pun intended), I have changed through the years. Thank god (again pun intended), I am not the same person I was 10 or 20 years ago. (Some/most) People do change bec we get new(er) knowledge, new(er) insights.

        So yesterday I may have been pro the death penalty and today I can be against the death penalty all bec of new insights.
        Life and living is not one flat line.

        When I was on a certain website, I read profiles of people coming from PH and the similarities between those profiles were phenomenonal. They all had one striking similarity: “dont change me”. How can one advance when the mindset stays the same?

  10. I have a cousin, who was murdered by an unknown gunman, riding on a motorcycle. His son became a Shabu addict. So, he investigated, where the Shabu came from…he found out the Barangay Captain, was selling Shabu to his son. He reported this to the Municipal Mayor. A few days afterward…He was gunned downed in cold blood, inside his house.

    It is only now that we found out: the Municipal Mayor is a Drug Lord , in his town. I suspect, the Mayor ordered the murder of my cousin…

    When he was murdered, during the Aquino’s term; nobody shouted: “HUMAN RIGHTS” ! It was just a routine killing. He became a Statistics ! Now, when the YellowTards hear someone murdered; they will shout: “Human Rights” ! They were all silent during Aquino’s term…

    1. If its a good side effect then, the murders of these drug addicts and pushers, ironically, made Philippine society value human life more.

  11. “travesities”, you mentioned this twice and this: “travesity”. Is it not supposed to be: travesties; travesty?

  12. This “Overcrowded Prison” picture has gone totally viral. Inquirer has now given it “Headline News” status.

    Good work INQ; you should really help these guys – esp. those who have been there for a decade still waiting for their day in court to get a verdict.

    We should give the Prisoners for convicted criminals an entire Island. Then let’s ask a private company to man it like in the movie ESCAPE PLAN (Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger)

    1. Here’s your next potentially viral picture guys…

      Sea of garbage
      By: Marianne Bermudez – August 01, 2016
      A man tries to look for recyclable materials on Manila Bay which seems to be covered in garbage following heavy rains brought on by Tropical Storm “Carina,” August 1, 2016.

      The photographer should have asked the man to wear a Banana Republic shirt first.

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