Has the Philippines EVER been truly a country FOR Filipinos?

Think about it. The Philippines is named after a Spanish king. Its current sovereign territory was one defined by its Spanish colonial masters. Its current state religion is an imperial legacy of the Spanish Inquisition — an epic geno-“evangelisation” of an entire native culture by colonial forces.

Then the “Philippines” became an American colony at the close of the 19th Century. Modern-day philosophers can spin that episode in Philippine history as a narrative about how a “revolution” was stolen by the United States ’til the cows come home. But the reality is Filipino natives where outside of the loop when the deal was done between Spain and the United States to cede the islands over to the victors of the Spanish-American War. America merely proceeded to secure its loot much the same way as one would steam-clean the carpet of a newly-purchased apartment before moving in.

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The next round of deals was between colonial master and the native oligarchs. That’s a work-in-progress that continues to this day. The Philippine government as we know it today is just a third party in this lucrative business triage that includes foreign capitalists and local industrialists.

The only real thing that makes Filipinos feel like they “own” the Philippines is their so-called “democracy”. Democracy is sort of like a convoluted contract. Filipinos sign “X” on the dotted line but routinely fail to read the contract stipulations. One of these stipulations is that voters need to use their brains before choosing their next leaders and representatives. Not doing so when filling their ballots does not, in any way, diminish the consent they inadvertently give the winning politicians to rule the Philippines and “represent” their interests in the legislature.

So when Filipinos lament how they “made a mistake” supporting and voting for one politician or another, it may make a quaint story about an instance of voter’s remorse. But, ultimately, that mistake cannot be undone. Unlike the retail industry, there is no return policy in the business of politics. Indeed, No Return No Exchange is the order of the day in democracy, Pinoy-style.

As an observer who’s always seen past “vice president” Leni Robredo’s idiotic Tsinelas rhetoric from the very beginning, it is often tempting to take on board with a warm heart news of someone who once supported Robredo changing his or her mind. But then I recall just how obvious and readily-evident the Yellow Camp’s bullshittery was during the campaign and the abject phoniness of Robredo herself and that warmness quickly dissipates. It is stuff that an otherwise lucid mind would have caught. Sadly, this is not the case. If Filipinos routinely take the trouble to apply a bit more modern thinking and less of the medieval superstition and quickness to embrace hearsay to the task of deciding who to support when it matters, we’d see less bozos like Leni Robredo in government and less of the pointless voters’ remorse being bandied around today.

In this sense, Filipinos do not really own their country. So it is really not that surprising that others — both foreign and local — are able to take from Filipinos with impunity. This has been a centuries-long tradition. The natives work the land whilst capitalists and imperialists reap and sell the harvest. To make it up the ladder from labourer to capitalist, you need thinking, not just hard work and subservience. And this goes as well for the way Filipinos regard their politics. To get truly great leaders in this “democracy”, Filipinos need to think of the ideas at stake and not regard the exercise as a mere decision on who to follow.

Unfortunately not much has changed despite all the technology and information at everyone’s disposal. Filipinos are still divided on the basis of who they follow. It does not seem to matter to most that many of the principles at stake transcend personalities and partisan lines. For most Filipinos, personal affiliations and loyalties take precedence over principles.

This seems to be the reason that political and activist alliances rarely persist on a big enough scale — because these alliances (whether in the form of political parties or more informal social media cliques) never endure without succumbing to in-fighting and eventually breaking into fragments and factions. More importantly, it is the reason Filipinos struggle to take their leaders to account — because they lack the context to do so (no stable set of principles and ideologies against which said leaders could be evaluated point-by-point).

To be able to build a country they could truly be proud of and feel a sense of ownership over, Filipinos need to take control of their thinking faculties and stop delegating this to personalities and ancient belief systems. The time is now for Filipinos to unite around principles and wean themselves off personality politics.

19 Replies to “Has the Philippines EVER been truly a country FOR Filipinos?”

  1. Majority of Filipinos doesn’t know how democracy works. These people only cares their freedom and excludes the consequences entailed with it even with simple things.

    For example, in public utility jeepneys, a common sight is that a Filipino have the freedom to use a cellphone or headsets however this person will neglect the notion that he or she is in a public transport and should be mindful of other who need to take a seat or pay for a driver. Worst case is sometimes the person intentionally pretends to be busy to not hear anything or not seat properly. The person should also embrace the responsibility and or consequences on what he or she is enjoying.

    Another example is some car owners purchases vehicles but parks it improperly like parking on other’s houses (sometimes even blocking driveways), parking in sidewalks. They don’t care about thinking if they cause inconvenience to others. They only accept the enjoyment of having vehicles but not the responsibilities of having one.

    The same case goes to irresponsible dog owners who let their dogs walk alone. Not thinking about that their pets might cause unsanitary conditions or worse physical injuries.

    With these examples, the common Filipino should learn to think forward and understand how democracy works and understand that every freedom we enjoy always have a responsibility that comes with it.

    Just like what uncle ben from the spiderman film said: “With great power comes great responsibility”

  2. The Philippines has and continues to be used by foreign corporations and special interests. The same garbage goes on in other countries. The imperial Americans had no right to dictate to Filipinos how to live after the Spanish-American war; they should have ceased operations and left. Authoritarianism is still seen today, in how the UN is lecturing Duterte about the death penalty. This could be construed as modern colonialism, I suppose.

    Once a country’s politicians are bought off by various predatory capitalists, the people are fucked. I often wonder where the massive VAT tax goes to when I am there at the airport in Cebu. I pay a massive VAT and the airport is old and in need of upgrades. Where’s the pera going to?

    People need to understand who they are voting for prior to voting. If Filipinos’ votes are bought with bribes, they have surrendered themselves to their political masters. It is uncommon for voters to know the voting records and history of their candidates.

    Lastly, Filipinos should stop being submissive to the demands of foreigners. If a foreigner bitches because a Filipino doesn’t speak English, or good enough English, or acts disrespectful, then the foreigner should be told to go fuck himself and leave the country.

  3. The Philippine people will not now or possibly ever let the country be free for three reasons. 1. Most people think the world should give the country stuff for free. Every disaster every military problem with China the people ask where is the world. After the emergency is over the people then reply screw the world and all the foreigners. 2. Most people do not understand that business is business and it is not personal or religious. The top economies in the world do business with enemies like the US and China for example. They are enemies but perform billions of dollars in financial transactions every year. 3. The last but most important thing. The people chase after anything not Filipino and refuse to believe in themselves and their country and the people. If Filipino quality sucks make it better. Stop trying to solve things by using other countries solutions. Example the traffic problems in Manila and the LRT. The systems sucks because it was copied from other countries and it was overloading from opening day. The Philippines should have used it own engineers like the ones that have worked in America and other places and recent graduate students here and said this. How do we fix this problem in a way that works for the Philippines. Look at Taiwan, they did this. They created a rail system that works for their country and it did not follow any form of conventional thinking. This is the country that can make Jeepney’s and trike out of any vehicle out there. Fix things from electronics to vehicles with the wrong parts. Do the same thing for the country. Everyone should be trying to come up with Filipino ways to do things that make life better.

    1. @greg: your post makes no sense. On the one hand you’re complaining that the Cebu airport tax seems to disappear into thin air (ie., is stolen by Filipinos), and then in the same you breath blame a bunch of shadowy “foreigners” for the country’s ills.

      There are no foreigners to speak of involved in Philippine business. It’s forbidden by the constitution. Certainly foreign brands are marketed here (with massive profits for local partners) but there is no evidence of (say) Americans syphoning off Filipino wealth. That’s local Filipino ruling clans cutting down the forests, digging big holes in the ground, and selling off the spoils to … who knows? China, I imagine. That’s right – our new special friends who will make everything all right again.

      Why should foreigners keep their mouths shut when they see wrongdoing? While Dirty Harry is out there blasting away at drug dealers, there are a million simple problems that could be fixed, but won’t be, because the Filipino is encouraged to say to the nasty old foreigner, “if you don’t like it just leave”. There are a million or two foreigners in the country and 100 million foreigners. The problems, therefore, principally the Filipino, not the foreigner. When the foreigner suggests that maybe the Filipino could stop dumping trash in the rivers, who is likely to benefit from making the change? How does it help the Filipino if he tells the foreigner to fuck off and mind his own business?

      1. Marius,

        You have misinterpreted my post. Each of my points relates to the article in some way, whether philosophically or otherwise.

        No, the VAT tax point doesn’t have anything to do with foreigners; however, this article is about whether the Philippines has an identity and is sovereign. The VAT tax does not seem to benefit the public. Do elites take the money? It reminds me of an oligarchy, the concept of which may stem from imperial times. I am wondering if there is a connection because of the willingness of Filipinos to accept this and be submissive. Submissiveness is the hallmark of a conquered people, and many Filipinos appear to accept bribes and worship those in power.

        Entitled foreigners allowed into the Philippines and acting like kings is an example of the identity crisis of colonialized people. As a foreigner, I have noticed Filipinos sometimes grovel at my feet as though I am special. I even experienced a waiter in Cebu bow to me after I replied in Tagalog. I felt uncomfortable with someone being submissive, apparently because I am Caucasian/ foreign. I appreciate the friendliness – but the submissive nature of some Filipinos is an example of a people lacking an identity and feeling inferior due to ethnicity. Could this be a colonial relic? This is related to the article and whether there is a real country, or whether there are just people who feel a need to serve colonial masters. I won’t get into the skin-lightening crap and what that means.

        There are ‘shadowy foreigners’ trying to control the Philippines. The UN, Obama, etc. rebuke Duterte because of the drug killings and death penalty. Duterte is trying to create some autonomy – but foreign globalist imperial elites don’t want that. How does this not relate to the article?

        I was referring to foreigners who go to the country and expect Filipinos to speak better English. I have personally observed this. This is an entitled, superiority attitude. If Filipinos have to cater to foreigners, then whose country is it?

        I wasn’t referring to foreigners making suggestions on how to improve something, so I don’t know where you got that from. The point about cleaner rivers, etc. is meaningless, however, because the only reason dirty, old, trashy foreigners (who are generally the only foreigners who go there) go to the Philippines is to fuck young women. I don’t know how being a sex tourist brothel benefits the rivers of the Philippines. In my opinion this occurs because of brainwashed Filipinas thinking that ‘white’ men are so amazing. I believe this has to do with the low ethnic esteem some Filipinos have.

  4. early in the 20tyh century, there were moves to make New Zealand another colony of Australia but these overtures were rejected and NZ developed its own unique style. During Prime Minister Lange’s leadership, he forebade any nuclear-armed ships entering NZ ports and so was cut out of the intelligence loop by the U.S.
    There are now moves to change the name to Aeatearoa, a Maori word, and it may well happen, probably about the time the new NZ flag will be unveiled.
    Can not this nation do something similar? Does it always have to wait and get permission before it thinks of something original
    befitting its very own place in this part of the world?

    1. >> There are a million or two foreigners in the country and 100 million foreigners.
      Sorry, typo: obviously, should read “100 million Filipinos”.

    2. @Greg: the Philippines reminds you of an oligarchy because it is an oligarchy.

      Whether all this has anything to do with colonialism is irrelevant: whatever happened in distant history cannot be changed, and besides the actors involved are long dead and gone. The only thing that Filipinos can change is their present and future, and they seem extraordinarily reluctant to do this.

      Tax money, broadly speaking, is just wasted. I believe this happens because Filipinos in general are absolutely hopeless with money. They have no idea how to use what they have to full advantage, preferring instead to whine endlessly that they don’t have enough. Give a 50 million peso budget to someone with that mindset, and he’ll just blow it on rubbish, since the uppermost thought in his mind is that it’s not enough to do whatever pie-in-the-sky project he really wants, so he might as well spend it on hookers and Johnny Walker.

      As for the submissiveness: I rarely, if ever, encounter this, but I’m aware that it exists. You’re probably right that it’s just kowtowing to someone who might be able to grant them favors. I hate people addressing me as ‘sir’ because the intonation (and accompanying behavior) is condescending. It is, paradoxically, disrespectful. I take it as a passive-aggressive thing. The problem is that the Filipino has yet to understand the distinction between Pride (ie., hubris, otherwise known as one of the seven deadly sins) and Self-Respect.

      Quite possibly this is all something to do with being conquered; but really, it’s time to get over it already. Instead of erupting in anger when foreigners (legitimately) criticize Filipino behavior, they could debate with those foreigners as equals and thereby gain respect. A challenge is not “control”. By becoming aggressively defensive every time someone flags up something important, they lose the respect they desperately crave.

      Duterte’s war on drugs, as I said, has resulted in every other problem the country faces being neglected. I’m not denying that the country doesn’t have a drug problem. It absolutely does. And quite frankly, when things get this bad, perhaps it’s time for a cull. But has anyone stopped to consider why? Let’s say Duterte kills all the drug dealers. What then? You have a new generation coming up who are being braindamaged by junk food and a nonsense-riddled education system, and when they leave school they’ll face a predatory State which prevents them from earning an honest living. Going out selling drugs is actually a rational decision: you don’t have to declare your activities to the BIR, for a start. Pinoys cheat and steal and defraud and prostitute themselves because illegal activities don’t attract any attention, while running an honest business puts you at risk of blackmail, imprisonment, or at minimum the huge expense of complying with complex and nonsensical laws and a punitive tax regime.

      Incidentally, while I broadly agree that there are a lot of scumbags washing up on these shores, there are a surprising number of good, honest, and smart people who actually want to make a positive contribution. However, because they ARE smart, they generally keep their heads down. Doing good in the Philippines is frowned upon, doubly so if you’re a foreigner.

      1. Marius,

        I agree that Filipinos, in general, are bad with money. One of the reasons poverty is so bad, according to my own experiences, is that when one aquires money one blows it on a smartphone or Gucci bag; meanwhile, the electric bill is not paid. There does not seem to be a sense of priority.

        Yeah, conversation can be productive if the people have an open mind. I don’t believe most foreigners who go there really care about the economy, infrastructure, cultural problems, etc. They are there for sex and I don’t believe the majority have much to offer.

        Lastly, the colonial mentality and whether it is real is relevant, because of the damage that having a U.S. military base does socially. When the submissive Philippine government is bribed into letting them in, they submit to domination. This colonialism can only lead to filipinos being victims and the low self-esteem that makes them think they cannot survive without the imperial countries. It sends the message of mooching and being needy, which is the last thing the culture needs.

      2. Oh so you’re still parroting the unsubstantiated claims of Duterte having murdered drug lords? Have you even lived long enough in the country to learn that these drug syndicates do take it out on each other just to cover themselves up against any accountability of their criminal acts?

        I’ve lived for 14 years in Cebu until 2005. Around President Arroyo’s rule, Cebu had a load of vigilantes enabled by Mayor Tomas Osmeña to execute robbers they find at random. My dad was a lawyer so he told me these things, and even before Duterte, this had been going on for more than a decade if you even give a fuck about facts here. Shabu wrecked my young neighborhood back home and some were raped under this influence. Shabu isn’t weed you idiot. People actually get killed when they use it and I’ve seen this all too well for many years before.

        The police are also deeply involved in these illegal trades which is not helping that’s why you get the opposition party taking advantage of these circumstances and intentionally malign Duterte as having ordered these so- called public executions. And you still buy this bull shit when this has been going on from the ’90s. Didn’t you even hear that they’ve been building rehabilitation centers since last year? Only Duterte has ever proposed this. And in Davao they already have one but it isn’t yet enough to take in more.

        I just think you’re those crabs who you accuse Filipinos of. When someone different who’s trying to shift paradigm of this country for the better, you just dis it and make stupid and baseless accusations. The local mainstream and int’l media just aren’t happy that someone doesn’t kow tow to their line of politicking. Much like how the Brexit was depicted so badly and just as thoroughly condemned. You just don’t get it and you still won’t.

  5. “The only real thing that makes Filipinos feel like they “own” the Philippines is their so-called “democracy””

    HAHAHAHA! Oh man so funny. Actually democracy is Greek and the Philippines is a republic and not a democracy. I know in this day and age that the two are usually convoluted. Either way democracy is definitely not for Filipinos. It is alien to them in every way and the past century has proven this time and again. Take a listen to what one observer had to say about it over 100 years ago.

    “There are two prime characteristics of the Filipinos” he said, “which today render them absolutely unfit for self-government. The average Filipino mind can form no conception of the duty of officials to the people, and it can form no conception of the dignity of labor. The very fact that the Filipino is so shiftless, so worthless, so untrustworthy, and so helpless is all the more reason this Nation should reach out the helping hand to him.” http://philippinefails.blogspot.com/2017/02/pfb-classic-longworth-on-filipinos-has.html

    1. Baylee: not sure who that was directed at, but you’re completely missing the point. Everyone knows that Filipinos entertain themselves by blowing each other away, that the police are basically a gang of criminals, and that this has been going on since forever.

      However, Duterte does have a high-profile drug war going on and the police happily release their own statistics on the number of suspects killed during raids. Which may or may not be real. The fact remains that the endless blathering about drugs detracts attention from the other 5,682,234 problems that desperately need addressing in this country. Since the average Filipino has the attention span of a goldfish, this is an absolute disaster.

      I was interested to see if Duterte would make some real changes, but as I predicted in a post some months ago, he’s simply doing standard Filipino things. Nothing that might actually change this country for the better has been done, or even seriously thought about; if anything, entrenched problems are being made worse because Duterte is incapable of thinking outside of the Filipino box. So far, he’s simply carried on doing all the standard things that Filipino politicians do: making more nonsensical laws, assigning blame, and trying to spend nonexistent money on high-profile but fundamentally useless projects. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  6. The Philippines , was renamed by the Spanish explorer, Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, in honor of King Philip II of Spain. Our original name was, St. Lazarus Archipelago.

    King Philip II of Spain, lost being the world’s naval power to England, after the defeat of his Spanish Armada… His government was bankrupt. He lost the Dutch Province , in his reign…
    Sounds, like our country now. We should change the name of the country…

    Then, we were sold, to the Americans for U.S. $20 million , in the Treaty of Paris in 1898. We were part of the booty of the Americans; after the defeat of Spain, in the Spanish American war.

    The Americans did not install , “Democracy”in our country. They installed, Feudal Oligarchy, which is our government , up to now.
    They taught us : English, Political Opportunism , Rock and Roll, etc…we were/are dependent on their exports. And, they were free to exploit our natural resources.

    I believe, it is very hard to change the bad habits of Filipinos…there is some hope in the Pres. Duterte’s administration. However, let us all wait and see !

    The problem of Filipinos is : they are gullible, and they easily succumb to Fake News and Political propaganda. They are conditioned by their colonizers, to let others think for them !

    Unless, we can learn to decide for our own self interests; and pursue programs to improve our lives…we can never progress !

  7. Filipinos are still the frustrated lords-wannabe who decided to try and cling to whoever has the most power in the country in order to gain favors. For voters, they seem to treat voting like the lottery, just pick the name you remember and hope they can give favors. If they don’t, it’s the politicians’ fault and not theirs. Here’s the result of non-thinking, which the Filipino culturally is more wont to do.

  8. Mass Filipinos can’t progress because of the followings reasons are I observe:
    1. No empowerment
    -this country still rely in Bible to realize things. They can’t decide aside from it than their own realizations and experience. No proper skills training, absurd education system.
    2. Superficiality
    for example.. they believe overseas products is good because they were imported, they don’t think they are good because they were done perfectly with hardwork, skills and quality materials. Just because they too lazy to do it with their own.
    2. conforming culture. Filipino are only mindset to find jobs not to create jobs. They are conditioned to be a worker than to be the boss. I often hear this from oldies to younger siblings. “Kung magkaroon ka ng amo, yan ba ang gagawin mo?” Or pano na lang kung magkaroon ka ng amo? why not “paano na kung maging amo ka?” “dapat magnegosyo ka!” There are always be shaming if you want more,.
    3.,Crab society. Parents who are hating and unsupportive to their children. Children who are irrationally rebellious. Men who are collecting women to cure thier masculine insecurities . women who are dragging fellow women who do not conform. Both did it just an excuse of their in competitiveness. Politicians who only think for power and can’t support the other.
    4. Filipino’s surviving mindset. They would rather go in easy money and little achievement but less effort than big achievement but long big effort.

    1. Mystique Girl,

      I agree that the crab mentality is one of the most destructive elements. Filipinos hate it when someone in the family gets something they don’t have. They become jealous. I have witnessed my wife being insulted by her family, because she bought herself a new shirt. The shirt, of course, was purchased with pera that she earned. Her family expects her to give everything to them so they can lay around and mooch. Her brother is favored over her, and she is treated like garbage.

  9. The problem isn’t that Failipinos in the Failippines can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Failipinos in the Failippines can’t think. The problem is that Failipinos do not know what thinking is; Failipinos confuses it with feeling.

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