Filipinos will gain more self-respect by eliminating their dependency on First World dole-outs

For all of Filipinos’ kayabangan (bluster), there does seem to be sufficient level of actual achievement to match. This observation is best encapsulated in the Tagalog phrase “Wala naman palang ibubuga.” Filipinos rely almost entirely on capital that trickles down from the First World into their gaping mouths — so much so that even the political discourse is divided based on which capital-rich bloc to pander and panhandle to.

Indeed, there is noisy debate between partisans loyal to current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who defend his pivot of the country’s foreign policy towards China and Russia, and Opposition partisans who remain beholden to the United States and Western Europe as dispensers of their daily bread. If we step back from that quaint noise and regard it with a more critical mind, we will see that they are just two flavours of the same thing — mirrors held up to the reality that Filipinos still cannot stand on their own two feet like a truly independent and free people.

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We observe the rather sad way Filipinos remain reliant on powerful countries to prop up their own self-worth. Two familiar words encapsulate this condition: colonial mentality. The pathetic way “thought leaders” of the Opposition look to their counterpart liberals in the West to add weight to their demonisation campaigns against the Philippine government is the most striking current example of this mentality. They scrape in any willing European-looking schmoe hoping that including a white face (or seven) in a publicity photo or propaganda meme will multiply their credibility and brand equity a thousand fold.

These same liberals may be staunchly critical of current US President Donald Trump and regard him as the American analogue to Duterte’s populist rule. Yet, it seems, to the average Filipino mind, Trump is still a powerful white guy whose mere presence in Malacanang could bolster the Duterte brand before the masses. Indeed, their faith in their conviction that Trump is universally-detested tyrant does not seem consistent with an evident fear that his planned visit to the Philippines to meet with Duterte could potentially win support away from their cause and back to Duterte’s camp. If it is true that no less than “senator” Antonio Trillanes was dispatched to schmooze with key US politicians to mitigate this possibility is testament to how much they fear what a Trump visit to the Philippines could do to the popularity of the Opposition’s position.

In short, in the Philippines, European voices still speak louder than Filipino voices. That’s not something to be mayabang about. It’s just, quite simply, rather sad — sad to see both partisan camps “debating” one another over the attentions, favours, and money of one patronising European bloc or another. Both sides claim to be astig (tough) and assert that toughness in their posturing when facing off with the opposing camp. Yet if you look closely enough, much of this toughness is underpinned by one or the other’s preferred resbak in the First World — e.g. the European Union (EU), the foreign media, Russia, China, the Catholic Church, God, whatever. We hardly ever see a Filipino debate where the arguments stand on their own merits as relevant in the Philippine setting and its national interests and on the credibility of their formulators as Filipinos.

Some of the arguments fielded in these debates are downright pathetic. For example, a favourite one involves quoting the billions in grants, investments, and aid the Philippines stands to lose if its government falls out of favour with the EU. In the process of latching onto this lazy position to take, the more fundamental points are missed — like why are Filipinos so dependent on all that to begin with? Or that, if that dependency has long been recognised, why did Filipinos not take steps to wean itself off it or, more importantly, stop habitually entering into commitments they are inherently incapable of honouring. Examples of such commitments include the Philippines’ enormous population. Why did Filipinos allow their population to balloon to its current size when it has long been clear that foreign capital (foreign technology, foreign medicine, foreign governance methods, foreign money, foreign employement, etc.) is required to sustain populations of such size in societies and cultures that lack strong traditions of innovation and technological achievement?

The Philippines is like a pair of rich parents’ spoilt brat kid who drops out at Grade 7, marries his sweetheart and has seven kids knowing, at the back of his mind, that Daddy will provide him a house and monthly allowance. Such a kid may be living in a nice house and driving around in a nice car, making all the right friends, and talking to them about “modern parenting”. But does such a person carry an ounce of self respect? Then again, does such a kid even understand the concept of self respect?

It is time Filipinos step back from their petty bickering and take the time to really understand what it is they are fighting over. If Filipinos are so concerned about being respected as a people, perhaps the first step to achieving that is to first gain a bit of self respect and act like a truly independent people.

5 Replies to “Filipinos will gain more self-respect by eliminating their dependency on First World dole-outs”

  1. No. There are always strings attached when you deal and trade with other countries. The Philippines has a history of playing one country against another. Nothing wrong with doing that. Trading with another country is not dependency, but you need to trade with a variety of countries. China can help you, but uses trade as a weapon, so you have to satisfy them along with every other country or group. Bananas? Fish? Dependency is more reflected in the OFW remittances. Russia can’t do much for you, good luck with that. I’m tired of Pinoy throwing around colonial mentality. If you aren’t a leader someone will influence you. Just concentrate on moving forward and close out the past.

  2. Self Respect is earned, not given to us, on a “silver platter”. It is pathetic to see our politicians on all sides of the political parties, trying to show, who can “boot lick” better, on foreign and economic powers. Pandering for political support and foreign aids. Hoping that these foreign powers will come to install them , to power…what a shame on these people !

    We are beholden to white people, because were colonized for more than 300 years by white people. Dole outs, in the form of foreign aids, came from the Americans. Mostly. the foreign aids were like addictive opiods, or Shabu. The more they give; the more we crave for more. Then, we became addicted to these foreign aids.

    Anyway, most of these foreign aids were stolen by our thieving politicians. Look at the Typhoon Yolanda Funds. It was stolen by Pnoy Aquino and Mar Roxas. It was swallowed by their “Black Holes” pockets…

    We indeed, are indolent, as the Spanish foreign masters had observed. Look at how many “istambays” at every corner of the streets. While many of our arable lands are not cultivated and planted with crops.

    We are even too lazy to innovate a better system, for ourselves, or improve our way of lives. So, we become OFW slaves, servants of the world. Paid with starvation wages; mistreated by foreign employers; and worked to the bones…

    When will we ever learn, that we have to be resourceful and innovative, in order to progress. I blame also the churches , and these religious leaders, for blocking the program of birth control. Now, we have too many people; our population is exploding at a very alarming rate !

  3. This is another influence on my writing my article about Filipinos attitudes about work. The idea on the Philippines being so dependent on other countries also reflects the smaller-scale wish of Filipinos to refuse to work and forever depend on “assistance.” And that leads to no development, with people just sitting on their asses with their mouths agape (nga-nga).

    Here’s a video about how foreign aid sucks:

    And another about aid and remittances. The Philippines was one of the recipients of the Marshall Plan, which is why it was the “leader in Asia.” More like, one of the tools against communism back then. It has a more favorable tone towards aid, though.

    A TED Talk on Foreign aid. There are a lot of other talks I saw among the suggestions below the video.

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