Change comes and goes, but the lack of a Filipino common, greater good remains the same


It’s not hard to observe everything that’s been in the public consciousness recently, and come to one unavoidable conclusion: the cultural inertia of Filipinos will outlast any presidency. Even the current administration under Rodrigo Duterte.

Politicians will always be politicians. In times where public sentiment has tipped against the incumbent, the people are easy to impress with promises of the moon and stars, and especially promises of change. Those whose promises are the most attractive, i.e., answer best the what’s in it for me?, win. Filipinos don’t vote for the politician who can best represent their interests, but they vote the one who has best convinced them that his/her self-interest is aligned with theirs.

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

Due to the general lack of continuity of government in the Philippines, many times Filipinos have heard the “promise of change” thrown at them. And they’ve pretty much reacted the same way. They buy it hook, line, and sinker. Then reality sets in; something hinders change from happening, and the people end up disappointed.

What hinders change? Cultural inertia. And the lack of a common, greater good.

Filipinos believe democracy and the democratic process work only if they agree with the outcomes, i.e., the side they’re supporting wins. Otherwise they were cheated. The people who voted are stupid. Or someone does indeed cheat. Regardless of who the president has been, there has always been a group of people who are simply unable to put their egos aside, and include the rest in the task of building a common Filipino nation for all.

Filipinos believe there is a set of laws for themselves, and another for others. Or perhaps, quite simply, they believe common norms, standards, laws, rules and regulations don’t apply to them. They are always victims of someone/something oppressive. Some believe that their status in society affords them some sort of infallibility and/or deference from the mere mortals beneath them.

The predominant mentality in Filipino society is “me-first”. Filipinos co-exist, not to establish a collective bigger than themselves, but to establish themselves as bigger than everybody else.

No single entity can drive change in the Philippines from the top-down; Filipinos themselves must drive it from the bottom-up.

Filipinos must quite literally get their act together. Otherwise, their country will remain a shithole no matter who sits on the throne.

[Photo courtesy: Neuroscience and]

8 Replies to “Change comes and goes, but the lack of a Filipino common, greater good remains the same”

  1. You can see the opportunistic tendency of Filipino politicians, by being a turncoats. They align themselves, to whoever is in power.

    Our leaders still behave like the Spanish colonizers. Once in power, they empty the National Treasury. They do corrupt practices. Each man for himself. They cheat in elections. Promise anything to the electorate, to get votes.

    Nothing will change, unless, we all change.

  2. Many times, the Filipino citizen has been advised that change must start from them and not from the top. Until now, it has fallen on deaf ears. The reason is that they don’t want to change at all. They would rather wallow in mediocrity than challenge themselves.

    1. The Philippines is a big Safe Space where Filipinos can feel free to fail, without being made to feel bad about their choices.

      Don’t challenge me man! That’s oppression, that is!

  3. The highest order of desires seem to be being a hero. But not the kind of hero who makes the sacrifice, but the one who demands sacrifices from others. Basically, being the lord. But that still ties in with survival and creature comforts. Filipinos can’t get above their worry over basic needs, even if they are not in danger of poverty. Yes, I mean the middle class and upper class. Even those seem to have taken on the same worries of poorer, which they should not.

  4. For too long in this country, we have celebrated unrestrained individualism over common community. For too long as a nation, we have been lulled by the anthem of self-interest. For many years, self-aggrandizement has been the full-throated cry of this country: “I’ve got mine, so why don’t you get yours” and “What’s in it for me?

  5. “The more things change, the more they stay the same”, they usually say. Change is progressively with humankind. Everyday is a change. Everyday is moving progressively forward for humankind. The Liberals want change to move forward faster, even to the detriment of our country. The conservatives want to stay the same.

    Where do we go from here ? I believe in moderate change. I am more of a centrist. Philippines needs change: politically, socially and economically. The 1986 Cory Aquino constitution needs to be scraped as garbage. It is for the Feudal Oligarchs. The Judiciary system needs change. It is filled up by the running dogs of the Aquino Cojuangco political axis. They are obstacle for the cleaning up of corrupt people in the government.

    We all really need change in all facet of our lives.

  6. An elected Filipino official will always prioritize his/her family over the need of the country. Also his Family will expect him/her to follow up on it. This is a core value for Filipinos. Family is always first, after that friends and barkada. Everything else is irrelevant. This very deeply engraved in to the fabric of Filipino society and culture.

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.