You can’t have your cake and eat it. If Filipinos want more and better-quality public services, they’re gonna have to cough up the dough and pay more taxes. The reality is that most of the infrastructure required to deliver the services they demand involves foreign technology and imported goods — which is why they cost a lot (by Filipino standards). Take the plight of public transport in the Philippines which, increasingly, points to a need for modern rail services to replace decrepit jeepneys and buses and supplant the characteristically-Filipino unsystematic way these are deployed. But Filipinos cannot make trains. So they will have to import trains. They cannot lay tracks for the life of them. So they need to hire foreign engineers to oversee the work of laying rail. They cannot run tight systems that run on the ticks of clocks. So they require foreign consultants to fly in every now and then to give local managers the occasional kick in the rear end.
Everything is paid for in dollahs using taxes paid in puny pesos.
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Love ya long time, right?
Unfortunately, no. Unlike the original industrial powers that make up today’s First World, Filipinos cannot indigenously accumulate the capital nor domestically develop and produce the equipment and facilities upon which to build their nation. Everything requires foreign capital, foreign assistance, and even foreign oversight. Filipinos are workers, not builders. They lack traditions of scientific achievement, engineering prowess, and operational excellence. This can be seen in how so much stuff sucks in the Philippines. Air travel sucks, road travel sucks, and railway would suck if any competent semblance of it even exists.
For that matter, the Philippines’ enormous population is sustained by foreign technology and capital. Modern foreign medical technology is at work in even the creakiest public clinic to keep Filipinos living long enough to, at least, reach reproductive age. Agriculture is sustained by foreign-developed artificial fertilisers, hybrid seeds, and industrial farming and animal raising technology and systems. And, even then, domestic production needs to be supplemented by massive imports to fill demand.
The Philippines, in short, pretty much survives on life support on a dripfeed of foreign everything. Like a disabled person that requires 24-hour care, the Philippines cannot stand on its own feet using its own muscular and skeletal structure, cannot draw air into its lungs using its own diaphragm muscles, and cannot gather its own food nor chew and swallow nutrients on its own without mechanical aid. The Philippines is like an invertebrate held up by an artificial exoskeleton. It is reliant on external rather than internal resources.
Indeed, even political chatter is being imported thanks to an entire generation of butthurt Opposition “thought leaders” begging validation from the foreign media to prop up their sagging relevance.
Unless Filipinos learn how to fund their lifestyles with domestic capital and production, be self-sufficient, and stand on their own two feet, they will need to keep selling their internal organs to fund the 24-hour care they are getting from the outside. They will need to build and run their own trains, arm their own soldiers, feed their own people, think for themselves, and uphold a clear and stable sense of identity. It sounds simple for healthy mature adults of sound mind, but not for toddlers, adolescents, and adult emotional basketcases.
It’s high time Filipinos end a cultural tradition of dependence and embrace true independence — a national ethic yet to be seen even after more than half a century of “independence” granted by the United States in 1946. Until then, everything Filipinos need and want will be paid for in dollars using money earned in pesos. And that is why Filipinos need to pay more taxes.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.