So-called “political analyst” Antonio Contreras’s position on the matter of the ongoing impact of the government’s lockdown on Filipino lives fails to take into account an inconvenient reality of modern society — personal accountability.
Sa gobyerno. Kung ayaw niyong lumabas ang tao, kayo ang magbigay ng mga sumusunod na serbisyo:
•Mamalengke at mag-grocery para sa amin
•Bumili ng gamot namin
•Mag-withdraw para sa amin
•Magpadala ng pera o kumuha ng pera sa LBC, Palawan, Western Union at mga iba pang padala centers
•Magbayad ng mga bills namin.
•Magdeliver sa amin ng mga orders namin
•Umayos ng mga sira sa bahay namin
•Magpainit sa araw sa apo ko pag umaga
E sa pagdeliver nga ng relief goods, hindi pa maayos.
Should we be taking the “professor’s” post seriously? This is essentially a spoilt brat response to what are measures implemented for the common good. To be fair to Contreras, he offers his proposed solution. The trouble is, his solution is one that requires that the government do all the thinking. He is essentially saying that Filipinos ought to just sit on their asses and wait for the government to help them.
This is precisely the sort of attitude that is behind Filipinos’ beholdenness to “heroes” and the “salvation” theology preached by their state religion. It is the very kind of ingrained thinking that creates influential demagogues and gets unqualified leaders elected in the Philippines. When you have a citizenry conditioned by their “thought leaders” to feel entitled to government “help”, crafting an entire campaign platform based on empty promises works like a charm every election time.
This Juan Tamad and mentality (also referred to as the infamous palamunin culture Filipinos are renowned for) is at the core of what impoverishes Filipinos to this day — in mind, spirit, and, of course, finances. Contrary to what generations of Filipinos are taught, money does grow on trees. You just need to know what kind of tree to plant and actually get off your ass and plant it to begin with.
People like Contreras miss the opportunity staring everyone in the face here. There are business opportunities for new products and services whenever things change. Most basic of all is that people can once again revisit the lost science of backyard agriculture, for example. Indeed, Philippine society remains a fundamentally agrarian one. Unfortunately, “globalisation” had basically turned Filipinos into farmers dressed in scientists’ robes. They look like modern people on the outside but remain subsistence cultivators on the inside.
Such a society struggles to draw a line differentiating god figures from civil servants. This is why the dishonest rhetoric of their “thought leaders” resonate — because most of them play in that easy space that validates such primitive thinking. It is also why hollow figures like Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto make headline news and attract a vast fan base of starstruck ignoramuses.
Filipinos need to get a grip and focus on sorting themselves out rather than spend their days looking up with gaping mouths waiting for the proverbial guava fruit to drop from the sky. That goes to say whether in times of COVID-19 pandemic or in times of abundance. It’s time Filipinos learn to be independent and turn their back on their debilitating colonial, palamunin, and squatter mentalities.
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