ABS-CBN demise: It’s the SYSTEM, Students!

The recent junking of the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN is a welcome breath of fresh air. As I’ve wrote on my previous article, I really, truly couldn’t care less if ABS-CBN goes off the air. My sentiment is still the same. ABS-CBN has played political kingmakers for decades, dumbed down its audiences with its roster of inane and intellectually insulting shows, and has had a history of slanted and biased reporting.

The Filipinos can do without it, and in fact, can do better.

I applaud the incumbent for his supposed “dismantling” of the oligarchs, but it is now time to listen to the people who are directly affected by this dismantle: the workforce.

While the guilt-tripping used by the pro-ABS-CBN crowd is easily dismissible as a simple appeal to emotions, I reluctantly admit that they have a point.

Hear me out.

By “dismantling” an oligarchic regime, Rodrigo Duterte won a small victory for the Filipino masses. Emphasis on small. By “dismantling” one of the bastions of the Lopez Empire, Duterte curtailed an abusive ruling clan at the expense of the alleged 11,000 or (as Maria Ressa would erroneously claim) 11 million employees—whatever.

But this is not, by any means through his administration’s fault. It’s just how the Constitution is. Much as how the Constitution was “weaponized” (or whatever the moronic term is) to dethrone the Lopezes, it is also the Constitution that is the root cause of why we look upon oligarchs for much of the bulk of job generation in the country and why we simply cannot escape the grasp of the oligarchs.

The 60-40 rule imposed by the Filipino First Policy in the 1987 Constitution may have had the grandiose intentions of “providing jobs for Filipinos by Filipinos,” but as history would be the judge, that good intention paved the way for our own highway to hell.

Not only did the 60-40 rule ensure that only Filipinos can own major businesses in the country, but it also cemented and established the pole position Filipino oligarchs enjoy today.

As a result, they become virtually uncontested in their respective fields of industry, making businesses effectively one form or another of monopolies, or duopolies: business schemes characteristic of a working—but ultimately dysfunctional—oligopoly.

And as with any market that has no healthy competition, prices are bound to get high while quality of services and goods provided are left almost solely at the mercy of the providers.

This is why we get crappy shows such as “Ang Probinsyano” and crappy entertainers such as Vice Ganda. Similarly, this is also why we get crappy customer service on any utility or service that is owned by an oligarch. This is not because they cannot provide better quality of services or goods but mainly because with the existing system, we are simply forced to put up with how they run things. We are, effectively, hostages.

We can’t simply switch to another better service provider as there is none. It’s either this crappy corporation or that crappy corporation. Same, same, but different, but still same. Crappy.

Ergo, I humbly suggest that if we will not change the Constitution soon, then we should at least remove the Filipino First Policy through a revision.

“bUt RoNn, fIliPiNoS wIlL bEcOmE sLaVeS iN tHeIr OwN cOuNtRy…”

Shut up and read on.

Filipinos, culturally speaking, have an employee mindset. Much unlike our Chinese and half-Chinese brothers and sisters, we did not inherit their savvy for business and entrepreneurship. We don’t aspire to build big businesses, we aspire to be employees. Go ahead, ask a graduating college student on what they want to do after school, and rarely will you find someone who will immediately answer that they want to start a business.

No, most of us are employees through and through. This is further evidenced by the fact that our largest exports are not products but warm bodies. OFW-ism is merely a spawn of our culture of employee mindset and the gaping hole on our job generating capabilities. The oligarchs—admittedly the major job generators in the country—can only do so much.

Our ever-ballooning population combined with the number of major business players in the country (i.e. the oligarchs, again) being countable with one’s fingers make for an equation of a simply unsustainable discrepancy between job hunters and jobs with actual competitive salary.

However, open the economy to Foreign Direct Investors (FDIs) by removing the 60-40 rule and a healthy competition can be foreseen to follow suit. With the entry of foreign competitors, local players will be forced to shape up and actually provide better services lest they risk losing their customers to other service providers.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic notwithstanding, job seekers will then enjoy more diverse opportunities as there are now more players in the field. In the similar vein, consumers will no longer be held hostage by mediocre services and skyrocketing prices.

This is by no means a magic bullet solution, though. Government agencies will still be required to shape up. Just because a healthy competition is established, it does not mean that abuses will no longer be committed. But I digress.

Going back to ABS-CBN and the “plight” of mass media, I would defer to the wisdom of the framers of the 1987 Constitution. The Constitution provided that only Filipinos can own mass media outfits as the Fourth Estate, in all its powers, can be used by a foreign country as an invasive propaganda machine. Here, I will be taking a shot at and making an example of Rappler—a supposed “mass media entity” that was found to have been stained with foreign ownership by the Omidyar Network, and is currently embattled with not only tax evasion charges but also libel cases due to its penchant for slanted reporting.

But perhaps we can at least provide some form of laxity in the definition of “mass media” and instead limit ownership of news outlets and all other informational media to Filipinos and the government; and allow ownership of strictly entertainment media to both Filipinos and foreigners.

It’s just a suggestion; feel free to take it with a grain of salt.

Ultimately, the only way I can see for change to truly come is not to simply change the people who are currently in power but to overhaul the system itself. Let’s not go for band-aid solutions presented by promises of politicians during elections but instead think of the long-term. Change has come under the Duterte administration. The question is: How long will it last?

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About PulbuRonn

Who am I? None of your business.

8 Comments on “ABS-CBN demise: It’s the SYSTEM, Students!”

  1. Thanks for writing this article. This is a far cry from what benign0 wrote about foreign investments in some of his articles. I really remembered his post on COVID-19 and economics which REALLY made me wonder what his solutions were.

    Filipinos, culturally speaking, have an employee mindset. Much unlike our Chinese and half-Chinese brothers and sisters, we did not inherit their savvy for business and entrepreneurship. We don’t aspire to build big businesses, we aspire to be employees. Go ahead, ask a graduating college student on what they want to do after school, and rarely will you find someone who will immediately answer that they want to start a business.

    No, most of us are employees through and through. This is further evidenced by the fact that our largest exports are not products but warm bodies. OFW-ism is merely a spawn of our culture of employee mindset and the gaping hole on our job generating capabilities. The oligarchs—admittedly the major job generators in the country—can only do so much.

    Our ever-ballooning population combined with the number of major business players in the country (i.e. the oligarchs, again) being countable with one’s fingers make for an equation of a simply unsustainable discrepancy between job hunters and jobs with actual competitive salary.

    However, open the economy to Foreign Direct Investors (FDIs) by removing the 60-40 rule and a healthy competition can be foreseen to follow suit. With the entry of foreign competitors, local players will be forced to shape up and actually provide better services lest they risk losing their customers to other service providers.

    The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic notwithstanding, job seekers will then enjoy more diverse opportunities as there are now more players in the field. In the similar vein, consumers will no longer be held hostage by mediocre services and skyrocketing prices.

    Well, this is the reality. Competition for local businessmen are opportunities to improve. If your customers and service providers have competition then your choices are wide open. It’s like if I sell basic goods – I could sell more basic goods because of foreign investors.

    Also, I’d dare say that the culture of Anti-Constitutional Reform is a culture of LOSERS. This is why the Philippines is still a failure.

    Though, I’m still in favor for changing from presidential to parliamentary. A parliametary system has weekly questioning aired EVERY WEEK which will put everything in place. It’s not the local media’s job to do check and balance. It’s the opposition. Both the government and opposition will be forced to shape up and pasaways from both sides will be kicked out when confidence is lost in the parliament.

    God bless for writing this one!

  2. ABS-CBN believes they are the center of Filipino life while they promote mediocrity, anti-intellectualism, poverty porn and sexism. This corporation should be erased as they are extremely irrelevant with today’s generation.

    An example is how one of their writers called Dave Chappelle out-of-touch, the man who just won a Mark Twain award and always has political commentary on his shows, and even challenged today’s faddists. Another example is how everything ABS-CBN does is based on trends from the 80s, their TV shows/movies, their humor and drama, their celebrities and their “creative” board still believe that we fawn over celebrities, loveteams and retarded shit that’s out of tune with the current world. Lastly, they are a propaganda tool and trained spin doctors, they would cover up any crime their celebrities, investors and political allies commit while amplifying to absurdity anything damaging their opponents does.

  3. The 1986 Cory Aquino constitution was “tailored” for the Oligarchy, to control the economy of the country. EDSA I did not bring “democracy”…it brought , “Feudal Oligarchy”… It enabled the oligarchy to have monopolies, in their field of businesses.

    We have to trash this “idiotic” Cory Aquino constitution; and replace it with a ” working ” constitution that enables all of us, to contribute to the economy of this nation.

    We are losing the “brains” of our country, by exporting them as OFWs…we are two (2) centuries, behind in Science and Technology, to any advanced industrialized countries…Our educational system is obsolete; our textbooks in the universities are obsolete. ..We should encourage TV networks to put programs that do not “dumb down” Filipinos.

    Unless, we industrialized, and have a good land reform program implemented, we will remain as we are in the undeveloped stage, with commies (Mafias) hoping to take over our government !

  4. Rappler’s Omidyar-connection is much worse than just tax-evasion & libel.

    I can’t believe this isn’t being addressed in PH news-media, but Omidyar Network has been documented in funding ‘news’-media to fuel regime-change in Ukraine.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/rieder/2014/03/02/flap-over-omidyar-support-for-ukrainian-group/5948821/
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2016/04/27/look-who-funds-ukraines-anti-putin-internet-tv/#5cd88f537b5d

    There are other allegations of the same funding of regime-change media in Zimbabwe, but the veracity of the article’s publishers are debatable depending on the reader(s). But even without the Zimbabwe-claims, this is serious. With them, it’s even more serious as Hell.

    Either way, Rappler & Omidyar must be expelled from the Republic for the sake of PH independence & national-sovereignty.

  5. The goal for businesses is to eliminate competition, isn’t it? When they have the means/capital, they’re able to expand. And this wealth is sustained through high consumption. If you want to build big but don’t want to be the workers, you’d have to outsource. All this works like a dog chasing its own tail. Something here is unaccounted for.

    1. @Lightning::

      Big businesses in our country, eliminate competitions thru : (1) monopoly, (2) political patronage, (3) scamming the government and government projects and , (5) business owners becoming politicians themselves, to promote their business interests…

      This is the reason other countries with big businesses have , ANTI TRUST LAWS, ANTI MONOPOLY LAWS, and other laws that prevent big businesses , to grow too big, and prevent other small businesses to grow.

      In our country, the use of politics and crooked politicians to favor big businesses with “political padrinos” is unacceptable…

      This happened with the Lopezes, the Ayalas, and other oligarchs, that MONOPOLIZED government projects. They used also “Puppet Politicians”, to promote their business interests. In our country, if you have a lot of “cold cash” ; you can Buy any politician…or you can make a “Dumb Politician”, like Lugaw Robredo, win in an important position in the government thru election HOCUS PCOS AND SMARTSWITIK….

      Let us pass ANTI TRUST LAWS and ANTI MONOPOLY LAWS. Give the Small Guy a chance…he/she may have better ideas to improve the country !

  6. The system is rigged in favor of the oligarch; yet somehow the Empire manages to strike back. It’s one of those rare cases in which by sitting on the problem, the problem eventually solves itself. Congratulations to Congress for a job well done.

    The 60-40 rule was there as a grace period to get local Filipino owned industries in shape and strong enough to go out into the wild. Like bicycle training wheels and inventor’s patents, they are only meant for the early stages of a nation’s development. This rule should eventually be phased out in favor of the general public / the common good.

    Eventually it would be really good to have a choice of up to 3 water or electricity providers, local vs. foreign owned/operated, competing in terms of price, stability, and quality of service. This could be easing up towards this kind of scenario as Filipinos (who have now been exposed to life abroad as OFWs or by taking LCC Cebu Pacific flights for vacations) begin to increasingly demand for world-class in just about anything.

    The 60-40 rule eventually is a failure though. If the intent was to get brown skinned Pinoys owning major businesses in the country; well that never really happened in the general sense. Just look up the top business owners and you’ll get mostly Chinese and Spanish blooded last names (Sy, Tan, Gokongwei, Ayala, Razon) . “Foreigners” with Philippine passports eventually still own these monopolies/oligarchs, with the general public getting shortchanged in the end.

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