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This blog contains sentiments from a very sentimental person. Please bear with his sentimentality.

"There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice." - Albert Einstein

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New blog.

I perceived the need to give my blog a little makeover. And a new URL.

Thanks for those who gave this site a visit, and I hope you can visit my new one as well.
Have a good day everyone.
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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Just to clear things up.

I have fixed some disputable points in my articles about Democratic Socialism. I have been quite careless when it comes to the usage of terms, and I'm afraid that I might have caused some confusion (in case I have any readers). For instance, when I used the term "public ownership," what I meant is the ownership of the general public. But then, the conventional definition of public ownership is actually synonymous with state ownership, and so readers might have perceived inconsistencies with how I explained my stand.

By "public ownership," I have meant "ownership of the general public," not "state ownership." In any case, I have replaced "public ownership" with "worker ownership" so as to dispel any further misinterpretation. I deeply apologize for this silly carelessness.

Now, one might wonder why I'm bringing up the concept of "worker ownership" when socialism is primarily about a government who owns the means of production and distribution of wealth. This is because the modern definition of socialism is wrong. The core principles of socialism has been distorted in such a grotesque manner throughout the years by the USSR, the Nazis, and the pro-capitalist alarmists.

The socialism I espouse in my articles about democratic socialism, is not the twisted version, but the old and correct version of it. Although I disagree with Marx's principle of necessitating communism and his perceived methods of subjugating capitalism, I nevertheless acknowledge that he has properly defined socialism, which is the system where the workers (in other words, the general public), not some kind of totalitarian state, control the means of production, mainly through the establishment of cooperatives. You may notice that this "real" socialism is actually the one espoused by the Democratic Socialists of America.

Thus, I have been consistent with my stand, for the reason that I support NOT the modern definition of socialism, but its original and correct definition. I do apologize for my reckless usage of the term "public ownership," (although I've already fixed that part), but all in all, I could say that my stand holds together.

I must stress this point of mine because most people might have been indoctrinated with the distorted version of socialism, which will lead them to accusing me of being inconsistent with my thoughts, when in fact, it is not true at all. Again, I advocate the OLD and CORRECT definition of socialism, not the NEW and TWISTED version of it.

I shall post a more extensive explanation about the true definition of socialism, and why its essence has been corrupted over the years as soon as I am finished with my article about the corrosive nature of capitalism.

I hope that this will clear everything up.

Note: Just to be sure, I have put clarifications in parts of my articles where the word "socialism" appears.
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Noynoy's SONAlysis

I was looking forward to hearing Noynoy’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), held last July 25, 2011. Although I’m not an avid fan of his administration, my primary purpose of hearing his speech is not because I want to have something to rant about, but I simply want to hear what he has to say, how he will justify his current decisions in an attempt to salvage our nation from destruction.

Furthermore, I have a powerful urge to share my own two cents about the current issues concerning the Philippines, and the President’s SONA would be the perfect foundation to build my analysis on.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to hear his words, as I was supposed to travel to UP Diliman, a three hours’ trip from my humble home in Cavite. Although I would’ve wanted to hear his address with my own ears, well, I couldn’t be too choosy now, could I? I simply read the full transcript of his SONA in this website: Link

(Of course I had the choice of watching his SONA in the Internet, but the thrill is already gone. For this reason, and because of the desire to save time, I chose not to watch his SONA.)

I strongly suggest that you read the whole address first (the length might be daunting, but it’s quite understandable), so as to dispel any accusations of my proselytizing the readers of this article without letting them read Noynoy’s SONA first (although I swear that that’s not even my intention in the first place). But if the address is quite tl;dr to you (tl;dr – too long; didn’t read; a meme), I have provided a pretty succinct summary of his SONA below.

I now assume that you’ve read the address, or at least got hold of the juiciest parts. Now, without further ado, I shall begin my analysis of Benigno Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address.

I must praise Aquino’s decision to deliver his address in Filipino, the national language of the Philippines. It is only fitting that the masses which are not that knowledgeable in the English language still gain the benefit of completely understanding the goings-on in our country, something our native tongue can provide. Aquino recognized this necessity, and this is worth commending.

Moving on, Aquino began his speech with the “Wang-wang” issue the Philippines used to face. Wang-wang used to be a pain in the neck of us Filipinos, when government officials excessively used the sirens on their vehicles so that they can move across traffic without problems, causing annoyance in the part of the normal citizens, especially since such officials do not have the privilege to do so. Aquino purported that only the President, Vice-President, Senate President, House Speaker, Chief of Justice, policemen, firemen and ambulances are allowed to use sirens. In any case, Noynoy seemed to be successful in ridding the Philippines of this major road annoyance.

Noynoy then related the Wang-wang issue to the bigger problems of our society. He treated the Wang-wang as a symbol of abuse, and that there are wang-wangs in our government and society. Noynoy gave a strong emphasis on his desire to cleanse his administration of these abusers and on his sympathy with the citizens, even referring to them as his “boss” in the beginning of his speech. After this sentiment, Noynoy quickly proceeded to the technical stuff, which means I have to go technical as well.

Noynoy, through the course of his first year in office, claimed to have achieved the following:

1. Lowered the hunger rate from 20.5% (March, 2011) to 15.1% (June, 2011)

2. Exceeded the stock market’s “all-time-high” at least seven times

3. Gained four upgrades in credit ratings, (by powers like Moody’s, Standard and Poors, Fitch, Japan Credit Ratings Agency) leading to a decrease in debt interest and ample funds for his Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program

4. Gained more investors (140 companies) in the energy sector (for exploration and strengthening of alternative energy sources)

5. Implemented zero-based budgeting and investigated anomalous project expeditures, effectively exposing excessive spending of some government sectors (e.g., Laguna Lake dredging)

6. Has destroyed the “padrino” system of some sectors, particularly the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), saving about two and half billion pesos

7. Reduced rice shortage from 1.3 million metric tons to 660,000 metric tons

8. Irrigated 11,611 hectares of land; improved 212,000 hectares of underutilized land

9. Raised rice production to 15.6% the previous year

10. Gave four thousand Certificate of Entitlement to Lot Allocation to policemen and soldiers, giving them satisfactory shelters

11. Purchased the Hamilton Class Cutter, a modern ship to empower the coastal defences

12. Reduced the cases of car-napping from 1010 from the first half of 2010, to 460 in the first half of this year

13. Removed the Philippines from Tier 2 of US Trafficking in Persons Report Watchlist, ensuring the receiving of grants from Millennium Challenge Corporation

14. Reduced the unemployment rate from 8% to 7.2% in a span of one year

15. Created 1,400,000 jobs in the previous year

16. 1,600,000 out of 2,000,000 families registered in the “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino” program received benefits

17. Implemented the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction, ensuring that the benefits of PhilHealth were given into the right hands of 5,200,000 families

18. Improvement of roads (e.g., Barangay Bagumbayan, Sta. Maria, Laguna)

19. Distribution of clear water to rural areas (e.g., Barangay Poblacion, Ferrol, Romblon)

20. Distribution of electricity to more areas (e.g., Barangay San Marcos, Bunawan, Agusan del Sur)

He also emphasized in his address the plans he, together with his administration has for the upcoming years, while stating, in a highly rhetorical manner, that we’re still on the “straight path” towards socio-economic prosperity. He has also discussed in his SONA the ongoing projects and researches, which are highly expected to benefit the citizenry in the upcoming months or years.

1. He expects to save about six to seven billion pesos through his actions regarding DPWH.

2. He expects that we’ll reach investment grade through continuous upgrades in credit ratings.

3. He plans to extend his housing projects to Visayas and Mindanao; this includes the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, as well as the Bureau of Fire Protection.

4. He plans to make our country self-sufficient in terms of rice production.

5. He expects to purchase more helicopters, patrol crafts and weapons to further empower the Philippine military.

6. He expects that more jobs will be created in the Philippines.

7. He expects that the combined efforts of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Education (DEPED) will solve the problem of job mismatch.

8. He plans to extend his projects to the separatist Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

9. There are now studies on how to make tree-guarding efficient and beneficial for the community.

10. There are now concepts of modern mosquito traps, new uses for coconut fibers, landslide sensors, as well as devices that can detect overflowing of rivers.

11. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as well as the University of the Philippines (UP) is conducting studies on economical monorail systems.

12. He envisions the proper compensations for the victims of the Martial Law.

13. He envisions the expansion of DOST’s scholarships for underprivileged students.

14. He envisions a stronger health care system.

15. He supports an environmentalist approach and the development of facilities that are safe for the citizens.

16. He is for empowering the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), National Electrification Administration (NEA), and the National Broadcasting Network (NBN; PTV 4).

17. He ensures that the perpetrators of corruption will be brought to justice.

Aside from these points, Noynoy’s SONA simply became a testament of how brilliant he is when it comes to appealing to the emotions of the public. His words were full to the brim with encouragement. One could even imagine that his voice as he uttered these words was teeming with an optimistic disposition, so as to truly convince the populace that we are still on the “straight path,” towards a better future.

Nonetheless, for the sake of optimism, let us give Noynoy some credit for what he has done. Anyway, anyone first year in office is inevitably the “experimental” phase, where one is just getting used to governing the whole nation, and I somehow appreciate the fact that Noynoy seems to employ a gradualist approach in trying to address the conflicts in our nation, fairly ensuring that societal anarchy would not occur.

Then again, I still know better. Tell me; is SONA only about the bragging of the good or semi-good things that you’ve done during your service? Is this important address only addresses the cleaner side of his administration? As far as I know, SONA just means “State of the Nation Address.” What does this mean? It means that we are supposed to discuss not only the good stuff that came our way, but also the evils that currently plague our motherland, which happens to be the more important. Only through the recognition of the anomalies running rampant in our country (of course together with the good stuff) can we truly address the state of the nation.

However, this is not how I saw Noynoy’s address. Yes, he spoke in Filipino, yes, he seemed to have done a number of productive things (although I’ve yet to ascertain their authenticity), but those feats aren’t enough to satisfy me. For instance, anyone who’s amply informed about the condition of the Philippines would notice that he held back a good number of issues from the public ears. While I read the transcript of his speech, I was really expecting that he will address all of the problems our country is currently facing (and of course come up with concrete and comprehensive solutions), but apparently, the SONA will always be used to beautify one’s reputation in front of many spectators. But I should have known better; to my utter disappointment, he didn’t even allude to a number of grave problems that received great attention from the public. Then again, this is to be expected. As I’ve said a while, the SONA has always served as the “perfume” of the President’s reputation. It’s been the political idiosyncrasy here in the Philippines. Still, it saddens me that the President can actually have the guts to deprive the masses of the whole truth, and instead chose to blind them with his flattery and flowery words, while concealing the foul stench of apathy deep within.

1. Noynoy made no reference to Public-Private Partnerships.

I’m still skeptical about this plan of his, the continuous privatization of a number of state-owned institutions and facilities. Considering that I recognize merits in the very efficient wealth-accumulation strategies of the private sector, I must say that this scenario is quite promising. But I’m still suspended in a number of questions: how long will this privatization continue? Just how many institutions will be surrendered into the hands of the private sector? Will the people still be able to afford services previously owned by the state, now that they’re under the ownership of businessmen?

Like most secretive politicians, Noynoy chose not to tell us. Whether this is due to lack of comprehensibility, the secret plan of gradually separating the masses from social services, the firm belief on the alleged people-oriented capabilities of the business sector, or we’re simply in for a pleasant surprise, Noynoy not telling us anything about what’s going-on regarding this controversial project did nothing to ease my doubts. Truth be told, it just increased my suspicion exponentially. 

2. Noynoy didn’t mention anything about the state abandonment of public education.

This is a prominent part of his project of privatizing government sectors, and so this is really worth mentioning. Several times have the activist groups bombarded the Aquino administration of complaints regarding the drastic budget-cutting measures on the educational sectors. Several times have the tuition fees increased, further isolating itself from the reach of the promising but impoverished students. Several times have many thinkers advised Aquino to reconsider his decision of practically forcing the state universities and colleges (SUCs) to raise their fees, effectively adapting an anti-poor ambience which daunts would-be students, which explains the sudden drop in the number of UP enrolees this year. Noynoy did none of the above.

He chose not to mention even a single word about it. I mean, come on. Even the laymen are aware of what’s happening in the educational sector. Schools with previously affordable expenses are now raising their fees as the government moves farther away from them. Where will that leave the underprivileged students? But then it might be that in doing this, the government will have fewer things to worry about, and, anyway, man probably has absolutely no right to education, and that he must fend for himself in an increasingly oppressive society without any due assistance. That seems benevolent enough.

3. Noynoy made no reference to the cause of military upgrades.

This is an extension of the second critique. In the course of the President’s privatization program, the government has cut a staggering 1.39 billion pesos in the budget of the University of the Philippines. The same drastic budget-cutting measures have been applied to several other SUC. Where will this large amount of money go?

Noynoy has decided to utilize the money for military purposes. In his SONA, Noynoy has proudly announced the arrival of a new battleship for our coastal defences, while assuring the public of the arrival of more war machines to strengthen our national security. Know that I’m definitely not against the empowerment of our military. In fact, I saw it fit that it’s about time that our soldiers start getting geared up to answer the growing threats of war over property. In a way, Noynoy has done his best to resolve this issue.

But have we considered the repercussions of this decision? State universities and colleges have been compelled to exponentially increase their matriculation fees to sustain themselves, at the expense of the less fortunate citizens, wherein most of them gave up their dreams of pursuing their college, as all the good and affordable ones are gone. There could’ve been alternative solutions, like cuts in the pork barrel. Heck, he could’ve even used the two billion pesos he claimed to have saved due to his operations on DPWH, or the supposedly huge amount of money he was able to save after stopping the extravagant dredging project at the Laguna Lake. He even went on to say that he is actually expecting to save several billions more before the year’s end.

In summary, he did do something good, but at the expense of another good.

4. Noynoy didn’t discuss the issue about the K-12 program.

Going back to the issue of education, Noynoy has promoted the implementation of the K-12 program, which mandates children to enter kindergarten and adds two additional years in the pre-college years of students. This proposed program received many criticisms. Many poor families saw the program as another burden; adding two more years to ten years of tireless labor might just be too much to bear. Meanwhile, some political critics argue that the introduction of technical education and vocational courses with the K-12 program seems to imply that the government intends to produce semi-skilled workers to be exported overseas to meet the demands of the foreign market; in other words, to some critics, the K-12 program actually paves way to enforced labor export.

But of course these are all speculative work. However, we should give them some credit for what they have said, as their opinions were founded on empirical observation of things happening in our country. The K-12 issue has incited annoyance and grief from the citizenry; don’t you think it’s about time that Noynoy start discussing this thing to end the long chain of conspiracy theories once and for all?

Apparently, Noynoy does not agree with you. Bewilderingly, Noynoy didn’t explain anything about K-12 in his address. What could this mean? Did he already veto the proposal? Has he already implemented it? If he did, why, despite the complaints of the populace? Does he have a greater plan that will benefit everyone in the long run? How are we supposed to know, when Noynoy didn’t even mention anything about K-12?

Truly, Noynoy didn’t exert an effort to douse the flames of conspiracy theories. Instead, he just fanned them.

5. Noynoy ignored the issue about the repeated rejection of wage increase proposals.

There have been desperate pleas from our workers to have the Aquino administration implement a 125-peso wage hike to help them get by the astoundingly huge cost of living in Metro Manila. Again and again they have done their very best to have their voices reach Noynoy’s ears. Again and again they have hoped that their pleas will be answered. But again and again have the government rejected their request, keeping them in their unfortunate state.

Well, okay. Let’s give the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the government has more important things to do rather than raising the wage of the working class, which somehow justifies their need to temporarily refuse to allocate funds for the benefit of the proletariat. Maybe a crucial government sector was horribly short on funds and is on the brink of destruction, and the government had to take immediate action. Or maybe the government is focused on improving school and hospital facilities, stuff like those. Whatever the case, Noynoy must have a just reason for the rejection of wage hike proposals, and that he can address this issue in his SONA.

But it seems that he did not. Yes, he gave some emphasis on his job reforms, claiming that his administration has provided 1,400,000 jobs last year. But aside from the fact that he didn’t expound on how much is earned in this huge amount of jobs, Noynoy didn’t even bother discussing the reasons behind the staunch refusal of the state regarding the provision of additional wages to the working class. If Noynoy has a very good reason for letting this pass, then he should have been able to explain it in his address. He would have been able to save face in the eyes of our workers. But still, he did not.

6. Noynoy made no reference to the victims of political persecution.

Kulé, the official weekly newspaper of UP Diliman, has published countless articles regarding the disappearance of two UP students, namely Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, who were abducted by the military in Hagonoy, Bulacan last 2006. Activist writers of Kulé have been channelling their emotions to the newspaper, still clinging to the hope that they will be found, and that their persecutors will be brought to justice. Surely an issue that attracts so much attention is worth mentioning in Noynoy’s SONA; after all, Karen and She belong to a good number of political victims in our country, which, together with their families, are still deprived of justice.

Noynoy didn’t mention anything about such people. In his address, he continued his waning propaganda that he will destroy the “wang-wang” mentality in his administration, and that he will do his very best to bring corrupt officials, including the ones in the previous regime, to justice, even saying that “he’s going personal in giving them their well-deserved punishment,” and that’s about it.

Okay, maybe the case of the victims still aren’t solved up to now, and that his administration is doing their best to resolve this. Then shouldn’t Noynoy have told us about the steps taken regarding this alarming issue? Shouldn’t Noynoy have discussed their investigations to at least assure us that they’re doing something about these unfortunate Filipinos? But he hasn’t; justice still seems to be unreachable, and the suspects remain untouched.

7. Noynoy didn’t even allude to the Reproductive Health bill.

Ah, another controversial figure in the Philippines. With Edcel Lagman as one of its primary promoters, and of course our President Noynoy Aquino, the RH bill has received mixed reviews in the course of its revisions. Some saw the necessity of accessible and affordable health care services to all kinds of people in our country, be they rich or poor. Others, however, especially the Catholic Church, saw the bill as immoral, and that it promotes sexual promiscuity and kills babies, and so established a strong rejection against it. Some people even proceeded to claiming that overpopulation is not the cause of poverty, and that many kids mean many workers. I have offered my stand regarding this bill in this article of mine.

In any case, the RH bill was and is still the talk of the town, and thus it is only fitting that the man who holds the highest position in this country address this increasingly problematic issue, so as to finally clarify disputable points and, if possible, to enforce a compromise. But Noynoy thinks otherwise.

Instead, he decided that the RH bill is not that important, and that it can be completely dropped from the context of his address. Not a trace of this controversial bill can be found in his speech; it was as if the bill had a grand cameo in the society, and subsequently vanished without a trace. This idea is of course, well, stupid, but apparently Noynoy finds the whole issue trivial, and that the people might just as well forget about it.

8. Noynoy is still “hands off” regarding the incidents at Hacienda Luisita.

Noynoy has stated that he is “hands off” regarding the issue in his own backyard; the Hacienda Luisita. The hacienda was marred with a number of crimes; farmers being massacred, farmers receiving a meager nine pesos and fifty centavos every week, and the subtle mind games of the major stockholders to make the farmers do their bidding.

Aside from not doing anything about the unjust wage of the farmers, the powerful has employed a clever and maleficent strategy; the stock distribution option. In this stratagem, the farmers are given the “choice” of receiving the land which is rightfully theirs, or they will receive bonds and become stockholders of Hacienda Luisita. As expected, the latter option was sugar-coated with the illusion of becoming a significant stockholder of the hacienda, the illusion of entrepreneurship. To think that the farmers are getting picked on, at the backyard of Aquino himself! Surely the miserable state of our unsung heroes is worth mentioning in the SONA. But no, Aquino begs to differ.

It is sickening to think that Aquino has the guts to literally ignore the dire issue of Hacienda Luisita in his address, while boldly proclaiming his “other” achievements to divert the attention of the masses. It saddens me that the injustices perpetrated in the lands of this hacienda didn’t even make their way to the President’s mouth. If even Noynoy himself refuses to acknowledge the atrocities committed in the hacienda, then no wonder that we hardly get a dose of justice nowadays. Context-dropping to preserve reputations is a truth in our society; a harrowing one, yes, but nonetheless a truth.

9. Noynoy did not address the issues involving the Church. 

Ever since the emergence of the Reproductive Health bill, the Church has publicized itself to the Philippine society. The Church has meddled in politics, brainwashed gullible citizens with disinformation, and even intervened with business advertisements. The Church have been considerably bold in their actions compared to the previous years of, what, lethargy?

Aside from the noticeable deviation of the Church from their original purpose of preaching the Word of God, they have also been involved with a number of incidents that only cold-blooded bastards and corrupt officials would get into.

One of these incidents was the rape of a 17-year-old girl in Agusan del Norte. Driven by poverty, the girl started working with priests so that she can study. A priest then took advantage of the girl’s dilemma and demanded her to massage him. Then came the worst part; the priest explicitly ordered the teenager to give him oral sex. The girl refused, and the priest raped her. Brothers and sisters, the harsh reality.
If this seems unbelievable, check this link.

Another alarming incident is the confession regarding priests receiving SUVs from ex-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo behind the scenes, supposedly for “charity work.” This is in itself a pathetic excuse, and this simply shows how hypocritical the Catholic priests are. The reason is very simple; the Catholic Church is supposed to be against Arroyo’s corrupt administration! Countless times have the Church openly expressed its distaste of Arroyo’s governance, yet cannot notice that its constituents are benefiting from the very person they’re battling against! This is nothing but despicable and unholy. The Church, in its benevolent manner, simply said that they’re sorry. Whew, what a day. I guess we can now leave their atrocities behind, can’t we?
Staunch defenders of stagnation, arch-nemesis of progress and rational thinking, purveyors of dogma and indoctrination, the Catholic Church has definitely succeeded not in the justification of God’s goodness, but in demonstrating their unmatched capability to imprison minds and corrupt people.

And Noynoy mentioned nothing about all of these. Apparently, the controversies caused by a charity organization that has spent extravagantly on its priests yet does not bother to help impoverished and despairing citizens aren’t really important in a large scale, and that it can be ignored altogether. That’s logic.

Now some of you might come in the defense of Aquino and argue that the reason Noynoy left the Church part out is because “he’s avoiding further conflicts between him and the Church.” I’m not saying that you’re wrong; in fact, you might as well be right. But won’t this serve as a strong reason for us not to simply rely on what Noynoy is saying on his SONA, since we’ve just got hold of proof that he really is holding something back? We can extend your argument to the problems at Hacienda Luisita; the reason why Noynoy didn’t discuss them is because “he’s avoiding further conflicts between him and the major stockholders of that hacienda.”

In proposing that kind of argument, one would have opened his eyes to a threatening possibility. Just how many unknown issues and problems does Noynoy refuse to talk about?


In summary, what Noynoy did is hardly a SONA; it was just a speech that told people what they want to hear, while holding many things back, suspending me and my fellowmen in a state of suspicion and uncertainty, rather than giving us peace of mind that we so deserve. What happened at the 25th of July isn’t the State of the Nation Address; it was a “What People Want to Hear” Address.
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Gradualism – A Tool of Democratic Socialism

I have recently engaged in an insightful conference in the Center for Nationalist Studies, an organization at the University of the Philippines – Diliman that I’ve just joined. CNS is basically a movement primarily concerned with drastic amends with our current politico-economic system, giving emphasis on the necessity of our country to promote a nationalistic and scientific perspective. Their bold spearheading of several activist approaches in an attempt to combat the imminent crises in the Philippines is what attracted me to participate in their cause.

Be it the uncontrollable price hike or the continuous privatization of a number of state universities and colleges (SUCs) which effectively renders education inaccessible to our less fortunate fellowmen, CNS, together with Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students (LFS), and other youth activist groups, retains a staunch resistance against these injustices, which I really admire.

Perhaps another powerful reason of my attachment to this movement is that we in a way share the same advocacy; to abolish the prospect of unjust capitalism in our country and promote the empowerment of the people, so as to put out the oppressive flames of class division. I recently took the liberty of walking alongside activists as they marched around UP Diliman, voicing out their sentiments regarding the complacency of the government towards the dire needs of our people. While I do not really possess the conviction and guts of a true activist (heck, I even feel embarrassed about shouting together with the other folks in the rally), they nevertheless impress me with their conviction.

However, as an intellectual and critical thinker (I guess), I must admit that I do not fully embrace the ideals of CNS. The cause is undoubtedly noble and mass-oriented; however, the methods proposed to realize a national reform are questionable in my taste. The goal is concrete, but the steps are shrouded in ambiguity and are subject to unnecessary radicalism.

Radicalism is not inherently evil, but is potentially destructive if employed inappropriately. Meanwhile, I believe in the principle of gradualism; the process of slowly, but surely, making amends with the current condition of a system.

In this article, I shall expound on the dangers the full supporters of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology are inadvertently bringing into the scenario. I shall discuss how Marxism overestimates the capability of the labor force, and how Leninism and Maoism exhibit totalitarian tendencies, where it opens the possibility of replacing a corrupt state with a corrupt-to-be state. At the same time, I shall offer my own theoretical approach on how to reform our nation into a democratic socialistic one, founded in the discipline of gradualism.

Jose Maria Sison and the Communist Party of the Philippines

I’ve got the chance to read the book, Lipunan at Rebolusyong Pilipino (Philippine Society and Revolution), written by Amado Guerrero, which happens to be the pseudonym of Jose Maria Sison, leader of the Communist Party of Philippines, a prominent political party in the said country, espousing the ideals of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong; in other words, the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology. Basically, this political belief promotes the empowerment of the working class, which is usually seen as oppressed by the upper class, which are usually capitalists. This ideology gives a strong emphasis on the necessity of a proletariat revolution (revolution of the working class) to overthrow such an oppressive societal structure. Marxism predicts the transition of a government brought about by a proletariat revolution from a capitalistic one, to a socialistic one, and finally, to a communist one. Lenin supplements Marx’s ideals with the idea that imperialism is the highest form of capitalism, as well as the prospect of the dictatorship of the proletariat, a worker-system democracy. Finally Mao adds a militaristic touch to the ideology, as a means of empowering the proletariat in their much-needed uprising. Sison felt the urgent need to apply the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology in the current condition of the Philippines, so as to free the populace from the capitalistic grip of the government and the imperialist nations.

At face value, the synthesis of the three communists’ theories and ideals seem commanding and powerful and, should it be implemented properly, can really suppress the threat of capitalism, and, as Lenin suggested, the eventual development of imperialism. However, the intimidating aura of this three-way ideology is a double-edged sword. It does empower the people, but where will it bring them after defeating the opposition?

The principles of the Communist Party of the Philippines imply that the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology should bring the Filipino nation closer to a society where the masses are free from the prisons of class division and exploitation. The expected result is somehow the same as what I advocate, but is this really what’s going to happen?

Marx’s Crystal Ball Fails

“The worker becomes all the poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his production increases in power and range. The worker becomes an ever cheaper commodity the more commodities he creates. With the increasing value of the world of things proceeds in direct proportion to the devaluation of the world of men. Labour produces not only commodities; it produces itself and the worker as a commodity -- and does so in the proportion in which it produces commodities generally.”

- Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts (1844)

Brief Historical Background of Karl Marx

“Karl Marx (1818–1883) is best known not as a philosopher but as a revolutionary communist, whose works inspired the foundation of many communist regimes in the twentieth century. It is hard to think of many who have had as much influence in the creation of the modern world. Trained as a philosopher, Marx turned away from philosophy in his mid-twenties, towards economics and politics. However, in addition to his overtly philosophical early work, his later writings have many points of contact with contemporary philosophical debates, especially in the philosophy of history and the social sciences, and in moral and political philosophy. Historical materialism — Marx's theory of history — is centered around the idea that forms of society rise and fall as they further and then impede the development of human productive power. Marx sees the historical process as proceeding through a necessary series of modes of production, characterized by class struggle, culminating in communism. Marx's economic analysis of capitalism is based on his version of the labour theory of value, and includes the analysis of capitalist profit as the extraction of surplus value from the exploited proletariat. The analysis of history and economics come together in Marx's prediction of the inevitable economic breakdown of capitalism, to be replaced by communism. However Marx refused to speculate in detail about the nature of communism, arguing that it would arise through historical processes, and was not the realisation of a pre-determined moral ideal.”

Source: Link

Karl Marx has constructed a very straightforward theory regarding the transition of government systems starting from the abolition of capitalism. The political theorist succinctly summarized his predictions in this manner:

Marx realized the dangers posed by progressive capitalism, such as the promotion and preservation of class divisions and excessive centralization. Lenin will later expound on the advanced stage of capitalism which is imperialism, but we’ll discuss it later in this article.

In any case, Marx has developed a fairly understandable theory as a proposed solution on how to subjugate pure capitalism, which became the framework of his ideology; Marxism. As you can see, I have provided a mediocre diagram above in an attempt to explain the Marxist political trend in a visual manner. Please bear with my sub-standard artistic abilities.

Anyway, Marx proposed a radical solution on how to bring down a capitalist state; via a proletariat revolution, or in layman’s term, a workers’ revolution. Marx expounded on the effects of continuous class division, and reached the conclusion that such a situation will inspire the working class to stand up and overthrow an oppressive system. Furthermore, Marx insisted that this objective should be done in a coercive manner, hence, the concept of a proletariat revolution. After a decisive battle between the working class and the capitalists, should the proletariats emerge victorious, Marx predicts that from a capitalist system, the government would be transformed into a socialist state, where the means of the production of distribution of wealth is worker-controlled. The state, in a weakened condition, is expected to succumb to its damages, paving way for the emergence of communism, a natural phenomenon according to the Marxist trend.

Marxism necessitates that communism be the final product of a governmental transition, and that every step discussed is essential to its fulfilment. As we all know, communism is a political system which espouses a classless and stateless society, where the means of production and distribution of wealth is in absolute control of the public. Marx saw this scenario as a way to maximize the freedom of the people and to liberate them from the oppressive grasp of the elite.

So to sum it all up, the Marxist trend says that capitalism, via a proletariat revolution, will be transformed into socialism, which will then naturally become communism; the expected end product of the said trend.
Is this fairly simple theory sufficient to become the spine of a movement to overthrow capitalism?

Not really. Criticisms have come from both sides of the political spectrum, pointing out that the Marxist trend wasn’t obeyed, and need not be obeyed by real-life government systems. There was little to no hint of an uprising from the proletariats. Moreover, several critics of Marxism pictured several flaws in Marx’s overly simplistic and despotic representation of the governmental transitions. I must admit that I agree with them, but first, let’s turn out attention to the next developer of Marxism; Vladimir Ilych Lenin.

Leninism: Iron Mob Fist

“To tolerate the bourgeois newspapers would mean to cease being a Socialist. When one makes a Revolution, one cannot mark time; one must always go forward-or go back. He who now talks about the 'freedom of the Press' goes backward, and halts our headlong course toward Socialism.”

- Vladimir Ilych Lenin

Brief Historical Background of Vladimir Ilych Lenin

“Vladimir Lenin was a Russian revolutionary and communist who led the famous October Revolution in Russia. Lenin was a driving force in overthrowing the Czarist autocracy and was de facto first leader of the Soviet Union. In 1902, Vladimir Lenin published a pamphlet, “What Is To Be Done?” where he argued for a party of professional revolutionaries dedicated to the overthrow of the autocracy of the Czars. Following the 1917 revolution, the Bolshevik faction of the Social Democratic Labor Party, headed by Lenin emerged victorious and subsequently formed the government. While in power, Lenin howled against the oppression of peasants and workers and emerged as the strongest force against capitalism in the world. He was criticized for establishing dictatorship of the Communist Party in Russia. Lenin died on January 21, 1924. The reverend leader was also the first head of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic.”

Source: Link

Lenin realized the reason why the Marxist trend failed. Capitalism, it turned out, has a trick up its sleeve. By granting the proletariats with a relatively satisfactory salary on the false pretence that there is progress in their class, the capitalist system has succeeded in greatly delaying the much-awaited revolution of the working class, while maintaining its fundamental goal of continuously accumulating wealth and keeping it as centralized as possible. Lenin therefore constructed an upgraded version of the Marxist trend in order to address the problems enclosed in each transition, where he also argued that capitalism, if left unchecked, can mutate into an advanced level, commonly known as imperialism. Imperialism in a Leninist perspective is simply capitalism in a global scale. Anyway, here’s Lenin’s advanced version of the Marxist trend:

Lenin postulated that a mere working class is not enough to fuel a large-scale revolution. He therefore necessitated the existence of a group of intellectuals (a professional revolutionary vanguard party) that will serve as guides for the working class as they partake on the Marxist trend. Lenin perceived that through these intellectuals, the Marxist trend can be obeyed, and the nation can therefore achieve communism, which, as I have mentioned before, has the ability to maximize the freedom of the masses. However, according to Lenin’s theory, presumably in order to preserve the existence of communism, he felt it necessary to establish a dictatorship, particularly a dictatorship of the proletariat, where they are entitled to, well, dictate how the means of propagating wealth should be utilized. Basically, Lenin is promoting a “mob rule” of the working class.

At this point, one can already see the dangers imposed by this type of dictatorship. In my article about my advocating of Democratic Socialism, I’ve expounded on the highly negative effects of pure democracy, which is also a “mob rule.” I shall divulge more on my counterattacks against the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology, but first, let me discuss the third and final figure in this discipline; Mao Zedong.

Maoism: Weaponized Revolution

“If you want to know the taste of a pear, you must change the pear by eating it yourself. If you want to know the theory and methods of revolution, you must take part in revolution. All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience.”

- Mao Zedong

Brief Historical Background of Mao Zedong

“Chinese political leader, poet and statesman, founder of People's Republic of China. Mao Zedong's ideas varied between flexible pragmatism and utopian visions, exemplified in the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. His literary production contains mainly speeches, essays and poems. Mao published some 40 poems written in classical tradition with political message. Worshiped by millions, Mao is also considered one of the 20th century most brutal dictators. It has been estimated that he was responsible for well over 70 million deaths.”

Source: Link

Mao Zedong is regarded by some as the latest developer of Marxism, upgrading its strength to another level, as well as the harbinger of Chinese communism. As the article also explained, Mao is also a military tactician, and has employed military strategies in an attempt to “weaponize” Marxism, supposedly empowering it for the realization of the Marxist trend.

Mao sees the People’s War necessary; a sub-phase of the proletariat revolution where the revolutionaries are militarized, or in other words, armed, to further empower their crusade to overthrow capitalism. Here’s a diagram for better understanding (I hope):

Maoism also explains that the battle of the proletariat revolution does not end at the establishment of communism. Growing threats of capitalism’s return must be continuously combated by the proletariat in order to preserve and prolong the strength of the newly-established communist system, which brings us back to the proposed militarization of the working class. This idea is also described in the above diagram. Furthermore, Mao has developed the Three Worlds Theory. It basically states that during the Cold War, the world is split apart into three worlds; the first world is composed of two powerful nations; US and the Soviet Union. The other imperialist states form the second world. Finally, the non-imperialist nations are part of the third world. Mao states that the first and second worlds will exploit the third world, which to his necessitating of a large-scale revolution from the third world; a global proletariat revolution.

The synthesis of the three trends, which basically forms the framework of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology, will look something like this:

The Marxist-Leninist-Maoist trend is simplistic and straightforward, therefore easily understood. Capitalism can be brought down by a proletariat revolution powered by the vanguard party and arms, transforming the state into a socialist one. The socialist government will then become, via a natural transition backed up by militarization, a communist state; the magnum opus of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist trend. Furthermore, to preserve communism, the trend necessitates the existence of a proletariat dictatorship, still weaponized by Maoism. I guess that’s about it.

Now I ask you; is this simplicity enough to win all of the intellectuals’ support? Are we truly ready to rely on the Communist Party of the Philippines to perform extremely radical changes in our society? Will the desired end truly justify the means to be employed?

I will not postpone my answer any longer; I do not believe that this ideology can save us. In fact, I would say that this might just bring us closer to societal disarray. Why is this so?

1. Proletariat dictatorship; totalitarianism in sheep’s clothing

Putting a bunch of armed workers in the seat of absolute power doesn’t seem to be the kind of a liberating scenario that I fancy. In my point of view, the concept of the workers’ dictatorship is merely a gateway to a totalitarian government; the signs aren’t even subtle. What else could you think of a weaponized ruling party that has been given the power to dictate and directly manipulate the means of production and distribution of wealth? Isn’t this quite ironic, especially since the CPP advocates the expulsion of the imperialists? We’ll just end up sooner or later with a nation run by a heavily centralized planning system; the very system the CPP is so desperate to dispose of in the first place.

2. Pure democracy = Mob Rule

The Communist Party of the Philippines also seems to espouse pure democracy. Jose Maria Sison alarmed me with his ominous dreams of a purely democratic state, where the citizens (the armed resistance during the proletariat revolution) basically get what they want. Not only this idea betrays a hint of lack of comprehensive planning, but this also opens the door to the terrible cataclysm of a mob rule. Many times I have refuted the prospect of pure (Athenian) democracy, as this possesses the tendency to focus absolute power on the majority. This can strongly bend justice in favor of the majority in any situation, whether they are right or wrong, and this is quite frightening indeed. Besides, can we really suppose that citizens bestowed with pure democracy can establish and preserve a healthy relationship with a dictatorial proletariat party?

3. Not so fast, socialism.

Marx has postulated that as soon as capitalism is abolished through the efforts of the proletariat, it will transcend to a socialist state. Sounds like a macabre fairy tale to me, but I do not believe that this is the case. First, the revolution espoused by the three communists is not your everyday pep talk and diplomacy. This involves turning workers, the majority of which are farmers, into heavily armed guerrillas and military tacticians, assaulting enemies’ strongholds Rambo-style; in other words; it’s hardcore war.

Can we expect that after countless shedding of blood during the supposed liberation of the Philippines, the people will automatically reunite for one cause and start working towards a socialist state? Aren’t we actually entering Joker’s dreamland? Yes, that’s right, we first have to descend into anarchy; a scenario involving a heavily damaged state and societal chaos, which might just destroy class divisions, and probably lives as well.
We must take into account the natural tendency of a population whenever a powerful stimulus strikes their society. Disturbing an ant colony, like poking it with a stick or something, won’t make the ants automatically unite and subsequently form another colony; it will disperse them first, plunging them into chaos, to the point that at they will remain divided, unable to recover from the damage. This brings us to:

4. Conservation of Momentum

The conservation of momentum states that momentum is, well, conserved. A person who has some knowledge of classical mechanics would know that the momentum of an object is simply the product of its mass and velocity. Now, suppose that a bomb exploded. The conservation of momentum tells us that the combined momentum of all the pieces of the bomb is equal to the momentum of the bomb prior to its explosion.

This phenomenon can also be applied to radicalism. What will happen if a revolution with a powerful momentum struck our motherland? Will nothing happen? Of course not; we’ve already discussed that a strong societal stimulus tends to anarchize a group of people. But is that all? Have we considered that, in the midst of anarchy, the following might occur?

- Large-scale destabilization: Every system in society has a possibility to break down due to the ensuing chaos. The perfect examples are businesses. Who would want to invest in a nation torn apart with a war between the higher class and the proletariat? This will, of course, lead to the bankruptcy of businesses, destabilizing trade and, ultimately, our economy.

- Inflation-Depression: With the economy highly compromised, two things might happen. The first possibility is hyperinflation, where inflation rates exceed the normal. This can be triggered by a very abrupt and aggressive panic buying, and the destruction of sources of raw materials, which is connected to societal anarchy. If this happens, and should this keep on happening, the trade industry will eventually meet its collective end, with the economy and the society itself in tow. The second possibility is an extreme depression, where the demand is far below the normal level, which can be brought about by consumers’ fear of going out and conducting business transactions, which is also connected to societal anarchy. If this happens, and should this keep on happening, the trade industry will eventually meet its collective end, with the economy and the society itself in tow.

Friends, let us take the collateral damages into account.

5. Are we really helping the people?

By literally changing the lives of the humble working class, turning them into vengeful fighters, by subjecting them into unimaginable danger, by giving them the undeniable look of terrorists, and by suspending the citizens into a state of panic and uncertainty; are we really helping the masses? Are the methods espoused by the CPP truly attuned to the benefit of the populace? Can the benefits outweigh the collateral damage? Or is this rash extremism the product of the neglect of such important factors?

I am, like the CPP, is against the oppression and exploitation of the masses. I am aware that if we want change, we must take steps towards the realization of that change. But at the same time, I’m not a Machiavellian. It is not enough to say that “the end justifies the means.” We must also take into account the repercussions of our actions. We must consider the side effects of every step we take on the way. Only through this can we realize what can truly benefit the masses, with pain and suffering kept to minimum. For this principle, I had to reject the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology employed by the CPP.

The Bigger Picture

The Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology accepted for what it is certainly puts many things at risk. We have no guarantee that the people will be united under a socialist state, the trend somehow leads to another centralized and totalitarian de facto state (I have also mentioned this in my article about Democratic Socialism), the collateral damage might just outweigh the perceived benefits, and the ideology itself somewhat lacks a concrete and comprehensive post-revolution planning. For the sake of a concise explanation, I have constructed a web of governmental transitions, with the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist trend serving as the framework. A diversion from this trend is named, unsurprisingly, the anti-Marxist-Leninist-Maoist trend. It can also be seen in my web that M-L-M trend, in the absence of any external intervention, might switch to the anti-M-L-M trend. This gives emphasis on the threats posed by radical leftism.

Image: Link

Note: Mass confusion is self-explanatory.

I have postulated that since the abolition of capitalism via a coercive revolution will give way to anarchy, we have no guarantee that the M-L-M trend will be obeyed absolutely. There is, therefore, a possibility that the society and government will shift into the anti-M-L-M trend, starting with a prolonged anarchy, where the state is nonexistent, otherwise known as anarchism. This system in turn, will either decay due to entropy, or will lead to an oligarchy or the reestablishment of feudalism, brought about by people uniting out of desperation.

Oligarchy or Feudalism, whichever you prefer, will be most likely led by a few who gained little power, but enough to govern an otherwise distraught populace; the ruling party. Eventually, it will expand indefinitely, armed with the concept of laissez faire, until it becomes capitalism once again, which might even extend further to imperialism.

Furthermore, even if the M-L-M trend is perfectly obeyed, communism, with a touch of totalitarianism, might degrade into an oligarchy or feudalism; this is what I call the “trend transition.” Mao, after all, is somehow right in saying that the fight is not over even if the communist state is successfully established. Except for the entropy of anarchism, there is a possibility that the trends can be reversed, although I myself think that that is quite improbable.


The risks and possible collateral damages of the implementation of the M-L-M ideology led me to rejecting it. This ideology’s fairly harmless premise conceals a truckload of dangers, dangers we couldn’t afford, given the crumbling state of our economy and society. My friends, it’s not necessary that we resort to radical leftism to resolve our national conflicts. It’s not even advisable, for any form of extremism will just lead to more chaos.

My Proposed Solution: Democratic Socialism

I won’t be too cocky as to claim that my proposed solution is unarguably the best. After all, I did not have a formal education in the field of politics or economics. I’m but a mechanical engineering student. Nevertheless, my decision to support democratic socialism is brought about by my due consideration of the current situation in our country. Our economic policy reeks with centralized planning and restricted distribution of wealth. Our society’s moral ground is unstable, and we still haven’t experienced a significant collective progress for quite a while. I thus perceived the necessity to make amends with our current political system, not through radical and revolutionary means, but founded in the principle of decentralization, representative democracy, public empowerment and pacifism. Let us enclose these ideas in the name of “gradualism.”

Gradualism in politics, by the name itself, is the idea of making amends or reforms in the current political system in a slow but steady manner. Gradualists like myself believe in the “slowly, but surely” principle, as this relatively maintains the equilibrium of our country. Naturally, we strongly disagree with any radicalism that can disturb the harmony of our national security. We do not believe that true reform can only be achieved by violence. This also effectively makes me a pacifist. I am in favor of as much diplomacy as possible.

I have also constructed a trend depicting not the violent abolition of heavy capitalism, but its gradual reformation to give way to decentralization, while also maintaining socio-economic balance.

Image: Link

There are numerous risks in any political endeavor, and this fact gives emphasis on the concept of gradualism. The subjugation of pure capitalism must be done not through its total abolition via a bloody proletariat revolution, but through comprehensive and pacifist socio-economic reforms. Such reforms can take the form of extensive constitutional amendments or the motivation of the private sector to direct their efficiency towards providing satisfactory and accessible jobs to people way under the middle class. However, if we’re to push forward towards a democratic socialist state, we must pave way for the emergence of worker-owned consumer-goods cooperatives. I have explained in one of my previous articles the benefits of such cooperatives:

From Democratic Socialism: Rejecter of Centralization, True Exalter of Public Labor:

“What’s good about consumer-goods cooperatives run by the working group?

- The source of benefits intended for the general public will be closer to them like never before, as the managers of such cooperative are themselves part of the general public.

- This will help even the playing ground for businesses, which is consistent to the advocacy of democratic socialism of decentralizing economy as much as possible. Sources of benefits will not stem from one point of origin anymore. Wealth shall be distributed evenly throughout the country. 

- This can improve the role of the public in a national economy, upgrading them from mere law-abiders and consumers to major players in the business world. Democratic socialism truly exalts the might of productive labor from the working group.”

The undisturbed establishment of worker-owned cooperatives will bring forth the onset of a mixed economy, where a growing balance in terms of ownership type occurs. There are state-owned property, private-owned property and worker-owned property. Further pushing of socio-economic reforms will bring us to the most crucial step towards democratic socialism. This step, I have dubbed “The Crossroads.”

As you can see, there are four possible paths (well, I called it “crossroads” for a reason), three of which deviate from the intended trend. The first deviation will be brought about by too much inclination on the establishment of state ownerships. Should this continue, the trend will produce a despicable statist nation, where the government is given absolute power to direct the means of production and distribution of wealth.

The second deviation, meanwhile, occurs when there is an unjust preference for worker ownership, leading the trend towards a purely socialistic state (socialist in a Marxist sense), whose dangers I have discussed in my DemSoc article. The third deviation is quite easy to understand. Excessive private ownership will nullify the whole transition, reinstating the capitalist system. Now, notice that such imbalances will happen with incomprehensive, maleficent and haphazardly made measures (such as Noynoy’s Private-Public Partnerships and Hacienda Luisita’s stock distribution option) as well as needlessly violent revolutionary methods (yes, I’m pertaining to the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology). From this point, we can see the power of gradualism.

Almost any method, when employed gradually and carefully, brings out optimum results. A careful scrutiny of data will give you high-quality knowledge. A carefully brewed coffee will bless you with a heavenly aroma and a wonderful taste to top it all off.

Likewise, a gradualist approach to socio-economic reforms gives us not only the opportunity to think things through, from the necessary precautionary steps to the most appropriate manner of reform implementations, but also the guarantee that the society, the government... the nation as whole, is stable. Through gradualism, we can eradicate the anarchistic threats of a proletariat revolution, and the prospect of partiality in terms of ownership, provided that we are attuned to achieving democratic socialism. Thus, a deviation from the gradualist democratic socialist trend is considerably weakened by gradualism, while the path to democratic socialism itself, the equilibrium between the quantity of state, private and worker ownerships, is strengthened.
In achieving ownership equilibrium, we would have locked our path towards the magnum opus of the GDS trend, democratic socialism, powered by a representative democracy. Recalling a part of my previous article, democratic socialism offers the following benefits:

- It retains the principle of equality and freedom.
- It promotes decentralization.
- It promotes cooperativism for consumer-goods industries.
- It has a comprehensive welfare system.
- It is flexible (in terms of ownership).

To know more about democratic socialism, you can read this article.


My friends, do not be blinded by emotions and engage in a needless war. Let us take into account how many lives will be ruined, how much our economy will suffer, how big the gap between cultures will be. Consider the collateral damage, and the solution is clear. Let us embrace and envision a reformation founded not on bloodshed, but on rational thinking and pacifism. Let us appreciate the power of gradualism.
»»  read more

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ang Sampung Salot ng Pilipinas

(Note: This is exactly the same as "The Ten Plagues of the Philippines." I just felt the need to make a Filipino version of this article, so as to make it more understandable by Filipino laymen.)

Tinalakay ko sa nakaraan kong artikulo ang tungkol sa matinding pangangailangan ng isang repormang pulitikal at ekonomikal upang masagot ang pangangailangan ng mamamayan. Ngunit hindi nangangahulugan na ang pamahalaan lamang ang may sala sa mga suliranin ng ating bansa. Sa artikulong ito, ating bibigyang-pansin ang mga kasamaang bumabagabag sa sentral na bahagi ng ating bayan; tayong mga mamamayan.

Sa “blog entry” na ito, ating tatalakayin ang mga tradisyon at mga nakagawian na nagpako sa atin sa kahirapan at korapsyon; ating pag-uusapan ang mga “aral” na naukit na sa ating diwa na pumipigil sa ating pag-unlad bilang isang lipunan; at ating tatalakayin kung ano ang nagkukulong sa atin sa kalungkutan at pagkalito... kung ano ang maaaring magdala ng ating pagkasira bilang isang bansa.

Oras na, mga binibini’t mga ginoo, upang pangalanan ang sampung salot ng Pilipinas.

Ang Unang Salot: “Biktima-ismo”

Ngayon, ang isang tipikal na Pilipino ay maaaring sumumbat na parang ganito:

“Paanong tayo, ang mamamayan, ay may kinalaman sa mga problema dito sa Pilipinas? Paanong mayroon tayong mga katangian na sumisira sa ekonomiya at sa reputasyon ng ating bayan? Paanong tayo, ang mga Pilipino, na kilala bilang isa sa mga pinakahospitableng mga tao sa buong mundo, mga masisipag at malapit sa pamilya, ay mga dahilan ng pagkasira ng ating bansa? Paanong tayo, ang mga biktima—“

Maraming beses na nating ipinilit na tayo’y mga biktima ng lahat ng mga kasamaan na umatake sa ating bayan. Palagi nating sinasabi na tayong ang mga inapi, ang mga kinaaawaan, ang mga aba sa drama ng ating lipunan. Ano ang dahilan ng ganitong pagkondisyon sa isip ng ating mga mamamayan? Hindi kaya ang madalas na paglalarawan sa mga bida ng mga palabas sa telebisyon; ang mga inapi at minamaliit? Ito kaya’y buhat ng tatlong magkakasunod na pananakop ng mga dayuhan sa Pilipinas? Ang aking pagninilay-nilay ukol sa mga Pilipinong mahilig umarte bilang mga “biktima” ang nagdala sa akin sa mga teoryang ito.

Ngayon, sabihin ninyo sa akin; maganda ba na ibase natin ang ating ipinaglalaban sa ideyang tayo’y mga biktima sa isang telenovela? Nakakagaan ba ng loob na ituring ang ating mga sarili bilang mga inapi sa sarili nating lipunan? Kailangan ba talagang isabuhay ang isang pag-uugaling “pessimistic” at nakakasira sa sarili para lamang makahakot ng simpatiya mula sa mga tao sa ating paligid?

Kumawala na tayo sa ilusyong ito. Sa pagpapatuloy natin sa pagturing sa ating sarili bilang mga “biktima,” tayo na rin ang bumibiktima sa ating mga sarili. Isinasabuhay natin ang ating pananaw tungkol sa ating mga sarili sa ating pag-ungol tungkol sa ating mga problema, sa pagsira ng ating kumpiyansa sa sarili, at ang pagrereklamo tungkol sa kung bakit hindi pa dumarating ang ating mga tagapagligtas. Ito ba ang gusto natin? Ang maging katulad ng mga mamamatay na aba, desperadong maligtas ng isang taong hindi naman tayo sigurado kung darating?

Ito ang nais kong sabihin sa inyo, mga Pilipino. Kung paano ninyo itinuturing ang inyong mga sarili, iyon din ang lilikha ng inyong pagkatao. Sa inyong pagkondisyon sa inyong mga sarili bilang mga biktima, kayo rin mismo ang mga nagiging problema; mga mabibigat na krus na pinapasan ng ating mga nagsisikap na mamamayan. Totoo na tayo’y naging biktima ng pagtataksil at kasakiman sa maraming paraan, ngunit ito ang mahalagang tanong; dapat ba tayong manatiling mga biktima ng ating kwento, o dapat ba tayong tumayo at maging sarili nating mga bayani?

Ang Ikalawang Salot: “Kayabangan”

Ang makakabasa ng Noli Me Tangere at El Filibusterismo ni Jose Rizal ay walang dudang maaalala si Doña Victorina, isang kasuklam-suklam na matandang babae, na matapos makihalubilo sa mga Kastila ay idineklara ang sarili bilang Kastila at itinakwil ang kanyang pagka-Pilipina, sa puntong iniinsulto na niya ang kanyang kapwa na para bang dapat silang lumuhod sa harap niya. Tunay ngang kaawa-awang tao si Doña Victorina. Ngunit nakakalungkot na nakawala si Doña mula sa mga pahina at ikinalat ang kanyang impluwensiya sa ating kapwa Pilipino. Ngayon, hindi mabilang-bilang ang dami ng mga Doña Victorina sa ating lipunan; isang nakapanlulumong katotohanan, isang malabangungot na ideya.

Hindi ako isang estranghero pagdating sa mga ganitong klaseng tao. Maraming beses na akong nakasaksi ng mga Pilipinong ubos-kaya ang papuri sa sarili, kung saan ang kanilang kayabangan ay lumolobo nang walang control, dahil lamang nakuha nila ang gusto nila, tulad ng iPad o kung ano pa man, o di kaya’y dahil nanalo sila sa isang paligsahan, kuwan-kuwan-kuwan. Isa itong di-kaaya-ayang karanasan, at ang aking puso ay napuno ng inis at awa.

Ang mga Pilipinong may pagmamalaking wala sa lugar ay kasama rito, sa kadahilanang ang kanilang pagmamalaki ay, malamang, wala sa lugar. Lagi na lamang binabara ng mga mayayabang na Pilipino ang mga mapanuri sa mga kamalian ng ating lipunan, sa mga tradisyonal nating karamdaman at sa ating kawalan ng magandang asal, na nagpapatunay lang kung paano kasama ang ugali ng iba nating kapwa Pilipino. Patuloy nilang binabansagan ang mga mapag-isip na “nerd,” “geeks,” at “anti-Filipino,” at sinasabing naiinggit lang daw sila sa kanilang mga nagawa. Halos naririnig ko na sila, sinasabing:

“Nainggit lang kayo dahil marami na kaming nagawa bilang ilang bansa. Masisipag kaming mga tao, at kaya naming makibagay sa kahit anong sitwasyon. Mapunta na kayo sa impyerno!”

“Isa itong patunay kung paano lumubha ang kayabangan ng Pilipino sa pagdaan ng panahon; at hindi ito maganda. Inihalintulad ni Binsfield, isang dalubhasa sa “demonology,” ang kayabangan kay Lucifer, ang anghel na nag-rebelde sa Diyos. Para sa mga “atheists,” pinapalagay na ang kayabangan ang ugat ng lahat ng kasalanan. Nakikita niyo na kung saan ako papunta; tayong mga Pilipino ay may asal na maaaring sumira sa ating lipunan at imahe.

Hindi ko sinasabi, aking mga kababayan, na itigil niyo ang pagmamalaki sa inyong mga napagtagumpayan. Sinasabi ko lamang na ilagay niyo sa tamang lugar ang inyong pagmamalaki, dahil kung titingnan ang kabuuan ng mga bagay-bagay, malalaman nating ang mga indibidwal at pangkalahatang tagumpay ay hinding-hindi pa kagaya ng mga nasa pantasya natin.

Ang Ikatlong Salot: “Projection”

Pinag-aralan naming noong hayskul sa MAPEH (Musika, Sining, Edukasyong Pisikal at Kalusugan), ang iba’t-ibang paraan kung paano nireresolba ng tao ang kanyang mga problema sa buhay. Sa mga paraang ito (ang alam ko’y mayroong anim na uri nito), isa lamang ang nakakuha ng aking atensyon; “projection.” Ang “projection” ay isang paraan kung saan upang mawala ang sama ng loob, ibinabaling ng isang tao ang sisi sa iba, para nga naman hindi na niya dalhin ang sariling pasanin... sa kanyang pananaw.

Nakuha nito ang aking atensyon dahil, alam niyo na ito, ginagawa ito ng maraming Pilipino. Marami sa kanila ang palagi na lamang naghahanap ng maaaring sisihin upang mawala ang kanilang sama ng loob; kung saan ang pamahalaan ang kadalasang pinupunterya. Ito na ang naging kalakaran ng mga mahihirap na Pilipino sa pagdaan ng panahon sa ating bansa; ang gobyerno bilang buntunan ng sisi upang sila’y makatakas at gumaan ang pakiramdam.

“Bakit tayo naghihirap? Bakit walang ginagawa ang pamahalaan?” ang kadalasang daing ng maraming mahihirap na mamamayan sa ating bansa. Hindi talaga sila napapagod sa pagsigaw sa buong mundo na ang kanilang kahirapan ay bunsod ng gobyerno hindi kayang tustusan ang kanilang pangangailangan. Tama ba ang ganitong pag-uugali? Ano nga ba ang ginagawa nila upang makaahon mula sa hirap?

Ginagawa naman nila ang kanilang makakaya upang mapabuti ang kanilang kalagayan. Matiyaga sila sa kanilang trabaho, ang walang habas na pakikipagtalik sa kanilang mga asawa upang gumawa ng isang batalyon ng mga anak, habang wala naman silang pera upong sila’y suportahan, at sabay sisisihin ang gobyerno sa kanilang paghihirap. Nagsisipag sila sa kanilang bokasyon bilang mga sugarol, maging iyan ay “jueteng,” “mah-jong” o sabong, kahit wala na silang pera. Handa nilang pagtrabahuhin ang mga anak sa mga lansangan para mamalimos o magtinda ng sampaguita, mga kendi o kahit sigarilyo, habang nakatuon sila sa kanilang trabaho, at kadalasan, iyon ay ang pag-inom at paggawa ng bata. Masisipag nga silang mga tao; siguro naman tama ang kanilang ipinaglalaban? Aba’y lubhang sila’y nagsisipag sa matagal na panahon!
Hayaan niyo muna ako sandali habang ako’y napapaluha.

Ang “projection” ang naging pangunahing solusyon ng mga Pilipino pagdating sa mga problema, at mukhang gumagana ito para sa iba; ngunit ano ang kabayaran? Makatarungan ba ang paglimot ng isang tao sa kanyang problema at ilipat ito sa iba para lamang gumaan ang kanyang loob?

Mga kababayan ko, inyo bang dinadala ang inyong mga sarili tungo sa kasaganaan sa pamamagitan ng walang habas na “projection” (paninisi)? O dapat ba nating ibahin ang ating nakaugalian, tumayo at akuin ang mga responsibilidad para sa ikabubuti ng lahat?

Ang Ikaapat na Salot: “Celebrity Syndrome”

Papalapit na ang halalan. Marami na ang nagpahayag ng kanilang kagustuhang tumakbo para sa iba’t-ibang posisyon sa gobyerno, maging pambansa man ito o lokal. Samantala, ang mga mamamayan naman ay nag-iisip na kung sino ang dapat iboto. Alam naman nating lahat na ang halalan ay isang mahalagang aspeto ng ating lipunan, partikular sa isang demokratikong lipunan (ang ating bansa ay isang republika; ang republika ay isang uri ng demokrasyang representatibo), kung saan ang bawat tao na nasa legal na edad ay may pagkakataong iboto ang mga taong sa tingin niya’y kaya tayong dalhin tungo sa magandang kinabukasan. Ang pagboto sa isang tao ay nangangailangan ng matinding pagsusuri tungkol sa kung ano ang natapos ng taong iyon, kung ano ang mga nagawa niya para sa lipunan, ang kung gaano kaganda at kapaki-pakinabang ang kanyang plataporma.

Ngunit ano ito! Kay sakit malaman na ibinoto ng mga tao ang mga kandidatong nagdadala sa atin sa ating pagkagunaw. Ibinoto nila ang mga huling taong gusto kong makitang pinangangasiwaan ang mga napakahalagang bagay tulad ng ating lipunan at ekonomiya; mga artista.

Ito na ang nagging kalakaran nitong mga nakaraang taon; mga artistang nais maging pulitiko, marahil ay upang magpayaman sa iba’t-ibang kadahilanan, marami doon ay maaaring pansarili lamang. Ang malaking problema ay marami sa ating mga kababayan ang nauuto rito. Handa silang yumukod sa impluwensya ng mga sikat na taong ito, kung saan bulag nila silang sinusundan at kung saan sila’y mahigpit na kumakapit sa kanilang mga pangako, nang walang pag-aanalisa kung kaya ba nilang tuparin ito, lalo pa’t hindi naman sila talaga mga pulitiko mula’t sapul. Gawing halimbawa si Manny Pacquaio; ang Pambansang Kampeon sa Boxing ng Pilipinas na isa na ngayong konggresista. Ito ay lubhang nakakainis, at ito’y isang malaking insult sa kredibilidad ng ating pamahalaan. Ang pagtanggap sa isang taong wala namang koneksyon sa pulitika sa ating gobyerno, ito’y tanda ng kamangmangan. Ano ba ang maaaring sanhi ng pangyayaring ito na makakamit lamang sa pamamagitan ng pagkondisyon sa isip ng masa? Syempre, ang kasikatan at impluwensiya.

Marami sa ating mga Pilipino ang gumagawa ng mga desisyon base lamang sa impluwensya ng mga tao sa telebisyon; walang pagtatalo sa nakakalungkot na katotohanang ito. Paulit-ulit na mas pinaboran ng mga Pilipino ang mga walang kakayahan ngunit tanyag ng mga tao kaysa sa mga simple ngunit matatalinong “diplomat” at mga dalubhasa. Oo, pinag-uusapan natin si Noynoy Aquino, na ang dahilan lang naman ng kanyang pagkakaluklok sa pwesto ay dahil sa pagkamatay ng kanyang sikat na ina (na umani ng simpatya mula sa milyung-milyong tao), at syempre dahil na rin sa kanyang kapatid; si Kris Aquino, ang Reyna ng mga “talk shows.” Kahit si Fernando Poe Jr., isang sikat na artista ay muntik nang manalo sa halalan noon. Dagdag pa rito ay ang pagiging pangalawa ni Joseph Estrada (tinalakay ko na ang mangmang na ito na nakaraan kong artikulo), sa huling halalan (sunod kay Noynoy). Ang di kapani-paniwala rito ay nagging pangulo na si Estrada dati, at malinaw na nakasaad sa ating Konstitusyon na hindi na maaaring tumakbo sa pagka-presidente ang naging president na. Ngunit natatalo marahil ang lohika ng kasikatan at impluwensya, o di kaya’y ganito lang talaga ang kalakaran sa aking mahal na bansa; ang galing-galing.

Ang Ikalimang Salot: “PNY (Pwede na ‘yan) Syndrome”

Pwede na ‘yan – ang madalas na ugali ng Pilipino kung saan madali siyang makuntento sa mga bagay na maaari pang pagandahin.

Bigyan na natin ng pansin ang ating industriya ng “entertainment,” kung saan talagang nababagay ang mga artista. Gamit ang markang isa hanggang sampu, paano mo mamarkahan ang mga pelikula at mga awitin sa ating bansa? Maaaring dahil sa bugso ng nasyonalismo, maaaring magkaroon ng markang walo o sampu. Ngayon, paano kung ikumpara natin ang ating mga gawa sa mga gawa ng ibang bansa, tulad ng US o Japan; sa isang perspektibong walang kinikilingan, paano mo sila iiskoran?

Maaari akong paulanan ng pambabatikos hinggil sa “colonial mentality” ko kuno. Ito ang masasabi ko. Bahala kayo’t sabihin niyo ang gusto niyong sabihin, ngunit nagpapakatotoo lang ako. Bagamat pinagpupugay ko ang mga kagila-gilalas na likha ng ating mga artisano na nakilala sa ibang bansa (sa kabutihang palad, mayroong mga ganito), sa pangkalahatang pananaw, ano ang kalagayan ng ating industriya? Ilang beses nang nagpalabas ang pambansang industriya ng mga pelikula ng mga pangkaraniwan at nakakasawang mga palabas na lagi akong iniirita. Ang mga kwento ay paulit-ulit at madaling hulaan, ang mga CGI ay makaluma, dahilan upang maging kasingkahulugan ng Metro Manila Film Festival, na ginaganap taun-taon tuwing Disyembre, ang salitang “kasuklam-suklam” sa aking diksyunaryo. Samantala, ang ating industriya ng musika, ay nauwi sa paulit-ulit na pagkanta nga mga sikat na awit mula sa ibang bansa, dahilan upang mawala ang kanilang pagkamalikhain, na nagdudulot ng pagbagsak ng OPM, na ang ibig sabihin ay “Original Pilipino Music.”

Hanggang sa industriya ng “entertainment” lang ba tayo? Ano naman kaya ang dahilan upang magrebelde ang ilang mga tao laban sa “protectionist act” ng ating bansa at laban sa polisiyang “Filipino First”? Sa taong may maayos na pag-iisip, alam na niya ang sagot sa tanong na ito. Bagamat di ko sinasabi na kailangan nating pilitin na gayahin ang ibang bansa (sinisira nito ang ating pagkamalikhain), hindi ba dapat nating ituring ang kanilang mga nagawa bilang tanda na dapat din tayong sumulong?

Ang Ikaanim na Salot: “Pautang-Palibre Syndrome”

“Pautang naman. Palibre naman.”

Naging bukambibig ito sa pagitan ng mga magkakaibigang Pilipino sa panahon ngayon. Nagkaroon pa nga tayo ng tawag sa mga taong mahilig magpalibre; “kalog,” marahil dahil ang kalog ay nagpapaalala sa atin ng pagkalog ng mga barya. Mababaw lamang ang pinag-ugatan ng salitang ito, ngunit ito ang maaaring dahilan kung bakit ito ang naging katawagan. Datapwa’t hindi natin tatalakayin ang linggwistika; tayo’y narito upang pag-usapan ang isang ugaling parang wala namang idudulot na masama ngunit isa palang parasitiko at nakakaagrabyadong asal sa ating mga Pilipino. Ang tawag ko sa salot na ito ay “Pautang-Palibre Syndrome.”

Paano naging parasitiko ang katangiang ito? Katuwaan lang naman ito. Subalit, lagi nating isipin na ang isang nakahiligang hindi natututukan ay nagiging bisyo. Kung ano ang “katuwaan” lang para sa atin sa simula, ay nagiging bisyo kapag hindi nagabayan o hindi pinansin. Kalat na ang mga utang sa mga naghihirap na bahagi ng Pilipinas. May mga taong binabaon ang sarili sa utang masuportahan lang ang kung ano ang magpapasaya sa kanila, o dahil hirap silang makahanap ng trabaho.

Kung ano man ang kadahilanan, istupido man o marangal, ang hindi kontroladong pangungutang ay nakakasakit para sa nagpapautang pati na rin sa umuutang, dahil halos ng mga utang sa pagitan ng mga dukha ay hindi nababayaran.

Isa pang magandang halimbawa ay ang mga Pilipinong walang kontrol sa sarili pagdating sa paggamit ng “credit cards,” kung saan ay bili sila ng bili ng mga bagay-bagay, hanggang sa malaman nilang sila’y naghihikahos na mabayaran lamang ang kanilang mga utang.

Huwag nating alagaan ang sakit na ito, aking mga kaibigan. Huwag nating basta ituring ang mga utang at palibre bilang mga maliit na bagay na maaaring hindi pansinin. Balang araw, maaaring matagpuan mo na lamang ang iyong sarili na tuluy-tuloy lang sa paghingi ng mga regalo at ang pag-asa na pauutangin ka palagi ng ibang tao, dahil hinayaan mo lang na makagawian mo ito. Sikolohiya lamang ito, mga mamamayan; katulad ng sinabi ko kanina, ang isang nakahiligang hindi natututukan ay nagiging bisyo.

Ang Ikapitong Salot: “Kakulangan ng Disiplina”

Hindi na kailangang turuan ang isang taong kilala na ang mga Pilipino upang maintindihan kung bakit talamak ang salot na ito sa Pilipinas, lalo na kung ang taong ito ay nakatira sa Pilipinas. Para bang ang ating mga isip ay natural na rebelde, na maaaring dahilan kung bakit marami sa atin ang nagsasawalang-bahala sa kahit mga pinakasimpleng alituntunin.

Pagpa-park sa “no-parking” na espasyo, paninigarilyo sa mga lugar na bawal manigarilyo, pagtatapon ng basura kung saan-saan kahit mayroon namang mga basurahan, pagkuha ng mga pasahero sa pwestong “no loading,” pilit na paghingi ng sukli mula sa mga “exact fare ticket booths,” pagtawid sa mga hindi naman tawiran; ano pa? Nakasaad sa isang salawikain na “kinagigiliwan ng mga tao ang isang rebelde,” ngunit sa tingin ko’y sumosobra na ang iba sa ating mga kababayan.

Ang kakulangan ng disiplina ay hindi lamang sa pagsunod sa mga batas; lumalabas din ito kahit sa ating pakikitungo sa kapwa. Ang pagsingit sa linya para lang mauna ay isang magandang panimula para magnilay-nilay. Maraming beses nang nagawa ito, hanggang sa ito’y maging karaniwan na lamang, ngunit hindi ito magiging tama dahil lamang lagi itong ginagawa. Ang paggawa ng masama nang paulit-ulit ay hindi magiging mabuti, katulad ng pagsusuma ng mga negatibong numero sa matematika. Ang isang madalas na halimbawa ng kabastusan sa Pilipinas ay makikita sa mga MRT (Metro Rail Transit). Alam ko ito dahil sumasakay ako ng tren dalawang beses sa isang linggo.

Halos hindi ko maipaliwanag ang aking pagkayamot habang walang habas ang pagbundol ng mga napasok sa tren sa ibang mga pasahero, sa halip na hayaan muna silang makalabas bago pumasok. Tulad nga ng sinabi ng isang nagkumento sa “Yahoo! Philippines News” hinggil sa mga nakakairitang bagay sa mga MRT:

“ang MRT high tech! automatic. pagpasok mo, automatic ka ng nadadala ng mga taong nagtutulakan papasok sa loob! tapos automatic din pag-exit kasi para ka lang dinadala ng agos ng tao palabas after. minsan matatanung mo sarili mo kung nagamit mo ba mga paa mo or lumutang ka papasok at palabas ng mrt sa kakatulak ng mga tao. It's Automatic!!!!”

Laging nakakalusot ang mga Pilipino sa mga ganito gamit ang mga palusot na:

“Minsan lang naman ‘to e.”

“Maliit na bagay lang naman ‘yan.”

Nais kong paalalahanan kayo, mga mahal kong kababayan, na ang lahat ng mga hindi mahalagang kapilyuhan na ginawa natin sa pagdaan ng mga taon, ang mga maliliit kuno na kasalanan na palagi nating ginagawa at kinakalimutan dahil “hindi naman sila mahalaga,” ito ang mga bagay na naging dahilan upang hindi tayo pagkatiwalaan ng mga dayuhan.

Ang Ikawalong Salot: “Nepotism”

Ang aking tiya, ang pangalawang anak ng kapatid ng lola ko sa aking ina, ay nangarap na makapagtrabaho sa “Department of Foreign Affairs.” Sa lahat ng aspeto, lagpas na siya sa mga kwalipikasyon. Isa siyang dalubwika na may magandang pinag-aralan, nakapag-aral sa ibang bansa at nakapag-ikot pa sa Europa, salamat sa kanyang “scholarship.” Ang isang aplikanteng kagaya niya ay masyadong magaling upang balewalain; ngunit sa kasamaang palad, may “nepotism.” Hindi niya nakuha ang trabaho.

Nadiskubre na lamang ng aking tiya na nakuha na ang lahat ng mga posisyon ng mga taong magkakamag-anak. Dahil ang buong departamento ay pinangagasiwaan na ng isang pamilya, wala nag paraan upang maresolba ang suliraning ito. Kinailangan niyang humanap ng ibang hanapbuhay. Ito ay isang masalimuot na resulta ng “nepotism,” o ang hindi makatarungang pagpanig sa mga kamag-anak.

Matagal nang binabagabag ang lipunang Pilipino ng “nepotism.” Pinreserba na ng mga pamilya ang mga mahahalagang posisyon sa gobyerno, kung saan ang bata ang pumapalit sa matanda. Maraming dinastiya na ang naitatag sa mga negosyo, dahilan upang magkaroon ng mga oligarkiya sa sektor ng negosyo. Maraming Pilipino na may karapatan ang nawawalan ng trabaho, dahil sa mga taong may mga koneksyon lamang. Hindi ito makatarungan, di ba? Ang ganitong uri ng sistemang panlipunan ay katulad ng isang sistema kapitalista, kung saan ang pagpapalago ng yaman ay nasa mga kamay lamang ng mga piling makapangyarihan; sa kaso nito, ang pamilya. Bakit ganito katalamak ang kawalan ng katarungan sa ating bansa?

Sa isang banda, maaaring may kinalaman an gating tradisyonalistikong pananaw pagdating sa konsepto ng pamilya. Paulit-ulit na iginiit ng ating mga ninuno ang prinsipyong ito sa ating isipan; “mas malapot ang dugo kaysa tubig.”Naging kalakaran na sa pag-uugaling Pilipino ang unahin muna ang pamilya sa lahat ng kanyang mga mithiin kahit anong mangyari, dahil dapat daw magbuklud-buklod ang mga magkakapamilya. Masama ba itong ideya? Aba’y hindi; ang pagbubuklod ng mga magkakapamilya ay isang magandang adhikain, at maaari nitong palakasin ang mga relasyon ng mga miyembro ng pamilya sa isa’t isa. Iyon nga lang, marami sa ating mga Pilipino ang nagsasamantala sa konseptong ito upang makapang-isa ng ibang tao.

Mas pinapaboran ng ibang mga negosyante ang kanilang mga kapamilya kahit mga mangmang naman at kulang sa karanasan kaysa sa mga matatalinong aplikante, dahil sabi nga raw, “mas malapot ang dugo kaysa tubig.” May mga taong napipilitang alagaan ang mga inutil nilang kamag-anak, pinakikisamahan ang kanilang katangahan at masamang ugali, dahil sila’y “kapamilya nila.” Hindi ba isa itong parasitikong relasyon at hindi kaaya-aya? Isa itong hubad na kabuktutan, bunsod ng pagsasamantala ng ating mga aral.

Hindi dapat gamitin sa diskriminasyon ng iba ang pamilya. Maging resonable tayo rito.

Ang Ikasiyam na Salot: “Asal-Alimango”

May mga nagsasabing para tayong mga alimango. Bakit ganito? Dahil ba tayo’y mga “arthropods” pala? Dahil ba patagilid tayong lumakad? Dahil ba masarap tayo kapag hinaluan ng “tartar sauce”? Habang isinasantabi ko ang salat kong kakayahang magpatawa, tayo’y binansagang mga alimango, hindi dahil tayo’y talagang mga alimango, ngunit sa isang dahilang hindi magandang pakinggan.

Ang asal-alimango ay isang ugali kung saan hinihila natin pababa ang isang taong umuunlad, katulad ng kung paano humihila ng mga bagay ang mga alimango gamit ang kanilang mga sipit, madalas ay dahil sa inggit. Ang ganitong klaseng disposisyon ay nakakabahala, at lubhang nakakaalarma’t nakakabagabag na tinatawag tayong mga alimango. Subalit, kung titingnan natin an gating lipunan, kahit gaano kasakit, may punto rin ang mga bumabansag sa atin ng ganito.

Mga OFW ang aking mga magulang, bagamat napagpasyahan ng aking ina na manatili rito upang matutukan ang aking mga kapatid na babae. Gayunpaman, sila’y nakakilala ng maraming mga dayuhan at mga kapwa OFW. Nasaksihan nila mismo kung paano nanggamit ang kapwa natin Pilipino upang matupad ang gusto nila, kung paano sila nandaya upang maabot ang tuktok. Ang nakakalungkot pa rito ay hindi sila nag-aalinlangang pagtaksilan o isakripisyo kahit na ang kapwa nila Pilipino para sa kanilang pansariling interes.

Habang nakatira ang aking mga magulang sa “apartment,” lagi na lamang nilang naririnig ang mga Pilipinong naglalaitan, binabatikos ang isa kapag siya’y nakatalikod, at ginagawa ang lahat mahila lang pababa ang reputasyon ng isa’t isa. Nakakalungkot isipin na marami sa atin ang naging pawang mga nilalang na walang moralidad, hinahayaang magdusa ang iba para sa kanyang adhikain. Alalahanin na lamang natin ang mga kababayan natin sa bawat sulok ng mundo na pinaslang ng kapwa nating Pilipino. Tunay ngang sa pagdaan ng panahon sa ating bansa, tayo’y namuhay nang hati-hati at may galit sa isa’t isa.

Minsang sinabi ng aking ina na mas mabuti pa ang makatrabaho ang mga banyaga kaysa kapwa Pilipino, dahil mas posibleng traydurin ka nila. Nakakagulat man na marinig ito sa kanya, ngunit karansan ang naging guro ng aking mga magulang; totoong mga pangyayari at mga personal na engkwentro sa ating mga kababayang traydor. Marahas man kung iisipin, ngunit sang-ayon ako sa nanay ko. Ang aming mga obserbasyon ay pareho. Kung titingnan ang lipunan dito sa Pilipinas, at kung mamasdan kung paano tratuhin ng mga Pilipino ang isa’t isa sa ibang bansa, masasabi kong ang ating bansa ay nagpalaki ng maraming mga alimango. 

Ang Huling Salot: “Dama-slavery”

Ito na siguro ang pinakatalamak na salot na umaatake sa ating bansa ngayon. Maraming tao na ang nabiktima ng napakalakas na sakit na ito, kung saan inaalisan sila ng abilidad na makapag-isip nang kritikal, pati na rin ng rasyonal na pag-iisip. Ito ang huling salot: “Dama-slavery.”

Ako ang gumawa ng salitang ito, kaya pasensya na kung medyo walang kwenta. Ang salitang ito ay mula sa salitang “slavery” o pag-aalipin, at “Damaso,” ang pangalan ng isang masamang prayle sa Noli Me Tangere ni Rizal. Si Padre Damaso ay kinasusuklaman dahil sa matalim nitong dila, kung saan ay madalas niyang minumura at iniinsulto ang mga taong di niya gusto. Isa rin siyang mapagmataas na hipokrito na isa rin sa mga dahilan ng mga kasiraan ni Crisostomo Ibarra, ang bida ng nobela, na isang mabait at matalinong ginoo. Huli, ginawa niya ang isang katakut-takot na bagay, at ito ay ang paggahasa sa isang babaeng nagngangalang Pia Alba sa kalagitnaan ng isang pista at nagkaroon sila ng anak; si Maria Clara.

Bakit ang pangalan ng huling salot ay isinunod sa isang piksyunal na karakter? Simple lamang ang sagot. Kung nakikita natin si Doña Victorina sa mga Pilipinong puno ng kayabangan, si Padre Damaso naman ay makikita sa ating kaparian sa maraming paraan. Ang Simbahang Katoliko ay palagi nang sentro ng mga kontrobersya; mga paring nanggagahasa ng mga dalagita (at nakakatakas), mga paring lumalaban kuno sa mga ganid na administrasyon, ngunit tumatanggap ng mga regalo nang palihim, mga paring nang-iinsulto ng mga intelektwal, mga paring nakikialam sa mga bagay na wala naman silang kinalaman, mga paring nang-iimpluwensya ng mga opinion ng mamamayan, mga paring nag-aasatang pulitiko, at marami pang iba. Tunay ngang ang simbahan ay lumihis na mula sa orihinal nitong misyon, at ito ay ang masigasig na pagpapakalat ng Salita ng Diyos.

Kung ilang beses nang kinundisyon ng Simbahang Katoliko ang mamamayan sa pamamagitan ng maling impormasyon at kahit mga banta na sila’y parurusahan ng Panginoon upang matupad ang kanilang mga mithiin. Maraming beses na nilang binaluktot ang katotohanan upang maikubli ang kanilang baho, lalo na sa kontrobersyal na “Reproductive Health Bill” (tinalakay ko ito sa mga nakaraan kong artikulo). Paulit-ulit nilang tinuligsa ang pamahalaan at sinisi sa ating kahirapan, kahit wala naman silang ginagawa upang maibsan ang sakit na nararamdaman ng ating mga kababayan, habang ginawa naman nila ang lahat upang matakpan ang mga kasalanang kanilang nagawa sa mga nagdaang taon.

Ngunit sa kabila ng lahat ng ito, marami pa rin sa ating mga Pilipino ang naniniwala sa simbahan. Marami pa rin sa atin ang nakakapit sa mga “banal” na taong ito, kung saan binubuhos nila ang kanilang oras at salapi para sa ikasisiya ng mga “alagad ng Diyos.” Nananatili pa rin silang bulag sa mga kasamaang ikinalat ng mga paring kaugali ni Damaso, at handa pa rin nilang ipaalapin ang kanilang mga sarili bilang mga tauhan ng simbahan sa krusada nito laban sa lohika.

Tunay ngang itinanim ng simbahan ang isang bagay na napakasama sa isip ng ating mga kababayan; kamangmangan.

Huwag niyo nang tulugan lang ang inyong mga “alarm clocks,” mga mahal kong kababayan. Oras na para bumangon. Oras na upang tumayo at magsimulang gumawa para sa ikabubuti ng lahat. Oras na upang kumawala mula sa ating mga ilusyon at ideolohiya at lutasin an gating mga suliranin na may maayos at rasyonal na pag-iisip. Oras na upang ilabas ang lahat ng ating kakayahan, bago pa tayo malamon ng mga nakakamatay na salot ng Pilipinas.
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The Ten Plagues of the Philippines

I’ve discussed in my previous article the dire need of a politico-economic reform to meet the urgent needs of our fellowmen. However, this certainly doesn’t mean that the government is the sole perpetrator of all the problems in our country. In this article, we shall turn our attention to the evils plaguing the central element of our nation; ourselves, the people.

In this blog entry, we shall address the traditions and idiosyncrasies that kept us pinned to poverty and corruption; we shall tackle the “values” indoctrinated deep within our subconscious that stagnate our progress as a society; and we shall discuss what keeps us trapped in misery and confusion... what can bring forth our ruin as a nation.

It is time, ladies and gentlemen, to name the Ten Plagues of the Philippines.

The First Plague: “Victim-ism”

Now, a typical Filipino might blurt out something like this:

“How come we, the citizens, are contributing to the problems here in the Philippines? How come that we exhibit characteristics that scourge our economy and national reputation? How come that we, the Filipinos, known to be one of the most hospitable citizens in the whole world, who are industrious and heavily family-oriented, are reasons for our country’s ruin? How come that we, the victims—“

For countless moments, we Filipinos have insisted that we’re the victims of the bad stuff that struck our country. We’ve always declared that we’re the oppressed, the pitied, underdogs of our social drama. What caused this indoctrination in the minds of our fellowmen? Is it perhaps the usual portrayal of the protagonists in the local TV series and movies; the oppressed and the belittled? Could this have been caused by three consecutive occupations of different countries in the Philippines? My reflections about Filipinos always eager to play the “victim” part pointed me to these suppositions.

Now, tell me, my dear fellowmen: is it in any way productive to base our stand from the idea that we’re victims in some kind of a telenovela? Is it in any way uplifting that we’re labelling ourselves as the oppressed wretches in our own society? Is it so necessary to adapt so pessimistic and self-damaging an attitude just so we can arouse sympathy from the people around us?

Snap out of this illusion, my dear Filipinos. As we continue to label ourselves as “victims,” we in reality victimize ourselves. We live up to our view of ourselves by moaning and groaning about our problems, ruining our own self-esteems, and complaining about why our saviours haven’t come yet. Is this what we want? To be like dying wretches wanting to be saved by someone we’re not sure will come?

This, I say to you, Filipinos. How you view yourselves will inevitably define who you are as a whole. As you continue conditioning yourselves as the victims, you unwittingly become burdens yourselves; heavy crosses to be carried by our productive fellowmen. It’s true that we have been victims of treachery, discrimination and corruption in many ways, but the crucial question is this; should we remain victims of our story, or should we stand up and become our own heroes? 

The Second Plague: “Vanity”

If one has read Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere or El Filibusterismo, he or she would without doubt remember Doña Victorina, a despicable old woman, who, after mingling with a bunch of Spaniards, has declared herself a Spaniard and rejected her Filipino heritage, to the point of spitting out insults to her fellowmen as if they are supposed to bow down to her. Truly a wretched character, Doña Victorina is. The sad part is that Doña Victorina has gotten out of the pages and spread her influence amongst our fellow Filipinos. Today, there is an unimaginable number of Doña Victorinas in our society; a disheartening truth, a nightmarish prospect.

I’m no stranger to such kind of people. Countless times I’ve witnessed fellow Filipinos lavish themselves with self-righteousness, their ego ballooning in disproportionate levels, just because they got something what they wanted, like an iPad or something, or just because they won in a little contest, blah-blah-blah. It was a distasteful encounter, and my heart was wrought with contempt and pity.

Filipinos with a misplaced pride are no exception, for the reason that their pride is, well, misplaced. Vain Filipinos tend to bash in the skulls of people who point out the flaws in our society, our traditional ills and our misconduct, further revealing how badly mannered a good number of our fellowmen are. Filipinos have bombarded critical thinkers with names such as “nerds,” “geeks,” and “anti-Filipino,” claiming that they’re just jealous of their achievements. I can almost hear them say:

“You’re just jealous because we’ve accomplished so much as a nation. We’re a hardworking race, and we can adapt to any environment. You all go to hell!”

This fact alone proves how the Filipino ego grew throughout the years; and it’s not looking pretty. Binsfield, in his study in demonology, have equated vanity with Lucifer, the fallen angel who refused to follow God. For atheists, it has been regarded that pride is the “root of all sin.” You see where I’m going; we Filipinos exhibit an attitude that can prove highly destructive to our society and image.

I do not tell you, my dear Filipinos, to abandon your pride in what you have accomplished. I’m simply asking you to put your pride within the context of the situation, for if we look in the bigger picture of things, our individual and collective accomplishments have yet to live up to our vain fantasies.

The Third Plague: “Projection”

We’ve discussed during high school in our MAPEH (Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health) subject the different approaches of man to his daily problems in life. Of all those approaches (I think there are six major types), only one really caught my attention; “projection.” Projection is a type of approach where someone, in an attempt to alleviate himself from the pain of his problems, tends to put the blame on others, relieving himself of the necessity of carrying his own burden... at least on his perspective, anyway.

This caught my attention, because, I’m sure you already know this, many of our fellow Filipinos employ this kind of approach. Most of them spend almost all of their time finding someone to blame to relieve them of their stress; the usual target being the government. This has always been the trend of the poor Filipinos throughout the course of this nation’s existence; using the government as a scapegoat to satisfy their escapist attitudes.

“Why are we poor? Why isn’t the government doing anything?” is the usual complaint of many impoverished citizens in our country. They just don’t get tired of shouting to the whole world that their sorry life is the work of a government who can’t answer their needs. Is such a disposition justified? I mean, what do they do to give themselves a better life, anyway?

I say they’re doing their best to improve their social standing, alright. They are diligent in their job of continuously making love with their spouses to make a whole army of children, while not having any money to support them in any way, and blame the government for their miserable state. They exert efforts in their vocation as gamblers, be it “jueteng,” “mah-jong” or cockfighting, even if they hardly have any money to spare. They willingly send their children to work in the streets, asking for alms or selling sampaguita, candies and even cigarettes, while they tend to their important businesses, usually the drinking and baby-making industry. They are such hardworking people; surely their complaints are justified? They have been working their butts for so long!

Now, allow me to pause for a few moments as I cry myself to sleep.

Projection has been a Filipino’s primary weapon when it comes to facing problems, and it seems to work for some; but at what cost? Is the neglect of one’s personal responsibilities, passing it on the backs of others just for the sake of alleviation of pain justified?

Are you, my dear Filipinos, bringing yourselves to prosperity by your indiscriminate projection? Or should we rewire our mindsets, man up and take the responsibility ourselves for the better?

The Fourth Plague: “The Celebrity Syndrome”

The elections are coming. Several figures have already expressed their interest in running for different positions in the government, be it national or local. The populace meanwhile are already making up their minds about whom to vote. As we all know, elections are an important aspect of society, particularly in a democratic one (our nation is a republic; a republic is a type of a representative democracy), wherein each person of a legal age can have the opportunity to vote people whom he believes can lead us to a better future. To elect someone in office requires intense critical thinking about that person’s educational background, his contributions in society, and how comprehensive and beneficial his platforms are.

But lo! How it pains me to see that people have voted for candidates who are now the integral part of our collective destruction. People have voted for candidates who might just be the last persons I would like to see governing so delicate as our society and economy; celebrity stars.

This has been quite the trend these past few years; celebrities aspiring to be politicians, possibly in order to make more money for various purposes, most of which probably are individualistic. The big problem is that many of our fellow Filipinos fall for these ploys. They willingly subjugate themselves on the influence of these famous figures, blindly following them around and fastidiously clinging to their promises, without analyzing whether they can really achieve this, given the very little fact that they’re not really politicians in the first place. Take Manny Pacquiao for example; the Philippines’ National Boxing Champion who is now a congressman. This is simply outrageous and is a strong insult on the credibility of our government. To actually accept someone whose job is so dissociated from politics into office, this is severely anti-intellectual. What could have caused this phenomenon that can only be possibly brought about by mass brainwashing? Fame and influence, of course.

A great number of us Filipinos have decided on things only by considering the influence brought upon them by television figures; there is no dispute in this saddening fact. Again and again, Filipinos have preferred totally incompetent, but insanely famous people over simple yet intellectual diplomats and professionals. Yes, I’m addressing Noynoy Aquino, whose rise to presidency is caused solely by her famous mother’s death (which gained sympathy from millions), and of course because of his sister, too; Kris Aquino, the queen of talk shows. Heck, even Fernando Poe Jr., an incredibly famous action star almost got presidential seat in the past. Furthermore, in the last presidential election, Joseph Estrada (I’ve mentioned this miserable bungler in my previous article), actually ranked second in the total vote tally (next to Noynoy). What makes this unbelievable is that Estrada has already become president in the past, and our Constitution has stated that an ex-president cannot run again for the said position. But apparently, fame and influence trumps logic, or it’s just that how things go in my beloved country; lovely.

The Fifth Plague: “PNY (Pwede na ‘yan) Syndrome”

Pwede na ‘yan – a usual Filipino mentality of being easily satisfied over things that could have been improved a lot.

Let’s now turn our attention to our entertainment industry, where celebrities truly belong. In a scale of one to ten, how would you rate today’s movies and songs in our country? Due to a surge of nationalism, an eight or ten might come out. Now, how about we go comparing our works to that of the other countries, like the US or Japan; in a completely impartial perspective, how would you rate them?

Okay, I might just get bombarded with insults about my alleged “colonial mentality.” Here’s my say. Go ahead and say what you want, but I’m just being realistic. While I nevertheless commend some of our artists’ astounding works that gained international recognition (thankfully, such works and artists exist), on a collective point of view, how is our industry faring? Again and again the Philippine movie industry have produced sub-standard and overly clichéd films that never fail to irritate me. The plots were formulaic and highly predictable and the CGIs are medieval, effectively making the Metro Manila Film Festival, which is held annually at December, synonymous to “abhorrent” in my dictionary. Our music industry, meanwhile, have resorted to repeated revivals of famous songs in other countries, losing their sense of creativity, which leads to the corrosion of OPM, which happens to stand for Original Pilipino Music.

Why stop at the entertainment industry alone? What could’ve caused some people rebel against our country’s protectionist act and the “Filipino First” policy? To a well-organized mind, he or she already has the answer to this question. While I’m not saying that we try hard to become like other countries (that defeats creativity on our part), shouldn’t we take how much progress they had as a reminder that we have to move forward as well?

The Sixth Plague: “Debt-Treat Syndrome”

“Pautang naman. Palibre naman.” (Hey, lend me some money. Hey, treat me.)

This is a usual dialogue between Filipino friends nowadays. We’ve even coined up a term for people who always like to be treated; “kalog,” probably because “kalog,” which means “jingling,” usually reminds us of the jingling of coins. It has a fairly shallow etymology, but that’s most probably how the term came to be.

However, we’re not here to discuss Filipino linguistics; we’re here to discuss a seemingly harmless but actually a parasitic and a potentially destructive trait among us Filipinos. I call this “plague” the Debt-Treat Syndrome.

How come this characteristic is parasitic? I mean, this is just for fun. However, let us always keep in mind that a hobby unattended becomes a vice. What initially passes our standards as “fun,” will be addictive if misguided or ignored. Debts are incredibly common in highly impoverished parts of the Philippines. There are people who unwittingly bury themselves in debts just to satisfy their hedonistic needs, or because they’re having a very hard time finding a job.

No matter what the cause may be, be it stupid or noble, unregulated money-lending hurts both the lender and the debtor, in a sense that most debts made between the poor aren’t paid.

Another good example is how many of us Filipinos have an uncontrollable urge to drain their credit cards, buying lots of stuff here and there, until they end up with an unimaginable horror of having to make both ends meet just so they can pay their debts.

Let us not nurture this disease, my friends. Do not just merely dismiss your debts and treats as small things, that they can always be ignored. In time, you might just find yourself constantly demanding gifts and expecting others to lend you money, because you’ve let this mannerism really get into your system. This is psychology, people; as I’ve stated earlier, a hobby unattended becomes a vice.

The Seventh Plague: “Lack of Discipline”

One who knows Filipinos does not need an extensive lecture to understand why this plague is rampant in the Philippines, especially when it comes to someone who lives in the Philippines. It’s as if our mindsets were wired with a radically nonconformist view, which might explain why most of us have utter disregard for even the most basic of rules.

Parking at a no-parking space, smoking in non-smoking areas, throwing trash everywhere even when there are garbage bins nearby, loading passengers in a “no loading” zone, demanding change from “exact fare” ticket booths, indiscriminate jaywalking, you name them! An old adage once stated that “everybody loves a rebel,” but I’m afraid my fellowmen might have taken things to the extreme.

Lack of discipline is not limited to following basic rules; it also manifests in basic interpersonal courtesy. Squeezing your way in a line just so you could go first is a good place to start reflecting. Such acts have been done countless times to the point that it’s already perceived as the norm, but just because it’s the norm, doesn’t mean that it’s okay to do it. Doing something evil over and over again doesn’t make it right, the same way that happens when adding a bunch of negatives in your arithmetic subject. A typical display of recklessness in the Philippines can be seen at MRTs (Metro Rail Transit). I say this because I ride on trains at least twice a week.

Words can hardly express my contempt as people entering the trains bash through other passengers, rather than letting the ones trying to get out go out first before boarding. As one commenter at Yahoo! Philippines News said about usual annoyances at MRTs:

“ang MRT high tech! automatic. pagpasok mo, automatic ka ng nadadala ng mga taong nagtutulakan papasok sa loob! tapos automatic din pag-exit kasi para ka lang dinadala ng agos ng tao palabas after. minsan matatanung mo sarili mo kung nagamit mo ba mga paa mo or lumutang ka papasok at palabas ng mrt sa kakatulak ng mga tao. It's Automatic!!!!”

(“MRT is high-tech! Once you enter, you automatically get dragged about by the guys pushing each other to get inside! Exiting is also automatic because it’s as if you’re being dragged by waves of people trying to get out. Sometimes you even ask yourself whether you were able to use your feet or you just floated in and out of the MRT due to people pushing one another. It’s automatic!”)

Filipinos usually get away with such petty actions by saying the following: 

“Minsan lang naman ‘to e.” (I don’t do this all the time.)

“Maliit na bagay lang naman ‘yan.” (That’s too small a thing to make a fuss about.)

I would like to remind you, my dear Filipinos, that all of this seemingly trivial mischief we’ve committed throughout the years, those little sins we’ve kept on doing and ignoring because they’re “not that important,” those small stuff have earned us general distrust from the foreign lands. 

The Eighth Plague: “Nepotism”

My aunt, the second daughter of my maternal grandmother’s eldest sister, once inspired to work at the Department of Foreign Affairs. By all means, she is more than qualified. She is a multi-linguist with an exceptional educational background, having studied abroad and have even travelled around Europe, thanks to her scholarship. Such an applicant is too brilliant to let go; but then, nepotism. She wasn’t able to get the job.

My aunt has discovered to her horror that most of the job slots were already taken by people who are, well, related by blood. Given that the whole establishment’s being run by family, there’s no way out of this dilemma. She had to find another job. Such is the unfortunate consequence of nepotism, the indiscriminate preference of a person to his or her relative.

Nepotism has been plaguing the Philippine society for time immemorial. Families have been preserving their vital position in the government, by means of the young relative succeeding the old. Dynasties have been established in business establishments, effectively setting up unjust oligarchies in the business sector. Countless deserving people are losing jobs to people who merely have familial connections. Isn’t this unfair? This kind of social framework is reminiscent of a capitalistic framework, where one restricts the production and distribution of wealth to a select few; in this case, the family. Why is this injustice so imminent in our country?

For one thing, it might have something to do with our traditionalistic view of family. Many times our forefathers have drilled this principle deep within our cerebrum; “that blood is thicker than water.” It has been the typical Filipino view that one must put family first in his endeavours, no matter what happens, because family members are supposed to stick together. Is this an evil upbringing? Of course not; promoting unity amongst families is a noble idea, and can strengthen the bonds that link each family member to one another. It’s just that most of us Filipinos tend to misuse this prospect in order to gain advantage over other people.

Some businesses prefer family members who are incompetent and inexperienced over the deserving and intellectual applicants, simply because, supposedly, “blood is thicker than water.” Some people are coerced into looking after irresponsible relatives, coping up with their stupidity and cruelty, just because “they’re family.” Isn’t this kind of relationship parasitic and therefore disagreeable? This is bare-naked injustice, brought about by the indiscriminate misuse of our virtues.
Family is not meant to inflict discrimination amongst our fellowmen. Let us be reasonable here.

The Ninth Plague: “Crab Mentality”

It has been said that we’re like crabs. Why is this so? Is it because we’re actually arthropods? Is it because we’re walking sideways? Is it because we taste good with tartar sauce? Setting my poor sense of humour aside, we have been labelled as “crabs,” not because we’re actual crabs, but in a way that’s not really flattering at all. Not one bit.

Crab mentality is a kind of attitude where we tend to pull down someone who’s making progress, just like how crabs pull stuff with their pincers, in most cases out of jealousy. This kind of disposition is by all means atrocious, and to think that we’re labelled as “crabs” who act like this is simply alarming and disturbing. However, if we take the time to look at our society, no matter how painful it is, people do have a point in naming us as such.

My parents are OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers), although my mother has decided to settle down to look after my young sisters. In any case, they were able to meet countless foreigners and fellow OFWs. Through their own eyes, they’ve witnessed how our fellow Filipinos manipulated people to suit their purposes, how they cheated their way to the top. What’s more disheartening is that they also do not hesitate to betray or sacrifice even their fellow Filipinos for the sake of their selfish desires.

As my parents stayed in their apartment, they always heard their Filipino roommates bashing each other with insults, backstabbing one another, and doing just about everything to bring their reputation down. It’s saddening to think that many of us have degenerated into nothing more than impulsive beings, willing to let others suffer just to meet his objective. Recall our unfortunate Filipino friends from around the world, murdered by other Filipinos. Truly, in the course of our nation’s existence, we have become divided and antagonistic towards each other.

My mother once said to me said that it is better to work with foreigners rather than with other Filipinos, as they are more likely to betray you. To actually hear this from her... but experience have taught my parents; actual incidences and personal encounters with our treacherous kin. Harsh it may seem, but I must agree with my mother. After all, our findings were consistent with each other. Looking at our society here in the Philippines, and looking at how Filipinos treat each other abroad, I must conclude that our nation had raised a good number of “crabs.”

The Final Plague: “Dama-slavery”

This might as well be the most prominent plague infecting our motherland nowadays. Countless people have fallen victim to this extremely potent disease, depriving them of the ability to analyze critically, as well rational thinking. Behold the final plague of the Philippines: “Dama-slavery.”

I myself coined this term, so please forgive me if it sounded lame-ass. The word originated from the word “slavery” (obviously) and “Damaso,” the name of a notorious friar in Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere. Padre Damaso is infamous for his sharp tongue, frequently cursing at people whom he doesn’t like. He’s a self-righteous hypocrite who contributed to the ruin of Crisostomo Ibarra, the protagonist of the novel, and a kind, intelligent man. Finally, he did a most despicable act of raping a woman named Pia Alba during a feast and had a daughter by her, in the name of Maria Clara.

Why is the final plague named after a fictional character? The answer’s quite simple. Just like how Doña Victorina manifested in our fellow Filipinos brimming with vanity, Padre Damaso has manifested in our priesthood in many ways. The Catholic Church has always been the center of controversies; priests raping young women (and getting away with it), priests combating corrupt administrations, yet receiving gifts from behind the scenes, priests morally degrading freethinkers and intellectuals, priests meddling with affairs that do not concern them, priests using their influence to affect public opinion, priests acting as politicians, so on and so forth. Truth be told, the Church has deviated from its original purpose of faithfully spreading the Word of God.

Countless times have the Catholic Church brainwashed the populace through misinformation and even threats involving God’s wrath to suit their ideals. Many times have they distorted the truth in order to hide their hypocrisy, especially during the intense debate about the controversial Reproductive Health Bill (I have discussed this bill extensively in one of my previous articles). Over and over again have they criticized the government and blamed them for our impoverished state, when they themselves have done nothing to help alleviate the pains of our people, and when they have done everything to cover up every foul sin they have committed throughout the years.

But despite all of these, many of our fellow Filipinos remain loyal to the Church. Many of us still cling to these “holy” men, fanatically devoting their time and money for the satisfaction and approval of these so-called men of God. They remain blind to the evils perpetrated by the very people who mirror Padre Damaso himself, and, astoundingly, are still willing to put their necks on leashes, serving as the Church’s pawns on their crusade against logic.

Truly, the Church have sowed something so malevolent in the minds of our people; ignorance.

Stop pressing the snooze button in your alarm clocks, my dear Filipinos. It’s time to wake up. It’s time to stand up and start doing something for our collective progress. It’s time to break free from our fantasies and silly ideologies and approach our problems with a clear and rational mind. It’s time to bring our fullest potentials, my dear Filipinos, lest we be consumed by the deadly plagues of the Philippines.
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