erdinand Marcos didn’t
have it quite right. The early slogan of his martial law regime was: sa
ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan (for the country to prosper,
discipline is needed). While there’s no arguing that the Philippines could
benefit from a bit more discipline, the one trait that the country needs
even more than discipline, is respect. Lack of respect for one another has
kept the Philippines where it is, instead of where it should be.
It is understandable why
the Marcos dictatorship saw discipline as the most important trait to
instill on Filipinos—when the only tool you have is a hammer, you see every
problem as a nail; as the popular saying goes. Marcos’ nefarious martial law
plan was to rule the country with an iron hand and thus saw discipline as
something that needed to be hammered into the Filipino.
Respect on the other hand
would have been anathema to the brutal martial law regime. But respect is
one trait that Filipinos so desperately need. We see this lack of respect in
the rudeness of many Filipino taxi drivers and the near total absence of
road courtesy among drivers. We see it in the dismissive attitude of those
in positions of power.
Don’t be fooled by the
seemingly polite demeanor or the use of the words “po” or ‘ho” in
conversations everywhere in the Philippines. Appearances can be deceiving
for underneath it all is distrust and dismissiveness. Look around Metro
Manila and you see security guards everywhere. Notice the bars on the
windows of many homes, the high fences, the gates with even more security
guards. This is a society that is NOT inclusive but rather, exclusive.
What we Filipinos must
realize is that we will rise or fall as one. The rich and middleclass
cannot just dismiss the poor and carry on with their lives unaffected by the
pain and misery of the downtrodden. Because the problems of the poor will
eventually to intrude into their lives until it becomes their problems as
So rather than continue
hiring more security guards, and building taller more secure fences to keep
the “riffraff” out, why not work to lift everyone out of poverty. So that
there is no more high-class or low-class in Philippine society; so there is
no longer that Grand Canyon-sized disparity between rich and poor; so that
children in even the remotest barrios will be well educated and grow up to
be productive members of society.
It can be done and there
are as many ways as there are people with passion and dedication to achieve
it. But one prerequisite to getting things started is to treat ALL Filipinos,
no matter what their station in life, with respect. 2014 is finally here and
as Oprah Winfrey put it: “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to
get it right.”
The 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) who were brutally killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015 are heroes twice over: first, they paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country; second, they exposed for all to see, the dangers the country will face if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed.
With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the idea of a Bangsamoro is a bad idea. Just as the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) spearheaded by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was a bad idea (and declared unconstitutional in 2008 by the Supreme Court). Just as the failed Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) during the 1990s was a bad idea.
After the Mamasapano Massacre, Plans for a Bangsamoro Must Be Scrapped
What happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 is a "game changer"—make no mistake about it. Reality as we saw it before this event is not the reality we see now...everything is different; everything has "changed. When the Philippine National Police's (PNP) elite team known as the Special Action Force or SAF set out to arrest Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, it had actionable intelligence that the Malaysian fugitive was hiding in the town of Mamasapano. Marwan, an expert bomb maker, is a core member of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.
President Aquino Should Fly to Saudi Arabia and Pay His Last Respects to King Abdullah
Presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens; from Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President Francois Hollande of France, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and many other heads of state from all corners of the globe have gone or are headed to Riyadh to pay their respects to the late King Abdullah. Even U.S. President Barack Obama cut short his state visit to India to fly to Saudi Arabia.
After the Pope's Visit: What We Filipinos Now Must Do
We put on a good show for Pope Francis. He loved it; we loved it; the world loved it. Now the long and painful task of bringing about the changes the pope asked for begins. Start with the Philippine Catholic Church. It should refocus its efforts towards the poor. As we wrote in previous editorials, many priests and bishops see themselves as members of the rich and privileged class. They feel more at home in country clubs and dining in expensive restaurants, than they do helping the poor who live in the squatter communities that dot most cities in the Philippines.
Pope Francis Admonishes Pinoys to End Scandalous Inequalities
We had a feeling this was coming. In his first major speech in the Philippines, Pope Francis called for an end to 'scandalous inequalities' in the country. And what better example of a scandalous inequality is there than that a preposterously ridiculous wedding of Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera which was officiated by 8 bishops and 7 priests. In addition, this crass wedding featured a 12-foot high wedding cake, a 2-million-peso wedding gown with an exaggeratedly long train that seemed to go on forever...you get the picture.
An Open Letter to Pope Francis; Please Read It Before Coming to the Philippines
Dear Pope Francis, your much anticipated visit to the Philippines is just a few days away. We expect that you will have been adequately briefed about the Philippines by the time you arrive. However, there might be a few things your Vatican handlers might have missed—or intentionally "forgot" to mention to you so we hope this letter reaches you in time for your historic visit. Before anything else, welcome!