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.”
Many Filipinos today are realizing that the single, six-year presidential term as prescribed in the 1987 Constitution is woefully inadequate for a good president like Benigno S. Aquino III. The delegates who wrote that provision in the Constitution must have still been reeling from the almost 20 years of “kleptocratic” rule of strongman Ferdinand Marcos when they decided that one term was enough for any future Philippine president. Four years—the presidential term at the time—would be too short; eight too long.
The arrogance of China is becoming readily apparent with each passing day. With their newly acquired economic and military power the Chinese appear unrestrained in their assertiveness towards their neighbors. China, instead of positioning itself as a 21st century superpower appears to be turning back the clock resembling more and more the 12th century empire of Genghis Khan and the Mongol hordes who conquered most of Eurasia...just because they could.
On Her 5th Death Anniversary, We Say 'Thanks for Nothing Cory Aquino'
The passage of time has a way of distilling reality and bringing out truths that are sometimes hidden or lost by present circumstances. Case in point is the overwhelming level of admiration many Filipinos have for former President Corazon Aquino. When she passed away in 2009, the entire nation seemed beside itself in grief. Her casket was mobbed by thousands of mourners as it slowly made its way through the streets of Metro Manila to its final resting place at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque.
The Failure of Philippine Education Is Now Staring Us in the Face
Will the Philippines Ever Become a Developed Country? The short answer to that is no—at least not in our lifetime. While the country has of late improved it credit ratings as evidenced by upgrades from Moody's, Fitch, and Standard & Poor's all that perceived progress is illusory. In the Fifties and Sixties, when the Philippines was undeniably the country at the top of the heap in Southeast Asia, people said it would always be the most industrialized country in the region.
So, Should Jejomar Binay Be the Next President of the Philippines?
Though his popularity rating has taken some hits lately, Vice President Jejomar Binay is still far and away the strongest contender for the Philippine presidency in 2016. But is he the right choice for the country? His legions of supporters will give you an enthusiastic "yes;" his detractors however, will tell you "no!" So who's right? To answer our question, lets look instead at Binay's deeds rather than the words of his supporters or detractors.
China’s Military Base on Mabini Reef Violates the Philippine Constitution
While searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 11, 2014, a Philippine Air Force plane flying over the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea sighted Chinese reclamation activity in the Mabini Reef of the Kalayaan Island Group within the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines. His aerial photographs were transmitted to the Philippine government for analysis.
Napoles PDAF/NGO Scandal: What is Ten or Fifteen Billion Pesos Really Worth?
For those who have been following the Janet Lim-Napoles PDAF/NGO* scandal these past months, it is easy to get caught up in all the rhetoric—the words and phrases repeated day after day. Words like "ten billion" or "fifteen billion" have turned into something akin to "gray" background noise. Words devoid of any real meaning or significance. So let us try to put back some meaning into those trite and often-repeated phrases in order to better understand some of the far-reaching ramifications of Napoles' actions.