Vision for 6-Step Community-Based Change in the Philippines

1 – Realization and Acceptance of the Situation: The Philippines is not a rich country and the government lacks funds to raise all Filipinos out of poverty. The first step to development is to acknowledge that the Philippine government, just like any other government, cannot and will not deliver everything that is demanded of it by the people because people have unlimited wants, and we have scarce resources.

 

2 – Stop the blame game. Nobody wants to be told that they need to be responsible for their choices and decisions. Most people would rather be spoiled and deceived by demagogues who tell them they deserve to be served and must be given all their needs. When the government cannot follow through, this causes disappointment and mistrust in among the population. But if the answer to a bad politician is to replace him/her with another that can promise better, the results will be an even deeper resentment.

 

3 – Institutional change must and can only begin among the people, with the lowest members participating by building a concrete community of peaceful relationships with their neighbors. This is the most important and key part of the 6-step development plan. People must learn to build a real society vested on trust and forgiveness.

 

4 – Emphasis on equity, not rapid development. Monetary wealth is not everything to development. Invest on people. Shortcuts do not work as demonstrated by many presidents in Philippine history whose only goal is to achieve a good GDP growth rate during their term so they have something to show. Sometimes, the hard and slow way is the only way.

 

5 – Gradual replacement of ALL current ruling elites, not by riots or even peaceful protests, but by due process of law and/or elections. This step requires a public that does not vote based on popularity and traditional ties. The government needs new faces who can overturn past mistakes and bring new life into it. New politicians may be engulfed in the corruption cycle by the old politicians, but if the base of the public is strong, eventually by replacing the cancers they can clean the government. By peaceful and constitutional means, people can also start a tradition of following the rule of law which future generations will adopt and become informal norms.

 

6 – Change the constitution into a more locally fitting one. Democracy does not have to be the way the US does it. Different nations have different people, collective experiences, and culture. These are their real treasure, so a government customized to fit and reflect their people, not of another race’s, should be a priority for every nation.

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“Face to Face” and Filipino Morality

I think it’s time to seriously address the issue of Filipino morality and its road to continuous decline.

Whenever I watch the ‘reality’ show “Face to Face“, I’m confronted with a sense of dread for the Filipino morality and the future of its people. (Context: “Face to Face” is a program where they feature an argument between two common people in a secure studio so they can talk about the problem. Usually, it involves a scandal of some of sort.) Frankly, I just want nothing to do with it. I’m glad that I don’t have to be exposed to those kinds of circumstances and everyday bad influence. Yes, living in the Philippines is fun… the people are more accepting to change, and it certainly has more freedom than here in Qatar… but at what price?

A couple of years ago, I would’ve said something different. When asked about where I feel most at home, it would take me less than a second to answer “of course I want to go back to the Philippines… Qatar takes the life out of people!” Now, I still think Qatar takes the life out of people because of its strictness, boredom, prejudice against women, and discrimination to my race… though I’m not so sure I want to stay in the Philippines. Lifeless as it is, this place has allowed me to see the Philippines in a different light. Suddenly, I couldn’t just define it as a singular element and take its peculiarities as a given. Now, everything depends on something else, like everything is relative.

Why is the Philippines lagging behind while other ASEAN countries are racing to development?

Why do Filipinos keep praising the hardworking, humble and sacrificial attitude of their fellow Filipinos working in foreign countries, then all the while resenting them when they dream high or fight for their rights?

Why do Filipinos in the Philippines think it’s alright to pray in church during Sundays and believe wholeheartedly in the existence and power of God… while drinking, gambling, engaging in extra-marital affairs, and being irresponsible citizens.

Why is the Philippine entertainment business so engrossed in glorifying adultery, homosexuality (I’ve nothing against gay people, but glorifying it is something else), betrayal, revenge, false and impure love, and all kinds of immorality?

Does “Face to Face” paint a realistic picture of Philippine society? I hope not. But judging from my experiences, now looking back, I realize how glad I am that I’m not exposed to that everyday anymore. It’s mentally damaging. It’s hard to describe what I’m talking about here.  I want to believe that the program just shows extreme cases because it’s more controversial and entertaining for the viewers, but I know that these things happen all the time because there’s so many people facing the same kinds of situations… just in my circle of acquaintances. And I consider my circle pretty modest compared to the rest. (My family is strict when it comes to who me and my cousins are friends with)

At a more fundamental sense, this insisting and evolving level of immorality in the Filipino collective experience is a major cause of stagnancy and poverty in the country. More and more people are living without virtues, disregarding what’s right for momentary pleasures, and failing to see what’s in their self-interest in the long run. The Philippines ceases to be a society that looks out for its own people (or even a society, period), and that’s why we do not progress.

Two Reasons why the Filipino Youth Cannot Be Trusted With The Future of the Philippines:

1. Juan Tamads — the Filipino national hero, Jose Rizal, once said: “the youth is the future of our country”.
Sounds noble, right? Sure it is.
But not when the adults cease to dream for themselves, cease to act now to ensure a better future… because they think they can always hand it over to the next generation.
Not when they raise their children believing it’s better to go for practicality because dreams are the stuff of fairy tales; thus solidifying the mindset of stagnancy and dependency.
Not when the youth is spending their everyday lazing about with their friends, having a “good time”, and whisking their life and dreams away.
Not when this cycle of always looking for tomorrow, disregarding what they can do in the present, is the most widely accepted norm.
A friend of mine once said that “the youth of the Philippines act the way they do because no one around them does otherwise”, they were brought up to think this is everything life holds for them.

2. Destructive Activists — Not everyone in the Philippines is a “Juan Tamad”.
There are those who care a great deal about the country and its problems.
They care so much that they are willing to lay down their lives for the cause.
They are smart so they understand very well the abuse they are being subject into by the government, thus they voice their objections.
They want to be heard.
They understand that the youth is lazy, thus they muster all the courage and means they have to raise awareness and convince others to join the fight.
They want action done NOW.
But what else do they do?
In their attempt to be heard, they run around screaming in schools and public places like a menace disturbing peace and other’s businesses.
People are convinced to see them more as annoyance rather than heroes.
In their attempt to see action now, they spend so much time in protesting and complaining that they forget their studies.
Many would end up failing or dropping school.
In their anger, they destroy public facilities and equipment like a frustrated toddler asking their parents for an impossible favor.
In their blind passion, they can sacrifice their lives and future; forgetting their parents in the provinces who worry over them and work to death just to give them a better future.
This isn’t the right way to fight.
Even someone who wants to go to the right place may end up in the wrong because they took wrong’s route.

Intentions do not determine destination. Actions do.

Instead of complaining relentlessly, why not offer solutions and advice in a legal and peaceful manner?
Instead of trying to recruit people by lecturing endlessly of political matters, why not lead by example so they can see the change in you?
Instead of destroying public spaces and items, why not clean and beautify them as an act of revolution?
Instead of throwing everything else for their cause, why not show gratitude to people who sacrificed so much for them by being successful?
Go to the top, participate in the right way, change the schemes from there.
The Philippines does not need more people ranting in the streets, that will amount to little change.
Our country needs more dedicated people who can rise up to take charge and demonstrate positive change through their lives.
So that the youth will have an example to follow… and the adults can finally leave the future in their hands.