Though how Progressive a Country is, there will always be Poverty because of Corruption

Though how Progressive a Country is, there will always be

Poverty because of Corruption

By Apolinario Villalobos


Perfection should be ruled out in the reckoning of a progressive country, because there will always be poverty due to corruption somewhere in the system of governance. In other words, the glitter of progress cannot hide poverty. For ultra-progressive countries, the signs may be insignificant as they try to blend with the glamour of urbanity. But in other countries, especially, the third-world, the signs are very prevalent, so that there is always a massive effort to cover them up occasionally, literally, as it is done every time there are special occasions such as visits of foreign dignitaries. This practice is successful in the Philippines.


Practically, poverty is the shadow of progress, and literally, too, as where there are looming high-rise buildings that are pockmarks of progress, not far from them are slums or homeless citizens who huddle together under bridges and nooks. These are misguided citizens who flock to the cities after selling their homestead, that have been farmed for several generations, to deceitful land developers, at a measly price. These are the urban squatters willing to be relocated but found out that the promised “paradise” do not even have a deep well so they go back to their sidewalk “homes”. These are contractual workers who have no job securities as they earn only for five to six months, after which they leave their fate to luck while looking for another job.


How does corruption ever be involved in the sad fate of the exploited? Simply, by the government’s negligence  in providing decent relocation sites with job opportunities and basic facilities to those uprooted from their city abodes for more than so many years; by its cuddling of the spurious contractualization perpetrated by greedy employers; by its failure to guide and protect the rights of farmers who sell their rice fields to subdivision developers at measly prices that are not even enough to sustain them for six months; by its failure to provide the citizens with the basic necessities as funds are allowed to be pocketed by corrupt officials; and practically by looking the other way despite the availability of laws against vote buying.


Third- world country leaders should stop using the word “progressive”, but instead they should use “surviving” to describe their respective economy. If a country’s economy cannot sustain, much less, provide a “comfortable life” to majority of its citizens, then it is still “ailing”…hence, expect poverty to be trailing behind, just a few steps away from the pretentious allegations!




The Elitist Segment of the Filipino Society

The Elitist Segment of the Filipino Society

by Apolinario Villalobos

Before the Spaniards came during the 1500s, the inhabitants of the Philippine Archipelago were living according to the norms of the “datu system”. The “datu”, being the wealthy and landed ruled over the rest of the members of the community. For protection, lesser “datus” came under the rule of the “Sultan”. Within the communities, the lower members were further classified into different levels, such as slave and serf.

For their convenience the Spanish colonizers, adopted the “datu system”, so that communities were ruled through their respective “datu”. Some prominent Spaniards who were part of the colonizing expeditions were awarded portions of land under the “encomienda system”, although they, as “encomenderos” were mandated by the Spanish king to take care of the natives, referred then, as “casiques” who were within their domain. Later on, even the “datus” became victims of the system when their lands were eventually appropriated for inclusion in the encomiendas. In exchange for their “noble authority” as “datus”, they were given privileges. This system was prevalent in Luzon and Visayas where until today, plantations still exist.

When the Philippine Archipelago was ceded by the Spaniards to the Americans by virtue of the Treaty of Paris, signed in December 10, 1898, the encomienda system had become well-entrenched in the culture of the Filipinos. Spanish encomenderos intermarried with natives and their mestizo offspring took over the ownership of vast tracts of land. The Americans who saw the effectiveness of the encomenda system, continued its use, although, the task was not easy in some parts of the archipelago.

While the encomenderos of Panay and Negros Islands, practically, offered the administration of their communities to the Americans, in exchange for which, they shall be allowed to maintain ownership of their lands, in Luzon and Mindanao, imposition of authority had to be made forcefully and bloodily due to skirmishes that ensued.

The heat of liberalism felt by the educated natives during the latter part of the Spanish rule was intensified when the Americans came because of the educational system and liberal administration that they introduced. From then on, educated Filipinos competed with the landed elite in hugging the limelight in the political arena.

The misfortune that befell the sugar industry, however, eased out the landed gentry, almost totally, from political scene which is now occupied not only be the educated segment but by the adventurous who view politics as a lifetime career….personalities who, in time became the so-called “traditional politicians” (trapos). They usually start their political career as barangay, municipal or city councilors, moving up to the position of vice-mayor, mayor, governor, congressman, senator…and still aiming for the highest political position in the land.

Today, the Filipino elite, aside from the heirs of hacienderos, also includes educated native Filipinos and naturalized foreign business tycoons who consistently maintain their position in the list of the “Who’s Who” of the corporate world, and the “trapos” who became rich overnight, thanks to politics, because some of these “tycoons” have actually been or still are dummies of the rich “trapos”.