A Closer Look at the Filipino “Nationalistic” Groups
By Apolinario Villalobos
Even during the administration of Ferdinand Marcos, there were already problems with China as regards the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea, separatist movements and kidnapping in Mindanao, as well as, with Malaysia as regards Sabah, and most especially, corruption in the government. The same problems were inherited by subsequent administrations. But the “nationalistic” groups were more concerned in shouting invectives against America in front of the US Embassy and in burning effigies of American and Filipino presidents. They did not lift a finger in helping the government in its effort to recover Sabah, and not a single rally was held in front of the Chinese Embassy to express their revulsion over the issue on West Philippine Sea. Not even a question was raised as regards the effectiveness of the military against the separatist movement and kidnappings in Mindanao because of its inadequate facilities due to misused funds intended for its modernization. These groups cannot even lay claim on the success in deposing Marcos, because the religious groups and ordinary citizens were the ones responsible for such success.
Despite the open reclamations of China in the West Philippine Sea, these groups were silent, although, belatedly, they somehow held a lightning rally or two, after such, nothing was heard from them again. Despite the ongoing activities of the Abu Sayyaf and separatist groups in Mindanao, they remained silent. The overly grisly Maguindanao and Mamasapano massacres did not entice them a bit to make a move to show their support to the victims. Despite the moving of justice system at a snail’s pace and unabated proliferation of foreign “investors” who are exploiting the natural resources around the country, nothing is heard from them, too. And despite the blatant control of domestic medium-scale trading in the country by these foreign “investors”, still nothing is heard from these groups.
After the announcement of the Supreme Court’ decision favoring the legality of the US military presence in the country, these groups suddenly came to life. They maintain their claim that such decision shall lead to the construction of the permanent US bases in the country when in fact, nothing of that sort is mentioned in the agreement.
They claim that the continued presence of the American soldiers in the country will lead to the revival of sex- related industry which is not true. Even without the presence of US bases, there is uncontrolled proliferation of the sex trade via the internet, bars and massage parlors, even in the decent districts of Metro Manila. But still, if they want, they can knock at the doors of Congress and Senate for laws that shall control this kind of industry, and which should be appropriate for the time. On the other hand, they are supposed to know that even the local government can control such industry. And, just what have they done on the issue of poverty that contributed to the fast growth of such industry in the country? They should caution the sex workers if they are really bent on helping their countrymen involved in sex trade which needs to be treated as a separate issue, instead of using this alibi in pursuing their “nationalistic” objective. They seem to be blind to the fact that various sex deals are flourishing even without the issue on the US military presence in the Philippines due to weak national laws and LGU regulations that reek with corrupt motives.
What dedication to advocacy are they talking about when some of them are even holding passports stamped with US visa? If these groups are really serious in their advocacy, why don’t they hold rallies against the ongoing corruption in the country and the vote-buying, a political tradition that got deeply-entrenched in the Filipino culture? Why don’t they consistently hold rallies for the removal of department secretaries who are being questioned on the issues of smuggling, ghost NGOs, drug trafficking, illegal recruitment, and deplorable state of mass transit facilities such as LRT and MRT, etc. Why don’t they consistently hold rallies for the removal of the president, if they find him to be ineffective just like what was done during the time of Marcos? Why don’t they hold rallies against the unfulfilled promise of the government to modernize the military facilities after prime public properties were sold to foreign investors? Why don’t they picket outside the detention facilities where the Ampatuans are, to show their disgust over the hideous crime that they purportedly committed? These are what the Filipinos want to see and expect from them, as they claim to be “nationalistic” and pro-Filipino.
Obviously, the Philippines has been under a long-tested democracy which unfortunately proved ineffective due to its loop-holed system that led to the propagation of various forms of corruption. And, this is what the left-wing groups want to be changed to a more “nationalistic” system. But what do they mean by “nationalistic”?…a communism-inspired system?
By the way, I just want to make myself clear that not all nationalistic Filipinos have a communistic mentality.
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!
Nothing can be one hundred percent clean, sanitized, germ-free, well-kept, etc., to show a pleasant image. But in exerting an effort for such end-result, consistency should be exercised, as failure to do so could be tantamount to being negligent.
Among the ugliest manifestation of the Philippine government’s negligence and inconsistency is the creek at Baclaran which is fringing the northern edge of the purported “business-tourism showcase” of Metro Manila – the cornucopia of condominium buildings, malls, office buildings and the supposedly biggest casino in Asia. Practically, the creek that serves as the catch basin-cum-open drainage of Pasay and Paraἧaque that flows out to the Manila Bay, shows it all. How can the Department of Tourism proudly declare that Manila is a clean city with the obnoxious filth floating on the stagnant creek in all its obnoxious glory greeting the arriving tourists from the airport on their way to their hotels along Roxas Boulevard? Is this progress as what the Philippine president always mumbles? How can such a short strip of open drainage not be cleaned on a daily basis, just like what street sweepers do to the entire extent of the Roxas Boulevard?
It has been observed that every time a government agency’s attention is called for not doing its job well, it cries out such old lines, as “lack of budget” and “lack of personnel”. But why can’t they include such requirements every time they submit their proposed budget? In the meantime, as regards the issue on the maintenance of the city waterways, national and local agencies throw blames at each other, trying to outdo each other in keeping their hands clean of irresponsibility and negligence!
During the APEC conference which caused the “temporary” bankruptcy of commercial establishments in Pasay and Paraἧaque, as well as, local airlines and lowly vendors by the millions of pesos, the creek was almost “immaculately” clean with all the floating scum scooped up and thrown somewhere else. But as soon as the delegates have left, the poor creek is back to its old self again – gagged with the city denizens’ filth and refuse.
Viewing the Baclaran creek is like viewing the rest of the waterways around Metro Manila, including Pasig River, as they are all equally the same filthy picture of neglect, irresponsibility and inconsistency of government concern! One should see the nearby creek at Pasay where the Pumping Station is located, with an “island” that practically developed out of silt, garbage and clumps of water lily! Some days, the short length of artificial creek is skimmed with filth to make it look clean, but most days, it is neglected.
In view of all the above-mentioned, why can’t the national and local government agencies concerned co-operate and do the following?
REQUIRE the daily cleaning of the creek by assigning permanent “brigades”, just like what they do for the streets. If there are “street sweepers”, why can’t there be “creek scoopers” and “dredgers”?
REQUIRE the vendors with stalls along or near the creeks to maintain the cleanliness of their respective periphery so that they are obliged to call the attention of irresponsible pedestrians who do not show concern. Each stall must be required to have a garbage bag or bin, as well as, broom and dust pan. Their negligence in carrying out such obligation should be made as a basis in revoking their hawker’s permit.
REQUIRE government employees with sanitation responsibilities TO GO OUT OF THEIR OFFICES AND DO THEIR JOB, and not just make reports to the City Administrators based on what street sweepers tell them.
DREDGE the creek regularly on a yearly basis, not only when flooding occurs during the rainy season, which is a very repugnant reactionary show of concern on the part of the government. The yearly dredging of the waterways would eventually “deepen” them to accommodate more surface water during the rainy season, and even bring their bed back to their former level.
The costly effort of the national government in putting on a pleasant “face” for Manila every time there is an international event, as what happened during the APEC conference, may elicit sympathy and grudgingly executed cooperation, but there should be consistency in it….otherwise, it would just be like sweeping the house, only when visitors are expected, or worse, sweeping the dirt to a corner to hide them.
Cooperation between the government authorities and the citizens is necessary. However, as there is a clear indication that the concerned citizens, such as vendors and pedestrians, lack discipline, the government should take necessary steps in imposing measures to ensure their cooperation, albeit by coercion, so that whatever sanitation projects may have been initiated can be consistently maintained, for the benefit of all.
If littering on the ground can be prohibited with appropriate penalty, why can’t the same be done for the sake of the waterways? If ever local government units have passed such measures why can’t they be imposed authoritatively and consistently?
Malaking bagay ang nagagawa ng mga militante sa pagpapaliwanag ng mga bagay na nangyayari sa ating bansa, sa iba’t ibang larangan lalo na sa ekonomiya at pulitika. Kung baga ay sila ang tagapag-gising ng mga Pilipino dahil sa ingay na ginagawa nila. Subalit ang magpasimula sila ng karahasan o violence tuwing may rally ay hindi maganda.
Ang pinakabagong pangyayaring mababanggit tungkol dito ay ang APEC Summit sa Manila.Sinamahan pa ang mga local na mga militante ng mga kasapakat o kaalyado na galing sa ibang bansa. Hindi nagkulang ang mga local na pamahalaang nakakasaklaw ng mga lugar na kinampuhan ng mga grupong militante sa pagbigay ng kaluwagan. Ang mga ahensiya naman ng gobyerno ay hindi nagkulang sa pagbigay ng paalala, lalo na sa mga schedule ng pagsara ng mga kalsada at babala kung hanggang saan lang dapat ang mga raleyista. Subalit may mga balitang nagpipilit pa rin ang mga militanteng grupo sa pagpapakita ng “tapang” sa pamamagitan ng pagsugod sa hanay ng mga nakaharang lamang na mga pulis.
Ayon sa mga field reporter ng radio, ang mga grupo ng mga militante ang unang nangdadarag o nagpo-provoke sa hanay ng mga kapulisan na humaharang sa kanila sa pamamagitan ng pag-agaw ng kanilang mga truncheon o kalasag at pagtutulak sa mga ito. Mabuti na lang at hindi natitinag ang disiplina ng mga kapulisan na nagpakita ng matinding pasensiya sa kabila ng nakakatulig na pagmumura mula sa mga estudyanteng militante.
Narinig ko mismo ang live coverage sa isang pangyayaring pinarinig ng isang AM radio station. Sa background ng coverage ay maririnig ang tilian at sigawan ng mga nagra-rally, na sinisingitan ng komento ng reporter kung paanong itulak ng mga estudyante ang mga pulis na ang iba ay inaagawan pa ng kalasag, subalit nang gumanti ng tulak ang mga pulis, narinig agad ang pagsigaw ng isang estudyanteng: “….hayan mga kababayan, nakikita ninyo ang karahasan ng mga pulis…”. Napamura tuloy ako – pero sa hangal na estudyanteng lider pa man din yata ng grupo. Sila itong nanguna sa pagtulak, pero sila pa ang may ganang magreklamo at magpakita sa taong bayan na sila ay inaapi ng mga pulis!
May nagsabi sa akin na karamihan sa mga militanteng grupo sa Pilipinas ay sinusupurtahan ng mga Komunistang lumalaban sa Demokrasya, kaya kung mapapansin, dominante sa mga kulay na ginagamit nila sa mga streamers at banners ay pula, simbolo ng komunismo at sosyalismo. Isa sa mga pinag-aaralan din daw nila ay kung paanong epektibong makadarag o maka-provoke ng mga anti-riot police na humaharang sa kanilang daraanan tungo sa mga bawal na gustong pagdausan nila ng rally, tulad ng harapan ng mga embassy, Mendiola, at Malakanyang. Maituturing na nagtagumpay sila sa pag-provoke kung papaluin na sila ng mga pulis na makukunan ng retrato. Nang mabisto ang strategy nilang ito, gumamit na lang ng water cannon ang mga anti-riot police.
Sa ganang akin, hindi masama ang mag-rally pero dapat ay sa tamang paraan, sa pamamagitan ng pagrespeto sa mga itatalagang alituntunin ng mga ahensiya, lalo na ng mga local na pamahalaang masasakop ng aktibidad. Kung ano ang bawal, dapat ay sundin. Kahit saan ay pwedeng gawin ang rally dahil kokoberan naman talaga ito ng mga reporter ng diyaryo, radio at TV. Kahit halimbawa ay laban sa Kongreso na nasa bandang Quezon City ang rally, ito ay maaaring gawin sa Luneta o Liwasang Bonifacio o sa bakuran ng UP, atbp. Ang ilalabas naman sa TV, diyaryo at ibo-broadcast sa radio na layunin ay aabot pa rin sa lahat ng sulok ng Pilipinas. Dahil dito, hindi kailangang mag-provoke ng mga pulis na naatasan lamang na magmintina ng kaayusan at pumigil sa anumang pinsala na mangyayari, upang masabing nagpakita ang mga ito ng “police brutality”. Trabaho lang ang ginagawa ng mga pulis. Maaaring marami rin sa kanila ang galit sa gobyerno pero hindi lang nila mailabas…yan ang dapat ding isipin ng mga nagra-rally.
Hindi kailangang sumigaw na ang background ay Congress o Malakanyang dahil ang importanteng malaman ng mga Pilipino ay mensahe ng mga nagsasalita sa rally. Bakit kailangan pang may masaktan o dumanak ng dugo? Paanong papanigan ng maraming Pilipino ang mga bistado nang mga komunistang nagra-rally, kung sila mismo ay naninira ng mga gamit ng mga embassy, plant boxes, poste ng ilaw, nang-aagaw ng truncheon ng pulis na nakaharang lamang sa kanila, at nag-iiwan ng basura mula sa sinunog na mga effigy, at mga balot ng pinagkainan nila, pati mga basyo ng mineral water?
Dahil sa hindi magandang gawi ng mga militanteng nagra-rally, ipinapakita nila na kailangan pang maging marahas upang magtagumpay sa pagpaparating ng mga mensahe. May napagtagumpayan ba naman sila? Hindi na ba pwedeng gumamit ng mahinahong paraan? Ang orihinal at tunay na layunin ng rally ay upang magkaroon ng pagkakataon ang mga grupong makapagparating ng kanilang mga hinaing sa mga kinauukulan. Nasira lamang ang layuning ito nang makarating sa bansa ang ideyolohiyang sosyalismo na ang pamamaraan sa pagtamo ng inaasam ay idinadaan sa karahasan.
Kawawa ang mga Pilipinong ang kaisipan ay hindi na nga “nahinog” sa ideyolohiyang Demokrasya na ibinigay ng mga Amerikano, ay ginulo pa ng “Sosyalismo” na talaga namang hindi angkop sa kultura ng mga ito na nakasalig sa mga relihiyong Kristiyanismo at Islam!
Kalaban din ako ng korapsyon pero malayo sa isip ko ang patayan o pagdanak ng dugo upang matanggal lamang ito sa gobyerno…
Roxas should show “independent- mindedness”
by stepping out of Pnoy’s shadow…if he wants respect
by Apolinario Villalobos
Anybody can notice the lameness of Roxas as he clutches hard on the clout of Pnoy. This early, he should show some kind of independent-mindedness by stepping out of the president’s shadow, as the latter is also perceived, according to broadsheet editorials, as a lame duck, himself. Roxas should stop mumbling the nauseating “tuwid na daan” and “reforms”, the failed keywords in the slogans of Pnoy. In the first place, the “tuwid na daan” is nowhere to be found and the “reforms” are nothing but blubs because the security and economy of the country under Pnoy just got worse. He sounds hollow every time he speaks, and the image he shows is very pathetic, as if begging for attention. If he wants respect, he must prove that he can stand on his own feet without leaning on equally uneasy reputation of the president.
This late, for the last minute preparation for 2016 electoral campaign, Roxas still hopes for an endorsement from his idol, the president. He is pitifully oblivious to the detached attitude of the president as regards the endorsement that he has been longing for. In the eyes of the Filipinos, Roxas’ attitude is a manifestation of weakness. So how can he command respect, much less, attention from the electorate when he finally goes out to campaign when he cannot even stand on his own feet? He hopelessly depends on the endorsement from an equally proven weak person. He is deaf to the loud declarations from all sectors that an endorsement from the president could mean a kiss of death.
The Yolanda typhoon episode proved his weakness as a DILG secretary, although, he tried to be at the scene of disaster together with the “trying hard” other concerned cabinet secretaries. As expected, after photo opportunities, each of them went on their own way. He failed to control the defective flow of relief goods to the affected LGUs. He failed to act on the overpriced construction of temporary shelters. He failed to conduct immediate investigation on the blatantly stolen relief goods. He failed to make an accounting of the cash donations…which donors themselves, later questioned.
Roxas also failed to check on the exceedingly delayed rehabilitation of the families in Zamboanga City who were affected by the attack of MNLF…and for more than two years now are languishing in temporary makeshift shelters without water and toilet facilities. Yet, every time the president reports on this, what comes out of his mouth are assurances that everything is under control. As DILG secretary, Roxas should be responsible for every lies that the president reports on local governments.
His failures can be listed on several pages… concerns of local government units – his responsibilities, as Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government. He should not pass the buck on to the DSWD and DPWH, if he is that “concerned”, a word that he shamelessly uses to prop up his droopy image. As the DILG Secretary, he is supposed to be on top of all the LGUs, with the rest of the concerned cabinets just providing support.
As if the abovementioned flops are not enough, the utmost disregard he suffered from the president was when he was left out as plans were drawn regarding the Mamasapano operations with yet, the suspended PNP Chief, Allan Purisima. He was expected to resign, because the act of the president was a grave show of distrust to him. But he swallowed his pride and still served his idol. Is this a manifestation of a strong and respectable personality? Is this the kind of a leader that Filipinos want to elect in 2016?…is he deserving of any position, even as vice-president?…yet, he dolefully dreams to become president!
With sadness, I could say that the historic magic of the “Roxas” as a political name may finally find its end in 2016. Such name may finally be forgotten.