Ang Pagbatikos

Ang Pagbatikos
Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Ang pagbatikos ay hindi nangangahulugang galit ang nambabatikos sa kanyang binabatikos, kung malinis ang kanyang hangarin o layunin. Ang hindi maganda ay ang pagbatikos na ang dahilan ay mababaw lamang at pansarili tulad ng inggit. Ang malinis na layunin ng pagbatikos ay ang pagpamukha sa taong binabatikos tungkol sa kanyang pagkakamali na maaaring hindi niya alam.

Madalas mangyari ang pagbatikos sa larangan ng pulitika tulad ng nangyayari sa mga Binay. Sa kabila ng lampas-taong batikos na natatanggap ngayon ng pamilyang ito, pinipilit pa rin nila na sila ay pinupulitika lamang. In fairness na lang sa kanila, siguro naman, ayon sa standard of morality ng kanilang pamilya ay wala talaga silang ginawang masama. Naalala ko tuloy ang isa kong kaibigan na sinabihan kong may bahid ng lipstick ang kanyang pisngi. Sinagot niya ako ng, “ah, yan ba? biniro lang ako sa opisina”, pero umaalingasaw din siya ng pabangong pambabae na dumikit sa kanyang damit. Kahit halata namang dumaan siya sa bahay ng kanyang kerida na alam ng mga kaibigan niyang ibinabahay niya, todo palusot pa rin siya.

Binabatikos din si Pangulong Pinoy na dahil sa hindi malamang kadahilanan ay bihirang sumagot at kung mangyari man ay idinadaan na lang sa paulit-ulit na pagsabi ng mga pangako niya noong panahon ng kampanyahan na sumentro sa “matuwid na daan” at pagmamalaki ng mga report tungkol sa pag-asenso daw ng bansa na hindi naman pinaniniwalaan . Yon nga lang sinasabayan naman niya ng pagbatikos sa isang babaeng pasyente na may brace sa leeg, na dahilan daw kung bakit naghihirap ngayon ang Pilipinas. Dahil sa ginawa ni Pnoy, biglang nalusaw ang good breeding, na inakala ng mga taong meron siya. Teacher din pala niya ito noong siya ay nag-aaral pa sa Ateneo kaya lalong hindi maganda ang ginagawa niya…batikusin ba naman ang mahal niyang teacher! Dapat ay magpasalamat siya dahil very obvious na may natutunan siya sa kanyang teacher….nakikita naman ng mga tao kung ano ang mga ito.

Sa isyu kay Purisima, ang gusto lamang siguro ni Pnoy ay tumanaw ng utang na loob dito dahil iniligtas daw siya nito mula sa bingit ng kamatayan . Ang pag-apura naman sa pagpasa ng BBL na ngayon ay BL na lang ay dahil siguro sa tangka sanang pagtulong ni Iqbal sa kanyang ama kung hindi ito pinaslang sa NAIA. Ang ganitong pagtanaw ng loob din siguro ang gusto niyang ipakita sa mga taong sinasandalan niya tulad ng mga tagapagsalita niya, lalo na si Abad na itinuturing niyang matalino sa “paghawak” ng budget….marami pa sila sa kanyang gabinete. Siguro para sa presidente, hindi masama ang tumanaw ng utang na loob sa mga best friends. Kaya dahil best friend siya ng mga ito, sinasalag na lang niya ang mga kaliwa’t kanang batikos ng mga tao na gustong pumalit sa kanya. Isa siyang maituturing na best friend na martir na handang sumalag ng mga batikos!…siya ay maituturing na isang rare na species ng tao.

Ang mga mambabatas naman, binabatikos dahil marami daw sa kanila ay mukhang pera, mga korap, mga magnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan, nagbebenta ng budget sa mga taong ang negosyo ay pekeng NGO. Subalit may napatunayan ba? …yan ang tanong nila! Dahil sa fair kuno na justice system, sila ay “innocent until proven guilty”, kaya lahat sila ay matamis pa rin ang ngiti kung humarap sa tao. Meron ngang gusto pa ring tumakbo sa susunod na eleksiyon kahit nasa kulungan na siya. Masama nga namang batikusin ang halos himatayin na sa pagsabing inosente sila, kahit nagsusumigaw ang mga ebidensiyang biglang pagkaroon nila ng mala-palasyong bahay, maraming mamahaling sasakyan, malalawak na lupain, nagkikislapang alahas sa katawan, at maya’t mayang weekend outing sa ibang bansa. Pero ang iba ay wise dahil gumagamit ng mga kaibigang dummy.

May mga nagsabi pang naiinggit lang daw ang mga nambabatikos sa kanila, kasama na diyan ang mga pari dahil hindi nakakagawa ng gusto nila. Dagdag pa nitong mga malilinis kuno, kung gusto daw ng mga nambabatikos, pumasok na rin sila sa pulitika upang madanasan nila kung paanong maipit sa trapik sa pagpunta sa Malakanyang upang maki-tsika sa Pangulo; makipaggitgitan sa elevator sa pagpunta sa opisina ng NGO upang makipag-business talk tungkol sa mga “projects”; makipaghalakhakan sa mga sosyalan after office hours na umaabot hanggang madaling araw kaya nagkakaroon sila ng sore throat; matulog nang nakaupo sa session hall habang ang mga kasamang mambabatas ay nagbibigay ng walang katurya-turyang talumpati; lumamon ng nakakasawang pagkain sa mga 5-star restaurants at hotels; sumakay sa eroplano ng kung ilang beses sa isang linggo dahil ayaw sumakay sa walang class na barko kung umuwi sa kanilang bayan; piliting pangitiin ang mga labi habang ang talukap ng mga mata ay lumalaylay sa sobrang antok, o hindi kaya ay nanlilisik dahil nakipag-away sila sa asawang nahuli nilang may kabit. Ganoon pala kahirap ang maging mambabatas! Kawawa naman pala sila!

Siguro ang maganda ay hayaan na lang dumami ang dumi nila sa kanilang mukha upang lalo pang kumapal at upang lalong hindi nila maramdaman ang kahihiyan dahil sa mga karumaldumal nilang ginagawa!

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The Failure of Democracy in the Philippines

The Failure of Democracy in the Philippines
by Apolinario Villalobos

The first abuse of freedom, perhaps, could be what is told in the legend about the Paradise. God supposedly put Adam there and later from his rib, Eve was created, so that he would not be lonely. They had free will, freedom to do what they wanted. Unfortunately, Eve abused this when she gave in to the temptation of the serpent who told her about the “tree of life” in that Paradise. As the legend goes, she partook of a fruit with which she tempted Adam who readily gave in, using his free will.

Today there are free countries, ruled with democracy which is perceived to be the best because of its principles rammed down the throat of adherents. But in reality, it has many weaknesses, as its very principle made it prone to abuse of all kinds. Because of freedom supposedly as its essence, people are left to practically do whatever they want. Of course there are laws that are supposed to curtail their acts, but because of corruption, indolence and indifference, they are not implemented – a very unfortunate reality.

In this world, when it comes to governance, man is left with either, democracy with its freedom, or socialism with its dictatorship. The character of each is not free from the taint of abuse and corruption. So, what is left is a choice for the least evil between the two.

The problem with democracy is that criminals for instance, are presumed innocent unless proved guilty, even when caught in the act or despite evidences pointing to the commission of guilt! To prove such commission, a process has to be followed in which witnesses have to issue statements under oath and lawyers must be hired… woe then to the victim who cannot afford to hire a bright lawyer! The government provides free services of its lawyers for the poor, but most often, they are not as reliable as the hired ones in view of the obvious reason.

The Philippines as a young republic seems to have been forced into “maturity”. The haste did not give time for the essence of democracy to be properly inculcated in the mind and heart of the Filipinos. Enthusiastic, after having been freed from the clutches of the Spaniards who for long subjugated the islands, the early leaders went ahead in copying the “democracy” of other countries, without giving much thought on the nature and temper of the Filipinos as an Asian race.

While cuddled by America, a country with a federal system of government, the early leaders opted for the presidential form of other countries. Today, as the diverse regional differences of the country is emphasized when the people began to protest loudly due to the unfairness in the distribution of benefits and services, some sectors realized that the Philippines may have been better off with a federal system of government than the present one that is treading on uncertainties and volatile ground.

The uncontrolled surge of corrupt practices due to lack of control and defective operating system of the government, are now blamed on the location of the central government and the dissected state of the country, being an archipelago.

Corruption has been the issue ever since the country had its first president. This reality has been stressed during the time of Diosdado Macapagal and the same was used by Ferdinand Marcos to win the sympathy of the people. His intelligent perception made him use the issue as the centerpiece of his administration, giving him an alibi to declare Martial Law. Unfortunately, instead of using the new set up for the betterment of the nation, he also abused it that eventually spelled his downfall. Instead of healing the wound of the people the dictatorship became the proverbial salt that aggravated the tingling hurt.

The Marcos dictatorship was toppled by the “People Power”, a mass movement that has become a trademark of the Filipinos in the world of politics, although, for a short period of time. It has purportedly become an embarrassment later for the Filipino people as those in the know were saying that it was a sham movement for democracy – a manipulated one, by the opportunistic people who habitually change their color to blend with whatever administration holds the reins of the government. Its sparkle waned after just four commemorations as those “originally” identified with the movement, carefully kept their distance from the people behind it, ashamed and feeling guilty that they have been part of the sham.

Today, corruption has just worsened, assuming a “free for all” semblance . The series of corrupt act starts at the time politicians campaign for position during which vote buying has shamelessly became the norm. This is followed by the blatant manipulation of budget involving non-governmental organizations, up to the point of padding of budgets for major infrastructure projects – all done by those whose seat in the government has been practically paid for in cash during the election.

While there are investigations going on, the barrage of accusations and denials that fill the airwaves and pages of print media is even made more circus-like by hearings that the Filipinos in general doubt will really achieve their goal. What the people perceive is the use of this hype in the legislative halls as tools to earn media mileage in favor of ambitious political personalities who would like to sit in the Malacaῆan Palace.

To make it short, democracy as supposedly an ideal governance failed in the Philippines.

The Unstable Economic Structure of the Philippines

The Unstable Economic Structure
Of the Philippines
By Apolinario Villalobos

An ideal economic structure is one that assumes the shape of a pyramid, with the broad base stabilized by the productive majority of the population, the midsection consisting of enterprising middle class, and the topmost by the least chunk composed of the rich. The current reality, however, has a different picture. The middle class is slowly diminishing, with significant constituents either joining the majority consisting of the poor or the minority rich. This resulted to the structure’s instability. The whole edifice is dangerously polarized and as the midsection loses its strength, it will not be for long that the topmost chunk will topple. If that happens, the structure is left only with the broad base consisting of the poor. That will what become of our country…a country of poor Filipinos!…thanks to corruption!

The economy of the Philippines is in disarray. One need not be a statistician to perceive this veracity. Prices of commodities that skyrocketed did not go back to their respective former level, but instead continue their ascent; unemployment is on the rise compounded by the number of fresh college and university graduates that steadily balloons every year; and, medium-scale entrepreneurship has waned due to globalization of trade.

One manifestation of the aforementioned phenomena is the exodus of middle-class students from private educational institutions to public schools that have reached their bursting limit. Also, the spending of both the lower and the middle class has greatly lessened due to unemployment. Add to these the dollar remittance of the modern heroes, the overseas Filipino workers, that have likewise diminished as their big bulk of source, the Middle East has long been suffering from internal political unrest.

Overall, the stability of the National Treasury has been affected, leaving the government with no other choice but regularly renew its loans that, as of latest count, already amounted to trillions of pesos. On the other hand, world banks encourage the government to renew loans, by praising the country’s improved credit reliability standing.

While the ordinary Filipinos suffer from the heavy yoke of debt, ever-rising of prices, swelling of poverty, and political instability, the corrupt government officials whose pockets are bulging with ill-gotten wealth and the exploitive rich minority, look on. For how long the ordinary Filipinos can endure the suffering before they finally lose their control, only time can tell.