A Closer Look at the Filipino “Nationalistic” Groups

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.



Filipino Patriotism

Filipino Patriotism                                                    

By Apolinario Villalobos


Patriotism is nationalism – love of country. The extreme manifestation is fighting to death for the sake of one’s country. Filipinos are proud to use such adjective for themselves. Such show of patriotism was done first at the shores of Mactan Island in the province of Cebu where the Spanish Magellan was slain by Lapu-lapu, a local chieftain. The manifestation went on with the fight against Spain whose “conquest” of the country was made possible with the use of the cross. Later, the Filipinos showed this zeal against the Americans and Japanese.


Today, the patriotic fervor of the radical Filipinos consistently shows their disgust for the Americans whom they accuse of discreetly controlling the Philippine government. Unfortunately, this unrestrained outpouring of emotion results to vandalism. These are seen on defaced walls, bridges and fences spray-painted with communistic slogans, anti-American and anti-Filipino administration messages, not to mention the caricatures of hated local officials and whoever American president is sitting at the White House.


The radical groups keep on holding rallies at the US embassy and set aside the crucial issue against the intrusion by China of the West Philippine Sea. They do not hold rallies against the dumping of electronic waste in the country by other countries, the factories that dump waste into Pasig River and Manila Bay, the issue on Manila being developed by foreign drug lords as a distribution hub in Asia,  and the constantly rising tuition fees and prices of basic commodities, to name a few. These groups that carry red banners and streamers painted with hammer and sickle disrupt traffic on their way to Malacanan and US embassy…all because, they thought, they are patriotic, and to which I must honestly, though, partly conform.


For a change, why can’t these groups call the attention of local governments on the stinking public toilets and waterways clogged with garbage in their respective domains?…the beggars who literally convert sidewalks into makeshift homes and who should be given assistance by their respective social welfare offices?…the street urchins who are supposed to be rounded up and sheltered in juvenile homes?…the Badjaos who should be trained on livelihood endeavors rather than be tolerated begging in the streets?…and many more issues that could better occupy their time than harangue the Americans?


As a Filipino, I am also affected by the so-called “mismanagement” of our country resulting to the rampant corrupt practices, so deeply rooted that solutions seem to be no longer in sight. As an individual, though, I must admit that I am just an obscure voice in the wilderness of discontent. I want to be part of a movement for a patriotic advocacy, but how can I be encouraged to do it when all I see are groups that see violent acts as the only way of being heard? Never have I seen an attempt for restraint on their part. It seems that the more violent and provocative actions they have, the better for them to attract the attention of the media…hence, the better for their cause. 


Filipino patriotism should be tinged with values for which we are known. We are a non-violent and resilient race and our values should be manifested in all we do…including protest actions.



What’s Wrong With Us?…and other questions

What’s Wrong With Us? …and Other Questions

By Apolinario Villalobos



High intelligence quotient sets man apart from the rest of creatures of God that roam the planet earth. At the center of his “self” is supposedly, the conscience which guides him in his decisions. No creation of God is useless, even those that man regards as pest. How much more with us whom the Bible says, He created in His own image? We are like Him. And, because of that we are supposed to exude an image bursting with goodness. But what is wrong with us?


Without regard to what will happen next, some of us just let go of our lustful emotion that bring forth, what others call “unwanted” children. Unprepared mothers throw the innocent bundle of joy away – leave it in garbage dumps, in waiting sheds, or flush it down the toilet! What a crime in exchange for a few minutes of happiness! When allowed to grow, the child is neglected. Everyday we see many of them roaming the streets begging or picking morsels of food in garbage bins and dumps.


The lucky child who comes forth into this world with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth grows up pampered by his “loving” parents. These parents mistake pamper for love. They forgot that the growing child needs to be developed and this effort concerns all aspects of his personality. If a child grows in a pampered atmosphere, it will be ingrained in his consciousness that he can get anything what he wants. His childish demands overwhelm the values that the parents are supposed to teach him. Add to this the influence of the environment. A child who recognizes the golden arch that heralds fried chicken, spaghetti and burghers that appear on TV is cute. But is there an effort on the part of the parents to make the same child recognize and appreciate the taste of more nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables? Later on, the parents become frustrated as the same child would raise hell when served foods other than those advertised. Or the parents wonder how their child could become sick when he is fed everyday with spaghetti or hamburger or pizza or fried chicken etc. These are the poor “loving” parents who are now faced with sky-high cost of medicines and hospitalization for the child!


Prices of commodities are unpredictably rising. Everybody is complaining about the inadequacy of take home pays. Rallies and demonstrations are held with the wage as one of the issues. Some of those shouting to raise the wage are sporting high end cellphones with prices that range not less than 10 thousand pesos. Some of these guys go to coffee shops where a cup of the black hot beverage costs not less that 50 pesos. Some of these guys leave food on their plates (for the gods?) when eating in swank restaurants or fast foods joints. (I can say this because I know them, I have been with them for a long time.)


Why can’t these guys go straight to the agencies responsible in the formulation of wage standards or Department of Labor and Employment for an honest- to- goodness confrontation with the right people? Why march to Malacanang when the president is just waiting for the final bill to be signed into law after having been deliberated in the Congress and Senate?  Why march along busy streets? Everybody already knows about the problem, but why create a situation that would exasperate others who are not part of the activity by causing heavy traffic? Or better, why not conduct press conferences so that matters are clearly laid out for the people to know via the radio, TV or dailies? Why shout the issues in front of the cameras? I wonder if they will still shout their tonsils out if the mediamen covering them have no cameras, just papers and pens.


Some mothers seem lazy to try other options to be able to cut on their home expenses. Yet, they pester their husbands for additional allowance. These same mothers never miss scheduled trips to beauty parlors for weekly make-over including the clipping of their nails complete with a paint-over using expensive polishes. One mother was seen on TV being interviewed about the issue on rising prices. As she wiped her tears, she inadvertently displayed her fingernails polished in blazing green with dots of black, one of the fingers with a sparkling ring and from her wrist dangled a gold bracelet.


Despite a small take home pay, why do some still have “enough” for several bottles of beer every Friday or Saturday and then cry their heart out on the day that they are supposed to pay the rent, electric and water bills, and kids’ tuition? Why do they always blame the government for the misfortune that befell them when they advertently left their provinces to live in depressed areas in Manila, supposedly to seek their fortune?  Is it the government’s fault when their family bloats with many siblings because of lust? Is it the government’s fault why they miss some opportunities because they spend more time in street corners with their drinking buddies?


When shopping either for clothes or grocery, why can’t others check first those with drastically cut price, instead of going straight to the regularly-priced sections? Why insist on preparing meat-based meals almost every day of the week, when they can be alternated with fish and vegetables? At the end, they wonder why they have developed diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases and many other illnesses that manifest as they advance in age.


Home remedies in the form of condiments, herbs and vegetables that may prevent sicknesses are just waiting around for use anytime at very minimal costs. Vegetables considered before as just food, are now acknowledged as preventive cure for diseases. Others have information about this, but why do they refuse to try them? Why wait until diseases have developed into advanced stages in their bodies before they thought of trying the alternative preventions? Did they not anticipate the high cost of western medications taking a big slice of their budget?  Well, realization and regrets always come late!


For office workers, Mondays are days of called-in sick leave, late arrival in the office and worst, outright absence, because the day before was Sunday – family day or gimmick day! Then, there’s the Friday sickness that again necessitates called-in excuses in the desire of some to start a long weekend. If they are serious with their jobs why not treat those days just like the rest of the work days? Why not accept the fact that work week is from Monday until Friday? Why not see to it that enough time for rest is allotted every Sunday even without sacrificing the gimmick or activities with the family? Where is their discipline?


Before the arrival of computers, students were contented with books, magazines, journals, newspapers and other printed materials as references for their research. Now, there is the internet which flashes information as soon as tags are encoded in search bars. The internet is a great bank of information that in one instance, the researcher can have as much information as he wanted. But why do students devote more time in browsing the pages of peers in social networks for posted photos,  than enhance their knowledge on matters taken up in school by surfing for added information so that when asked for reports they will not scramble for these to be “copied and pasted” to comprise their submission? Why do professors allow them to just copy and paste their supposedly researched projects? Can’t they tell the difference between an honest-to-goodness write up and a copied one? Or are they guilty, too, of this crime called plagiarism? A question of a viewer about my blog on plagiarism is this: “what if the teacher plagiarizes the work of his student?” The viewer must be a student whose work was plagiarized by his teacher but could not do anything about it. I have yet to check the reactions and comments of other viewers. For now, all I could do is take a long heavy sigh.


Why do some people scramble for elected posts in the government? Why do they spend millions during the campaign period and deny this violation when found out by the COMELEC? Why do they hold on to their post when the COMELEC found a reason for them to come down due to violations? Is it because of the people’s money waiting for their taking without questions due to the loopholes in the control system of the agencies which are supposed to protect it? Or is it because the people themselves who are supposed to protect it are themselves involved?


Why do elected and appointed government officials blatantly deny their corrupt practices, an act that insults the intelligence of the Filipinos? Is it because they have a gut-feel that nothing will come out of the investigations being made? Is it because if a serious investigation shall be made, only a handful honest officials will be left? That this crisis situation shall never be allowed to happen? How in the world can all “truckloads” of testimonies be checked to prove the guilt of the lawmakers and officials? Are the investigators serious about the probes? or they hauled in those papers just for show!


What is wrong with the Congress? the Senate? the President? Why are long overdue bills not considered urgent, such as the one for Freedom of Information (FOI), hence, not enacted  into law until now? Is it because with such law, the media and the ordinary citizens will be able to access more revealing records about malversed funds? Who are being protected? Has the Ninoy and Cory magic went puff that it can no longer lend sparkle to the image their son?


Why do we always blame God every time we stumble when we have all the choices to do what is good for us? What is wrong with us?