Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Growing Unrest?

In various circles from the very powerful to the very little there is growing question for years now--- is the Philippines headed towards civil unrest?

Let us look at the state of the economy. The National Economic Development Authority's statistics all point towards increasing commodity prices and the buying power of the Philippine Peso eroding even more. With inflation on the rise due predominantly on rising crude prices, the pressure increases. At the same time, few industries are being established, yet more consumer-based products and services are being built that siphon the circulation of economy.

In the streets of Manila, you could hear the transport sectors complain about the rising fuel prices. They demand the abolition of the Oil Deregulation Law and the return to socialized Fuel Prices, their philosophy reeks socialism.

In the corridors of power, whispers could be heard and a growing consensus: in this country, it takes money to have power and today, it is never about talent or skill but all about who you know. This in itself is troubling and reflects the cancer that is increasingly growing in society.

When one looks at the Political Opposition, their tactics, self-centered and without vision seeks a return to power. They are still trapped in the past-- in past loses. They remain unable to move forward, to devise new tactics, to seek new solutions, to advance their cause.

There are sectors in society, in youthful vigor, in the private sector who advance change by reengineering the way people do business. This in itself gives hope. These people belong to the higher echelons of society, though they have no power over government, this idealism isn't yet a fire that blaze in this night, rather a dim spark of hope.

In the corridors of religion--- society remains entrenched in it. Though the powers of the Church are not what they used to, people are far more practical in their beliefs, able to discern what their churches are telling them to.

The one huge obstacle is the growing hunger for material wealth. This drives people to seek out more money--- at the expense of other people. This desire for more clothes, more phones, more everything to keep up with an ever increasing consumer based society is much more troubling than any social unrest because this is the heart of it all.

It is this hunger that drives the ills of society.

Our people are searching for something--- a way of balance--- to balance their human needs, the demands of the flesh and to quench our people's thirst for understanding, for knowledge, for faith.

Will this cancer grow? Will there be unrest in our streets?

Perhaps if it does happen, it will not be as we expect it to be. It will not be anytime soon--- a year at least in the making because though it is there hanging like a sword over society, there is no existing mechanism to make it real. There does not exist a means to create a successful anarchy in the streets, no viable alternative to fill a vacuum of power when it does happen, after all, nature abhors a vacuum.

This growing hunger can be satisfied. It can be controlled, it can be arrested. The elements, you may not believe are there. It just will take an amount of leadership to tame this people, to channel their passion, to lift their spirit, to invigorate them. But it is a chicken and egg problem, there is no leadership to do so. For now this nation will continue on this status quo, unless something predominantly eventful will change all of it.