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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

more on breaking stalemate

When we look at our national life, we wonder why can't we do a Thailand. The PCIJ and Mar Mangahas recounted the events that led us to this place and declare our situtation is fluid. When people like Conrad de Quiros recount how Marcos usurped power, for someone who wasn't even born then i certainly find many similarities then and now. When Solita Monsod and Randy David remind us that Charter Change is not the answer to all our prayers and solution to our problems, they are of course correct. In many instances, in many blogs like bong agustero, mlq3 and so many others, the same quesions have been asked and answered and the voices of so many people are aptly reflected. They are of course correct. Yet Mrs. Arroyo remain as president and we find ourselves in a stalemate. Status Quo.

All the surveys point to the use of constitutional processes. When the middle class mounted yet another revolution in 2001 to oust Estrada only to find us here and now, the people has refused to go that route again and the Opposition has failed to capitalize on the matter because they have not been able to innovate and make the distinction between their camp and Mrs. Arroyo's. Stalemate.

We are profoundly angry at how Mrs. Arroyo blatantly railroad their Charter Change. And Mrs. Arroyo and her ilk want only the consolidation of their respective positions. In the sidelines, the opposition hasn't done a thing except contradict Arroyo's move, raise their own voice of indignation! Why preach to the converted? We already don't like it. The surveys already tell us that Filipinos don't like Mrs. Arroyo and Charter Change. What do you really stand for? Is that mere press release? What?!

And yet in spite Charter Change not being an answer to all our problems and not being the ulitimate road to success--- it can be an important tool to economic, political and social stability in our country--- if done properly and in the proper context.

We have a crisis of leadership because no one is leading. Mrs. Arroyo isn't leading, though she's in charge, though she has some qualities of a leader--- decisive, strong-willed. Yet she puts the interest of patronage first to govern. the Opposition claim to be leaders yet don't lead. they merely echo what we the people say everyday, but we expect results. Where do you plan to take this country?

We need not go far. Take a look at EDSA where potholes litter the most famous Highway in the Philippines. And buses that are not registered are known to travel constantly. that bus drivers are king of the road. well not just bus drives, private motorists as well. And where one can get caught doing a legitimate traffic violation, and chances are, you'd threaten the poor traffic enforcer with who you know who happens to control who gets hired and fired in the MMDA or police force or at City Hall. Am I right? And when we get caught doing a traffic violation that is false--- we don't bribe enforces anymore, we just threaten them as well. am i right?

And we have a crisis wherein people expect only to get their own way.

We cry foul over an election we have doubts over. I remember the sentiment of those days--- anybody except FPJ in many quarters from those running the powerful boardrooms in Makati to the taxi driver in the street, to expats and foreigners. We certainly can not blame foreigners and expats, yet in a way, it is our fault. How many Filipinos voted because they believed their candidate actually would be good for the country and not because through some connection could possibly do business in their candidate's government? And how many Filipinos were swayed because they were benefited in kind or in cash by that candidate? And how many people voted for their candidate because they just looked like a certain actor, or some other similar way.

In the backrooms of Philippine politics and power, deals are hammered based on this simplicity: "how do i benefit?" Certainly, that is not a bad thing per se. After all, in one way or another, it all boils down to "how does it benefit me". Altruism is too much to hope for. Yet in the more successful parts of the world--- Hong Kong, Japan, Canada Australia, USA etc., every individual worked hard to achieve economic prosperity and the best of this is symbolized by the "American Dream". In Singapore on one hand, the collective good of the country is first and foremost and everyone worked for their country and so they put up with Laws like no bubble gum and limit their personal freedom. My point is this: some where down the line those of us in positions of power--- in business, in church, in government we have to balance our personal need with what benefits the common good. we have that greater responsibility. And we have the responsibility to ensure that people get equal opportunity to achieve excellence in their chosen field in the Philippines.

as a people, we have to start talking about things like how our school kids will perform academically in 10 years. will they have mediocre performance? will they think for themselves? how do we correct this? does this mean building computer labs that actually teach computing? how to program, how to think both in the abstract sense and creatively as well? or merely how to plug a machine, power on and type in M$ Word? Thats an example.

We hear of course things like how tough it is to face the Supreme Court for example. Or how Medical students have a tough time facing their oral examinations, for instance. Why can't we impose the same high standard with our elected officials and our own private convictions?

How do we change our country? We of-the-starbucks-figaro-coffee-shop-greebelt-going-crowd, start cleaning up our act. Follow the rule of law, be good citizens and avoid using influence to get our way, and avoid subscribing to our culture of righteousness and who we know. In the next election, we stop being so high and mighty and demand a higher quality of leader. If the known candidate doesn't cut the muster, try to find in your community someone better and get him to run for public office and support him. If Arroyo calls for a referendum on Charter Change, vote your heart out--- yes, no or abstain. If Arroyo's will works--- then vote well for your Member of Parliament. Ask for a higher quality of leader. If Arroyo's will fails, ask for a higher quality from your member of Congress. And support someone you think will be better. if the law is broken, then fix the lawmaker.

At the end of the day, we ask why this country isn't going anywhere. We need not look beyond the mirror each morning. To break the stalemate, to break the status quo--- we first need to break ourselves, rebuild us, follow the law and during the next election, demand then, a higher quality of leader!


the jester-in-exile said...

fighting apathy, especially in this country, is an uphill battle.

however, i don't believe it's a losing one.

you are right all the way, we have to begin with ourselves -- that "12 little things" book has more depth to it than many people realize.

cocoy said...


pinoy said...

begin with ourselves. then pay it forward. pay it forward with a symbol to inspire our people.

cocoy said...