Monday, May 01, 2006


"A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct." -- Princess Irulan, Manual of Muad'Dib
The Cha-Cha train has left the station and is full throttle towards its destination. What do we know? the PCIJ blog has a post that feels deja vu--- going back to the impeachment trial. What has recent history told us? Lakas is an expert in using political machinery, or rather the powers that be in Lakas know how to exert their will. Hence--- it is a done deal, or at the very least close to it and nay anyone can stop it. What is that thing? "to the victors go the spoils of war?" What difference, an election and several failed attempts at power grab can do, does it not?

Countless times this blog has done an analysis on the details of the Con-Com version of the Cha-Cha. The PCIJ have done several pieces on Charter Change as well of which are all excellent reading. As for my blog entries, you can find the details here: Of Asipirations, Of Constitutions, Change and Innovation, Of Republic Building, Under A Microscope: Con-Com Charter. Just recently, I wrote Confronting Responsibly where we've stated clearly that I am personally for Charter Change. That said, I do not believe in the kind of change Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo envisions. If the kind of charter change is the one the con-com has proposed or similar to it, come the moment to vote for or against it, I will vote "no".


Certainly, I believe a change must come. This blog has never been shy about it. I believe that we ought to decentralize the power and duties of the National Government in favor of the Local Government and whether you call it Federalism or whatnut, matters little to me. I believe in efficiency--- in small, flexible organizations. I believe by shrinking monumental problems into smaller, more manageable ones, we can solve them faster. I believe that people ought to be emancipated from poverty by giving them every opportunity to rise above it, on their own merit, by their own dream because to do otherwise, is a disservice.

I have no problem dissolving a useless Senate which in recent years has done little more than be an ombudsman. (Imagine what PHP200M pork can do to help improve healthcare in the Philippines!) We already have an office of that nature, and should an "august" body like the Senate deem, they could have pushed for a far stronger Office of the Ombudsman or something similar or more radical to conduct investigations and bring justice. I have no problem with having a single chamber. What I do have a problem is this: without decentralization, without greater, stronger, more powerful Regional Governments or at the very least, greater local government autonomy, this land will only make the keeper of the Palace, monarch in all but name.

(in some quarters, believe the presidency is already a monarchy in all but name, but i digress).

What is to stop that peasant in the boondocks to beg his Member of Parliament, some help paying his medical expenses? Can you not see the lines at the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office already asking for the same kind of help? Or for that matter--- a powerful businessman close to Parliament to benefit his business or industry? In short--- This bold initiative of the Arroyo Administration will only benefit Patronage Politics and the Status Quo. It does not by far grant any move to liberate our people from the shackles of Poverty!

Can you see it? Can you see where this road takes us? Ten years, twenty years down the line?

In all quarters, people are asking for change--- whether or not they voice it in public or in peaceful silent rage; some frustrated, prefer a revolution. yet all these so called revolutions have failed. all you need is read mlq3's on why revolts fail to know why.

To my utter surprise because i just went to the supermarket today for the first time in years and a liter of milk now costs US$1.25 here (0.5 gallon in the USA of milk roughly cost at least US$2.30 and half a gallon is roughly 1.89 liters). In a country where it is not far fetched for a family of four could earn only US$4 a day, how can they afford a liter of milk?

Like many--- this is my frustration. The Cha-Cha train has left the station. It brings not change that liberates. And the oligarchy once more takes a route that will only enrich themselves and our people remain prisoners. some quarters believe one day the masses will rise up against their masters. I do not believe it to be. They are too busy forming lines outside the PCSO begging for scrap to pay for high healthcare cost or dying because they have nothing to eat.

How do you confront responsibly the demands of our time? "we must understand and accept the ramifications of all the things we do--- and we must do so equally with open eyes. Confronting responsibly the demands of our time: change--- in the way we do things and our values must come together and we must not be timid to make it work." I want something more than what the powers that be are offering. So unless it is change that emancipates, unless done properly, unless the balances are correct--- this is why I will vote "no" for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her ilk's Charter Change.


Jon Limjap said...

Very well said Cocoy. Very well said.

The cha-cha train of this administration is all rhetoric. I fear that this train is no different from the chacha train that went on to ravish this country back in 1971.

benign0 said...


What started out as an intention to make a short comment on this latest blog article of yours may actually become a full blown article for my own site. But here is the kernel and when i finish wrapping around a proper GR article around it, I'll be sure to cite (link back to) its humble origins. Thanks for the inspiration! ;)

Could it be that the whole fundamental issue behind why our society cannot move forward is our over-reliance on political solutions? We see Fiesta Cha-Cha (or, for that matter, any political event, whether they be elections or more fiesta revolutions) as a critical crossroad in the destiny of the nation. As if the whole society stops and waits to see what the next political upheaval will yield, rather than continue to push on towards a tangible objective despite the political situation.

Charles Murray in his book Human Achievement provided examples of how some of the most significant milestones in human progress were conceptualised and executed in times and environments of seemingly insurmountable instability. It implies that societies that have in them an inherent ability to overcome challenges will progress despite rather than because of its environment.

The observation that most Pinoys are comfortable with is this: That no matter how much or how many instances of political change we have seen in the last 50 years, the condition of the average Filipino has not changed fundamentally. Therefore we conclude that politics have failed us.

That is the conventional view. On this it can be said that we have all but politicised our shot at prosperity.

What I talk about is the potential converse observation: That fundamental change at the grassroots level can be achieved regardless of the foolishness going on in politics.

The Pinoy-Chinese community have demonstrated how this converse could work. The conditions and status of the Filipino-Chinese community have in fact changed fundamentally in the last 50 years. From being mere taho vendors and small shopkeepers, they are now captains of Philippine industry. And this change happened as Philippine politics continued to stumble along from one rut to another.

So maybe instead of shaping our prospects for prosperity around politics, maybe we should shape our politics around our own (maybe still-to-be-formulated) objectives to prosper.

cocoy said...




actually that is very true. the best human achievement is done when we're under strife... the great advances... computers, radar, all-- built because of war for example.

plagues and diseases have been impetus to a better understanding of our biological world.

and so on and so forth.

in politics, the us constitution and its subsequent amendment were written because the founding fathers of the americans wanted an equal world. it took nearly 200 years and still their experiment continues. and martin luther king and african americans added to that and brought it closer to perfection and still their experiment continues.

knowing how those in the backrooms of power think do i still have faith it will be a better nation? yeah i still do.

and you got it right: "So maybe instead of shaping our prospects for prosperity around politics, maybe we should shape our politics around our own (maybe still-to-be-formulated) objectives to prosper."

exactly, just like that. ;)