Friday, September 01, 2006

isn't it better to make everyone a multimillionaire?

"what do you do when you fall?" Thomas Wayne asked. this post from Sigaw ng Bayan was flagged to me by a friend, which in turn reminded me about that quote. I am sure true or not, Mr. Monsod or the people behind One Voice will answer that sigaw post or choose to ignore it.
The mud thrown by Sigaw makes no difference at all.

follow this arrogant and idiotic train of thought: i have a confession to make. i voted for gloria macapagal-arroyo when she ran for senator. i voted for gloria macapagal-arroyo when she ran for vice president. at the time it was happening, i supported EDSA 2, much to my family's opposition. if one follows that train of thought, by being one of the people giving gloria macapagal-arroyo victory upon victory in elections--- led her to an opportunity to become president and by supporting EDSA 2, i and many people who did exactly all those things is guilty of putting this nation in our current predicament. there is a kernel of truth in this: we in our small measure, help bring about this world. hindsight can show us many things.

i have blogged about this many times before: usurping power through EDSA 2 was a mistake. it created this environment, it weakened our institutions and tainted our democracy. for all those "negative" things, i do hope we have learned, painful as it is to work within our framework of Government however long it takes to make things better. There are sadly no magic answers or quick fixes neither do we have supermen descending from the sky to right our wrongs for us.

this may be true or not: "I’m saying this to underscore the hypocrisy of certain people and groups who try to create an illusion to our people that they are pristine and have not done nothing wrong in their entire professional career,” Veloso said. if it was true does it matter? we all make mistakes and life isn't perfect and some mistakes are just bigger, especially as responsibilities grow. And even if it was true, between, one--- Sigaw's pointing to a consolidation of power by an elite or One Voice that is focused on social justice, i'd rather choose the latter.

Sigaw's post said Veloso said this: "the country is too poor to have too many expensive national elections which have also become the source of corruption among election officials and so-called election operators."

I have never seen a poor country with malls like ours. certainly there are many who are hungry in the streets--- and one too many i might add. it all falls down to those people who want to fight poverty. i ask you this: isn't it better to make everyone a multimillionaire?

We don't need constitutional change to enable electoral reforms. We need stronger political parties. Political parties that are focused on delivering results to the masses and like all organizations, Political Parties can only thrive as a Community that is composed of people who believe in the same thing: ideology. Certainly if we continue on the thread we are in today, wherein personalities form the kernel of political parties, it does become more expensive. If we continue with our manual system, we will certainly make it more expensive. These reforms need not come from Charter Change, it can be done today if there was political will to do so.

Though it is not to say, we don't need Charter Change. It is to say that Charter Change should be done properly, within the context of our current system and that Change--- comes from myriad sources and not some wishful miracle cure.

in the same post Veloso said: “I think the opposition should look at the charter change as a positive development in our effort to overhaul our electoral system. They should embrace the fact that after their second failure to impeach the president, the best alternative for them is to work with us in fighting electoral fraud like Dagdag-Bawas through a total systems overhaul."

I agree with him especially with regard to how the Opposition fumbled the ball on impeachment. that was a strategic and a public relations nightmare. It did not separate the Opposition's crowd with that of the Administration. It did not improve their "image" which we can all lump them in a corner. They acted foolishly and childishly. the resounding defeat strengthened Arroyo's position further. it questions why we should in the next election vote for the Opposition when today, they have shown us no proof they can do a better job or distance themselves from the mediocrity of Arroyo's and her ilk's performance.

I similarly agree that there should be a complete systems overhaul, but not in the context that they choose to do so. Countries like the United Kingdom exists as some constitutionalists regard as having "no (formal) constitution". We ought to look at how New Zealand resolved their own constitutional problems, there maybe a lesson there.

Reforms can be instituted today. Electoral reforms, Social Justice reforms, Political Party reforms and we can take baby steps. Individually, we can erect personal change, and as we become better citizens in our own private lives these things will translate to our national life.

Let us talk about an analogous situation. In the computer industry, Microsoft, has taken a hit because they have failed to ship the next release of their popular Windows Operating System. It has been over six years and will be close to seven years since the launch of Windows XP that the next release--- Windows Vista will be launched. Microsoft wanted to do a whole lot of change. Ambitious really, but very logical. It would greatly improve the technology of their software. But the sheer volume of work, the immensity of the project has led to feature reduction after feature reduction, delays and added complexity. On one hand Apple has shipped six versions of their growing with popularity Mac OSX operating systems in the last six years. In each iteration, OS X has had major improvements over the previous ones because they have taken baby steps. All this has led Microsoft to reconsider their methodology with Steve Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft acknowledging during a keynote address at a Microsoft launch event that the company needed to get more agile and to produce software faster, to the tune of delivering technology every 18 to 24 months.

And what can we gain from this lesson? A complex problem such as our country can not be solved by one huge monumental thing. "Charter Change, Now!" sounds grandiose, and sexy and the glitter can fool you into thinking, "oh, wow!". Like EDSA 2 that one quick change to sweep everything away is a pipe dream.

We take it baby steps--- because it is pragmatic to think that we can make small mistakes, which at least we can rollback much more easily rather than building this immense thing and you wouldn't know what to do because it is just too big. Put in simpler terms, chopping a problem into small pieces can be more manageable in the long term.

No one disputes we need change. We do so over the details. And after the debacle of 2004, of edsa 2, of Erap Estrada, would you blame people for not wanting to drink the kool-aid Arroyo's (and to an extent even the Opposition's) camp wants this country to drink?

we need clear reforms today, which we can do. we have the foundation, the framework all in place if only we choose to enable them properly like the Local Government code for example. And if Arroyo's kool-aid is to be believed, we have money in the bank, why not deliver true reforms rather than press releases? Charter Change can happen as all these things are happening because it is an important step--- but not the be all and end all of things. We've all made a lot of missteps in the past, but what do you do when you fall? That is an easy question to answer. it is "hard to say, i'm sorry" as the song goes. the easiest way to do both is to pick yourself up and that is action and it is the best way we can achieve fairness and equal opportunity for all.


mlq3 said...

actually, i remember a debate during edsa dos and after: perhaps it was half-baked. meaning, if people power is pursued, it has to go all the way, and result in a revolution. things were held back, and forced to fit into the constitution, which created more problems than it solved.

cocoy said...

seriously po? i didn't know. anyway... a revolution would have provided a more definite result but equally dangerous and unpredictable, i think. maybe we would have learned our lesson better if it had "more shock and awe", if it was bloody, if innocent blood was lost rather than fitting it into the constitution. may be not.

btw po, excellent post at your blog. :D

Class1997 said...

Cocoy.... In the blogosphere, calling people "po" gains you very little. I suppose you are below 25 years old, or maybe you are intimidated by the Quezon name. Whatever the deference that you give, lessen it and instead, behave as an equal. Do not use "po", and instead, be more thorough in your thinking and clearer in the way you express your thoughts.

cocoy said...

i'm 27. the "po" was a sign of respect for the age gap. we seem to lack a lot of values lately as a people i mean. anyway, i'll put your suggestion under consideration.

you didn't get what i wrote..? which part? i wrote the post in exactly the way i wanted it to be written-- ambiguous in many respect. people here are smart. i always thought we filipinos need to think more and be less obvious. i do not know if i was able to send my subtle message across properly. maybe i could help you clear things up or how to at least find out how to make my writing and send my message better.


john marzan said...

So did you vote for Arroyo in 2004, Cocoy?

ako naman, i campaigned strongly against erap and voted for roco (president) and arroyo (VP) in 1998. I was extremely disappointed when erap won, but accepted the results and him as president. I supported edsa one but did not support edsa dos. And I did not vote for Arroyo the next time in 2004 (didn't matter anyway because the outcome was already "settled" by Garci's gang even before the elections began).

cocoy said...

i voted for her as senator and vice president, and at the time supported edsa 2... i was too young to understand edsa one... but i didn't vote for her as president in the last election. i voted for ping lacson. i don't know if it was "settled" or not. knowing how people in power do things in this country, it wouldn't be far fetched to imagine it could happen. that kind of thing is something we must move away from or at least be more responsible in exercising i think.

the opposition at the time by fielding fpj... and with pgma running made that election i think, a sort of referendum of edsa 2. it didn't heal the division our country was experiencing at the time. would looking back... i think the wiser course would have been to have different candidates--- no fpj and no pgma, but an entirely new batch, even if that batch included a roco v. ping scenario or some other candidate, would have healed our country better.

anyway, its all water under the bridge now... we have to look forward and see how best to make this country better.

Greg said...

I agree with your comment about EDSA 2.

I supported EDSA 2 and believed in the righteousness of the cause. When I read Time Magazine's article about EDSA 2, calling it mob rule (I think the title was "Oops, we did it again), I totally disagreed with it and wondered how Time Magazine got it all wrong.

However, beginning 2003, I began to revisit my view on EDSA 2 and as time passed, I became more convinced that it was an event that has caused a lot of problems simply because it subverted the democratic processes, and removed a legitimately elected president.

I am no Estrada fan - of the ex-president and his family. In fact, just the thought of an Estrada dynasty in the senate is so repulsive to me. However, he was legitimately elected - whether we liked it or not.

So in 2001 - -when he was "removed" - there was no justification for that. Sure - -we've heard the argument about the impeachment process subverting the will of the people. Even if I think it was wrong for the senators to block the opening of the second envelope - -an impeachment process is inherently a political process that is decided on numbers. So if Estrada had the numbers, so be it.

There was recourse anyway. May 2001 was just around the corner. If we were a patient lot, we could have just waited for the elections, boot out a lot of the senators supporting Estrada, and elected a lot of the opposition senators who would probably now have the numbers to impeach Estrada in a second impeachment. But well, the short cut seemed so much more exciting and sexy - -and look now where it's gotten us into (political instability).

Oh well - - we all learn and grow.

BTW, I liked your collaboration with Benign0 (foreword). That Get Real Philippines book was a really good one. I hope you could write about it too on your site so your readers can read it too. Honestly (and I suggested this already before), smart thoughtful bloggers such as yourselves should band into one site so that you can become a more potent voice (sort of like the think tank of Philippine bloggers on economic, social, political issues) and so that more articles come out regularly (which is a source of a blog's stickiness).

Greg said...

One last thing - -about class1997's comment:

I read your blog because I think you really have great thoughts. I am older than you are - -33. While I understand the "po" reference as a sign of respect, Class1997 does have a point. I am glad to read that you'll put the suggestion under consideration. Consider this comment as one reader's desire to see that happening.

cocoy said...

"Oh well-- we all learn and grow".

greg and class1997: consider the "po" reference gone.

as for a site on bloggers, i already have an idea on how to execute it for sometime now that i think would be inclusive, which i'll discuss with you and many of the bloggers out there as soon as i work out some details of the plan. i'm looking at technologies to make it happen as seamlessly-blogger-and-reader-friendly as possible as well as a viable business model to keep such a site working.

as for Get Real Philippines, i'll post something about it soon... in the mean time, there is a link on this blog to Get Real Philippines for sometime now.

Greg said...

It's good to know that bloggers like you are carrying the torch of critical thinking. You can count on us to support blogs like this and to participate.

There's power in numbers. We don't have to get everyone. But if the so-called "influencers" like you and the others can harness that power - - imagine the possibilities.

I have discovered another smart blogger in your league:

It's good to know that creative, constructive, critical thinking is alive and well!