Tuesday, March 25, 2008

On What Gross National Product Measures

For too much and for too long, we seem to have surrendered personal excellence and community value in the pursuit of material wealth. Our Gross National Product grew over 7 percent in 2007, but that statistic, if we judge The Republic of the Philippines by that, counts air pollution, and gambling, and cigarettes and vices, and hospitals full of not just cancer patients, but of the impoverished sick and dying.

This GNP accounts for Military engagement in our far flung villages to fight our brothers and sisters of different faith, and jails to house rarely the drug lords but more the drug addicts, and not just petty criminals but juvenile delinquents who share the same fate as those rapists and murderers. It does not overlook the prison our airports, and malls seem to have become, with their often failing attempt at security.

This Gross National Product counts the destruction of our forests, our mountains, our corals, our seas and measures the lost of our nation's natural beauty long before our people can fully appreciate them.

This statistic valued in that attempt at stealing power through the taking of a five star hotel as hostage, and abuse of power and excessive force to quell such mindless rebellion. It counts the missing, who voice their opinion, but are silenced for their difference and the dead because of election violence all in the name of keeping a firm grip on Power.

Our Gross National Product include telenovelas, "news" and television programs and blogs that glorify gossip, and the excesses of the social elite in order to spread the gospel of schadenfreude that we may feel better about ourselves. Yet it does not allow for the health of neither our citizens nor our children, or an education that encourages our People to learn, to be creative, to be able synthesize various disciplines and their joys into something new, something unique, something constructive, something that raises the dignity in us all.

This pursuit of material wealth does not include the beauty of our poetry, the depth of our music, the strength of our marriages and the enduring force that is the Filipino family. This GNP does not imbue intelligence in our public discourse nor raise the integrity of our public officials. Neither does Gross National Product measure the deafness of our middle-class and theologians to the fundamental gospel that incapacity is the greater evil gripping our nation, more than our outrage about the true nature of our public officials. Nor does it measure the blindness of our leadership to see beyond their petty concerns and see what our people truly need.

This statistic does not by any standard tell us how mute and hopeless and incapacitated the poor really are.

Gross National Product can not fully quantify the perseverance and level of sacrifice of the Filipino diaspora. It can never weigh the joys of our children at simple play, at simple pleasure. It does not measure our wit, our laugh, our people's beautiful smile, nor the depth of our religious devotion and The Filipino's courage that is God's gift to our people.

Our Gross National Product measures everything in short except that which make life worth while. And it can tell us everything about Our Nation except why we ought to be proud of being Filipino.

This post was inspired and heavily influenced by this Robert Kennedy speech:


sparks said...


You know, every time I agonise about the future of our country, and sometimes get depressed and wallow in despair, I take comfort knowing there are Filipinos like you. Here's to the future. *cheers*

Anonymous said...

coy, let's do the papaya dance! LOL! seriously, i'm not losing hope. maybe i don't want to face the reality... maybe that's it but i still want to believe that people are still looking forward to the idea that they can have priceless things like a happy relationship with their loved ones or a healthy self esteem. as long as may pag asa, the world is not that doomed. :)

Cocoy said...

sparks, thanks! and cheers!

ifoundme, hehe. as Obama said: "Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it and to work for it and to fight for it."