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Jul 31

Oblivious to change

Last week I had a chance to address an international gathering of people affiliated with Liberal parties, on the subject of Asian Values versus Liberal Democracy. My thesis was simple: at the heart of the contention by proponents of “Asian Values” as some sort of superior alternative to Western-style Liberal Democracy, is an appreciation -from long practice by senior-citizen politicians- of the motive power of the anti-colonial struggle. It is no coincidence that Lee Kwan Yew is the primary ideological exponent of “Asian Values” and for the purpose of defending the political heritage shared by the nations that emerged from Western colonialism in our part of the world: the one-party state in which political dynasts coexist cosily with big business. But, I told my audience, former colonies have been independent for close to three generations now (in the case of the first to emerge from colonial status, namely the Philippines and India), and for the rest, at least two (or in Brunei’s case, a full generation). The end of the Cold War also marked the end of our part of the world as one of the battlegrounds of the Cold War, and so, the even the era of neocolonialism can be considered to have passed. The motive power of resisting democracy as part of nationalist reawakening, is fading; and with the passing of the generations who can still recall life before independence, to my mind, so will pass the idea that Liberal Democratic values are an alien concept.

But my talk got me thinking further on how we frame our problems in a manner that dates back to the days prior to independence, with the challenges of getting a newly-independent nation on its feet in mind. One such question is that of Muslim Mindanao, which tends to be framed by neoconservatives in a manner reminiscent of the confrontation between Japanese and European Fascism and the Western democracies; it is no coincidence that if Radical Islam pines for the restoration of the Caliphate that came to an end with the secular Republic of Turkey and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, then Rome on the other hand is fighting a two-front war against secularism and Islamic influence in Europe, and that American neoconservatives and Bin Laden both view their struggle for power from the perspective of the Crusades.

In our own case, the question of Muslim Mindanao continues to be perceived from the point of view of our peaceful struggle for independence: that Muslim Mindanao is in danger of being lost. That the solution must be to contain the Muslims, and if possible, to prevent a power vacuum in Mindanao as a whole, and that can only happen by filling it with Christians. the problem, of course, is that Mindanao’s already filled with Christians; while Muslim Filipinos are now reproducing so vigorously, that their populations have taken to finding living space elsewhere in the archipelago.

Yet most of us, I’d suggest, still think that Muslim Mindanao is one discrete place, and one which can be cordoned off, if only the national government could muster the political will and military might; that we take it for granted that there is an immemorial territory that defines who Muslim Filipinos are, is a mentality to which many of our older exponents of Federalism also subscribe, and what they and the non-traditional Muslim Filipino leaders who’ve emerged since the 1960s have in common, is the belief that the Philippine nation-state must be refashioned as a means to achieve what they believe will be a historical vindication for their sub-nations: with some proposing outright nationhood and secession.

To be sure perhaps as recently as a decade or two ago, this notion remained sound, in that they could speak as advocates of populations who dwelled in defined territories and who shared a common culture defined by a common language; today, I believe it’s increasingly untenable. I’ve mentioned before that the old obediences are being eroded not only by migration and immigration abroad, but migration at home; dynasties must constantly shrink their territories, to hold them, as new residents arrive, devoid of the traditional notions of obedience these dynasts could once upon a time.

Phillanguages.jpg

Take a look at this Wikipedia map, which divides the country along lingguistic lines. And then bear in mind some observations made to me by former U.P. President Francisco Nemenzo, a Cebuano, when I ran into him in Cebu’s airport some months back.

He said that a kind of mapping project has been taking place, and formerly lingguistically-pure areas have started to change, often quite quickly and usually, remarkably.

The examples I recall are that areas surrounding Iloilo have turned Cebuano-speaking while areas of Mindanao formerly Cebuano-dominated are now turning Ilonggo-speaking; if I recall correctly he even said the growing lingguistic population in Mindanao were the Ilonggos and no longer the Cebuanos; as for Cebu itself, he said, fully ten percent of its population was Muslim, a trend that began with refugees during the Marcos-era Moro Wars, and that the Muslims in Cebu were mainly Tausug. There are growing pockets of Muslim Filipino residents not only in Metro Manila, but up North and even in the Visayas; when I took the fast ferry from San Carlos City in Negros Occidental to Toledo City in Cebu, the ferry service was Muslim-owned.

Add to this snippets I’ve picked up from people as I’ve pursued the topic Nemenzo brought up. In Quezon Province, for example, there are growing pockets of Bicolano speakers; Aurora province, on the other hand, is increasingly marked by an Ilocano presence; the Ilocos itself, in some parts, seems quite depopulated, and a decade ago I experienced an Ilocos Sur tourism official telling off a group of kids from whom we asked directions, because they talked to us in Filipino (from Cebuano educators I hear that Cebu City, at least, now has its first generation of youths who prefer to converse with each other in Filipino). There are, of course, entire areas well known for their populations being composed mainly of immigrants: Imperial Manila has been a Visayan city, for all intents and purposes, for two generations (Why then, I asked Nemenzo, haven’t more Visayan words entered the Tagalog spoken in Manila? His response was interesting: the effect of the Visayans has been not on vocabulary, but on grammar: the simplification of Tagalog, as spoken in Manila, and therefore, used in the media, is a manifestation of Visayans stripping Tagalog of its grammatical encrustations from the time Tagalog itself evolved from Cebuano in the distant past!).

This suggests to me that what we have come to take for granted, has been gradually disappearing for some time and is actually accelerating at present; and among other things, this means that viewing Muslim Mindanao as either a place to be contained, or something that can be lost (or, as I’ve considered in the past, something to consider detaching from the republic) is certainly impossible now if it was ever possible at all in the past.

I told the gathered Liberals (though it’s not too clear to me what the youth represents belonging to variously-named parties have in common, politically) -from the United States, Germany, Belgium, Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand, and of course the Philippines- that the false dichotomy between Asian Values and Liberal Democracy was a problem with a demographic solution: addressing the youth leaders from the two wings of the presently-divided Liberal Party in the Philippines in particular, I urged them to be confident that their decision to maintain solidarity among party mates from their generation, even as their elders squabbled, would be vindicated. But only, I said, when the party elders died and they, by sheer attrition, took over.

The same applies, I think, to many of the seemingly intractable problems we face nationally, with a political scene dominated by increasingly geriatric big shots who long ago abandoned their idealism and who have lost their capacity to be imaginative. It takes some time to understand it, but on the whole, there are signs that when the dinosaurs go, we will find a more highly evolved generation of Filipinos taking their place: one that might be more adept at balancing idealism with pragmatism, in problem solving, in cooperation, in sustained effort and so forth. Whether they are conscious of it, or only instinctively yet dimly aware of it, the elders now ruling the roost in mainstream politics and in the various rebel organization, are fighting the battle everyone eventually loses: against their own mortality. What was fresh, even radical, or even tried, tested, and true for their generation, whether you are Fidel V. Ramos, Juan Ponce Enrile, Joker Arroyo, Jose Ma. Sison, Nur Misuari, Joseph Estrada or even President Arroyo, was forged in the crucible of a Philippines that is dissolving. And so, they are furiously trying to write an appropriately grand epitaph for themselves.

Consider the relevance, however, of achieving a Muslim Federal State, at a time when a remarkable expansion of Muslims into other parts of the Philippines is taking place: or of demanding near-divorce from the Republic for Ilocandia or Cebu, when their own populations have changed drastically: demarcations that ignore changes in demographics, such as the movement of Ilocanos into areas once considered -and dominated by- Tagalog people. As it is, one of the big problems that exists in expanding the current territory of the ARMM, is that while once claimed by the old Sultanate of Sulu, among others, the areas being demanded as an integral homeland for Filipino Muslims takes neither traditional divisions within the Muslim community (Tausug versus Maranao, etc., etc.) into account, or how they ceased being dominated by Muslims long ago; or how, even, in these border areas, claims of Christian settler supremacy is often by means of hair-thin margin.

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  1. PSI

    Taking off from you arguments: if the government persists on forging an agreement with the MILF without consulting the local officials, majority of whom are Christians, RP will lose Mindanao not to the Moro nation but to the Christians.

    Shades of Rueben Canoy’s Mindanao Republic. Whatever happened to that fellow?

  2. cvj

    Anecdotally, i find some evidence to support your generational-divide thesis. Here in Singapore, which is supposed to be the home of Asian Values, i find that the locals, especially the younger ones, have an affinity for democratic values. However, i believe that the main threat to democracy today is the elitist values of a significant portion of Civil Society, an example of which is the PAD Thai’s New Politics.

  3. Pedestrian Observer GB

    Ahhhh, expanding ARRM, secession or status quo is actually a losing proposition until feudal Muslim Mindanao gets past thye feudal stage.

    The conduct of fraudulent election in the ARRM region is a window to the bleak future of the “empowered” Muslims and until the majority of Muslims are free from the strangleholds of tribal chieftains of the warlord and political dynasty of the trapo type it will just be a vicious cycle achieving nothing but perpetuation of feudal lords supremacy over the people of Mindanao.

  4. BrianB

    manolo,

    You’re almost there. Conservatism tends towards divisiveness and separation into old pre-Spanish cultures, yes? An untenable political view and should be relegated to the garbage bin of other extremist politics (Filipino purity, tagalog nation, Catholic nation, communism, etc.)

    There is another conservatism, on the other hand, based on Catholic and the Spanish-era belief-systems, which I think is in place right now. The problem with the liberal-conservative dichotomy in this country is that though Liberalism seems to be a distinct philosophy, Philippine conservatism has yet to be explained in a satisfying manner, a manner, in other words, that will satisfy the idea of the Philippines as one nation. While liberals can borrow from foreign examples and remain effective as liberals (however derivative some of these idiots may seem to me), Philippine conservatism is a nebulous concept. I doubt sincerely if anyone here can explain what Philippine conservatism is. All we see in politics is criminality and diregard for principles of any kind. Our politicians are chameleons, sometimes espousing liberal ideas 9for the sake of appearing smart) and sometimes forcing conservative beliefs (what feels like conservative beliefs, at least) to the rest of us. They change according to the weather and who they are talking to. The catholic church, necessarily an institution of conservative mindset, have been focusing overmuch on sex and sexual practices of the population, leaving the other parts of a moral and political conservatism open for loose, ad hoc and flip-flopping interpretations.

    Political conservatism is more necessary to this country’s progress than liberalism for the simple fact that it does not exist yet, at least not in a functioning form.

  5. UP n student

    One must not lose sight of two things —- history has cases where “the duly appointed” have acted to purify a geographic area, either with their own ( e.g. Karadzic) or with mercenaries (janjaweed).

    Some folk do not wait, they act on your thesis

    But only, I said, when the party elders died and they, by sheer attrition, took over.

    about the role of death in regards shifting of political winds.

    Second : the youth do just as easily assume the mindset of the old, e.g. oft-repeated class war rant (cvj and up-and-coming from Diliman, UST, FEU or UnivSan Carlos) or the thuggery of 14-year olds with guns doing KFR in Mindanao.

  6. Pedestrian Observer GB

    BrianB,

    Exactly…….. the absence of clearly defined ideology much less principles and ideals in Philippine political parties where personal vested interest dictates their political affiliation you expect hooliganism of the Mafiosi type in their political conduct.

    What we have is a political system that is dominated by the ruling minority elites and until we have a level political playing field all these liberal and conservative yada yada blah blah blah are just plain hollow posturing whose meaning escapes them or beyond their reach.

    Heck this is not even a question of the youth over the old guards as these young guards are cast of the same mold who were propped up by the same vested interest……

  7. supremo

    ‘one of the big problems that exists in expanding the current territory of the ARMM…’

    As I’ve said in the previous thread ‘ARMM II then ARMM III. Pretty soon every Muslim tribe will have there own autonomous region. Not that there’s anything wrong with it.’
    The 1987 Philippine Constitution did not specify ONE autonomous region in Mindanao. There is no solution to the problem if everyone, including the national government and MILF, insists on this interpretation of ONE autonomous region in Mindanao. Dissolve the provinces in Mindanao and create autonomous communities instead.

  8. KG

    One thing sticks, because UPN always point to it:

    FALSE DICHOTOMY

  9. KG

    so short, but with grammatical errors,(previous comment)

    we are a country where not everyone can speak or write straight english, straight tagalog,straight Bisaya in Visayas,straight bicolano in bicol,ilocano in ilocos and
    the list goes on.

  10. KG

    Have you guys noticed that Supremo’s suggestions can solve our problems in a snap…the problem is people forget that snapping is easy.
    Or is this another false dichotomy a choice between snapping is easy or not.

    Even True or False;and Yes or No, is becoming a false dichotomy.

    I forgot to mention BLACK or WHITE.
    our pilosopos already solved that by saying that there are always shades of grey

  11. leytenian

    “When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

  12. leytenian

    The key aspects to bridge the gap between our Values and Democracy lies in the management skills of our leaders to address concerns and solve the problem of inequality and safeguards for the poor. It calls for an alternate strategies of knowledge where the values and biases of our leaders are questioned (performance ratings- from bottom to top or vice versa) . Our representatives should ensure that political and social choices are made democratically and not be part of a discourse that the poor and the marginal CANNOT comprehend or NEGOTIATE with. The management strategy should also be focus on a policy framework that is RECEPTIVE to a demand driven approach and can address concerns of poverty alleviation and those related to public goods and human rights. Our current management strategy is limited to the Macro level.

    The smaller units are only heard when crisis sets in ( my own definition of tyranny)

  13. DevilsAdvc8

    what will happen if government pushes through without serious dialoug with all the groups involved will be ethnic violence like what is happening in Iraq.

  14. frombelow

    young vs old???

    in the philippine politcal setting, there is no such thing ???

    The likes of Escudero, (young) propped up by Danding (old) ; Defensor (young) practicing the old but sure way of getting what he likes ( patronage and by force– how he took hold of Mawanay), and others and so on and so forth.

    What we need are not young faces but young ideas!!!

  15. anthony scalia

    Kevin Garnett,

    “we are a country where not everyone can speak or write straight english, straight tagalog,straight Bisaya in Visayas,straight bicolano in bicol,ilocano in ilocos and the list goes on.”

    (one way of looking at it) communication is the prime consideration di ba? if you can get a message across clearly in taglish/englog, or a mixture of bisaya and bicol, why not?

  16. hvrds

    “My thesis was simple: at the heart of the contention by proponents of “Asian Values” as some sort of superior alternative to Western-style Liberal Democracy, is an appreciation -from long practice by senior-citizen politicians- of the motive power of the anti-colonial struggle. It is no coincidence that Lee Kwan Yew is the primary ideological exponent of “Asian Values” and for the purpose of defending the political heritage shared by the nations that emerged from Western colonialism in our part of the world: the one-party state in which political dynasts coexist cosily with big business. But, I told my audience, former colonies have been independent for close to three generations now (in the case of the first to emerge from colonial status, namely the Philippines and India), and for the rest, at least two (or in Brunei’s case, a full generation). The end of the Cold War also marked the end of our part of the world as one of the battlegrounds of the Cold War, and so, the even the era of neocolonialism can be considered to have passed. ”

    Lee Kwan Yew also knows fully well both Marxian and Smithian political /economic theories. He, Lee also knows the era of neo-colonialism is not past.

    To consider Lee an ideoloque of Asian values is totally wrong. He is a crafty one who knows that you need symbolism and rationales on the world stage.

    China and India both need time for them to first become materially strong before the idea of liberal democracy can prevail in the midst of present global realities.

    A lot of leaders of both Singapore, China and India are all students of poltical economy and historical dialectics.

    How can former colonies be independent for three generations?

    Qualify the degree of indepence. Those former colonies who have and had cut off to a greater degree from their colonial masters have prospered the fastest and the furthest.

    The best example is the United States itself. Then you have China and India follwoing behind. it is nothing short of incredible (looking at the material side ) on how China and India have raised the standards of living of their citizens. (not all) But quite a number (500M combined) in a period that took the West hundreds of years.

    China by command and India by semi command.

    The ongoing WTO debates are part of that break up of the attempt to impose neo-colonial standards on former colonies under the guise of free trade.

    With all due respect to MLQ3. You are a member of the lucky sperm club. You probably are a trust fund baby.

    You come from one of the most well established landed families in these Islands.

    I have the utmost respect for leaders like Lee, Mandela and the like. Deng was another revelation with his one country two systems.

    There is no conflict between liberal democracy and the so called Asian vlaues. The oldest organized fedual societies on this planet if India and China. The rest can be found in the M.E. There is actually no contradiction.

    The attempt of the West to make one is based on a total ignorance of history. Your attempt is naive.

    In one newscast of NBC, Brain Willaims started the introduction while he was in Bagram Air base in Afghanistan. He said that the Amercian army was the third army to have a base in Afghanistan and wer on the site used by the Russians and before them the Greeks under Alexander the great.

    The American military today have anthropologists, sociologists in hire in the GWOT.

    They know this idea of imposing liberal democracy on the M.E. is crazy. it is difficult to fast track evolution. That is a very Marxist concept. For the one country in the world to take that tack is the most frightening thing the world has seen since Hiltler.

    Unwitting or wittingly Bush and Cheney were proving Marx and Lenin right.

  17. hvrds

    A very celver quote from the cartoon -“Kung Fu Panda”

    “The past is history, the future is a mystery but the present is a gift. ”

    Individually we have the capacity to change our own histories if we want to.

    But that rerquires direction and a lot of political will to become a leader and take along an entire country with you.

    Changing history and not waiting for history to catch up with us.

    Which of our leaders will meet this critieria and apply this to the seemingly hybrid realties of these islands?

  18. mindanaoan

    i dont know where prof. nemenzo got his figures, but cebu’s population fully 10% muslim? that’s a bigger percentage than in iligan! unlikely. Ilonggo as the growing linguistic population in mindanao? it’s maguindanao according to the 2007 census

  19. Amadeo

    Further to Mindanaoan’s comments.

    “if I recall correctly he even said the growing linguistic population in Mindanao were the Ilonggos and no longer the Cebuanos; as for Cebu itself, he said, fully ten percent of its population was Muslim, a trend that began with refugees during the Marcos-era Moro Wars, and that the Muslims in Cebu were mainly Tausug.”

    I wonder where the professor visited in Mindanao for him to declare that Illongo is now the growing dialect in Mindanao. No doubt, we have always had Illongos in our midst, but for the dialect to overhaul the Cebuano, or more appropriately, the Bisaya, speakers? That would be quite a stretch, in my opinion.

    But then again, the professor may simply believe that the Cebuano dialect is the one spoken only by the people coming from Cebu, but locals typically do not make that distinction. They do however make a distinction when asked about their place of origin. Thus, Cebuano if coming from Cebu, Cagayanon if from Cagayan de Oro, etc. but linguistically, they all speak bisaya, or Visayan,

    And 10% of the population of the island of Cebu translates to about 400,000. Are there that many Muslims in that island? Unless, we stretch the definition of who a Muslim is. After all, Lapulapu was a Muslim, thus his descendants could be so defined. The City of Cebu has a population of about 800,000.

  20. Bert

    “But that rerquires direction and a lot of political will to become a leader and take along an entire country with you.”-hvrds

    Out there is a leader, a Marcos without the corruption and toleration of corrupt cronies…more importantly, a lavish wife, or husband. Let’s find the person.

    Ate Glo and Big Mike, tumabi muna po kayo.

  21. UP n student

    There are several models of leadership. One of the romantic models is the “I’ll make time for all the constituencies to have a chance to talk, then I will listen, analyze, synthesize….then do what the people have told me” as espoused by cvj, Abe Margallo, blogposters in the EllenTordesillas site, many others.

    Whether you call this pandering (as its opponents will be inclined to call it) or however you describe it, there are serious flaws with this non-leadership model of leadership.

  22. cvj

    UPn, that’s one of the very rare times i’ve been called ‘romantic’. As for leadership, i know of six styles:

    – coercive
    – authoritative
    – democratic
    – affiliative
    – pace-setting
    – coaching

    http://www.mariosalexandrou.com/blog/?p=227

    Each of the above has advantages and disadvantages and one can tends to be mistaken for the other (e.g. coercive & authoritative, democratic & affiliative).

    As for my style of tolerating discussions, i am aware of its flaws especially when i have to put up with insufferable elitists.

  23. cvj

    Here’s a better link on the six leadership styles:

    http://www.coachiates.com/leadersip.htm

  24. The Equalizer

    Manolo

    I consider the Liberal party the only principle-based party in the country.

    But current leadership is weak.

    Its “presence” seems to be confined to a few press releases from the media office of Mar Roxas.

    Where is the party of Ninoy?Jovy? Butch Abad? Drilon?

  25. UP n student

    to Equalizer: help me out with a quick review. Pls name three or four of key foundation principles of the Liberal Party.

    I don’t know where ancestral domain fits in Liberal party list of principles.

  26. PSI

    Not a negative thinker, but I’m not expecting much change to be effected by whover gets elected as the next president from the current crop of possible candidates. Not without a big reform agenda.

    Both executive and legislative branches of government have been charged of all possible malfeasance under the sun. Now, comes this revelation about the Court of Appeals judges, putting into disrepute the remaining bastion of government credilibilty.

    Indeed, its the system folks. Endemic some others would call it. It’s what mlq3 blogged as ‘gaming the system.’ Ca t also realistically stated that who gets elected as president, the VAT will stay, being the lifeline of government finances .

    The next president will be subjected to the same machinations and influence-peddling of traditional politicians(trapos), oligarchic families, catholic bishops, media hype, etc. To be blunt, I do not think De Castro, Escudero, Roxas, Legarda, nor Lacson has got what it takes to do it.

    Unless a substantive reform agenda through constituional amendment is implemented, I’m sorry to say, things are not gonna change folks!

  27. UP n student

    Is the Liberal Party a party of principles or of personalities???? I think Mar Roxas is current president, isn’t he?

    Ferdinand Marcos and Diosdado Macapagal… also Elpidio Quirino —- Liberal Party elders from years ago. Drilon, Atienza, Manny Pacquiao and Michael Defensor also were Liberal Party members.

    “Noon at Ngayon, Liberal Marangal”

  28. Bert

    “To be blunt, I do not think De Castro, Escudero, Roxas, Legarda, nor Lacson has got what it takes to do it.

    Unless a substantive reform agenda through constituional amendment is implemented, I’m sorry to say, things are not gonna change folks!”-PSI

    Hmmm, I smell something fishy here…the perrenial one/two combination. Status quo beyond 2010?

  29. anthony scalia

    PSI,

    “Unless a substantive reform agenda through constituional amendment is implemented, I’m sorry to say, things are not gonna change folks!”

    oops, ayaw nina cvj, bert et al nyan

  30. Willy Acuna

    Manolo,

    Federalism should not be carved primarily on the basis of ethnic languages. Rather, it is all about political equality , cooperation, people empowerment, population’s direct involvement on public policy right at the “state” where they live, government policy decisions not promulgated from imperial Manila, and granting freedom to local population to determine their economic future. With due respect, I am afraid you have “fallen victim” to the “Filipino feudal mentality”. Your Grandfather President Manuel Quezon said, “I’d rather have the Philippines run by Filipinos like hell than run like heaven by Americans!” Well, look, he got what he wanted! Federalism carries the principle and concept that your grandfather had advocated. But then, you, as his grandson seems to be on the opposite side of this thesis. Similar to your Granfather’s conviction is the desire of various ethnic and cultural groups in the Philippines. As an American of Filipino heritage, who sincerely loves the Philippines,but happily residing in the Great Lone Star State of Texas, Texans speak American English here, which is the language Filipinos in the Philippines love to imitate. Does English laguage then, which promotes social harmony and better understanding among people, be a negative factor to a federal set up? I don’t think so! Just like Filipino language, which is based on Tagalog , an official-national language is a positive step towards promoting federalism, while respecting regional/provincial uniqueness of what charaterizes true Filipino diversity. Federalism is the essence of celebrating diversity, and population migration has nothing to do with it. The genius of federalism is what the Philippines needs. Failure to adopt this system in the context of Philippines setting is a failure to recognize the unique diversity of the Filipino nation. Yes, it can be a painful process as local people learn the art of public governance, but we all have to give them the benefit of the doubt that they are as capable as we are who sometimes feel scared that they might not be able to make it. Manolo, the more we trust people to determine their destiny, the more they work hard to prove they are capable. This is the genuine essence of freedom after all, just exactly what your Grandfather deeply and sincerely believed. He did not give up his conviction until his last breath.

    Respectfully,
    Willy Acuna
    Dallas, Texas
    USA

  31. Willy Acuna

    Manolo,

    Federalism should not be carved primarily on the basis of ethnic languages. Rather, federalism is all about political equality , cooperation, people empowerment, population’s direct involvement in public policy right at the “state” where they live, government policy decisions not promulgated from imperial Manila, and granting freedom to local population to determine their economic future. With due respect, I am afraid you have “fallen victim” to the “Filipino feudal mentality”. Your Grandfather President Manuel Quezon said, “I’d rather have the Philippines run by Filipinos like hell than run like heaven by Americans!” Well, look, he got what he wanted! Federalism carries the principle and concept that your grandfather had advocated. But then, you, as his grandson seems to be on the opposite side of this thesis. Similar to your Granfather’s conviction is the desire of various ethnic and cultural groups in the Philippines. As an American of Filipino heritage, who sincerely loves the Philippines,but happily residing in the Great Lone Star State of Texas, Texans speak American English here, which is the language Filipinos in the Philippines love to imitate. Does English laguage then, which promotes social harmony and better understanding among people, be a negative factor to a federal set up? I don’t think so! Just like Filipino language, which is based on Tagalog , an official-national language is a positive step towards promoting federalism, while respecting regional/provincial uniqueness of what charaterizes true Filipino diversity. Federalism is the essence of celebrating diversity, and population migration has nothing to do with it. The genius of federalism is what the Philippines needs. Failure to adopt this system in the context of Philippines setting is a failure to recognize the unique diversity of the Filipino nation. Yes, it can be a painful process as local people learn the art of public governance, but we all have to give them the benefit of the doubt that they are as capable as we are who sometimes feel scared that they might not be able to make it. Manolo, the more we trust people to determine their destiny, the more they work hard to prove they are capable. This is the genuine essence of freedom after all, just exactly what your Grandfather deeply and sincerely believed. He did not give up his conviction until his last breath.

    Respectfully,
    Willy Acuna
    Dallas, Texas
    USA

  32. PSI

    Not to fault-find, but representative liberal democracy never truly worked in the Philippines. Not during the Commonwealth period nor during the first to the present Republics.

    Representative democracy is a compromise between elite rule and direct democracy. A principle required is ‘political equality’ which is underpinned by real economic equality.

    The situation obtaining in RP where patron-client relationships are still pervasive, where one hundred families control almost ninety percent of the country’s wealth, or where ‘the color of your money’matters in the executive, legislative , and judicial branches of government.

    Freedom of expression, another principle required in liberal democracy, is subverted when media delivery is controlled by the interests which captured the state and its institutions, catholic tyranny, and extreme poverty which opens the floodgates for vote buying.

    Until these pre-requisites of liberal democracy are met, the country could very well be better off with an Asian or sovereign (as Russia’s) type of democratic (?) government. Or, until we remake the Constitution.

  33. cvj

    PSI, how do we choose our dictator? of do we let the contenders fight among themselves?

  34. PSI

    cvj,

    Are you being funny?

    We don’t choose the dictator. He/She just comes. Kaya nga diktador, ano ka ba?

  35. cvj

    PSI, so you’re advocating a bahala na approach on the part of the citizenry?

  36. supremo

    Roman Dictator from wikipedia
    ‘Dictator was a political office of the Roman Republic. The dictator was above the three branches of government in the constitution of the Roman Republic as no other body or officer could check his power.

    The reasons which led to the appointment of a dictator required that there should be only one at a time and great power was visited upon them— the imperium magnus, having the ultimate imperium maius (a higher degree of imperium), which was the ability to overrule or remove from office the other curule magistrates upon whom imperium was conferred, including the ability to order their death. The dictators that were appointed for carrying on the business of the state were said to be nominated rei gerundae causa (for the matter to be done), seditionis sedandae causa (for the putting down of rebellion), or ironically in the case of Sulla, considering his actions set precedents that contributed to the end of the Republican system, as “dictator legibus faciendis et rei publicae constituendae causa” (“Dictator for the making of laws and for the settling of the constitution”).’

    Framers of the 1987 Constitution forgot to include this great innovation.

  37. Bert

    “We don’t choose the dictator. He/She just comes. Kaya nga diktador, ano ka ba?”-PSI

    It’s a tricky business. In the context of our history our dictators came in sheep’s clothing. The citizenry is always caught flat-footed. Not their fault. Just goes to show you cannot judge a book by its cover. This is not like saying that if you remove the sheep’s clothing the wolf is something else.

  38. UP n student

    cvj; the “bahala na” approach is always available. A segment of the population has done it before, and is doing it now, by just listening to their music and ignoring politics. Then, there are the citizens who just focus on economics. Focus is on work and livelihood— in Pinas, or overseas as OCW’s. Others mix work and politics by lending themselves out as janjaweeds to political aspirations of others.

    At the other end of the spectrum will be the take-action people, like those who call for “surge the gates”-and-bahala-na-wnat-happens next. Of course, there are a few with a bit better action-plan. These are the ones who find surrogates to surge-the-gates for them while they also grease the skids so their agents occupy positions of power when chaos ensues as they move to prove again that “… the citizenry always caught flatfooted”.

    Then, there are those with less of an action plan. These include those who are in search of heroes for whom they will surge-the-gates (or distribute leaflets or do one-on-one buttonholing) if their hero (directly or indirectly) asks.

    Never to forget those whose actions now are from seeds planted years ago – e.g. the disinterested in local politics because they are energized being only months away from being accepted to Canada or USA or Australia as immigrants or as OCWs or because they have a wedding date set or they anticipate their first child 5 months from now.

    Different folks, different strokes. Democracy in action. Kung ano ang magiging resulta eh “bahala na”.

    ————-
    Some of the optimists say that in the end, things will eventually be all right. Or at least, in the reckoning will be justice.

    Then there are the optimists who say “bring it on!!” with their belief ” … the better-prepared wins.”

    Different folks, different strokes. Democracy in action.

  39. cvj

    UPn, democracy in action to bring on a dictator? Isn’t that an oxymoron? (or minus the ‘oxy’…)

  40. UP n student

    cvj: democracy has at least a handful of examples — citizens who later find out they have been morons for using the wrong criteria to choose who to vote for president.

  41. leytenian

    cvj,

    here’ the tax policy by world bank for third world countries:
    http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTDEBTDEPT/0,,contentMDK:21387064~menuPK:64166739~pagePK:64166689~piPK:64166646~theSitePK:469043,00.html

    “In 1996, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund launched a debt relief program called the Heavily
    Indebted Poor Countries initiative. Since that time, 27 countries — representing two-thirds of the world’s most heavily indebted poor nations — have qualified for
    debt relief worth $53 billion over the next 20 years.
    Spending on poverty reduction in these countries had increased to 8 percent of national income in 2003 from 6 percent in 1999. At about $9 billion, this additional
    spending on poverty reduction represents about three-and-a-half times the amount spent on debt service by these countries. ”

    Not sure if Philippines is one of those 27 countries. If so, kaya siguro utang nang utang pa rin tayo…
    http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTDEBTDEPT/NewsAndEvents/20263626/vikram-nehru-hipc-opinion.pdf

  42. hvrds

    “Some of the optimists say that in the end, things will eventually be all right. Or at least, in the reckoning will be justice.”

    “Then there are the optimists who say “bring it on!!” with their belief ” … the better-prepared wins.”

    “Different folks, different strokes. Democracy in action.” pundit blogger and functional literacy.

    Optimists are not grounded in reality.

    Optimists that are prepared are realists not optimists.

    Idealism is dangerous as Mandela, Hitler, Stalin and Gandhi were all believers in idealism.

    You can choose which idealism was based on moral ascendancy and the others who were more on the side of evil.

    Idealism for morality became dangerous for the guru preaching it.

    Idealism that divides became dangerous for humanity.

    It is funny but in one post Ricky Carandang said that he is a secularist. We could take it that he is a realist and does not believe in religion.

    Synonymous with being an agnostic.

    Reactionary. A charter member of the flat earth society.

    We all forget that nature is deterministic. Discoveries are simply history being uncovered.

    Our ability to observe is the creation process itself.

    Unfortunately many are still asleep with their eyes open.

    It is like the difference between having sex and making love.

    There is magic out there. But we have to be grounded in reality.

  43. hvrds

    People based democracy is never given, it is taken and fought for.

    Using a corrupt dysfunctional political system to gain power thorugh the ballot is an oxymoron in itself.

    Trying to ride on the back of a tiger will almost assuredly guarantee the rider will be eventually eaten by the tiger.

    Who do you have that can tame this tiger?????

    Unfortunately for us the tiger has to be killed but we should have the tiger give birth to tiger cubs and
    we could train and defang the cubs while we still can AND CHANGE THE HISTORY OF TIGERS.

  44. cvj

    UPn, democracy cannot insulate people from making mistakes, but no system can do that. What i find moronic is the indomitable faith of many in the Filipino middle class of a Messiah/philosopher-king coming to fix things. This despite our country’s track record when it comes to philosopher-king(queen) wannabees.

    “The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.” – Edmund Burke

    In reality, there is only us folks.

  45. The EQualizer

    “I know Francis de Borja but I have not authorized him or anybody to make representations for any matter that involves cases of Meralco and the Lopez family,”Manolo Lopez said. “We have retainers and lawyers to handle the legal matters. Further, Francis is not a lawyer nor is he connected with Meralco.”

    ONLY LAWYERS KNOW HOW TO BRIBE?

  46. UP n student

    Equalizer: You focused on the wrong phrase. The more important phrase is “… have not authorized him… to make representations…”

  47. anthony scalia

    UP n student,

    one way of looking at it –

    the Chairman just tells his top management – do whatever it takes (leaving implementation to the latter). technically, Manolo Lopez may not have authorized de Borja, but one of his top management guys may have.

    another possibility – the Chairman or one of the top management people told their external counsel do whatever it takes (leaving implementation to the latter). then the external counsel dispatches de Borja. so in that situation, Manolo Lopez also did not authorize de Borja. de Borja may not be hired directly by Manolo Lopez, but he may be working for Meralco’s interests

  48. hvrds

    When discussing things that are uncertain dwell on things that are certain.

    This guy de Borja apparently is a well known fixer that has access to the corridors of power.

    He is like an invetment banker who packages deals in the game of entrepreneurial politics.

    The judicial instituion if a critical part of our political institutions.

    We now know for certain that there is a market existing where none should most especially at the highest levels of society that have access to the highest levels of state institutions.

    Regulatory and institutional capture.

    At the level of a municipal judge you simply match the fixer to the same level. But at the level of the higher ups the fixers are usually also of the same level. Obvioulsy is a case goes higher the stakes are higher. (Price equilibrium)

    Sila sila and naglalaro.

    Theoretically when a justice is approached he should inform his superior and make it public before a decision comes out.

    In cases where judges are hearing litigation any one who approaches a judge ex parte is supposed to be reported to the court hearing the case.

    That is the ideal situation but alas reality is always more complicated.

    It is similar to Winnie Monsod attacking GSIS without informing her readers that her hubby is well entrenched in the Lopez empire.

    When it comes to big money realism on material issues take precedence over idealism.

    Winnie Monsod knows that when she is a premier bean counter (equilibrium scientist) teaching (theoretical) efficiencies through price equilibrium.

    At what price will it take the buyer or seller to agree?

    Mahilig ang mga pinoy sa sabong. You can almost see Korina Sanchez and Karen Davila getting so excited when they discuss these issues between the warring parties.

    The media loves political sabong. Money flows from all directions.

  49. mlq3

    nemenzo is a social scientist and he was sharing the results of a proper study. since it was an informal conversation whilke we were in the smoking lounge, i can’t vouch for the exact details -good point for example if he meant cebu province or cebu city- what i recall is that the growing muslim pop. was due to refugees from the 1970s moro wars. anyway cebu residents can confirm or deny this.

  50. magdiwang

    “I know Francis de Borja but I have not authorized him or anybody to make representations for any matter that involves cases of Meralco and the Lopez family,”Manolo Lopez said. “We have retainers and lawyers to handle the legal matters. Further, Francis is not a lawyer nor is he connected with Meralco.”

    ONLY LAWYERS KNOW HOW TO BRIBE?

    if the lopezes dont handle this issue carefully, it will explode in their face. how amazing that they have not learned their lessons in the past where their too aggresive way of doing business makes them look too greedy. easy targets for politicians.

    how will we move as a nation when even the highest courts in the land are infiltrated by influence peddlers. the whole situation stinks no matter how you look at it and to add insult to injury there will be an investigation with no conclusion as it will end up their word against his.

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