Saturday, 21 April 2018

"An Austalian nun's adherence to faith and social concern amidst threat and imputation"

"An Australian nun's adherence to faith and social concern 
amidst threat and imputation"

(Or how Sr. Patricia Fox's radical concern for the Filipino folk
earned an ire and threat from Duterte)

By Lualhati Madlangawa Guererro

"Foreigners, with due respect, should not involve themselves in the politics of the countries they are visiting such as the Philippines like joining political rallies." These are the words a commentator said in a post related to the arrest and deportation threat issued against an Australian nun known for supporting peasants and human rights issues.

To the system and its apologists, Fox's action meant interference in internal affairs, especially those of controversial nature such as human rights and the like; for theirs it meant disrespect to a country's sovereignty.

But come to think of this, is heeding the plight of the poor is subversion? Actually, her detention comes in the wake of her participation in a fact-finding mission held in Mindanao organised by the "Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas" (Peasant Movement of the Philippines). 
And despite harassments, the fact-finding mission successfully uncovered testimonies from communities affected by state repression: mostly consists of constant police harassment and lethal military actions, all on behalf of landgrabbers and exploiters. 

But still, the government sees it as hindering their efforts to curb opposition. For sure one would remember how Thomas Van Beerzum end caught then deported because of his participation in the protest, or the recent one involving a parliamentarian whom opposed Duterte's bloodied escapade. They even cited an "Immigration Operation order No. SBM-2015-025" which was signed by signed by  former Justice secretary Leila De Lima last July 2015, and it said:

"Foreign tourists are prohibited from engaging in any political activity as defined by law and jurisprudence, such as but not limited to, joining, supporting, contributing or involving themselves in whatever manner in any rally, assembly, gathering, whether for or against the government.”

“Foreign tourist who violate the provision..SHALL BE SUBJECT TO DEPORTATION..”

Sounds justifiable, so is the 1987 Administrative Code of the Philippines, which also includes the President having the power over foreign aliens residing in the country- as according to chapter 3, Title 1, Book 3 of the Code which said:

"SECTION 8. Power to Deport.—The President shall have the power to deport aliens subject to the requirements of due process.

SECTION 9. Power to Change Non-Immigrant Status of Aliens.—The President, subject to the provisions of law, shall have the power to change the status of non-immigrants by allowing them to acquire permanent residence status without necessity of visa.

SECTION 10. Power to Countermand Decisions of the Board of Commissioners of the Bureau of Immigration.—The decision of the Board of Commissioners which has jurisdiction over all deportation cases shall become final and executory after thirty (30) days from promulgation, unless within such period the President shall order the contrary.

SECTION 11. Power over Aliens under the General Principles of International Law.—The President shall exercise with respect to aliens in the Philippines such powers as are recognized by the generally accepted principles of international law." 

Again, sounds justifiable knowing that for the safety and security of the country the government has to regulate its subjects inclduing those of foreigners and that includes punishing them for supporting a cause Filipinos desired for. Actually they did it at Thomas Van Beerzum after the latter, also a concerned foreigner, participated in a demonstration. The system obviously finds it interfering in internal affairs as people, be it Fox, Beerzum, or any other concerned foreigner sought the status of a country far from the usual presentation the system offers to them.

But despite all the legalisms (which mostly politically driven), people should realise that the action taken by the system against a concerned nun is driven by the idea of silencing dissent be it the Filipino or the Foreign. Duterte hath even admitted in his speech that the order for Sr. Fox's investigation was accordance to his will. All in all, as what Gerardo Lanuza said:

"Religious people, friars and nuns, can choose to live peacefully and silently in their convents. But some of them choose to live and walk in solidarity with the workers, urban poor, and farmers. The harassment and deportation threat against Sister Patricia Fox, NDS, a volunter for Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, reminds us of Latin America and Marcos Martial Law in the seventies when thousands of religious were liquidated by death squads of Latin American dictators. State fascism cannot silence the prophets of our society!"

And if foreigners are meant not to interfere in so-called "national interests", then wasn't Duterte's ruling PDP-Laban's engagements with the Chinese Communist Party in Manila some two months ago with Party Vice Minister Guo Yezhou present was in itself a "political activity"? If not hearing Duterte's statement claiming himself to be a nationalist, but he seemed willing to sell the country out to foreign plunderers.

Or as what Sama-samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo (Artists’ Alliance for the Movement for Genuine Agrarian Reform) or SAKA, said in its statement:

"He has welcomed those who seek ownership and control of the Philippines. He continues to militarize the countryside with US assistance to maintain the export-oriented hacienda system. He peddles our natural resources to China through lopsided loans and dubious public-private partnerships. Alongside these, his regime facilitates the complete foreign ownership of domestic territory—including agricultural and ancestral land—through charter change. Duterte even literally sang a love song for Trump—a domestic fascist entertaining a foreign fascist."

Anyway, if supporting the poor in its radical form is subversion, what Sr. Fox did is as same as Fr. Favali, or any other missionary or religious whose calling, coupled by concern for their surrounding, became a drivel in their participation such as a "politicised" activity. And as a concerned citizen, this person is ought to say that the system has to invest on legality enough to justify their means to arrest and deport, otherwise will end as same as Favali, Tentorio, or any concerned foreigner who, out of their desire to help the people, made themselves in cahoota with the order whom supposed to adhere in human rights and social justice. 

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

"Sociological Marcosianism?"

"Sociological Marcosianism?"

(notes after observing nostalgia-driven 'Marcos Loyalism',
its "social characteristics", support for Duterte,
and the desire to reinstate Marcos in Malacanang)

It's been months passed as Loyalists rejoiced in the burial of the former Dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Heroes Cemetery in Taguig. Describing it as a "stepping stone" to redemption, the loyalists, with all their uncompromised loyalty to the fallen dictator and his family would think that as the bones been moved from Batac to its well-done grave in Bicutan, lies chances of seeing another Marcos in Malacanang- such as those of Bongbong. 

However, amidst all the nostalgia-driven sentiment, the horrifying images left by the regime continues to linger. Of course, for loyalists they would insist that the regime as the bestest-as it offers a santitised version based from their "first-hand experiences" if not bouts of propaganda, making it whether right or wrong, that the Marcos regime served as an example of stability if not development regardless of its bloodied facts.

For this, it seems to unambiguously define and therefore resist with truth. For the liberals, Marcos is plain and simple the country's dark past, imbued with repression and corruption regardless of its numerous contributions, and had been booted as democracy revived through 'People Power'; while the Revolutionary left, they sought it more as a plain and simple continuity of a repressive past, that whether it came from Marcos or not, that 'democracy' is only but a consolidated status quo, if not, bluntly speaking, a continued dictatorship that benefits the elites.

And to think that social media, particularly those of nostalagia sites has becoming hotbeds for Marcosiana, of Martial law notalgia, and its yearnings for its revival, one would say that the struggle is more than just fighting what has become a scarecrow nor exorcising a specter. At first they sought Marcos loyalism as a finge group of elders praising the late dictator, ranging from those who claim him as their messiah to those of his alleged "welath" ready to be distributed, complete with alleged documents and even videoes shown in YouTube; however, as nostalgia pages churning about Marcos's feats, of infrastructure and 'order', one would say that the sanitation process tuned each and everyone believe, while reintepreting its bloodied truths as lies if not a necessary catharsis. 

But despite the differences, both loyalists and the liberals are supporting a model of nation-building commonly advocated by neoliberal economists and the like: increased consumption, currying foreign direct investments, building infrastructures meant to stimulate development, even trying to present a lively democratic processes and some extent a semblance of a welfare state. From this structure, both may think that it  create an appearance such as a real productive democracy- although the latter find it as part of a transition out of dictatorship and the former to counter the existing oligarchy and its interests.
However, as crisis continue to prevail in an economy obviously subservient to the wishes of local elites and tailor-cutted to accommodate multinational agreements, it has been increasingly impossible to sustain a structure long been proud of by the same people carrying through a neoliberalist present, making some if not most people favoring again an authoritarian past whom they think meant stability and order- if not expressing an utter disgust towards liberalism.

That again bolsters the nostalgic appeal to order and stability similar to 1973 to 1985. Right or wrong, they find the order as necessary to curb the subversive menace be it those from the Radical Left, the separatist, or today's Liberals and other undesirables; as well as to create an economic policy that appears 'developmentalist' despite its actually-existing neoliberal leanings as said earlier. At present they sought today's president Duterte as a transitory figure, and like their idol, they find him as an embodiment of law and order, that with all his blunt interpretation of the law, getting enough blood is necessary to restore stability if not trying to compliment it with some developmental projects.

And alongside nostalgia pages yearning for another Marcos, Duterte fanpages, pseudo-news reports, and others churned hysteria throughout if not those of their views regarding development; from there, one would say that their hatred for whom they think as "subversion" if not "crime" is greatly emphasised enough to rally people to support the order.

With all these, this person adapted the term "Sociological Marcosianism". The term, which in turn based from Spain's Amando de Miguel's "sociological Francoism”, refers to describe social characteristics typical of Marcos era- especially those who lived before and during the Martial Law period, and continues up to present.

And to cite their view, it argued that the sociological character of Marcos Loyalism wasn’t inherently dictatorial nor totalitarian; but rather, it was democratic if not egalitarian, as evidenced by the economic gains as well as highlighted social satisfaction with the transformations the regime had enacted. One example was the infrastructures been made, if not the laws been enacted- which mostly made straight from Malacañang in a form of presidential decrees.

From this, it is also greatly invoked in today's Duterte administration that kind of nostalgic yearning- for according to their view they find him and his leadership skill a continuity of an incomplete aspiration if not a thermidor from an oligarch-oriented disorder, leading to a restoration of an order that is to be cherished by both past and present.
Furthermore, it shows how Filipinos chose toto cite Frank Darling's description of Sarit Thanarat's leadership in Thailand (for a reference), that his regime was authoritarian, and it took a step back from what little democracy was gained during the 1932 revolution; while Thak Chaloemtiarana suggests that Sarit's strict rule can be understood as the modern 'phokhun' style of leadership, wherein the benevolent leader would intervene to help his people whenever deemed necessary.

Come to think if not to imagine: people, as they churn their past lives in a nostalgia-filled page, would say about their childhood as 'happy' with all the nutribuns, bulgur wheat, five candies out of a single peso  coin, to those of riding in a Love Bus or buying cheap products from a nearby Kadiwa rolling store; they see stability in a form of quiet roads during curfew hours, if not reading decrees whose reformative nature be meant to ensure the country be given substantial improvement to its subjects "in the spirit of the New Society". All these nostalgic memories somehow made them yearn for another 'father figure' or an 'alpha dog' to guide, discipline, and provide them assistance to support in their developments and achievements.  

Or to cut it short, no wonder why those times people would blurt how they were grateful to Marcos as well as to see Marcos through Duterte. The notalgia of theirs turns out to be like what Spain had during Franco: a miracle in a form of "reform" and "development", despite of its bloodied nature. Perhaps no wonder that atmosphere of change these people invoked most turns out to be a reaction to what they disdained for, which was started when their idol was deposed decades ago.

Admittingly speaking, this person encountered some of those who 'benefited' from the regime. Mostly coming from the provinces and worked, lived during those times, they, with all their fanaticism, tried to inculcate its younger counterparts to equate that regime they cherished with stability- for they had lived through it with naturalness and normality.

And with the use of the internet, particularly social media, the proliferation of various groups invoked that same appeal of reliving that past, especially in a time when succeeding regimes been synonymous to poverty, maldevopment, disorder. Sites like "Duterte Today", "Mocha Uson Blog", if not groups supposed to be dealing with Philippine history or community nostalgia turns out to be churning Marcosiana especially when some of its members tend to post their idol and its contributions, alongside their childhood memories and the like- if not shoving their conspiracy theories to everyone.

However, despite the nostalgia-driven fanaticism, there are those who believe that the dictatorship should evolve by retaining a democratic system capable of recognizing the moderate opposition sectors. For sure one would undoubtedly imagined that a broad opposition party would alternate in government with the ruling KBL party. This system would leave the dictatorship’s legacy intact- but given the opposition's serious adherence to oppose if not to overthrow, it makes it impossible to happen.
But despite the overthrow and the change in the charter, it appears that there is still "respect" in the regime's acts, from the decrees brought by the Batasang Pambansa such as P.D. 21 (although it end superseded by the present Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law followed by its "Extended and Reformed" version), the (still) controversial Education Act of 1982 that commercialises and deregulates education, or on how the late Corazon Aquino chose to pay the debts left by her predecessor despite popular demands to discontinue paying and devote to ensure people's welfare.

From these situations, it showed that amidst of change, remnants of the dictatorship, be it in a form of laws or its bloodied acts (the former general Palparan for example) continues to linger the way seeing landlords consolidated their interests further by adopting western-style capitalism in a feudal agrarian setting; so are the businessmen, who as a group, being likewise not immune to economic uncertainties if not trying to remain optimistic in their version of growth and development, shift the economic pressures to the laborers, which ultimately bear the burden of the economy in a form of unemployment, undue exploitation, and high taxes, if not bluntly saying internally that those who oppose their moves deserve the bullet simply because they oppose them! Perhaps, no wonder why they justify the actions especially those deemed controversial in nature, while reforms are likewise end as scraps of paper especially in an order that is, driven by interest.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

This time, talking about 'faith' in a time of crisis

This time, talking about 'faith' in a time of crisis

(Notes on the President Duterte's Lenten message,
and the People's commitment to continue the struggle)

It seems that the president known for having grudge with the church suddenly talks about 'reflection' if not those of ‘faith’.

For as the Philippines ushers in the season of lent, President Rodrigo Duterte, in his message to the people, stated that it is the time for Filipinos to revitalise their faith and renew relationship with God. From there he urged his countrymen to "Reflect on the Catholic Values and embody selflessness, compassion, and love". Sounds reasonable at first, especially that those virtues hath been common to each and every Filipino, regardless of its belief.

However, his statement seemed to appear himself trying to be faithful as any other people; otherwise, bluntly speaking, it sounds as usual as any other president in a christian-majority country. From there he had to rally his people just like his predecessors to support government efforts in promoting peace and development using christian morality as its basis, spiced up with words like "sacrifice", "service", "virtue", anything to appear himself and his administration as christian as all other christians; for sure everyone heard his statement that he's a "socialist", that his fans praised his feats as "progressive", may as well they would insist that his regime, what more of he as a person be given chance to prove that he is "Christian" in a capital "C" if not "Christ-like"- amidst the fact that his regime been synonymous with bloodied imposition of 'justice' such as oplans "Tokhang"/”Double barrel”/”Kapayapaan” with its extrajudicial actions mostly pointing against the poor.

And because of his statement made amidst the fact that he's been unapologetic from those extralegal acts, will his message also affect his existing and future actions? Again, regardless of his statement, he is the same president who has at times attacked the Church, its clergy, as well as the laity- as he scoffed most at the institution’s opposition to his ‘iron-fisted’ pet measures, particularly those related to peace and order. His supporters even insisted that the church be taxed for opposing the government, if not seeing fake reports churned all over pointing against the church as well as the opposition- calling them "corrupt" if not a "drug addict".

Also to think he even stated that in reaching out to the oppressed God's presence could manifest itself, sounds conscience-provoking towards him, his administration, and his supporters; but again in a time where innocents are wrongfully accused, of seeing homeless folks and people yearning for social justice, is the administration truly reaches out the way the Lord Christ reaches them? These poor folks whom protractedly affected by such inconveniences actually felt that the government whom supposed to be caring treated it as a mere feat when in fact they're usually usually facing threats if not bullets by the same entities who afford to appear as "caring" if not "concerning". Duterte even said that "Let the story of crucifixion challenge us to remain persevering in our struggle for a better life and stronger society," only to found out manifested in a contradicting manner-such as  various protest actions like the recent "Kalbaryo ng Maralita" wherein the masses dramatised what seems to be the agony of the impoverished and the oppressed- with the ruling order acting like Pilate, Herod, and the high priests who crucified Jesus Christ.

Perhaps, to paraphrase the president's message, the long suffering nation named the "Philippines" wishes that in this solemn observance means a chance for a genuine, just, and lasting peace, wherein people are truly united “in building a truly equitable, and inclusive nation having a decent and comfortable life”. Sounds ideal, but the question is, will the current administration truly desired for those goals as such as they focused entirely in their vested interests? Of treating the deaths of innocents as ‘collateral damages’ if not examples of his bloodied campaigns? Nevertheless, all walks of life are still alarmed at these continued acts, which seem to go unchecked, making a concerned telling each and everyone “Ubi boni tacent malum prosperat”, that "Evil prospers when good men are silent."
And all because of these inconveniences,  regardless of the message the president stated in this season,  the oppressed folks will continually strengthen its determination and commitment by reaching out and organizing as many in order to achieve a society wherein peace and justice prevails, all imbued with this statement:

 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord” (Luke 4:18–19).

Monday, 19 March 2018

"Notes after الحــــــدود الملتـــــهبه (Flaming Borders)"

"Notes after الحــــــدود الملتـــــهبه (Flaming Borders)"

(a "Movie Review" accompanied by GIFs)

Its been days ago when this person watched that old movie from Saddam-era Iraq.

Made years after the Iran-Iraq war, the movie shows much about the battle scene if not romanticising the Iraqi side as passionate in defending their country, what more of desiring for Arab unity especially amidst Iranian attacks.

But for this writer, the movie showed was like any other propaganda. Yes there was a tone of Arab unity, but since Saddam Hussen 'Baathised' Iraqi cinema it turned out to be glorifying him as he rallied his people against Khomeini's Iran, or in his view: liberating Arab-majority areas from Iranian oppression.

Most of the scenes were focused entirely on the battlefront, of men in uniform doing commando-type actions, of braving the enemy's fire in the trenches, what more of firing guns at the enemy having its human wave attacks especially those of youngsters if not children running at heavily-mined fields with promises of "going to paradise" by their mullahs.

But, in spite of those battle scenes being emphasised, there were also scenes featuring family life, such as how a mother truly cared about her children after their father got killed because of his beliefs, if not how they supposed Baathism so much that they even had a picture of Saddam Hussein in the living room! Anyway, in any other propaganda movie it tried to invoke family values (such as respect for elders), trying to idealise the Arab family as a good example the way it invokes wartime patriotism of the Saddam's armed forces, aside those of unity and resilience as a form of resistance.

However, in spite of this 'praise', this person also shared his review some unlikely notes in it. Knowing that the movie was at first a propaganda, it tries to promote Saddam Hussein and Baathism as a better ruler and ideology for Iranian Arabs than those of Khomeini and his Islamic Republicanism- if not trying to insist that the war was a modern-day Qādisiyyah.
Otherwise, it reminds of a low-budget movie with all its campiness- thanks to their script and exaggerated scenes stressing on wartime/family values romanticism. Thus, one would think why on earth having watched that 1984-made Arab movie if not describing that the movie isn't even popular or even artsy unlike those of what most people accustomed to?

Anyway, here is a last GIF for this post.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

"Changing tones from a defender into an offender"

"Changing tones from a defender into an offender"

(Or how Harry Roque who once babbled about Human Rights
Suddenly end becoming an administration sockpuppet)

"Despots, Murderers, Torturers, beware!" These were the words Atty. Harry Roque stated in his Facebook post last August 16 2011 as he praised the Philippines being a 117th signatory of the Rome Statue, as well as becoming part of the United Nations' International Criminal Court.
For once he was co-chairperson of the "Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court", and had pushed the country to ratify the statue, as well as thanked former President Noynoy Aquino for the Philippines' eventual membership in the ICC.

However, nearly 7 years later, this once-human rights lawyer who afforded to take concern on 'so many atrocities brought about by the Arroyo administration' is currently working for a man who himself is accused of impunity- and this time trying to justify his boss's statements at the face of the press, even at the expense of his principles people praised for.
And one of which that makes people this time ridicule him as an apologist is the move to withdraw the country's membership from the court which he once advocated his country's inclusion.

For as his boss is currently being accused of a thousand deaths such as those brought about by its bloody 'war on drugs', and this time choosing to withdraw from the ICC alongaide his usual rants, Roque, like any other Duterte apologist, has to justify the administration's actions as necessary, if not trying to insist that his boss's statements are but hyperboles or whatsoever, enough trying to spare from getting immense ire from the people.

But, as a signatory to the Rome Statute, the Philippines falls under the jurisdiction of the ICC which defines "crimes against humanity" as “serious violations committed as part of a large-scale attack against any civilian population.” And from this statement also somehow enough if not too much for the administration and its apologetics to deny accusations if not making statements like "interfering one's business" or even compared ICC's concern to "inviting foreign intervention" as Duterte's brand of orderism, no matter how bloody it may be, is reinterpreted as an imposition of order by those who supported him- including those of Atty. Roque.
Ironically, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo whom Roque detests is also Duterte's ally in the congress- what a strange coincidence then that his boss's ally was the one whom he opposed years ago!

And yet regardless of their justifications there are also consequences from that kind of desire they wished and granted.
For according to Atty. Antonio "Tony" La Viña, that a non-membership with the ICC will pose a disadvantage especially those of Filipinos living or working abroad are subjected to war situations, what more of existing state-sponsored repressions that again, Roque once detested in the name of upholding Human Rights. What also worrisome is about Judge Raul Pangalangan, who, because the Rome Statute clearly provides that judges are nominated and elected from member states, and with the Philippines withdrew from the ICC, then it looks like he just might lose his seat as one of its justices- is Duterte and the rest of the gang forgot that there's a Filipino in that bench? Que barbaridad! Perhaps the late Miriam Santiago who supposed to be there years ago is now rolling in her grave!

Anyway, to be candid, that most, if not all of Atty. Roque's statements then and now are currently being read all over in various reports, makes a concerned citizen of this so-called "republic" bluntly ask this lawyer turned administration sockpuppet: "how much is your principles?" For knowing that for at once he opposed Arroyo's moves, insisted justice for the victims of Ampatuan Massacre last 2009, and this time justifying Duterte's impunic actions and statements, isn't it obvious that his principles are being compromised, if not thrown altogether as 'moved on' in favour of following his boss's dictum?

Perhaps, Roque et al. are just over-emphasise the word HARSH in the word the "law is harsh but it is the LAW" regardless of its consequences such as those coming from despots, torturers, and murderers.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

"Notes after Muñoz"

"Notes after Muñoz"

(Or "seeing inventions, meeting investors,
 and heeding their desire for a domestic-based development
through science and technology")

At first, this person is ought to say that if not for their efforts, the desire to modernise Philippine Agriculture using domestic-based science and technology will end in vain. 

For as he, in visiting the Bureau of Post-harvest Research and Extension in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, sought the chance of promoting and encouraging Filipinos to mechanise agriculture and to support local manufacturers, as well as inventors whose desire is to make Agriculture improve and Industrialisation be taken seriously as part of the government's development program.

Initially, the visit was a purely office matter, but with seeing prototypes displayed and of its inventors explaining, this person finds it interesting if not thinking that the visit itself was more than just work alone, nor even a leisure,  but of a desire to assert the need to take seriously the country's state of Science and Technology.

And with the pictures shown in this post, this person ought to say that there are chances of development if not for letting an economy be decontrolled no matter how the government afforded to make attention on their concepts, works, and discoveries.
For what this person realise is this: that it is too common to describe today's state of Science and Technology as a bunch of papers. Knowing that some, if not most of which were still in its conceptual stage, no matter how it was undergone editing or further elaboration just to get approved by its assessors; while other inventors were in dire need of support- especially those whose prototypes as being shown as well as tested by its creators.

And from there, this person, like others concerned, would say that if the government truly wanted to cultivate science and technology to improve the country, and at the same time seriously adheres in its neoliberal-globalist platform with its disdain for domestic based science and technology in favour of foreign-made ones, then what the heck are they talking about?

Anyway, the present order, although it tries to "make attention" on the country's state of science and technology is rather limited to just "giving crumbs" if not simply "moral support". Various bills been passed but few are taken seriously to address the matter, and numerous concepts such as "Filipinnovation" are marred by politics.

And other than the inventors themselves, other concerned ones includes groups who desired more than just promoting science and technology for the people with its inventions or discoveries meant to be promoted by the government for its "developmental goals". One of them is AGHAM, whom expressed concern regarding the country's state of S&T unlike those of its neighbours, as it said:

"Highly industrialized countries were able to develop technologies that benefit most of its population. Their products are enhanced by the latest scientific innovation. The ability to input technological innovation into the manufacturing sector and industry translates to the economic superiority of industrialized nations. It is therefore essential for the country to develop its science and technology." 

Truly indeed, knowing that from those countries they had to undergone industrialisation not just to improve agriculture or to utilise natural resources, but also to harness their knowledge skill so as not to depend on foreign imports and to save hard currency; and industrialists like Salvador Araneta wanted that way regardless of how multinationals oppose, if not threaten the Filipino's desire for one's own development.

But in spite all the bullshits that also affected the country's state of science and technology, what more of the economy in general, this person remains optimistic that the common man can convince that domestic-based development be seriously taken rather than depending on the policies of multi/-transnationals, in which making a country indebted, as well as to promote seriously the common good of future generations of Filipinos.
For knowing that despite today's administration's promises and "programs" to alleviate poverty and stimulate the economy, still, tens of millions of Filipinos continue to suffer crushing poverty while a handful of foreign investors and domestic oligarchs prosper. Sounds "usual" to hear this statement, if not to be described as radical by some, but with decades of obeisance to neoliberal globalisation policies, continuous exploitation of the country's natural resources and labour power remains a really concerning issue, therefore there will always be those who demand something better what more that they themselves can offer an alternative in which the existing order cannot provide with. With those inventions shown, one would say that the inventor's intentions are change-forming as it positively affects each and every sector such as those of the farmer who will gonna use and of the industrialist whom has to produce. 

But again, his visit there was all but work. Yet in seeing those and met the ones who afforded to create or discover, what more of their desire to change through science and technology lies something a country should or must not miss.

If not for the ones who actually hampers their growth, of restraining to take part in building a better future. 

Monday, 12 March 2018

"Is it truly, and really, for the well being of the people?"

"Is it truly, and really, for the well being of the people?"

(Or "Revisiting notes from Adolfo Borromeo
and the common man's desire to ensure a just, dignified life")

The book that brought the writer's attention
It seemed difficult to know whether the news is trustworthy or not, especially in regards to the present Duterte administration. For as his apologists, fanatical to the core or not, insists the "outmost to goodness" programs even most of these are rather described as controversial if not debatable.

However, there are news items, especially those which are newly-churned from their various sites, are likely concieved as "good enough" despite the fact that the basis is it's synonymity to the administration- be it free college education, medical services, irrigation for farms, and various forms of developments, even those of that controversial TRAIN LAW.

Sounds interesting though to most those acts of benevolence the administration did, or rather say to the self-proclaimed "socialist", but those acts isn't new at all- for these meant to be part of a program which mean to be realised many years ago if not for those who blocked its way or dilute its essence enough to keep their interests tight.

But what made this person finds it worth to ridicule was on how the admnistration still presents itself as an ensurer of the people's welfare in a time of expensive prices of commodities and unsound solutions. Ranging from problems surrounding rice to those of contractualisation, this person thinks that the present administration, just like its predecessors, "tries its best" to maintain order as well as their interest. The TRAIN Law appears to be "progressive" with all the promises of take home pay for lower-income workers and employees, but with existing taxes like the "Value Added Tax" included in the program, this person, like others concerned, finds the program like all other "welfare" programs as cheap gimmicks that requires oligarchs "having conscience enough" to contribute, when in fact the latter continues its profiteering first and ensuring the people's well-being second. 

And since this person talks about "welfare", few days ago, this person read a thesis made by Adolfo Borromeo (and supported by Diosdado Macapagal) regarding the "Welfare State" in the Philippine Perspective. Just like what Duterte was trying to enact, a "Filipino-style" welfare state appears to be paternalistic if not authoritarian but benevolent, trying to "ensure the common good" while at the same time continuing its "developmental program" such as infrastructure building (like today's "Build, Build, Build") and others. 

However, the difference between Duterte and Macapagal's vision lies in its intent: the former would be driven by a personal sentiment that appeased his supporters, while the latter wanted it to be imposed as a policy enshrined in the constitution- through incorporating in its declaration of principles and state policies:

"To the fullest extent that the national resources will allow, the republic shall be developed into a welfare state in which all the people shall enjoy a minimum standard of decent living relative to income, health, education, housing, employment and unemployment, security in any disability, child and old-age care, wholesome family state, liesure, and other phases of a full life worthy as human beings. It shall be the duty of Congress to enact the laws necessary to bring about the realization of this policy".

What more from a Manila Times article by Mike Wooton regarding the "welfare state" as:

" which the government provides pensions, medical care, education and unemployment benefits to the people. It was originally a strategy to form a middle way between communism and laissez-faire capitalism. Well, laissez-faire capitalism is certainly encouraged in these neo liberal economic days —free markets reign everywhere and at the cost of everybody, to transfer money from consumers straight to the pockets of the shareholders. Prices are set on what the market will pay rather than on any basis related to the actual cost of production."

And from it, it requires "well-designed taxation policies" which would ensure that the government had enough money to provide the social support services needed by its citizens in order to provide a life of appropriate quality and security.

Interesting isn't it? Knowing from that proposed article brought about by Macapagal shows that the programs were meant to be fundamentally part of the law and not of a campaign promise nor a politically-motivated agenda. And since political parties like PDP-LABAN, LAKAS CMD, PMP, and the Liberals afforded to babble "welfare" from the elections to the congress and at the cabinet seats, are they really trustworthy? Remember, they are also the parties whose economic policies has less if not none to do with genuine national development as it favours today's trends in international capitalism. 

Worse, given that the entire system as interest-driven, and the government sworn to upheld the status quo (with some minimal changes) it may end sneeringly dismissed altogether as any other "utopian idealism" that is worth dismissable in favor of an existing one that benefits them, after all, as what Borromeo said:

"The old-style, US-inherited, profit-motive, laissez-faire capitalism that has been mindlessly worshipped by so many Filipinos has never worked to provide them with a decent standard of living, and it has zero chances of success bow in these days of ferment and impatience..."

What more that even in this age of modern gadgetry, social media, and anything state of the art, age-old problems remain prevalent be it despotic landlordism, corruption, and betrayal of public trust. Lawmakers, mostly local elites, tried their best to "appear pro-people" with all their statements and actions, enough to lessen popular impatience if not to win their trust. In fact, Macapagal the "welfare statist" was also the same Macapagal who imposed the Decontrol Program on Trade which also contributed to the neoliberal policy based on free trade and multi/trans-national interference in the economy.

And sadly to say that with "over-bragged" programs brought about by those "reforms" like Free College education, free irrigation, and others, these are rather made in a time when landlords continue to prevail in the countryside, contractualisation and unfair labor practises, and the K12 program that is also in line with labour export. The TRAIN Law, which supposed to be "meant to support those programs", would have been "better" if not for certain provisions that harms the low-to-lower middle-income earners through increased prices in commodities and services, lack of a program that would ensure government having enough money to provide the social support services needed by its citizens in order to provide a life of appropriate quality and security, and the "Value Added Tax" in which its allocations be devoted to debt servicing. 

But again, these are but press releases trying to be brought to life by means of some semblance of "actions", yet in a time where trustworthiness is a major issue, what more that as mostly meant to silence down existing and potential dissent, is it really meant to uplift the haven't? Or just to create an impression as apologists churning their statements throughout and shared in its pages- only to found out that it rather intensifies protest once inconsistencies and betrayals of public trust unraveled within those so-called programs?

Anyway, the desire for social upliftment, what more of development, is more than just a sentiment nor a feeling, but of a duty especially to a community and to the people. If people truly demand a just economic order which includes replacing the prevailing US-inherited, profit-motive, laissez-faire capitalism supported by globalisation and neoliberalism, why not?