Wednesday, 22 July 2015

"Half-Baked?" or "Wholly Rhetorical?"

"Half-baked?" or "Wholly Rhetorical?"

(Notes prior to the coming speech 
from the rostrum of "Batasang Pambansa")

By Kat Ulrike

source: Skyscrapercity

"...It is the consensus that Philippine problems seem to have aggravated and multiplied, which have been dramatised by student demonstrations with at least five student fatalities. To my mind, the explanation to this riddle lies in the crying need for change and reform in the government and in the society in order to make real and not merely on paper the rights, liberties, and well-being of the people. Philippine society has long been debilitated by the faulty structure of having too few who are too rich and too many who are too poor. Seventy percent of the people earn an income of less than php 2500 a year while one and a half percent earn an income of from php 10000 to millions. While the economy makes some growth, only one and a half percent of the people enjoy the national progress. As a result, the gap between the rich and the poor widens..."

- Diosdado Macapagal
Liberal Party member, 
Former President of the Philippines, 
 Professor, University of the East
(From the  preface of the thesis entitled: "The Welfare State")

There is no denying that the system's action is half baked or wholly rhetorical.

As newspaper headlines and social media posts urging people to question than accept the works of the present administration, it seems that those works are continuation of past administrations rather than realisation of a popular aspiration. Most of which are half-baked yet overspent, if not rhetorical just for the sake of shutting people up from clamoring. And worse, tainted by controversies that involved a trying hard good men and women treating social responsibilities as mere personal business.

Quite provoking to some, that in seeing various reports concerning mismanaged utilities and services, overspent projects, corrupt personages, a still crisis management fails to suffice problems knowing that they themselves on high failed to discipline and restore integrity the way they insist its subjects to get disciplined all for the sake of putting order a country. If they really did good as what their statements says, then how come most are left alone to the interest seeking fools? There may be a sort of developments such as those in Makati, Taguig, or even Pasig, but how about other towns and cities that really needs justice? Well, whatever they say, patronage politics and other related gimmicks is pretty much obvious in that path called righteous. 

And to think that as apologetics insist that the present administration did good, then how come these good "contributions" rather brings discontent for many? True that the intention may be beneficial, but given those behind are corrupted, if not really inclined into interest then of what are those attempts then if they failed to win the trust of many seeking for true justice? These people on high really want fare hikes in rail transport with all their press releases and various statements such as those from its apologetics, does it mean it guarantees improvement for man, or maybe a prerequisite for a budget enough for an oligarch to take over from the state? They even want socialised tuition schemes in case of state colleges and universities, does it mean it guarantees the right to be educated, or maybe a scheme enough for scrupulous profiteers in the education sector? And if they really want an end to landlordism in the countryside, will they give land directly to the tiller, or maybe requires a process that obviously undermines the tiller's need for a land to till and end in favour of the same old owner? Such proposals the system created doesn't mean development, not even progress for many; but rather limiting progress and development to the privileged elite that continues to keep firm in their interests. That somehow makes today's Neoliberalism actually aggravates the antiquated semifeudal - semicolonial status quo. 

by Frederico Boyd Suplas Dominguez
In a talk sponsored by Ibon databank, this person would say that the discussions conclude that the present administration is all but a neo-Arroyo tendency. There may be new terms, but same old intentions prevailed, so are the ringleaders whom happened to be once under Arroyo prior to her unpopularity. True that Arroyo did contributions the way Marcos did in the past, but to think that these were tainted by corruption, as well as subservient to oligarch and international interest, then was or is it obvious that the present administration, trying to be righteous and unique, is all but making rehash of the past in new names? Worse, entirely half-baked or wholly rhetorical for the sake of shutting people up? 
No wonder why protests, whether small or big, prevailed regardless of their statements.

Since the system afforded to take pride immense foreign direct investments, if not immense loans, did foreign direct investment converted to jobs? Nope,  in a nation that relies on seasonal employment, of remittances from the diaspora, 11.1 million are unemployed if not underemployed,  44 out of 100 are having non-regular jobs not enough for survival. Wages remained low (2-5%) regardless of rising productivity rates (26%), 66 million relied on 125 pesos per day, and 67.2 % admitted being poor regardless of the system afforded to say a growing economy and a developed society. 

Despite braggings on agrarian reform, 1.2 million farmers are still in tenancy agreements, while 1/3 landlords continues control 80% of land supposedly encompassed by CARPER if not PD 21 or even the Agrarian Reform Code of Macapagal. Aquino did 8,643 per month to distribute land to the tillers, but still not enough to end landlordism such as his Hacienda Luisita, worse, with the recent attempts for foreigner's right to own properties, would undermine the farmer's right to till in arable land. Come to think of this, since Lucio Tan and the Ayalas did afford to take over the once sugar estates, haven't people notice that despite all the developments like Eton and Nuvali they endanger food security simply because of developing arable land supposedly for the tillers of Laguna? So much for development that isn't sustainable. 

In the Education sector, 112,942 classrooms are having shortage as it implements K12, while 1,559 schools increased tuition and other fees in school year 2015-2016, and spending 100-200,000 Pesos for additional expenses in 2 years of senior high school (public, while in private schools would possibly  be doubled). The system did afford to say the "benefits" yet can't suffice basic issues like classroom buildings, materials, even salaries for instructors. Subjects like Filipino, History, and Humanities are still being discussed whether to be retained in college level if not be moved out for Senior High School all for the sake of K12 and its intentions. And despite issuing subsidy vouchers by the Education Department to the less fortunate yet deserving students, these vouchers will not cover up expenses for private schools offering senior high school especially those of miscellaneous fees. Private sectors, government supported non profit organisations, and even countries like the United States or the European Union had offered support "to improve K12 and Philippine Education" yet again these aid rather failed to suffice the issues ranging from rising tuition rates to lack of facilities important prior to the implementation. 

In the health sector, 68% is paid out pockets that showed how the state-owned PhilHealth Insurance failed to shoulder expenditures to the less fortunate contributors, 80,000 infants died annually from preventable diseases, 6 out of 10 Filipinos without seeing doctors, and 221 deaths from 1000 live births. Of what is health then if the department created deaths due to poverty and rising costs? Most, if not all government owned hospitals like Quezon Institute and the Philippine Orthopedic Centre are undergoing privatisation with Public-Private Partnerships as its alibi- with the elites like those of Pangilinan having big chunk on matters concerning health, at the expense of having it deemed as human right according to international declarations and agreements. 

Putting profits over welfare, it disregards those who lived and worked for decades, if not in dire need for sustainable development in really depressed areas, and that includes displacing 70.000 urban poor families for "development" sponsored by compradore capital. These families, mostly from Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, are affected by series of projects initiated by both government and private sector, without any just relocation nor even adequate assistance in easing their plight such as just livelihood. Worse, there are lands that are arable enough, and as said earlier, encompassed by the Agrarian Reform Program. 

There are other schemes and shit to say upon in this "hell of a kind" post, as well as the justifications behind in it. Of course the reason the system would assert is consists of same terms such as progress and development, going beyond the past as being asserted, but the reality turns out to be churning the people off their hard work to generate the corrupt with the latter trying to act as benefactors with all its half-baked solutions trying to temper almost meaningless rhetorics. One example would be "of what is democracy if it is not for the poor?" Yet in actual it failed to make democracy really for the poor as it benefits the scruplous rich and the unrepentantly corrupt. Good to see numerous projects, yet most are made overspent thanks to kickbacks; good to see numerous programs, yet most are made with anomalous contracts and passed by without any bidding; there is change, yet there are numerous deaths if not displacements; the so-called development is really tainted with corruption, that in turn obviously made a really existing sabotage affecting the welfare of the people, especially those whom they won for votes. 

Sounds quite inconvenient but absolutely true. The Philippines is abundant with minerals and labour power, of manganese and workers willing to man the machines of Bicutan's factories. But the lack of initiative on behalf of the state falls in the hands of the scrupulous whom also acted as the state with actions made as said earlier in this post. And people, although at first initially enjoyed its benefits like cakes, health care, and well-paved roads, eventually felt its effects contrary to their well being such as rising costs of goods and services if not fare hikes and mismanaged projects; worse, they eventually knew that everything is a terrible scheme, a gimmick than a commitment as enshrined in the constitution that "the state cares for the common good". 
If that's the case, is common good consists of privatisations, of government protecting private business interests (EO78, BOT law, proposed PPP act), and a corruption tainted projects? The system caters to greater globalisation regardless of its risks, worse, intensifies neoliberal frameworks by means of foreign takeover of domestic companies, right to property, and means in pursuit of accumulating foreign direct capital. And regardless of such statements, development remains reliant on outside aid such as OFW remittances. 

Thanks to those scrupulous people behind that state, and its attack dogs whose intention is to keep people in order with threats and fear emphasised. Underneath the veneer of liberal democracy, numerous incidents has put everyone, regardless of its backgrounds, at risk simply because of voicing out opinions and venting real grievances the system thinks as subversive, or even terroristic as it asserts the alternative to the present corrupt order. Many were killed (262 Extrajudicial killings, 293 frustrated EJKs), disappeared (26), or even imprisoned (527, 252 detained under Aquino) with trumped-up charges because of their dissenting beliefs. 
Even this writeup be deemed libelous just because the person commenting is seeking truth from facts and found really inconvenient ones those on high has trying to keep away from. Isn't it that hypocritical for an assuming democratic state to act far from being democratic such as openness and transparency? Aquino is both Marcosian and Neo-Arroyo in its actions, both reaction and counterreaction thanks to its apologetics and paid hacks.

And no wonder why despite all efforts to curb, be it by carrot or stick, still there are Jacobins taking it as an opportunity to turn the once pointing cannons back to its commanders and generals trying to keep the status quo firm. They know what they are doing, knowing that they are tired of letting themselves confined yet letting their grievances fell into deaf ears if not the essence of their message be diluted and become those of the system's to pride on. For in sum, the inconvenient realities people currently faced requires drastic, fundamental changes as necessary. 

Thus, Revolution, in other words, is inevitable. People may complain about the need for a Revolution if not limiting it to a mere self-initiative for the sake of "keeping the peace", but again, it is inevitable.

*source: Ibon databank (Birdtalk: Economic and Political Briefing, July 21, 2015)