Tuesday, 11 July 2017

"Is 'Change' going further...or going backwards?"

"Is 'Change' going further...or going backwards?"

(Notes on the first year of the Duterte administration,
its confusing stances,
and increasing discontent)

At first, one would say that the present Duterte Administration hath becoming a confusing one. Given his numerous promises ranging from restoring peace and order to create an atmosphere wherein reforms be enacted, and most aren't been realised, it seems that people forgot that the "Sawali Caesar" whom they praised and adored still represents the order which he ought to uphold and defend; and at worse, that system he pledge to uphold is itself, centuries-old rotten.

With numerous populist-driven projects being undertaken on one hand and various neoliberal and blood-stained policies and actions on the other, it seems that the administration has becoming same as its predecessors, of "frijoles y fusiles" kind of nonsense that meant to appease both the common people (who most of them praised Duterte) and the present order (who, despite benefited from Duterte still opposes his statements).
Sorry for the thought, but as everyone knows about the numerous deaths under a gun-based 'justice system', of retaining neoliberal policies, of sudden changing of mind, and appointing former military officials and sidelining progressives, it seems that the Duterte everyone loved and his populism turns out to be as any other retention of interests. For sure no one likes to be an object of criticism, and Filipinos are no more than any other people to be criticized due to their actions. Sadly, fanatics be like their words are as empty as their souls as they insist the justness of their idol, that his brand of justice, no matter how swift and does not need due processes, seemed better than undergoing a slow procedure such as those from the courts; worse, when their idol is the target of criticism, they should not be expected always to agree with it.

However, as the concerned thinks that the Philippines hath becoming "nihilistic" the way it desires to create a "new Jerusalem" on earth "in its most desperate and delusional way" in order to overcome the limitations and errors of the its own pasts, that by "moving on" is as if reemphasising optimism; that in conforming to a myriad of policies, no matter how it is unjust, means uniting in spirit of so-called "national interest"; then is criticism, or rather say, freedom to dissent and offering an community-based "alternative change" be allowed in that setting such as a state-sponsored bloodshed?

After all, to these people, especially those apologists who also desiring for social change, they wanted that change to be in an instant- in case of Duterte's way of administering things, his brand of populism, in their minds be like the idea of "instant elimination" of injustice, an "instant transition" to order, an instant transformation from a backward setting to a much progressive one in spite of having modern buildings and technology; but, to think that some of his "supporters" are trying to consolidate their interests (like those from Lapanday to those of US-supported cliques in the Military) while parroting words like "change", will that "instant change" be realised? Perhaps most of these voters who actually sneered by the idea of instant change, transformation, renewal, or any other words made as a "counterreaction" to an existing reaction, hath mistaken for a revolutionary siezure of power and its subsequent indispensable political condition for the country's transformation; that in the end these so-called politicos, no matter how popular they are, rather reaffirm the status of the nation as a semicolonial-semifeudal entity with some token statement/action to appease the voter.
Sorry for these words but since Duterte and most of his men are at first reaffirming the status quo, of what is change in the first place? Even those from the left knew it and willing to turn against him as possible.

And to think that because of these bullshits that brought this person and others concerned into numerous, long, written expressions, is it quite clear that the so-called "democratic" and "republican" ideology of the so-called "Philippine republic" is incapable of defending, developing, empowering, uplifiting the people of the archipelago? That with all the policies that justifies a country's sellout to interests makes nationalism and social justice unnecessary? And that with interests stubbornly insisting ideas of multinational integration and subservience to a neoliberal entity, does it equate to nation building? No matter what these apologists say (be it in an apologetical or the usual heckling manner), it is important to comprehend that criticism especially regarding the president's braggish moves to those of his unclear policies; as well as the alternatives offered by the concerned to take it seriously and constructively on its own terms, knowing that criticism and offering just alternatives is also part of democratic processes, and not just dismiss it as inspired by a mere malice, jealousy, or ignorance. Sorry if these radicals afforded to burn effigies the way they chant radical slogans and assertions, knowing that in their burning and chanting meant obvious discontent to a person who, in spite of their "brand" of populism, still sworn to uphold a rotting order in the first place.

Or frankly speaking, whatever the system and its apologists insists, that the nation will remain backward in spite of its "modernity" all thanks to those unjust "policies"; that the Philippines cannot stand on it's own, nor even dynamic. As thousands chose to be guest workers abroad, and letting landlords and compradores aggravate feudo-capitalism with neoliberal policies, the country that has boasted much of its patriotism is nothing but a shell of what hath been desired was- if not an entity within a supranational organisation wherein big power blocs, alongside its domestic stooges, would play divide and conquer in its worst form.
And in it makes that 'change' under the present order nothing but a hollow phrase. True that there are those who supported him because of his willingness to make radical changes, such as this person who appreciated Duterte appointing Mariano for Agrarian Reform, Taguiwalo for Social Welfare, and Lopez for the Environment and Natural Resouces; but these three know that in spite of their serious intent (and people somehow satisfied what they did as secretaries in their respective departments), they also know that knowing how Duterte is at first, sworn to upheld the status quo, is also surrounded by those whose interests prevailed than those of the people be it the Neoliberalist Diokno and Dominguez to the Militarist Lorenzana and Esperon.

True that from the broad masses of workers, peasants, unemployed, students, teachers and other small professionals, initially voted for him, are increasingly disgruntled as they continue to suffer from bondage to the soil with all its feudal exploitations, rising costs of living, acute unemployment and job insecurity, low wages, natural and man-made disasters, widespread epidemics, and lack of affordable and quality social services. Millions of students continue to be burdened by tuition increases and rising costs of education in spite of promises for free education and increasing budget in state colleges and universities.
To the great dismay of workers, not only has Duterte failed to fulfill his promise to end contractualization, but instead he has even reinforced the policy by setting regulations for it. Workers’ wages remain extremely low and inefficient to meet increasing living standards. Workers continue to suffer from dangerous working conditions leading to fires and other workplace accidents. And contrary to the peasant clamor to stop land conversions, Duterte, who in spite of having Mariano, chose to sideline the former's serious assertion for agrarian reform as he rather push­­­­es for the conversion of thousands of hectares of land, particularly in Mindanao, to become oil palm plantations. He has given scant support to measures to distribute land at Hacienda Luisita and gave mere token support to the struggle of the Lapanday farmers to occupy their land. Declarations of support for free land distribution has served only as soundbytes and rhetorical pieces meant to be "appreciated" by his apologists. He has perpetuated the policy of rice importation to the detriment of local peasants and the general public in spirte of promises to impose food self-sufficiency and support for local peasantry.

Thus, with these inconvenient facts makes one ask: Is change going further? Or Going Backwards?