The Filipino smile: Only thing we’ve got left

HERE'S THE SCORE By Teodoro C. Benigno
The Philippine Star 12/31/2004

For a nation as down as we are, a nation the whole world seems to have forgotten, our only survival kit as we enter the year 2005 is the fabled Filipino smile. Maybe we see less of this smile as the current year ends. Maybe a pall of hopelessness is beginning to spread. Maybe Christmas this year wasn’t what it used to be, the never-ending deluge of greetings, the table always managing to be copious and hospitable. Now we’re down to our legendary smile.

And yet even as we smile, it cannot conceal the ache behind, the pain behind, the growing fear we’re hurtling against a brick wall, and then the lights go out, the smile goes out.

I remember having pointed out once in this space that we Filipinos are going through an unprecedented period. Like the melting watches of Salvador Dali, his pendants, his figures of women, our political, economic and social landscape is beginning to dissolve. And as they melt, what alternative landscape or landscapes are in store?

We’re still edgy, hesitant, perhaps even fearful talking about change. Change, radical and sudden change knocks fitfully at our intellectual doors. Any talk about revolution or civil war still brings off epileptic fits of objection and strong ideological opposition. Bloody change, puneta no, let’s reform the system, it’s not yet too late. That’s what I hear most often. With the addendum, we can still make our democracy work.

Maybe the wisdom of one Washington Sycip can refloat the waters of intelligent and rational discussion. He said: "There’s no country in the world that started with democracy and widespread poverty together and progressed to prosperity. None." He was right. And everybody in the room fell silent, not one able to rebut.

The Philippines had both. Democracy and a deeply impoverished people.

Wise in the ways of history, the never-ending cycles of change, great nations arising and great nations ebbing, weak nations stirring and weak nations throbbing to greatness, Wash nonetheless implied that our system, coupling democracy to grinding poverty could never work. Never did work. Never will work.

I wish Mr. Sycip could tell that to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to her advisers, to all those who cling to power and slam the door at any suggestion it’s time the Philippines shifts to strongman rule, an authoritarian system or benevolent dictatorship.

The coming year 2005 will tell whether we Filipinos have finally arrived at that historical stage where we can pull a political gun at the face of the powers that be and impose the change we desperately need to survive as a nation. The period for debate on what’s wrong with us is over and done with. We know what’s wrong. What we don’t know is what to do next

We have all stopped pretending there’s gold in them dar hills if only we cared to work and reform, and shed off all our bad habits. We can only get to the gold in them dar hills if we change systems, seek and impose models that will work in Asia. The Western democratic model has never worked in Asia. And never will.

Japan, South Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and now Vietnam knew that. And so they forged political, economic and social systems that set up a command structure which cracked an almost merciless whip. The command was to catch up with America and the West, catch up in the shortest time possible, catch up by fully harnessing science and technology, catch up by slashing populations that could eat only crumbs so they could eat three square meals a today, catch up by putting the nation to work, work, work, sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.

When the president of a country is haplessly reduced to begging her soldiers to stand by her and protect her because of a rising tide of popular anger and disgust, then you know the country is already kaput. I am not even sure those soldiers will oblige. They too and their families are twisting in the squalls of poverty. The time will certainly come when they will down rifles and abandon their masters in MalacaƱang.

Will the year 2005 provide the political and social tsunami enabling the people to rise in a great sheet of water and fall upon those who have persecuted them for ages?

Last Wednesday evening, we had ample occasion to discuss the year 2004 in terms of what it yielded and the year 2005 in terms of what it could yield. This was the Dios at Bayan talk show of Brother Eddie Villlaneueva aided by Kata Inocencio at Zoe Channel 11. Guests were journalists Tony Lopez and myself.

Tony in the beginning tried to give 2004 a pretty fair face but in the end succumbed to the dark wellsprings inside him and painted the passing year in the starkest hues. With all the graft and corruption, with the visage of Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia sticking out of the tent like a disemboweled donkey, there was nothing to relieve 2004 except the pugilistic feats of Many Pacquiao.

The May 10 elections, earlier accepted as passable although somewhat defiled, in retrospect began to bulge like a grizzly particularly with the sudden death of Fernando Poe Jr.(FPJ). Nope, there was nothing good we could say about 2004. It was not only bad year. It was a horrible year.

Media got a beating during the show.

Brother Eddie complained that during the 26th aniversary of Jesus Is Lord where multitudes of the faithful filled the Luneta and speakers lambasted MalacaƱang, all the TV stations avoided it like the plague. Not a single line appeared in print media the following day Did they get instructions from on high? Were they – whisper, whisper – taken care of?

Throughout the TV show, the bad news about 2004 tumbled out like garbage into the dump yard. The nation’s leadership was berated, the thieves flagellated, the illegal loggers, the smugglers, the Bureau of Customs, Jose Pidal of course. It was like pasturing a herd of wild, dirty pigs through the corral.

Kata Inocencio womanfully tried to light a candle in all this darkness, but all she could accept – like the rest of us – was Manny Pacquiao. Well, biddie boy, live up to all the expectations and, by Jove, you’ll really make a huge pile of money and make it honestly. Go to it, beat Marquez, break the skull of Barrera again.

And the year 2005, how would it register?

It would not only be more of the same. It could or would be worse, much worse. The rise in the prices of prime commodities, of everything, would not be stopped. For GMA, it would be like sticking a finger into a hole in a dike that was breaking down.

And so? And so, we all hemmed and hawed. We were getting into what is normally uncharted territory, or No Man’s Land. Yes, yes, yes, everything could be worse. I said what nobody wanted to say. I said it was possible the"social volcanlo" could erupt in the year 2005. But short of that, we avoided getting into the currents of "civil war?" or revolution or coup d’etat.

I heard the word junta. I pretended not to hear it. Brother Eddie, as host, was treading a trip wire. Kata Inocencio was not willing either to tip the talk show into a seething cauldron of coups and national bloodletting. Tony Lopez figured there was a line in the ground to be respected. Maybe in the next Wednesday talk show of Dios at Bayan, we could essay some shadow-boxing on the subject.

In the meantime, we were still feeling the effects of 2004. And the possible beginnings of 2005.

Oh yes, we discussed the Filipino and his culture. What was it about him that resisted progress, that could take a crushing left hook on the jaw without sprawling on the canvas? What was about the Filipino that was complacent and patient, resigned and forbearing, submissive, easy to forget, easy to forgive?

And yet the Pinoy was fleeing the Philippines in droves. Brother Eddie mentioned the earlier figure of about two to three thousand Filipinos departing daily for distant lands. Now the figure had bloated to six or seven thousand. It was deplorable, it was sad. What could we do to stop it?

Nothing really. There were no jobs to hand out. Food had become scarce, and classrooms depleted. Pray? Yes, the Filipino was good at that. He could dance, he could sing, and yes indeed, he could pray very well. And looking at how tsunamis devastated South Asia and killed close to a million, he was praying even more. And somewhat still smiling.


My Blog Enhancements

In the past few weeks or so, I have been doing a lot of modifications on my blog. So much so I have been sidetracked from writing my usual essays. I know I have a handful of regulars that might be missing my essays by now!!!

Anyway, I have been working on the following features on my blog:

- Added a trackback feature (HAL0SCAN)
- Comments and trackbacks appear in a different window
- Hid my blogger comments

Blog ad swapping:
- I signed up with Blogsnob

Modifications on Template Code
- Expandable Post Summaries
- Added button to add Yahoo RSS feed to My Yahoo
- Deleted my blogger code

Hopefully these enhancements make navigation through my blog easier.


I now know what a trackback is!!!!

I want to thank the people who took time to explain what a trackback is.

Gary LaPointe of Let Me Make My Point(e)(http://garylapointe.com/mypointe/) hit home what a trackback is.

Also, I would like to thank Mark of http://clickmomukhamo.com/ for a thorough explanation of the concept behind a trackback!

Thank you guys!!!


Arrrrgggghhh!!! What is a trackback?!?!?!?!

Hi, I have a problem, can you lend me a helping hand? For some time now, I have been trying to understand what a "trackback" is!? But I just don't get what it is all about! I looked up the meaning of "trackback" in the internet, but I still don't know what it is all about!

Here is the definition provided by www.haloscan.com:

Trackback is a system that alerts and allows a blogger to see who blogged about posts in his/her blog. The system works by sending a ping between the blogs, and therefore sending an alert.

Say what!? Ano daw (tagalog of say what)!? Can someone explain to me in plain english or tagalog??? Please helllllllppppppppp!!!?!!!


Merry Christmas!!!!

Maligayang Pasko! Posted by Hello

I am not sure if I will have time to post this Christmas, but I just wanted to greet all of you this holiday!

Maligayang pasko sa inyong lahat!!!!

Merry Christmas to all!!!!


Memories of a Philippine Christmas

I spent half of my Christmases in the Philippines.

Field Posted by Hello

I especially enjoyed the ones I spent in the province. The thing that I enjoyed the most was the trip to the province. I would excitedly pack my bags the night before, and we would wake up early in the morning, about 4:00 AM. My mom would prod me to eat breakfast, usually its those red hotdogs made either by purefoods or swift with friend rice; the breakfast of champions!

Pasko sa Probinsya (Christmas in the Province) Posted by Hello

Anyway, we would be on our way by 5:30 AM or so. I just loved when we got to the North Luzon Express Way, I loved the view of the fields and mountains! I enjoyed the smell of the province, the fresh air, I even liked smelling the stench of carabao dung! Then when we got there, everybody would be so warm. The picture above reminded me of my grandparents’ house and parol. So warm, so Christmas.


iVol Blog Notice: Txt FIRE Volunteers!

iVolunteer: Celebrating Everyday Heroes Posted by Hello

Through Gerry Chua, communications head of the Association of Phil Volunteer Fire Brigades (the dependable Filipino-Chinese volunteer fire brigade group who almost always get to the fire first), TXT FIRE was created.

Report a fire by sending REPORT [Location] to +0918.6888888 (your report will be verified by the local fire station). Or text FIRE, send to same number, and you'll immediately receive a report on any active fire.

Now, why not join the group and become a volunteer? Most of us can never be fire brigade Vs, but we can be at least TEXT FIRE VOLUNTEERS. Just send REG [Full Name] [Address] to the same number.

At present there are at least 2,700 Vs nationwide helping the fire brigade Vs respond even faster to fires. For more info, contact Gerry Chua: cel# 0918.9118888 (note the 911), Association's Hotline te# +2.522.2222. Stickers available too! --Dr. Ting

First Corinthians 13:4-7

God Is Love (Source:www.rc.net/wcc/)
Posted by Hello

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

5It is not rude, it is not selfseeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.


Whoever said Love was easy!? But if we follow God's guidance, we will trully know what Love is all about. Humility allows us to love unconditionally as God has designed it. So let a part of you die, so that you will know how to Love.


My Paradise

Hanauma Bay, Hawaii Posted by Hello

Yes folks this is Hanauma Bay, Hawaii. The view there is so pristine! This picture turned out so well I made this my wallpaper. I was there back in 2002.

Imagine me writing about those serious essays regarding corrupt government officials. Then once in a while I minimize my word document and stare at that picture. I recall that moment that picture was taken. It was so peaceful there, the sound of the waves, the sun glistening on the water, the clear blue water, the fish swimming in the shallow part of the beach. Just gorgeous, enough to make you forget your fears, worries, cares even for a few minutes. How about that, a mini vacation on my desktop computer, pretty cool, huh.

Do yourself a favor, click the picture and view it in full size; I swear you won't regret it!


F. Sionil Jose Posted by Hello

By F. Sionil Jose
(Speech delivered by the author at the Universityof the Philippines, Diliman, on Nov. 23, 2004)

What is an old man like myself doing here,talking about revolution? Hindsight is the lowestform of wisdom. I can tell you what it was likewhen your campus was nothing but cogon waste,when all those trees that line your streets werejust saplings.

I can tell you, also, why we were left behind byall our neighbors when in the Fifties and theSixties we were the richest, most progressivecountry in the region, when Seoul and Tokyo wereravaged by war; Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta weremere kampongs; when Bangkok was a sleepy towncrisscrossed by canals. I never was in China till1979, but I know in the Forties that country wasalways threatened by famine.

It had a population then of only half a billion.Now, with more than a billion people, famine isno longer a threat, although hunger still lurksin some of its distant regions.

Hunger has always been with some of us, too, butnot as much as it is now when so many poorFilipinos eat only once a day. Altanghap, Iwonder how many of you know what that word means.

So then, why are we poor? Why do our women fleeto foreign cities to work as housemaids, asprostitutes?

We are poor because we have lost our ethicalmoorings, this in spite of those massivereligious rallies of El Shaddai, those neo-gothicchurches of the Iglesia ni Kristo sprouting allover the country, in spite of thenearly 400 years of Catholic evangelization.

How can we build an ethical society? We mustremember that so-called values are neutral thatso much depends on how people use them. JamesFallows' thesis on our damaged culture, whichmany of us understand, is neither permanent norinherent.

Ramon Magsaysay infused public life in theFifties with discipline and morality, ArsenioLacson as mayor of Manila cleaned up City Hall.Even today, shining examples of honesty among inour public officials exist, but they are few andfar between and they are not institutionalized.

And it is precisely here where the universitycomes in with its courses in the humanities. Ofall the arts, only literature teaches us ethics.Literature presents us with problems, complexequations that deal with the human spirit and howoften the choice between right and wrong is made.In this process, we are compelled to use ourconscience, to validate the choices we make, andrender the meaning, the pith of our existence.

The university then is the real cathedral of anation, and its humanities, particularly itsliterature department, the altar. But how many ofour teachers know this crucial function ofliterature, how many teachers themselves possessthis sense of worth and mission?

To know ourselves, to make good and proper use ofour consciences, we must know our own history. Sofew of us do, in fact, we nurture no sense of thepast.

If our teachers know our history, if they soak itin their bones, then it follows that they alsoimpart this very same marrow to their students.

If this is so, how come that when Bongbong Marcosvisited Diliman sometime ago, he was mobbed bystudents who wanted his autograph? How come thatin La Salle, business students cited Marcos asthe best President this country ever had?

Not too long ago, I spoke before freshmen at theAteneo and was told that since so many practicebribery, it must be right, or how could anyoneget things done if palms are not greased?

In this university are professors who servedMarcos. Have they ever been asked what their rolewas?

We are poor because we are not moral. Can thisimmorality as evidenced by widespread corruptionbe quantified? Yes, about P23 billion a year islost, according to NGO estimates.

We are poor because we have no sense of history,and therefore, no sense of nation. Thenationalism that was preached to my generation byClaro M. Recto and Lorenzo Taada was phony; howthey could have convinced so many intellectualsis in itself the failure of those intellectualsto analyze that inward, socially meaninglessnationalism.

Recto and Taada opposed agrarian reform, thesingle most important political act that couldhave lifted this country then from poverty andreleased the peasantry from its centuries-oldbondage.

We are poor because our elite from way back hadno sense of nation - they collaborated withwhoever ruled - the Spaniards, the Japanese, theAmericans and in recent times, Marcos. Our eliteimbibed the values of the colonizer.

And worst of all, these wealthy Filipinos did notmodernize this country, they sent abroad theirwealth distilled from the blood and sweat of ourpoor. The rich Chinese to China, to Taiwan, toHong Kong, the rich mestizos to Europe, and therich Indios like Marcos to Switzerland and theUnited States - money that could have developedthis nation.

How do we end this shameless domesticcolonialism? The ballot failed; the bullet then?How else but through the cleansing power ofrevolution. Make no mistake about it revolutionmeans the transfer of power fromthe decadent upper classes to the lower classes.

Revolution is class war whose objective isjustice and freedom.

Who will form the vanguard of change? Who elsebut the very people who will benefit from it.

Listen, when I was researching for my novel Poonat the New York Public Library, I came acrossphotographs of our soldiers of the 1896revolution felled in their trenches by Americanguns. I looked closely and found that most ofthem were barefoot. They were peasants.

The peasant is the truest nationalist. He worksthe land with his hands, he knows instinctivelywhat the term Motherland means. He loves thisearth, even worships it. The Ilocano farmer callsit Apo Daga.

But never romanticize the poor. Once, a group ofPhDs lamented the futility of their efforts inorganizing and motivating them. When theelections came that year, the poor sold theirvotes, or voted for Erap.

Understand why they are often lazy, contemptible,fawning, cheating and stealing. Imagine yourselfnot having a centavo in your pocket now, and youdon't know if you will eat tonight. There isnothing honorable about poverty - it is totallydehumanizing and degrading. But once the verypoor are roused from their stupor, they becomethe bravest, the most steadfast. Remember thoseWatawat ng Lahi followers felled by Constabularyguns on Taft Ave. in 1965? They believed thatwith their faith they were invincible.

It is with such faith and righteousness that ourpeasants rebelled in living memory, the Colorumsin 1931, the Sakdals in 1935, and the Huks in1949-53.

The Moro rebellion, the New People's Army, thecadres of both are from our very poor, just likeit was in 1896. And now, here is the most tragiccontradiction in our country. Our Armed Forces'its officers corps' many come from the lowerclasses, too; they got to their exalted positionsthrough public examinations and entry to thePhilippine Military Academy. Our Armed Forcesenlisted men, most of them come from thevery poor.

When the poor kill the poor, who profits?

The Ideology of the Revolution

Revolution starts in the mind and heart. Italters attitudes to enable us to think beyondourselves, family and ethnicity to encompass thewhole nation. If the communists win, and I don'tthink they ever will, they will rule just asbadly because they are Filipinos unable to gobeyond barnacled habits of mind, hostage as theyalways are to friends and family and to toweringegos. The same egos aborted the revolution in1896, the EDSA revolution in 1986, and now, wesee the same egos wrecking havoc on the CommunistParty. We see these egos eroding our alreadyrotten political system.

The core belief that should guide us in redeemingour unhappy country is in our history, in ourpeasantry. It is not in textbooks, in foreignintellectual idols, in Marx. And what is thisideology which Bonifacio believed in? Which thosebarefoot soldiers killed by the Americansbelieved in? Pedro Calosa, the peasant leader wholed the Colorum uprising in Tayug, Pangasinan in1931, said it is this: "God resides in every man.God created earth, water and air for all men. Itis against God's laws for one family or one groupto own them."

God and country; translate this belief into yourown words and there you have it in its simplestterms the creed with which the unfulfilledrevolution of 1896 was based, and which should bethe same creed that should forge unity among us.

Who will lead the revolution?

Certainly, not the masa, but one from the masawho understands them, who will not betray themthe way our leaders betrayed the masa. Estrada isthe most shameful example of that leadership thatbetrayed.

The leaders of the revolution could be in thisuniversity who have the education, but who arenot shackled by alien concepts, or the attitudesof superiority that destroy leadership. Suchleaders, like Ho Chi Minh, must lead by sterlingexample, with integrity, courage, compassion andwillingness to sacrifice, who know that when therevolution is won, it is time to change fromconspirators to even better administrators,remembering that they have become conservative,that they must now work even harder to producebetter and cheaper products. And this massivework of modernization can be achieved in onegeneration. The Koreans, Taiwanese and theJapanese did it. It is not the Confucian ethicthat enabled them to do this, they understoodsimply the logic of government which is serviceand that of commerce which is profit.

By what right do I have to urge revolution uponour people who will suffer it? What right do Ihave to urge the young to sacrifice, the poor toget even poorer, if they embrace therevolutionary creed?

I have no such right, nor will I call it such. Icall it duty, duty, duty. Duty for all of usrooted in our soil, who believe that our destinyis freedom.

Not everyone can bear arms, or have the physicalstrength to stand up, to shout loudly about theinjustices that prevail around us.

Those who cannot do these, who cannot be part ofthis radical movement, must not help those whoenslave us.

Do not give them legitimacy as so many gavelegitimacy to Marcos. Recognize, identify ourenemies and oppose them with all your means. Thiswill then test integrity, commitment.

Nobody need tell us the exorbitant cost ofrevolution, the lives that will be lost,senselessly even as when Pol Pot massacredthousands of his own countrymen in Cambodia. Wewho lived through the Japanese Occupation knowwhat hunger, fear, and flight mean.

Joseph Conrad, Albert Camus and Jose Rizalwriters I admire deeply, all warned againstrevolution because it breeds tyrants, because itdoes not always bring change. But look around us,at the thousands of Filipinos who are debased andhungry, who are denied justice. Be shamed if youdon't act. And as Salud Algabre, the Sakdalgeneral said in 1935, "No rebellion fails. Eachis a step in the right direction."

Revolution need not even have to be bloody. Howmany lives were lost at Edsa 1? Not even 20. SoCory goes around telling the world that she hadrestored democracy in the Philippines. Sureenough, we now have free elections, free speech,free assembly but these are the empty shells ofdemocratic institutions because the real essenceof democracy does not exist here. And that realessence is in the stomach as when the taxidriver in Tokyo eats the same sashimi as theJapanese emperor, or the bus driver in Washingtonwho can eat the same steak as President Bush inthe White House. Contrast these with that joblessCavite laborer whose two children died because hefed them with garbage. No, Cory Aquino's Edsarevolution could not even have our garbageproperly collected. Worse, 19 farmerdemonstrators were killed near Malacaangbecause she refused to see them. True to heroligarchic class, she declared a revolutionarygovernment without doing anything revolutionary;instead, she turned Edsa 1 into a restoration ofthe old oligarchy. So today, we are reaping theresults of her negligence, ignorance and folly.

Yet, even capitalism can be very helpful. SouthKorea is a very good example of how capital wasformed by corruption, and how a singlemindedgeneral lifted that nation from the ashes of theKorean War, into the thriving modern economywhich Korea is today.

Remember the slogans of American capitalism achicken in every pot, a Ford in every garage.Money is like fertilizer to do any good it mustbe spread around. Those robber barons at the turnof the 19th century were rapacious, theyexploited their workers, but they builtindustries, railroads, banks, the sinews ofAmerican capitalism. And the most importantthing - they kept their money home to developAmerica.

Unlike our rich Chinese, our rich meztizos andthe likes of Marcos who sent their money abroadto keep us poor. They are the enemy.It has been said again and again that we are,indeed, a young nation compared with other Asiancountries whose august civilizations date back to2,000 years or more. Indeed, so are the Filipinoswho shaped this nation those who led therevolution against Spain they were all young,like you are, in their 20s or early 30s.Rizal was 34 when he was martyred.

How then do we keep young without having to growold only to see the fire in our minds and heartsdie? How does the nation's leading universitymaintain its vitality, its youth against theravages of consumerism, of globalism?

How else but to keep the mind ever healthy, everalive by empowering it with those ideas thatnurture change and revolution itself, byingesting the technological age so that we canuse technology for realizing our ideals.

How else but to embrace the ideas that make usdoubt technology, society, even revolutionitself, but never, never about who we are, whatwe should do and hope to be.

We cannot be beholden to any other nation. JoseMaria Sison doomed his revolution when he turnedto China for assistance; he ignored the"objective reality" the latent anti-Chinesefeeling among Filipinos, in fact among allSoutheast Asians who fear a Chinese hegemony.

We must mold our own destiny, infusing it withthe strength of a sovereign people. TheAmericans, the English, French, Russians, Cubans,Chinese, Vietnamese all achieved their uniquerevolutions. We must have our very own, definedonly by us.

How to build it, direct it, use it for thebetterment of our lives, the flowering of libertyI see all these as the major function of theuniversity which, after all, shapes our leaders.I pray that UP will graduate the best doctors,the best engineers, the best teachers, the bestbureaucrats. The revolution needs them all. Butmost of all, let this universityof the people produce the ultimate modernizer,the heroic nationalist revolutionary we needhim most of all.


Spidey & Peanut 2

Peanut & Spidey 2

Spidey is 18 inches tall. Peanut is a wholloping 5 pounds!!! Based on this picture, Peanut is 12 inches tall. Cute ain't she!?

Peanut & Spidey 1

Spidey & Peanut Posted by Hello

Ok ok ok, I know I have been posting serious articles lately. Let me lighten up the mood around here! :D Here is Peanut hanging out with Spidey one Saturday Morning! We have actually trained Peanut to sit. We used Cheez It crackers to reward Peanut for sitting.


FPJ: One of the enduring symbols of the 2004 Presidential Elections Posted by Hello

Have Filipinos Completely Lost Their Trust in Government?

I wrote this article before the Philippine Presidential election of 2004. For some reason I never published it in my blog. With the death of FPJ, it reminded me of this article. Hopefully, my message is still relevant even if the presidential election is long over.

Have Filipinos Completely Lost Their Trust in Government?

The short answer is yes.

However, Filipinos may complain about the corrupt way government do things, but they perpetuate the same corrupt system that keeps them down.

Life in the Philippines is very harsh. It is as hopeless as hopeless can be. The pain that poor people endure is so evident by just looking at the strained expressions on people’s faces on the street. I am sure each Filipino wants change for the better.

But what can I say that would make a difference and actually improve the situation. It would be so easy to spit out motherhood statements, but I know that such statements make one feel good for a short moment then it amounts to nothing.

Change in a national scale requires a lot of effort. The key question is how can we even begin to change our nation

Teodoro Benigno said the following in a Philstar editorial on April 19, 2004:

Ergo, the presidential candidate that pours more money into the campaign than
anybody else has the decided advantage, the big edge. We are back to the
supremacy of the political machine, the brassknuckle power of money, and to hell
with political principles, honesty, integrity. The nation be

Raul Roco learned this lesson too late, believing as he did
in the innate goodness and nobility of republican democracy. He couldn’t believe
the people themselves had been wolfed into the bottomless sinkhole of
Brother Eddie Villanueva too will eventually learn the same lessons
well, that his stirring gospel of Christian brotherhood will be knocked into a
loop by Beelzebub.

If the poor allow themselves to be manipulated, resulting in an uninformed decision during the presidential elections, then how do we expect to place leaders that will strive for the nation’s best interests?

The problem is not only confined to the poor, it is widespread in all of Philippine society. How often do we sell out ourselves in the name of expediency? Unfortunately, the answer is all too often. The problem is that we have grown too callous of injustice; not only do we just sit idly by when we see it, oftentimes we are willing participants.

Then when we see it happen in gargantuan proportions, we are outraged, conveniently forgetting that we practice the same sort of thing, albeit at a smaller scale.

I know we cannot change our surroundings overnight, so therefore we should focus in ourselves. I am a firm believer of individual initiative. Work smart, work hard and create value! Don’t expect to create wealth if you just work hard enough to keep pace with the average Filipino.


Corruption and the Capital Markets

A corrupt elite begets corrupt institutions (e.g. government, church, academia, and business). Corrupt institutions produces a culture of distrust. A culture of distrust results in a dysfunctional capital market, which only serves to stifle entrepreneurship amongst the individuals that are not part of the establishment.

The bottom line is there needs to be a functioning social control mechanism that will protect people from each other through the creation of effective laws and the subsequent consistent enforcement of it; so that an environment of trust can be established in society.

Trust is the key to a thriving economy. Trust is a vital ingredient to a healthy capital market.

Due to the lack of trust in the capital markets, we see banks tend to lend money to entities with lots of money to begin with, while the rest are forced to deal with Tambunting Pawnshop, loan sharks (five six), relatives, etc. for their capital needs.

Due to the lack of trust our stock market is as sluggish as a sloth; potential investors shy away because they do not trust the financial statements released by public companies.

Low trust, low domestic and foreign investments…
Low investments…slow economic progress…

It’s a paradox you see…

The more distrust there is, the more trust is needed to cure a laggard capital market. But an environment of trust cannot be created when we are resigned to the fact that our law enforcers, our law-makers, our judges, etc. are corrupt. The most tragic thing is that Filipinos are resigned that corruption is part of life and seem to have found justification to live a life of circumventing laws.


iVol Blog Notice: Volunteer Opportunities for Disaster Victims

iVolunteer, celebrating everyday heroes. Posted by Hello

1. SAGIP BUHAY needs volunteers to repack goods for the Quezon victims. Please drop by Xavier House, Sta. Ana (past OB Montessori) and look for Monet.

2. Assisi Devt Foundation needs volunteers with mountain climbing skills to bring relief goods to Quezon. Please contact Milet Mendoza tel 632.1001.


See Peanut: Our Cute Doggie!

Peanut and Bone in Checkered Background Posted by Hello

I just wanted to share a pictue of "Peanut."