Why The Philippines Will Never Advance Politically, Socially And Economically

What place is this, to which the squalid street conducts us? A kind of square of leprous houses, some of which are attainable only by crazy wooden stairs without. What lies behind this tottering flight of steps? Let us go on again, and plunge into the Five Points.”

Bandit's Roost by Jacob Riis
Bandit’s Roost by Jacob Riis, 1888

“This is the place; these narrow ways diverging to the right and left, and reeking everywhere with dirt and filth. Such lives as are led here, bear the same fruit as elsewhere. The coarse and bloated faces at the doors have counterparts at home and all the world over.”

“Debauchery has made the very houses prematurely old. See how the rotten beams are tumbling down, and how the patched and broken windows seem to scowl dimly, like eyes that have been hurt in drunken forays. Many of these pigs live here. Do they ever wonder why their masters walk upright instead of going on all fours, and why they talk instead of grunting?” [1]

For the most part, the above can be said of metro Manila and much of the surrounding cities within the area. Over the course of the last 28+ years, the politicians — and the people themselves — have been responsible for allowing the former “Pearl of The Orient” to fall into disarray. And in the process, become a haven for drugs, crime, prostitution and poverty. The likes of which can be found nowhere else in Asia. If not the world.

Every day’s experience gives us increased assurance of the safety of the temperate and prudent, who are in circumstances of comfort…. The disease is now, more than before rioting in the haunts of infamy and pollution. A prostitute at 62 Mott Street, who was decking herself before the glass at 1 o’clock yesterday, was carried away in a hearse at half past three o’clock. The broken down constitutions of these miserable creatures, perish almost instantly on the attack…. But the business part of our population, in general, appear to be in perfect health and security.” [2]

And so, with blinders firmly in place, the politicos, businessmen and other shysters of “the elite” go through their everyday routines. Acting as if the horrors around them do not exist. Well folks… They do exist. And unless you stop pretending as such, your world too, will be engulfed by all the scum, filth and disease.

And this problem — or should I say, these problems — exist all over the country. Even in more celebrated municipalities and megalopolises such as Cebu City and Davao. The filth and the corruption that breeds it, abounds at every turn. And while the nations so-called leaders sing praises of economic advances and reforms — the majority of which, have yet to be found anywhere — the country continues to slip ever further into the shit house.

So how does this deny any type of advancement? For starters, what makes you think anyone in their right mind would invest a penny in such a squatter-infested squalor? And because of this, your country has been deprived of millions — possibly billions — of dollars in annual tax revenue. Not to mention the 10’s of thousands of jobs for the Filipinos. Did you know, at its height, Clark Airbase employed nearly 15,000 Filipino civil workers within its ranks? Can you imagine where the Philippines would be today if company’s such as Intel, Microsoft, Apple, AMD and Ford had their productions plants here?

And yes! They were all considering coming here at one point. Instead, some chose Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia, since they allow the investor 100% ownership of their company. Unlike in the Philippines, which demands 60% ownership of any foreign investment.

Too bad Saint Cory let Congress kick the Americans out of Clark Air Base. And her Oligarch serving Constitution continues to deny any kind of logical foreign investment.

We’ve only been a few weeks from the time that former Chief Justice Reynato Puno and other justices announced grandly the start of the debate on constitutional reform. Already it is forgotten, cast by the wayside. This pattern has been repeated so often but we don’t seem to learn the lesson. There is no national debate or will there ever be one. Politicians and media are already talking again about presidential candidates in 2016 and senatorial candidates in 2013 with the President himself declaring who will be his candidate.

I have a high regard for my countrymen, but I weigh it against what is good or bad for the country. What hinders us from moving forward is the presidential system in which the election of leaders depends on popularity and money from vested interests. We should learn from the Indians who recognize that if the majority of voters are ignorant, it is foolhardy to expect them to elect capable leaders nationally. They vote for a party and the party seeks their best and most capable member as the Prime Minister.

The more we postpone constitutional reform the more it hurts the country, the more we will be unable to provide for the same ignorant majority.

By opting for a parliamentary structure, the unintelligent vote will not overwhelm the intelligent vote.” [3]

With 2016 and its ever-increasingly definable features looming on the horizon, the people need to start accepting the fact that their nation — in spite of the myth of democratic advances — has turned to shit. And it’s time to make some hard decisions. Some serious considerations might be:

  • Educate themselves to become better voters.
  • Heed the words of the National Transformation Council.
  • Push for Constitutional reforms and/or amendments allowing for more Direct Foreign Investment.
  • Consider heavily, the shift to a Parliamentary system, as your Presidential system is a proven failure.

In short… “Either shit!. Or get off the pot.”

[1] – Charles Dickens: American Notes for General Circulation – 1842

[2] – New-York Mercury, 18 July 1832

[3] – FROM A DISTANCE: By Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) April 02, 2011

Jacques Phillip

As an ExPat living in the Philippines. I have found it relatively fun and exciting to have been given the opportunity to live among such wonderful people.

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