Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Poll Results Show, Filipinos are Fool or Selfish?

By:  Gilbert M. Forbes

The recent 2013 poll results dismayed many particularly those who are expecting that our countrymen are already maturing to select and vote for the right leader that will govern and lead the country in the next three years.  But it didn't happen, the results seem to only signify the legitimacy of political dynasties, and the bogus service-oriented and hypocrite politicians marching as champions of the people.

Graphics courtesy of yahoo news.
Ramon Casiple said in his article that appeared in yahoo news that almost all reform candidates lost in sea of vote-buying, popularity contests, electoral violence, and patronage politics which made 2013 represents a setback to the cause of political reforms.

Jj Marasigan, a nitizen from Sariaya, Quezon, had this to say that we can't really blame people for what we may consider to be poor choices and their money-shaped votes.  He explained quoting Marx that "It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence (their lives). On the contrary, it is their social existence (their economic well-being) that determines their conciousness. To put it simply, as long as our people remain poor, they will continue to be powerless, unable to make the right choices. The system is corrupt not because the government is corrupt. Rather, the government is corrupt because the system is corrupt.

Selfishness viz Selflessness

The consciousness of the common people particularly the majority, the class D and E looks at the present or in their day to day survival only forgetting what the future holds.  This is happening because of lack of education and the critical mind to look not only of what the present could offer but most importantly the future on a much sustainable way.

Quite a number could be aware but selfishness overpower love of community and country.  This is where trapos are quick to respond.  Using the already limited resources of the government or the taxpayers money, they are mascarading as their champions by promising them heavens and earth.

Elected politicians who's very job discription are limited on lawmaking and legislation are quick to trumpet themselves in the limelight as public service oriented leaders using the hundreds of millions of peoples money to most of the time, useless and unsustainable projects.

Local executives on the other hand although its within the means of their power over-emphasized their ways of helping the poor which is actually doing more harm done good because it is seen as a tactic of maintaining a certain level of mendicancy to sustain their power later manifesting into a political dynasty.

These includes free hospitalization, free movies to senior citizens, out of placed scholarship programs targetting college students but forgetting the most needy children in the Basic Education Sector considering our EFA Goals, opening and operations of locally funded colleges which is competing with the already very limited and inadequate resources, free hospitalizations, free burial,free school supplies bearing their names, etc.

Graphics courtesy of Thinking Class Philippines.
In other words, these politicians are trying very hard to establish a welfare-oriented citizenry in a third world or developing country with the citizens having no role or contribution but to ask. These evils could be regarded as poising the government towards bankruptchy without the people knowing it.  The result, there are numerous LGU's which are highly indebted and most importantly, the country as a whole always experience budget deficit and so has to depend on foreign loans.

It is a no surprise that they couldn't pass the Right to Information Bill or follow line budgeting because they know that it would be both political and economic suicide.  Local executives however has to set aside a strategic approach in managing scarce government resources on projects that will later generate investment and job opportunities for their people because of the reasons already stated.

If class D and E benefits from the system on a limited scale, Class C and some of the middle class benefits more from the system.  They could be the side kicks of these politicians or the direct beneficiaries of jobs and contracts in government in return of the support they gave.

It takes two to tanggo.  There not only corrupt politicians but equally there are lots of corrupt middle class both in the government and the private sector who continuously benefit from the system.  Thus, they are working hard to maintain the status quo.

Dr. Edwin S. Martin, Asst Professor at UST teaching Public Administration and Political Science is quick to say in his article entitled Ambiguities of Being a Politician, First and Second Part, Manila Bulletin, April 27 and 29, 2013 that both traditional and seasoned politicians are most likely aware of their ideal responsibilities, yet they allow ambiguity to exist, since they benefit from the prevailing situation including their private and public sector cohorts.

Fools or Just Plain Ignorance and Immaturity

The voting public to be considered fools is a harsh statement and could be considered satirical.  Dr. Edwin S. Martin explains that other than adventurism and opportunism of popular politicians, the level of maturity of the Filipino electorate may be considered as the culprit.

It all boils down to the kind of education our people received which made it a challenge for all educators to really develop a thinking citizens. Another thing is their economic lot. We have to make them self-reliant by continuously educating them patiently and organizing them so that they will become not only responsible citizens whose primary concern is the national patrimony over their own. They need to be kept bombarded on the importance of elections as the perfect way to change their plight aside from their individual economic initiatives.

All concerned citizens therefore the civil society, various information media, every enlightened citizens should zero in on this challenge.  All parties who share common ideals should consolidate their efforts and resources on a grand scale in gradually uplifting peoples' consciousness on how to choose the most qualified people that will help improve the plight of the poor.

Though 2013 could easily be considered as a setback for political reforms,reform oriented candidates should not surrender the fight but instead consolidate their powers in alliance with the civil society and enlightened citizentry.

The STRUGGLE is just starting and for evil to manifest itself is for few good men to do nothing.

(The author has been a political and social activist since college.  He holds both the Bachelors degree and MA (CARMA) from the Philippine Normal University, Quezon and Manila Campuses.  He is currently holding a managerial position in DepEd.  Part of his advocacy apart from quality education is social justice, good governance and financial literacy and wellness.)
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