Now is the time to learn



I have not really fully resurrected yet, but the political posturing that some senators of the realm are doing, especially the actors/senators involved in the scandalous pork barrel scam, in preparation for their running in the presidential and vice presidential race in 2016, is just too revolting, despicable and insulting to the intelligent Filipinos that I cannot just let it pass without commenting and doing something about it.

There is nothing wrong with having a woman again as president, as suggested by Sen. Miriam Santiago, but there is really not so many to choose from who are competent and ready – more so the women politicians from congress.

But the country is starting to heave itself up despite the scams it is plagued with brought about by corrupt public officials in the guise of public servants, so that if there is such a time that the Filipinos have to learn whom to vote for to lead us in the years ahead and be able to sustain the country’s movement upward and forward, it is now.

What is important is electing a successor and a leader that will have the political will of finishing the fight against political crimes and corruption started by PNoy and able to send the culprits to jail. Unless this is done, consider ourselves a failure again and deserving of nothing but staying in the rot hole forever.  

It is in this light that I am reprinting here an article by a great Filipino novelist, F. Sionel Jose, so that we could start opening our eyes and minds and start understanding for good why and what we have to learn now.

For those who haven’t had the chance to peruse the article below, this is a must read.

Why we do not learn

jose1HINDSIGHT By F. Sionil Jose (The Philippine Star)

That astute social thinker, Rafael Alunan III, postulated the other week that we are hobbled by a learning disability. He cited the serious mistakes committed in the past and how we have not learned from them.

He recalled with touching nostalgia how EDSA 1 illustrated our capacity to act as one. In a sense, EDSA 1 was a revolution but it did not change the social and economic structure of the country. An oligarch like Cory Aquino restored the oligarchy emasculated by Marcos and the same monopolies and inclusiveness which President Ramos tried to dismantle.

Alunan, economist Bernie Villegas, and so many others now want to change the Constitution, particularly those aspects that they feel obstruct quality investments. Bernie refers to these obstructionists as nationalists. I told him they were not nationalists for if they were then this country should have progressed. They are conservative monopolists who don’t understand the basics of capitalism — that money is like fertilizer: to do any good, it must be spread around.

Why don’t we ostracize our very rich who refuse to bring back the billions they have stashed abroad? There is more Philippine money now in China than Chinese money in the Philippines.

Mr. Alunan is correct. Critical infrastructures have not been put in place. Much of the money for such is wasted on corruption and government mismanagement.

He said President Noynoy Aquino should not be surprised that, though our rate of growth is one of the highest in Asia now, poverty and hunger have increased because “these conglomerates (the oligarchy) have cornered the country’s choice opportunities and resources.”

He concludes that we have “a startling weakness, that we are inattentive, negligent and fail to comprehend the stark lessons from our mistakes. These are the telltale signs of a failing nation.”

Let me now enlarge the Alunan theme of why we have not learned.

First, we have no memory. Marcos tyrannized this country in recent and living memory. But none of the Marcos collaborators have been punished. Look around you — they are everywhere, strutting in the corridors of power, preening on television, writing columns. And the root cause of all this is not our being too forgiving or stupid; it is our shameless lack of morality — a very strong indictment of our people. We have never really been able to distinguish right from wrong, for if we could, a long time ago, we would have punished those who betrayed this nation and people.

Why hasn’t this happened? We say “Only in the Philippines,” as if this remark is a salute to our uniqueness, not a description of the moral swamp wherein we are immersed.

Look at the rich ilustrados who betrayed the Revolution in 1896 — ask Ambeth Ocampo — they were able to run out Mabini, a brilliant and upright man, from the Malolos government because he opposed their greed.

Look at those who immediately collaborated with the Americans; they became heroes, they became rich. And finally, those who collaborated with the Japanese; collaboration with them in World War II was perhaps politically resolved when Laurel ran for president and got so many votes. But not as a moral issue — as such it continues to fester to this very day and continually riles so many of us particularly those who suffered Japanese brutality during the war.

Outsiders have noted the monuments to the Japanese war dead and the kamikazes buried in our soil, in the display of Japanese flags when we commemorate Bataan. This would never happen in the countries ravaged by the Nazis; in Denmark, when the defeat of Nazi Germany was imminent, the Danes started executing the collaborators so that the issue of collaboration in World War II never surfaced. To this very day, the French are rooting out those who collaborated with the Nazis; they not only shame such collaborators but punish them.

Then we have Marcos. It is not so much a question of having no memory, although that could explain part of our condition. It is because we have never punished those who collaborated with him and — worst — profited and oppressed their countrymen. Marcos employed some of our best writers, some of our best technocrats. Among them, who has come out to openly say “mea culpa” for not only helping Marcos plunder this country but also giving his dictatorship legitimacy? And look at the Marcos children, at Imelda — outsiders cannot understand the phenomena of their return to power. But we know, and we can. The past does not matter to us.

And now, the pork barrel scam. The front pages scream every day with revelations that no longer surprise. We know now who the crooks in the Senate are — but none of them will ever be convicted. Want to make a bet?

And come elections in a couple of years, they will all be back in office because they will be elected by us. They are not stigmatized; we continue to shake their hands and give them social acceptance and obeisance.

That massive demonstration in the Luneta last year at the very beginning of our awareness of this scandal — so many were there, but they never really had any direction. They also did not really know what to do. It is ningas cogon again as no more demos have exploded.

Why didn’t they march to the houses of those who were clearly identified and dumped garbage in their front yards? And why do the media continue to give them space?

And the justice system itself. Why is it working so slowly?

After four years, why is there no conviction of the Ampatuan killers? Who is to blame for our plight? Who else but we ourselves because we are such hypocrites, who can’t remember and learn, lobotomized as we are into inaction — surely we deserve to fry in our own fat!

Then we will wake up and remember.



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