An amazing thing happened in the Philippines in the past two weeks. After being bitch-slapped since 1987, the people actually got pissed-off with how the government does things. The people appear angry not just at one person but the entire SYSTEM. Three years of Tuwid na Daan (the straight path) and a promise to abolish the pork by saintly son president PNoy were not enough to stop people from cancelling an indignation rally set on August 26.
Oh, boy. I think the masses are really mad this time.
Anyway, I find it refreshing since the call for a protest came from different people around Facebook, not your usual radical “we’re just angry at everything” leftists. This came after the weeks of being exposed to the lavish lifestyle of Jeane Napoles, daughter of Janet Lim-Napoles, the woman who allegedly robbed this country blind through her NGOs. Add the floods because of the monsoon rains, the COA and DBM reports to the fire…and BOOM! I guess the experience of swimming in rat piss, trash and shit while plunderers party was simply too much.
Drawing a parallel here, if my recollection is correct, this kind of mass action hasn’t happened since President Erap’s ouster in 2001. Text messages were enough motivation for people to come out and pressure Erap to step down, although he would say otherwise. Thanks to the trial back then, people had tons info for a conviction in their minds. President Estrada was the crook who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He was the crook with the mansions and the girls. He was the crook called a crook by a fellow crook. Oh, and the sight of a dancing senator during the impeachment trial, icing on the cake! All the people needed was that feeling that they’ve been taken for a ride, much like what we have today.
Lovable, am I not? (image via pcij.org)
I guess people would always need to put a a face on evil for them to take action, or even just get plain old mad at something. Dancing senators are a rarity. Today we have a birthday party video. I just pray we don’t get a lot more of these in the future.
Citizens should take part in how they mold this country into something that works for everyone, not just those in power. I pray that people learn to choose their leaders based on what they plan to do with the issues important to them. Hopefully, come 2016, people won’t be in the dark when it comes to decision making.
A friend of mine expressed concern about the march on August 26. He said that protests only serve to destabilize the image of the country. A part of me agrees with him but I am still going to that indignation rally.
Just a thought, if people would participate more in governance, then maybe protest actions would be a thing of the past. I still wonder if the people even bother to check their congressman or even their mayors, barangay captains and councilors. Oh, wait, we need freedom of information. Scratch that thought.
Personally, I’m more of the school of thought that congress is acting like vestigial organ of the Philippine system. It is lost on defining its true function. It cannot even decide whether it wants to be a legislative or executive body. It has to take a stand somewhere. I know the judiciary has its slow wheels of justice turning. I know that the executive branch is executing something, not someone not like in its previous incarnations. The legislative? It needs a serious PR blitz. It should legislate itself into positive light. Maybe if there was freedom of information, congressional good deeds might come out of the digging. A big MAYBE on that one.
It was also the height of hypocrisy when members of the senate suddenly changed footing on the PDAF. What made them think that the time to abolish it is now? Is it public pressure? Why didn’t some of them actively push for its abolition before? I find it funny that statements come short of saying that it’s their first time to hear of pork abuse.
I consider the PDAF the height of callousness of government. It is the best evidence that government has a wall between itself and the people. The excuse that some projects won’t materialize without the PDAF should be taken as a slap in the face by local executives and their constituents.
Bottom line for me right now is this: Better Budgeting and Transparency. Enough bullshit already. Even if it was the Dalai Lama running the Philippines, I would still go for transparency like a hungry dog.
If you look at how events are unfolding, it seems the biggest winner would be PNoy. Honestly, I love how his team handled this crisis. PNoy will get out of this one with just some mild scratches on the surface.
- With stricter PDAF controls, PNoy gets to retain power over both houses of congress.
- By positioning himself with pseudo-pork abolition, he wins over the thoughts of some people.
- With the release of the COA and DBM reports, LP gets to slip a jab on some potential opponents in 2016.