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Writer. Wheelman. Occasional DIY mechanic. Walking collection of hang-ups. Hopeless romantic. Old-school. Analog soul in a digital world. I am all of these things and more.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

On the soapbox today...

Like many Filipinos nowadays, I don’t like how our country is progressing and I’m tired of it.

I’m sick of all the politicking. It’s so blatantly obvious that many of our politicians are interested in advancing their own interests, not those of the electorate that put their hallowed asses up there in the first place. Pressing issues like education and reforming the electoral system are pooh-poohed in favor of foreign debt servicing (which isn’t a bad thing), looking for kickbacks and the endless bickering on political matters (which are).

Solutions are presented left and right, such as Constitutional or Charter change to allow for a parliamentary or federal system, and the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. While I’m no fan of Arroyo’s, I’m against ousting her. That said, the Charter change proposed by her and her partymates is not a solution to any of the Philippines’ political ills. I can’t believe how these politicians don’t see this. Seeing how fractured and disunited the major players of the political landscape are, having a prime minister in this country beholden to a finicky Parliament will be the day political instability rules the roost permanently. While the federal system sounds good on paper, with the volume of our national debt it’s just silly even thinking about it.

The solutions being offered by our present politicians are half-hearted at best because they stink of the political ambitions and power-grabbing we Filipinos have become so sick of. What we need to change is blatantly obvious but ignored.

We need to change our electoral system, and make sure that voting is as straightforward as it gets. There ought to be no vote-buying, vote padding and shaving (dagdag-bawas) and certainly none of the election-related violence. We had such huge chances to reform this but we failed so many times.

We need to put more money into the educational system. Our politicians should stop treating it as a haven or excuse for liquidating corruption. Just how greedy or stupid can they be to short-circuit the nation’s only real chance of improvement?

We need to change they way we do social welfare. I’m not immune to this but I’ve been responsible for my fair share of doleouts to the poor. It’s easy to do doleouts, true, but that’s a short-sighted solution at best. It’s better to teach men how to fish instead of giving them fish all the time—more than simple skill, empowerment is the name of the game. Besides, just how many of us feel empowered? Precisely. It’s this empowerment that will also address another of our long-standing social ills, abject poverty.

The last things we need are more half-hearted solutions, more politicians wasting even more of our time bickering to high heaven, and more People Power revolutions.

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