The native farmer and his faithful servant (from "The history and conquest of the Philippines and our other island possessions; embracing our war with the Filipinos in 1899")and a President who called them his bosses was abused, while a bossy, even abusive President is respected. President Aquino and his people were hands-on in the Zamboanga siege, during the Bohol earthquake and Yolanda. The only time Aquino was hands-off was Mamasapano, and that was when he was blamed a lot. He indeed will have to answer for using a suspended public official – Purisima of PNP – during that operation. That is where the law will run its course, and he will bow to it I think.

New and Old

President Duterte did not go to Marawi because of rain. He delegated work. I know from a lot of old-school Filipinos that it is somehow seen as lower to be hands-on. While Vice-President Robredo nearly always mingles with the crowd, Duterte and the likes of him usually sit on a stage in front of the crowd – even in Qatar with OFWs. Even Mar Roxas I found quite annoying wagging his hand at his secretary, ordering her to take notes in Tacloban while discussing with Mayor Romualdez. Very weird.

Because most managers in Germany take their own notes. Secretaries still exist of course, but to handle mail, incoming calls and other routine work. INCOMING calls. Outgoing calls are made personally – I wonder if the kind of Filipino boss that asked people to make calls for them still exists in the age of speed dial and mobile phones. Yes, there used to be the old kind of German boss that still ordered their secretaries to brew coffee for them. But these men had their heyday in the 1950s. Times change.

Romanian partners in a project I was involved in a decade ago were positively surprised that German bosses also work and don’t just order people around. Younger Romanian people who wanted to catch up with the West and cast off the still present legacies of Communist dictatorship and corruption in their country. There were also those born after 1989 who were nostalgic for the easy days of Communism were everyone had the same share of very little. They seem to have lost, at least for now.

What people want

People in Romania seem to want not only giving less of their hard-earned money to corrupt officials, they seem to want more personal independence. The Romanian diaspora is estimated at 8 million while the population of Romania is 20 million. Probably the direct influence of people who have gotten used to independence by living and working in more modern countries reaches into nearly every family by now. The old society with its system of local bosses seems to be shaking. It may change for good.

Filipinos seem to want the kind of change where they can just move up the ladder, personally or as families. The perceived enemy are “yellows”, seen to be in control of everything due to their Western-oriented education. Fil-Ams seem to be the ones who favor more personal independence, which is why a strong support based for Vice-President Robredo there is not surprising. But the always thin Western veneer, the paint coat on Filipinos, seems to be shedding to reveal what most really really want.

A highly hierarchic order where discipline means do what those above tell you. Never mind if they can’t wear a uniform properly or admit to having shirked ROTC (link). Those who are higher have the prerogative to be less disciplined or even lazy, it is not the prerogative of those below to question that. That would be highly disrespectful. Those above need not respect those below, in fact they may dare them to prove their innocence (link), as it is the prerogative of those above to determine who is guilty.

Filipino paradise?

Even what is true and not to be determined by those who are higher, like doctrine and dogma in the Catholic Church (link) – only that secular hierarchy replaces religion. There is a hashtag #PlsDontKillUs against EJKs which I find disturbing – it sounds too much like the “Lord have mercy on us” prayer in Church. Is Duterte now the Lord? Pleading assumes he has the right to kill in the first place. Domine, devora me was a joke by my Latin teacher in German senior high school – Lord, eat me. No, por favor.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 15. July 2017