June 2018
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Much wishful thinking

Black Nazarene processionpervades Philippine politics: from De Quiros’ well-known “Aragorn” for Aquino or Tiglao’s recent prediction of A.D. and B.D. – After and Before Duterte in Philippine history (link). Oh how much do Filipinos wish for miracles, much like the legendary Bernardo Carpio of colonial times, the king tied up in the mountains only waiting to awake! I am already happy that DOST Project NOAH has helped reduce casualties now, with typhoon Lawin – four years of work have shown their fruits. And would be happier to see a Philippines with less poverty, less crowded jails, and cleaner rivers.

A frustrated country, arrested in its development by the unexpected arrival of a much more organized civilization which subdued it. Hoped for help from another – Aguinaldo’s letters to the “Mighty and Humane North American Nation” (link) are unforgotten – and got not only subdued but remade in America’s Image. Now there is President Duterte hoping for China to help the Philippines…

There are no miracles, no free lunches in real life. Paradise – around half a million people lived in the archipelago during Lapu-Lapu’s time – is lost. It takes hard work to build a nation and a state.

Most of the institutions of the present Philippine state are those built in Quezon’s time. With a few later additions. Metro Manila and the Regions – created in Marcos’s time – made sense, including regionalizing the administration of Ministries which became Departments again. The Sandiganbayan also came from that time, and was augmented by Cory’s Ombudsman later on.

Improved relief goods packaging systems at DSWD – introduced in 2015 – helped in the response to Typhoon Lawin just recently. A nation is the work of many generations and administrations. It is also a product of all its history – good and bad, intended and unintended. Just like the Filipino mix of racial and cultural influences is unique and would not exist if not for the years that came before. The country has been without foreign bases since 1991 – 25 years. New dependencies such as huge loans from China – just to leap forward quickly? For all eagerness – should one not be a bit careful?

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 24 October 2016




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