Posts Tagged Issues

Quo warranto et ab initio in saeculo saeculorum

Wikipedia scale of justice3Social media is full of memes since the attempt to void the amnesty of Senator Trillanes.  Just like the lack of a birth certificate does not make a person unborn, a missing marriage certificate does not annul a marriage, and whether one has the death certificate of Rizal somewhere in a museum or not, Rizal (and Elvis) are dead. Will quo warranto and ab initio go the way of in saecula saeculorum (“now and forever” in Catholic liturgy – link) which became colorum (link) due to use by cult-like rebels?  Has Solicitor General Calida crossed the line, offended Filipinos?

Laws as commitments

His predecessor Florin Hilbay asked whether anyone sent to buy vinegar (Robin Padilla) can just arrest someone now. There are even memes that ask if a marriage is annulled if the marriage certificate is missing. One thing very sacred to Filipinos is marriage, not just a legal document like so much else but a sacred commitment made. Just like an amnesty is a commitment by a state to a person. Laws are also a form of commitment, like contracts between people are commitments. Morality is also a form of commitment to restrain one’s own baser instincts, and be nice to others.

The left is also defending Trillanes, not because they like him, but because the principle that an amnesty stays is essential to the safety of many former rebels among the left. Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo says that (link) “The State cannot be shackled by an act of clemency it has given to a political offender when the latter pursues subsequent acts inimical to its interest..” which betrays an idea of government “for the powerful, by the powerful for the powerful” not the people. Government should keep its commitments, not be captive to the whims of groups or factions.

Patronage and Impunity

Of course the old rules of malakas and mahina (link) or strong and weak worked out in Filipino politics for a long time, possibly even in pre-Hispanic barangays. The losers possibly even left on their own balanghai (link) to new settlements if the arrangement was too odious – there was space. Then it became convincing the powers that be that one is “right” – leading to phenomena like split-level Christianity (link) or trying to curry favor with the higher power of the time by pretending to adhere to whatever one thought would please them, even if it was only a simulation not reality.

Reagan’s Vice President Bush (senior) told Marcos (Sr.) in 1981 “We love your adherence to democratic principle and to the democratic processes” (link). Marcos must have been very pleased. The system of master pleases patron, even if only for show, to be allowed impunity downwards. Years later, Marcos was to be surprised that American society had eventually developed to also care whether human rights were adhered to abroad, away from the principle of “our SOB” (link). Thus he was “very, very disappointed” when Senator Laxalt told him to “cut, and cut cleanly” in 1986.

What does the Filipino want?

One could defend the old system as “Filipino culture”, but some recent memes show some beliefs might be changing: police ask for your driver’s license application instead of your driver’s license, or POEA wants your passport application instead of your passport.  Are they tired of impunity? There is a major principle that makes rule of law both real and yes, even pleasant for those with less power: legal certainty (link), defined as “a principle in national and international law which holds that the law must provide those subject to it with the ability to regulate their conduct.”

One could argue that the unwritten rules of Philippine society, basically the rules of patronage and impunity, are predictable to those who grow up in them. But is it a nice life having to always watch out who you might offend? Especially the Filipino entitled, who often are unpredictably grandiose? The President with his obvious narcissism is just an extreme manifestation. The others who shout “do you know who I am” to anyone they think is in their way or otherwise offended them are more. Might be that the Philippines is on the road to hell if those who dream of being like that are more.


Does the majority really think the Philippines is meant to be ruled by impunity, by face and power, and by rent-seekers forever? Quo warranto, or what gives the entitled to rule the country after all? Though some Marcos loyalists call the so-called yellows “pretenders” (link) which is a term used for fake royalty and some even say that Bongbong Marcos will soon “wear the crown” of Vice President. As if that dynasty ruled the country ab initio (from the beginning) and had the right to do so in saeculo saeculorum (for ever and ever). Mind your betters, or Magistrate Calida will punish you!

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 8 September 2018

 

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Debasing the Filipino

Mocha Uson 2017is there anything else Mocha Uson’s recent Pepe Dede Ralism (link) show could have been about? Especially with the lewd dance number of the young man at the start? Granted that there has been a bit of a Kulturkampf (link) against the norms of the Catholic Church for a number of decades.

Granted that pre-Hispanic Filipino sexuality was by all accounts less repressed than after Spain, and that America may have brought some modern ideas but also is repressed about sex at times. Something like Nipplegate would not have been worth noticing in most parts of modern Europe.

Granted that it was hard to get the Reproductive Health Law through. And that a Senator Sotto was able to attack a former activist like Judy Taguiwalo for having children out of wedlock (link) when it was the Filipino left that was second to attack certain forms of hypocrisy. Rizal’s Noli was the first.


Even in outwardly more prim and proper days some decades ago, Filipino migrants already had comics with somewhat lewd jokes, including a fairy with spells like “Abra ka dabra, panty at bra!”. Probably Kris Aquino, at the latest, did away with the old prim and proper by rebelling against it.

By the time of Erap, everybody even the papers spoke about his No. 1, No.2, No. 3 etc. so that an alien from Centauri could write into his notebook that “the chiefs of these islands are polygamous, and it is accepted by the natives”. In addition “simple men often just leave their wives for younger”.

Priorities are so clearly wrong. A divorce law and clear rules that a man has to pay at least until his kids are 18 if he leaves his wife would be better than pretending monogamy always works in reality. Proper awareness would help more against teen pregnancies and HIV – that could be Mocha’s job.


But instead of raising awareness, Mocha fools the people. That isn’t new – debasing them I think is. Federalism is important, it ain’t about what pussies (pepe) and tits (dede) you have in each state. Talking to citizens about the big F as if it was not Federalism, but Fucking just talks down to them.

What was that about, making the Philippines Asia’s Red Light District, take your pick of pussy?  What do you want to buy, Marawi or Boracay? Normal or perverse? With or without tokhang porn? Putang Inang Bayan, for sale by Pimp Daddy Duts? Big D, is that what your front seat bitch means?

Duterte and Mocha have catered to a lot of Filipino inferiority complexes – and to crab mentality. What I wonder is if a rest of a sense of national dignity will be awakened by this line now crossed. Now if most Filipinos prefer that treatment, a point of no return may already have been reached.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 5 August 2018

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Know Bady’s Perpek

Martin Andanar (cropped)not even the tall, blond and blue-eyed people from Norwegia (link)! A Filipino actually good at something is very suspect, or did a Filipino ever do things right? With a Chinese it is different, they are assumed to be capable of anything. I meant able to do anything, forgib me, for I am imperpek.

Besides, perfect is boring, boring, boring. Look at Mar Roxas, does he get the kisses, or Duterte? Who is more of a celebrity, is it studious Aika Robredo, or his father’s own scholar Sandro Marcos? Striving for excellence is so yesterday, so American neocolonial, Thomasite-inspired social climbing.

Professionalism is Square
Knowledge is Arrogant
Decency is Hypocrisy

are among the dont’s that the New Filipino is learning, quickly and well. Why be professional if you can always buy a professional to do things for you? Americans liked Filipino professionals because they were servants of neoliberal imperialist capitalism. Real Filipinos are free. Let others work!

Knowledge is arrogant. Remember how the yellow ilustrado pretenders nitpicked about Mar Roxas having graduated from Wharton? With no graduate degree? What is decent? Leni acts as if Duterte is not attractive. Honest women like Lorraine Badoy admit attraction to the country’s alpha male.

Sloppiness is Cute
Rudeness is Refreshing
Stupidity is Unassuming
Indecency is Honest
Negligence is Human

are the traits of true Filipinos. Now isn’t Norwegia a cute word, doesn’t that endear PCOO in the hearts of true Filipinos? Screw all the Westernized yellow Ingliseros with their ideas of spelling!

And isn’t Duterte’s rudeness refreshing to all of us who don’t want to behave like in a reception of Spaniards, friars and servants in Intramuros? And those of us who assume we are not stupid – are you saying you aren’t carabaos like the rest of us? That you are more highly evolved? Chinese even?

And would you trust Mocha who admits that she is as horny as the rest of us are, especially when we are abroad away from our husband or wife and sleep with someone else? Or do you trust Leni? And those pedantic moralistic yellows, what’s wrong with their attitude to life? Perfection is scary.

Germans and Japanese are too perfect. Chinese do not scare us because their products break down. But they are smarter than us and will help us where Uncle Sam has left us very, very disappointed.

We thought they were all white and blue-eyed, and then they showed us Obama. We feel cheated.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 15 June 2018

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Macho at ma-appeal

Young women in the Ukraine teasing a boy who is pockmarked a Wellcome L0032776(Achtung Satire!) si Solicitor General Calida, kaya gusto yata siya ng isang dalagang estudyante. Kayong mga dilaw diyan, huwag kayo magreklamo! Ayaw ng mga Pinay sa tite ninyong malambot, pero marami ang umupo sa kandungan ng matigasin na si Digong noong kampanya habang nagpapahipo! Ayaw ng babae ng sobrang bait na lalake, anong laban nito kapag may humamon na adik sa kalye? Buti pa iyang mga katulad ni Duterte at Calida, shoot to kill. Hindi kaya ito nila Bam Aquino! Not counted ang computer games. Eh mga #BabaeAko? Pangit at mataba.

E ano ngayon kung maraming kinikita ang security company ni Calida sa mga pondo nang gobyerno? Wa-is si Calida, gusto ng mga babae iyon. Aanhin nila ang isang patay-gutom na walang diskarte? O kaya baklain na puro morals-morals diyan? Matira ang matibay, ganyan ang takbo ng mundo! Tsaka iba ang dumidiskarte kapag mahirap tulad natin. Mga dilawan na pinagpala na may pera na, huwag na huwag nilang subukan ang kahit konting lusot at mahuhuli sila. Buti nga kay Sereno! Mga dilaw at puti, mga kolonyalista silang nagnakaw sa tunay na Pilipino, iyan ang katotohanan.

Panahon na natin para makabawi. Dapat umusog na ang mga dilawan at mga kaibigan nilang puti. Tayong mga tunay na Pilipino na ang dapat kumain ng husto, kasama mga kaibigan nating Tsino. Walang masama kung mga Tulfo, Teo, Calida, Montano, de Castro atbp. kumita kapag suwerte nila. Tayo naman siguro titirahan nila nang kahit kaning baboy, di tulad ng mga suwapang na dilawan. Tama merong hanapbuhay ang iilan noon, pero ang hirap naman ng trabaho diyan sa call center! Mga mang-aapi talagang dilaw at puti, gusto tayong pahirapan. Buti pa ngayon, diskarte na lang!

Kayong mga padise-disente, mga wala lang kayong sex appeal, putang ina ninyong mga bakling. Dinig ng buong ilog Pasig ang mga ungol ng isang sosyal na hindi pa nakadanas ng mga tiradang tulad ng mga galing kay Digong. Buong gabi sila, puyatan daw talaga. Di kaya ni Mar Roxas iyan!

Kaya iyan, di kami bilib sa mga reklamo ninyo, inggit lang kayo sa galing namin sa lahat ng bagay. Pati suwerte. Masuwerte ang lalakeng kumakapit sa amin, at ang babaeng nagpapakwan sa amin! Pinagpala ang bansang Pilipino sa kagalingan namin! Huwag maniwala sa mga paninira. Pek iyon!

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, ika-1 ng Hunyo, 2018

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Kilig siguro sa akin si Sharon..

2397-sharon-cuneta-dead-serious-about-p10mn-bounty-if-husband-kiko-pangilinan-proven-guilty-of-pork-corruption-400x252 (1)isip ni Duterte bago matulog sa kulambo, tapos maglulô. “Tagal di nakatikim ng tunay na lalaki iyan, dilaw lang, wah buring!” sinabi niya. “e baka pati sa sex, simbahan palagi ang sinosonod!”. “Tapos ni walang excitement” inisip niya “e di ba gusto ng babae iyong marunong umaksiyon?” nagsalita ulit siya “anong silbi ng lalakeng puro opisina lang, e kung hamunin iyan ng nasa kanto tatakbo, ang babae walâ man proteksiyon”. “ay walâ, mahinâ” inisip niya ulit. “Tapos mawala pa trabaho ng disente, wala na. Buti pa tayong mga madiskarte, may lusot-lusot sa tabi-tabi”.

Umupo siya sa kama at nagsimulang magsalita ulit: “iyan, putangina, bakit kasi iyang mga disente, nakikialam sa hanapbuhay nating mga mi diskarte? Kung hindi nila hinabol ng hinabol ang mga Marcos, si Arroyo, pork baril, uki pa sana silâ ngayon, di bâ?” Nagkamot siya ng ulo. “Yaman yaman na ng dilaw, ayaw pagbigyan ang ordinaryong Pilipino tulad natin dumiskarti ng kontî man! Eh ngayon, bawi na tayo! Casino sa Boracay. Projek-projek sa Marawi.” Tumawa si Duterte. “Anong alam ng dilaw, Ingles-Ingles lang. Mawala Kano nila, wala na sila. Buti nga”.

Inantok si Duterte at natulog. Pagsikat ng araw, bigla siyang nakaupo sa labas ng isang cottage sa may beach. Tinignan niya iyong kapaligiran niya. “Ano ito, Boracay?”  sabi niya. “Partido ito” sabi ng boses sa katabing upuan. Lumingon si Duts sa kanan. “Leni?” “Oo.” “Anong ginagawâ ko dito?” “Bisita ka namin dito sa Bikol.” “Paano?” “Ikaw mismo ang nagpunta rito, kaya lang matagal kang natulog.” “Talaga?” “Heto muna suman, kumain ka”. “Baka magtae ako.” “Hindi”. Tatlong suman sa ibos ang kinain ni Duterte. “Saan ninyo ako dadalhin?” sabi niya “sa Den Haag na ba?”.

“Kung puwede sana, matauhan ka man lang” sabi ni Leni. “bigyan natin ng kinabukasan ang mga Pilipino, huwag iyong alila lang ng Intsik. Sana lahat may pagkakataon mag-aral ng kayang pag-aralan at makakuha ng trabahong sapat.” Sagot ni Digong “e di ba libre na ang kolehiyo ngayon” “Galing kay Bam Aquino ang batas na iyan” tugon ni Leni. “e paano kaming mga gago na tamad mag-aral? Ma, inutil talaga ako, Maaaaa” umiyak siya at sumandal kay Leni, pero itinulak siya nitong pataas. Kontrolado ang mukha niya, parang empleyado sa Mental.

“Tsaka paano iyong mga mawalan ng trabaho, anong silbi ng subrang pag-aaral? Sa sistema namin, magdependi sila sa amin na may diskarte.” “Sa pagnakaw ninyo, ibig mong sabihin?” sagot ni Leni. “Hende ah, my Lady, Madame Beautipul, utakan lang, abilidad! Mula pa noong 1521 ganyan talaga tayo kung mag-survive. E tanggalin mo ang moral, ang batas, survival of the fittest ang meron. Diyan tayo magaling, kahit walang pari, walang batas. Tsaka mga babae, sabaw ang poke sa lawyer and killer tulad ko! Dilaw lang natikman mo, sayang ang ganda mo!”

Mabilis na tumayo sa Leni, mas mabilis pa siyang sumampal. Biglang napunta sa buhangin si Duterte at paiyak-iyak: “Maa, huwag mo akong hampasin sa tenga, huwag na masakiiit”. Biglang nagising si Duterte sa may sahig, siyempre sa labas nang kulambo. Pumasok si Bong Go. “Anu ang kumalampag diyan?” sabi niya. “Bakit ka nasa sahig!”. “Eh wala, masarap lang ang panaginip ko!” “Gago, tumayo ka, bihis, maraming papirmâ sa iyoh Chinese Ambassador!” Tumayo si Duts. Kinuha niya ang pantalon niya sa may silya at sinuot niya, tapos iyong gusot-gusot na barong.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 23 ng Marso 2018

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Others thinking you think you’re better

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Serenoare dangerous – in the Philippines and elsewhere. Sara Duterte about EDSA veterans (link), Supreme Court Justices about CJ Sereno, probably many about President Aquino’s handling Dengvaxia – which may have proven successful given recent indications (link). Damn, time for Martial Law and censorship! Increase the number of dengue cases, as yellow must be made bad! And they deserve hatred that is deep and personal, just like Harry Roque wishing Leila de Lima a life in jail (link) – yes, they messed up some things, but what did they do to deserve all of that?

Pakikisama and Schadenfreude

One accusation hurdled against Chief Justice Sereno is lacking pakikisama towards her colleagues in the Supreme Court – again a propaganda strategy that is very Filipino. Pakikisama often means subduing oneself to fit into a group. You don’t like the movie everybody in the barkada has seen? Bad enough if you weren’t there to see it with them. Worse if you say you think it is a stupid movie. An individual opinion against the assumed majority opinion – wow, does he think he is BETTER? Put a UP graduate into the midst of some working-class OFWs without escape. What could happen?

They might probably wait for the first slip-up of the UP graduate, and then display Schadenfreude. Sara Duterte brought the word Schadenfreude into the Philippine vocabulary (link) with regards to Mariel de Leon not topping Miss International – because she criticized the present administration. The sentiment against “yellow”, the previous administration and all related to it, is however more like the Serbian saying Da komsiji crkne krava – “If only the neighbour’s cow would die” (link) – related to the Serbian concept of inat: spitefulness, vindictiveness, hardheadedness + much more.

Spitefulness and Feindbilder

There is a similar spitefulness visible and audible among those who hate Aquino, Sereno, De Lima. Aquino? Sure he messed up certain things. But is the present government doing so much better? Sure it was easy to make him – and Mar Roxas – bogeymen due to their plantation owner origins. Feindbild is the German word for a cluster of prejudices and fears pertaining to a given group. There is also the Feindbild of the English-speaking elite, easy to trigger among common Filipinos. Why otherwise would Mocha focus on Leni Robredo’s US visits and her daughter in Harvard?

There is I think deep envy about what is perceived to be a privileged life, as opposed to one’s own.  Why otherwise make a big deal about Leni’s dresses, like some have done – yet admire the dresses of Isabelle Duterte at a lavish debut? Of course, Leni Robredo has already been identified as part of the other tribe, those who have “had it all” (not true for Leni who lived in the dormitory when she studied at UP) while “we” never had anything and now have the right to luxury and the good life. Even if no one can claim that Leni is lighter in color than most, or Sereno’s nose way too sharp!

Country and town

are both called bayan in Filipino. In a town especially a small one, there is a certain conformity. There is indeed a certain sameness, anywhere in the world. You are ruling a quite homogeneous group of people. The Philippines is a country – forced upon a collection of small communities. Countries need specialized people to be governed properly. The probably first specialized people in the Philippines were the town scribes the Spanish friars trained. More sophisticated governance and business brought about the present “elite” universities that are in international rankings (link).

That the provinces and the poor were left behind is an effect of this development until today. But the present government is playing a dangerous game in mobilizing envy of those left behind against those who had better chances. Mayors can still run their cities by sheer instinct, like Duterte did. For larger entities like countries you need truly competent people – unless you want to return to olden days with plenty of epidemics, pogroms and witch hunts. Isn’t the Philippines getting there? Measles spreading due to fear of vaccines. Pogrom mentality against drug users. And witch hunts.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 3 March 2018

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So much Imbecility

Vile imbecilesis exhausting. Wanda Teo’s tourism charts. Bilibid boys threatening to recant. Alvarez’ wife saying he became a Manobo. Certainly he was always a bobo. His Senate counterpart Pimentel is just as much of an asshole, but I think he isn’t as stupid. Touché for Atty. Mandy Anderson. Kudos to the new culture of directness in the Philippines. If the President can insult people, so can others hit back at those who think they are higher. The Ombudsman telling the President “wala siyang pakialam”, that her work is none of his business, is not imbecility but a language every Filipino gets.

It was a matter of time before the crowd that ASec Lorraine Badoy termed as “ninnies” would hit back. Chito Gascon of CHR telling Panelo to focus on his job. After Panelo told Gascon to resign, which he constitutionally has no right to. Fixed-term appointees were purposely created to provide checks and balances – it would be terrible if one group had all the power without any critics. Malacañan saying that commissioners serve at “the President’s pleasure” (link) is another imbecility. Do they think the President is an absolute monarch, like the erstwhile Louis XIV of France?

How often indeed has the President spoken of himself as the owner of the Philippines – may-ari ng Pilipinas? How often has he spoken of my police, my army, my weapons? Louis XIV indeed said “I am the state” but also said in his old age that “I will die, but the state will remain”. Duterte would destroy the government if he had his way (link) but has not laid out any vision of the “more efficient system” that he would like to have in its place. Will it be barangays with drug lists – decentralized impunity? Plus centralized impunity against Lumad schools and the like (link)?

In the meantime, the real deals with China may have been sealed with the visit of the Chinese foreign minister. Will it indeed be joint exploration close to Palawan – with a sizable Chinese military presence to guard it? Fortunately, few were imbecilic enough to see the lapu-lapu being “gifted” by the Chinese to Filipino fishermen as generosity. Or a few firearms as real assistance. Maybe they are like the expensive underwear allegedly gifted to prostitutes by some pimps – with money they earned in the first place. Or even worse, just Woolworth underwear in Palmer’s plastic bags.

20 million Filipinos remain poor (link). What will be done for them? Will they be sent to work on Chinese oil rigs, since the construction worker jobs will allegedly be given to Chinese? And how about the education of the Filipino in general? Seems free tuition is gone by 2018 (link). Does the present administration want a stupid people to call its own? A slave race, with them as overseers? And the city the Chinese plan to build in Manila Bay, will it be like Intramuros? No Filipinos after dusk? Might they let some Chinoys become “Insular Chinese”? How imbecilic will Filipinos be?

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 29 July 2017

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A comfortable life

Comfortable anywhere (372543421)is what President Duterte promised in his first SONA (link). I would not want a comfortable life. I like the way my life is now – with its efforts and its rewards, but not comfortable. Someone who is comfortable is in my book depending too much on others, either as patrons or as servants. Getting comfortable means getting complacent. In the same article, Duterte says: “My administration is working to ensure that basic human services are available to all; food and health needs; water and sanitation; shelter; public safety; education; and economic opportunities”. Sure.

Just a few sentences after, the real emphasis becomes clear: “In his speech, Duterte cited Davao City during his term as mayor, wherein he became well-known for bringing peace and order to his hometown.”. This sounds like putting the cart before the horse. Give people a chance to make a decent living thru work and you have a lot less unrest. How is the situation when it comes to water and sanitation in Metro Manila and other big cities, especially the poor areas where there are many addicts? I might take at least a shot of gin myself – not drugs – if I had to endure living there.

How about education and economic opportunities? It could start with small scale industries, there are programs like K-12 Plus (link) which happens to be German-sponsored and combines both education and economic opportunities by training poor people on the job. I doubt that the kids learning metalworking in the San Pedro Relocation Center National High School take drugs. They have a chance in life and most people are not so foolish to waste real chances. As for shelter – if Leni allegedly did not do enough, what is her successor now doing in terms of social housing.

The right mix in social housing – with community centres especially for the youth to prevent disorientation, mixing different income groups to prevent the hopelessness of ghettos, putting people near factories or place where there is work – has proven crucial to defusing social tensions in modern countries. Where is the comprehensive program for this – or even just the first baby steps?

Food needs. Microfinance (link) and rural banks are crucial, not just ranting against moneylenders. Storage and distribution as well. Prosperity is not just comfort. What is being done for prosperity?

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 18. February 2017

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The Kinetic Energy

Luzon mining camp, 1899of colonial discovery hit the Philippines in 1521. The billard queue is long gone but the balls keep moving. Just a preview of a new movie about Lumads in Mindanao shows this (link). Loggers come into the hunting grounds of the Manobo, who finally get sucked into the middle of armed conflict. Uniformed men bullying Lumads are heard speaking Visayan, telling their commanding officer who speaks Tagalog and tells them to stop that he is still naive about the realities of the conflict. A scene that shows one of the many ethnic hierarchies of the Philippines in a nutshell.

Examples of the greed of early encomenderos, those granted land by the Spanish crown in the beginning of colonization, are documented (link): Several principales from Ylagua (Dagua) testified that Salgado had charged them one chicken each in addition to the regular tribute. This, it was claimed, caused “much damage and loss to their wealth.” Principales already being the Filipinos of higher rank – I wonder if low-ranking Filipinos would have dared complain to a royal Spanish tax collector. Even today extortion seems to be practiced by those who have the power to (link).

A pattern seems to have been established then. The pattern of taking instead of building, the easy road to wealth. The path of least resistance. A path that does not create long-term wealth at all. Mine the soil, don’t build anything with the minerals. Sell sugar, coconuts and tobacco abroad – but don’t bother to make soap out of coconut, or at least even cigars or rum like in Spanish times. Let your OFW and migrant relatives work, and spend their money at the mall instead of building something at home. Might be extorted by police or NPA anyway, so who knows it might be wiser?


Two men from Spain – the Roman emperors Trajan and Hadrian – played a decisive role in the conquest of gold-rich ancient Dacia. Affluent Romans liked to settle in Spain, while the Romans who went to Dacia were usually soldiers, adventurers and convicts – the roots of what became Romania. In 2013, protests against the planned Roșia Montană gold mine were the roots of a civic society movement (link) that ousted a Prime Minister in 2015 and a Minister of Justice just days ago. Decades after ousting a dictator, after decades of backlashes, corruption and populism.

A country with more than 10% of its people working abroad. A country that is home to a lot of business process outsourcing, as its people have learned to be flexible and multilingual in their history. Also a country that has been in the vicious cycle of poverty and corruption for very long (link) with people speaking of: constant, everyday bribery — at hospitals, schools and public institutions. And yet a young man says: A new generation has emerged that doesn’t keep drawers full of bribery presents. Everything can be shattered in the next 10 days.


Seeing is believing. Could more Romanians have seen with their own eyes, in places like Western Europe, what real value productive energy can create? That it isn’t just take or be taken from? That just spending energy taking from the earth without reaping – and from others – makes most people POOR, long-term? Possibly those who have understood have begun to reach a critical mass. This critical mass is not yet there in the Philippines, which seems to be evolving backwards or sideways in recent months. But one never knows what surprises kinetic energy may hold in store.

Irineo B. R. Salazar

München, 12. February 2017

 

 

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The Colonial Syndrome

Itinerario legazpiwas mentioned by President Duterte just hours ago in Bacolod – I watched the end of his speech. It referred to some of his pet peeves, but still sounds more like his problem and that of many Filipinos. From skin whiteners so many Filipinos use (looking like too pale ghosts) in the Philippines, to the silly memes some Duterte supporters made showing “Hillary supporting Duterte”. The thin-skinned nature of Filipino pride when the foreign press reports on the country, or a foreign commenter says something not so nice, is the other aspect of the Filipino colonial syndrome.

The teenage nation

The immature aspect of that syndrome is that is takes the foreign, especially the “white” view of things, either as something to be followed or to be opposed. A lot of the anti-Western rhetoric of Duterte recently is similar to things one has heard both from Filipino nationalists and leftists for many decades. There is of course the new aspect of wanting to be allied with Russia and China, which is of course stark opposition to the formerly very pro-American course of the Philippines, somewhat like a teenager wearing exactly the clothes and saying things parents do not stand for.

“Wir sind die, vor denen unsere Eltern uns immer gewarnt haben” – was an activist slogan in Germany before: “we are those whom our parents warned us about”. Duterte’s provocations remind me of some of the provocations of that crowd from the 1960s to 1980s, which used leftist slogans. From the 1990s onward, Nazi and nationalistic symbols were used to provoke, by a new crowd. That Duterte’s Hitler provocation was taken seriously – the Philippine Ambassador was summoned on Friday – but not commented on by higher-ranking German officials at all is not surprising.

Colonialism and independence

A Filipino commented on Facebook that it is interesting that Duterte seems to take a “white man” – Hitler – as a role model, isn’t that very colonial mentality? It is indeed also very colonial to rely on the army and the police in controlling the archipelago – the Guardia Civil already did that, just like its American-era successor, the Philippine Constabulary, which Rafael Crame helped build up. It is also very colonial to lean on a new sponsor – very possibly China this time, much like Aguinaldo decided to gamble on the United States who did bring him to Manila from Hong Kong.

It would be independent foreign policy to strengthen regional alliances like Indonesia and Vietnam, which is one good thing being done already. Overcoming colonialism would also be helping the people in the slums achieve a better livelihood, instead of just conducting the usual drug raids at night (evidenced by videos widely available) and thereby causing many casualties among the poor. Allying with resurgent powers like Russia or rising powers like China may lead to more dependency than working with no longer colonial powers (the EU) or the overextended superpower USA.

Overcoming 400 years

In his Bacolod speech, President Duterte mentioned 400 years of colonialism. The Philippines indeed became a colony very early, a collection of chiefdoms that submitted to a colonial government in Manila, which is the inheritance of the Republic. The President’s powers are similar to those of a colonial governor, and every Philippine President so far has sought the allegiance of local politicians, much like Rajas sought the allegiance of datus in the past. In fact former allies of Mar Roxas have recently moved to PDP-Laban, much like datus flocking towards a new overlord.

And there are still a lot of hang-ups, especially in the relationship of Filipinos to “white people”, who are often alternately admired and hated. Or by some, liked when they come with money or lend money to the relatives of their Filipina wife for example, but secretly seen with disdain especially when they ask for repayment of debts. Or even openly threatened with a bolo or a gun. Strangely enough, there are many Filipinos who bully or deride those nice to them, and submit to those who bully them – foreigner or local. The datu culture in its peculiar, colonial deformation.

Then there is this strange oscillation between trying to ingratiate foreigners and then being rude to them. Something I have observed in many Filipino-foreign contexts, not just recent outbursts. This is of course also an offshoot of the deformed datu culture, where you are either master or servant, never just simply friend or ally. In these aspects, President Duterte truly reflects a lot of Filipino attitudes in a certain segment of the population. Acting just normal, not domineering or submissive, is that possible at all in the future? Time will tell. Filipinos will have to sort that out.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 2 October 2016

 

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