The Road Ahead

Śródmiejska Obwodnica Zachodnia (Bielsko-Biała)

Road in Poland

Three Kings Day. The smoke of New Year firecrackers has dispersed. Time to look at what could lie ahead.

Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow once defined a hierarchy of human needs. These are:

  • Physiological. Many people in the Philippines are still very poor, can hardly make ends meet. The hunger that was reported during the time of President Arroyo seems to be gone. There is the Pantawid Pamilya program which is a safety net for many, inspired by similar programs in Latin America. It is not a dole-out, but is connected to developing good habits like medical check-ups, sending children to school and more. What I do not know is if it reaches far enough into the slum areas – because desperation can lead to drugs and crime.
  • Safety. In terms of personal safety, there are those who fear crime. There have been some improvements in policing mentioned in previous articles, and attempts to improve the delivery of justice. Fear of crime may be one of the things that make Mayor Duterte popular. Never mind that his radical approach may endanger innocent people, even themselves. In terms of safety in case of illness, there is Philhealth, but the generous benefits Binay has offered in Makati seem to appeal to some. Never mind that they might not be fundable on a national scale.
  • Love and belonging. Many families are split up due to migration and work abroad. There are even people working in Metro Manila who leave their families in the provinces because they cannot afford to live with them in the city. Grace Poe with her motherhood statements might appeal to many. Never mind that her program is more like a nice movie, not at all realistic.
  • Esteem. Miriam Santiago might fulfill that need for some. Never mind that she has no strategy on how to guard the nation from its enemies. Only nationalistic bluster. And old-school talk.
  • Self-actualization. There is a very modern upper and middle class that is confident and now discovering the world, realizing its full potential and possibilities. Mar Roxas could be the symbol for most of these people. Some of them might not realize how far behind them others are. Self-actualization can become self-absorption, seeing the others only as masa or bobotante. Maslow himself saw self-transcendence as the final step. People should help others, explain things, share both opportunities and knowledge. I see Leni Robredo as very strong in this area.

Conflict and Communication

Laufwasserkraftwerk Oberföhring Isarwerk 3

Vintage hydroelectric plant

I see the present discussions in the Philippines as an expression of different needs within the population. Conflict was necessary to start some discussions, because some are not able to talk or explain well, and others are not good at listening or understanding, and almost everybody passes judgement way to quickly. Rapid change has made communication very hard – between social classes, between city and countryside, between different generations. Might be that more true communication is needed though.

But PLEASE not about candidates, candidates, candidates again. Just like some young Pinoys who had to eat chicken every day after their father had made too much for a big Filipino party said manok, manok, manok after two weeks. Informing oneself responsibly comes first. Look for a clear picture. Maybe even form groups to gather information and piece things together. Then ask government and politicians what they want to do about pressing matters. Describe problems and possible solutions. Find out who is responsive and who isn’t by communicating with them.

This is better than just yelling out on social media. I am very tired of much of the noise by now. It will not have any effect at all. Just like voting leaders with unproven or questionable capabilities is very dangerous. Or thinking any President can do it all alone or even a President-VP tandem, and voting just any Senators, Congressmen, Governors or Mayors this year. Miracles don’t exist. Successful countries did not happen overnight. Just looking a little at history will show it. Overnight successes like Saudi Arabia and Dubai may still turn out to be like one-day oil millionares.

Getting Stuff Done

Abschlussdeich Blickrichtung Südwest

Afsluitdijk in Netherlands

Based on my own experience as an IT projects veteran, and also having seen how things get done worldwide, this is what is essential:

  • Sustained effort. It took around 150 years to tame the Isar river of Munich, which used to flood the poorer areas of the city, creating canals for water management, hydroelectric plants and a dam whose water is let out BEFORE major rains come in order to be able to accomodate them and protect the city – what are weather forecasts for? But every phase delivered results.
  • Foresight. Why was the purchase of the MRT in the 1990s not used to ramp up a local industry for creating own train coaches and rails, to be able to build more lines without spending foreign currency reserves? The DOST AGT system which is already running and might be first used in Baguio considers these criteria. Considering rising sea levels, might it not make sense to build something like an Afsluitdijk for Manila Bay, between Bataan and Batangas? Even create new cities like the Dutch did over there, or double Metro Manila in size?
  • Build own expertise. Do not just follow the advice of consultants, adapt it to local needs. Build local expertise so that the role of consultants will be less in subsequent projects.
  • Communicate with stakeholders. Make websites for example that truly inform about what plans are and how they are progressing, in a way the can be easily understood by most.
  • Monitor success locally. Don’t just believe what is told. Make surprise inspections. Send anonymous testers. Ask people affected for feedback and truly listen and answer them.

Now the Philippines will need more effective managers who get things done, like Dr. Mahar Lagmay of DOST Project Noah. And political leaders who put together effective teams at all levels. Finally, voters will have to think for themselves, put together a very complex picture and decide. Or vote based on their feelings only – which doesn’t help.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 6 January 2015



Riding the Tiger

Kennon Road construction in 1903 (Wikimedia commons)

The Philippines rides a tiger today. Like a bus going up Kennon road, it is on a narrow path upwards, with the precipice to one side and the mountain to the other. The Philippines is going through multiple developments that Europe and America had decades and centuries for at Internet speed, with some people very much ahead and others way behind – in all respects.

Forces of History

Different tribes on numerous islands were colonized. Islam, Spain and the Americans shaped them. The Spanish co-opted local nobility as the principalia, from barangay to municipal level. Some of the principalia became ilustrados, the first to define the Filipino nation as an idea. The common people had no real idea of a Filipino nation. The nation that Bonifacio referred to was Katagalugan, the Tagalog nation, even if some Filipino nationalists say he meant the Philippines, I doubt he really did.

In early 20th century Bikol, there were the “Nationalists”, more often principalia and Spanish-speaking, often originally coming from Tagalog or other regions, and “Americanists” who saw their opportunities in the new order, mostly those who were not yet as entrenched. Aguinaldo’s Republic was mainly Tagalog and run by the principalia, with some ilustrados like Heneral Luna and Mabini. Probably Mabini was the only true Filipino nationalist at that time, seeing both nation and people.

Quezon was a Nationalist who completed the Philippine state with Americanist methods, and was instrumental in fighting the more radical Ricartistas, the followers of Heneral Ricarte. Ricarte was anti-American and pro-Japanese, his followers often tough street people. The Jones Law of 1916 temporarily defused the Ricartista movement. Ricarte, “El Vibora” went into Japanese exile to return with the Japanese. The reviled MAKAPILI were a reincarnation of the aggressive Ricartista spirit.

NP and LP continued along old Nationalist and Americanist lines – one more pro-state, the other more pro-business, even if Macapagal tried to outdo the NP in being nationalist. Marcos for all his anti-oligarch rhetoric established his own cronies, and was beholden to certain groups within the United States at that time for all his nationalistic rhetoric. The persecution of intellectuals during his period made many become rebels – both Moro groups and NPA grew during the Marcos regime.

Cory for all her American education was against US bases staying. Ramos eased the return of the Marcos family for all his efficiency, while Erap nearly had Marcos interred in the Heroes Cemetery. Throwing out Erap who seemed for the people but proved corrupt only paved the way for worse in the form of Gloria Arroyo. Noynoy Aquino was voted into power on the hope that he might be able to make things better.

The Philippines Now

He has done well on some fronts, OK on many, and badly on a few. In international matters – dealing with China, multilateral cooperation, APEC and ASEAN, the growing relationship with the EU which has recently started free trade talks with the Philippines, formerly shunned – his record is excellent. In economic matters as well, the Central Bank is now excellent, international credit ratings have gone up, the BPO business continues to buzz. Even tourism is picking up again. In terms of opportunities, it looks like the Go Negosyo Act and Negosyo Centers have already been effective. In social matters, the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilya) couple assistance for the poor with inculcating better habits, and CCT is coupled with school performance. Both are well monitored from what I gather. K-12 is a good education program, Oplan Lambat-Sibat and LGPMS sound good on the police and local government side. How well implemented and monitored they are is unclear.

Because of colonialism, the Philippines have had the clean and dirty kitchen everywhere. The clean kitchen to be shown to guests, especially foreigners, and the dirty kitchen were the maids cook. Daang Matuwid was theoretically about honesty, about cleaning up the dirty kitchen. The Ombudsman seems to be hyperactive in smoking out corruption; BIR seems to have been cleaned while Customs remains a problem. And yes, charges were pressed in the Tanim-Bala scam. BBL was not handled well, and has failed. The MRT and Manila traffic not handled with enough foresight.

Walls were built to hide squatters from both visitors of the UNCTAD V conference in Manila during Marcos times, and the Pope. Does it sound similar to some things that happened this year? Yes. There are more honest Filipinos now than then in my opinion, but brutal honesty must increase. Not to hit back at “the other side”, but to solve the many problems the country has. The country is in the process of maturing, and maturity means adressing issues without resorting to passive-aggressive sullenness or denial on one side and aggressive blaming on the other.

Confusion and Understanding

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Inquirer logo (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Media often help confuse and increase the anger. Manila papers are often just data, who said what. Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc died to see her Inquirer decline from what it was in 1986, a bastion of restored democracy, into a tabloid. Online media like Rappler, Interaksyon and CNN Philippines at least offer mostly information. True knowledge like what I would like to see about tanim-bala, crime and poverty is not offered by anyone. Some knowledge is offered by bloggers like Joe America or Raissa Robles, to some extent also by Get Real Philippines when they are not heckling. Excellent regional papers like Mindanews and Cebu Daily News are more and more national in their perspectives.

Therefore it takes enormous effort to get a clear picture of what is really going on at important fronts, even for the highly interested. Social media is both a force of information and disinformation, especially with the campaign nearing.

Top-level press in developed countries would report about Tanim-Bala like this, to give a recent example:

  • Since when has it been reported, how many cases, how many dismissed etc.
  • How many cases in relation to number of travelers in a given time frame.
  • Timeline – first reports, investigation initiated, charges pressed etc.

I miss accurate and extensive reporting on crime in the Philippines as well. How was it before, what has improved, where are the flashpoints. What are the causes? Has crime “increased” statistically because it is only being reported more now, being monitored better? Is it only because the dirty kitchen has been opened and the cockroaches are finally being counted? My feeling is partly yes, partly no. Whether you look at DILG and PNP, or at Davao, I doubt it is the whole picture.

Clear statistics about poverty, and overview of the places where there are a lot of slums, what is being done about it are needed. I would expect a future President to show a map of the country at every SONA, with problem zones for every important aspect – rebellion, crime, poverty – shown in red, OK areas in blue, and fixed areas in green. And comparisions to the year before. If the President does not do it, I would expect good media to do it. Only hard-nosed realism fixes problems long-term. Not excessive optimism and smugness, not opportunistic negativism.

Shaping the Future

Romeinse vlag

Modern re-creation of Roman SPQR

Mutual respect, effective communication and responsibility are imperative in this situation. To build:

Real education. Problem-solving skills and not discussing ius sanguinis and residency requirements like medieval monks who discussed how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Equal opportunities. Filipinos often are cake eaters and pettily quarrelsome, based on colonial and postcolonial experience. The cake should be grown for all to have more instead of quarreling about it.

Effective justice. Rules should be clear and simple, and imposed impartially and without delay. Not what they have been so very often – used to favor one’s own group and screw others.

Good Leaders. Don’t ask me who I would prefer for President. What is needed are:

  1. A President who can lead a team of Secretaries and supervise the LGUs nationwide,
  2. A Vice President who assists the President and is a credible successor just in case,
  3. A Senate that not only makes good laws, but blocks and/or modifies bad laws,
  4. A Congress that represents the different local groups, but thinks nationwide,
  5. Governors and Mayors that effectively implement what is needed locally.

Good citizens. People who both support their leaders, and constructively criticize them as well. Who form citizen groups to help in auditing local governments, like the Citizen Action Network for Accountability. Who check the press, but in order to increase understanding, not confusion. People will have to vote leaders at all levels that can work together, and learn to work together as well. Follow rules by themselves, and help fix rules that are obsolete.

Senatus Populusque Romanus

SPQR meant the Senate and the People of Rome, a force to be reckoned with. Finally it is about cohesion. Albay under Governor Joey Salceda seems to have achieved that at all levels, forged among other things by weathering natural disasters. Nona was handled in an exemplary manner recently. Since Yolanda, improvements like DOST Project NOAH for monitoring risks and Oplan Listo for LGUs have helped, Lando relief was praised even by the UN. But Albay was already ahead even before.

There is not enough cohesion yet at the national level. Political groups try to blame each other for nearly everything while pretending they are saints themselves – some more and some less. Finally there are a few who have realized that it is imperative to address the work to be done instead of getting lost in personal and group quarrels. Like former President Ramos in the slapping issue.

A Happy New Year to the Nation and the People of the Philippines. I once turned my back on the country as a hopeless case. This time I see a real chance for better days to come.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, Munich, 27. December 2015


Programa ni Duterte

Eleven Blind Leaders (1910?)Maganda at may nilabas nang programa ang kandidatong si Mayor Duterte. Nasa ThinkingPinoy ang mga detalye. Mabuti at hindi lang sampalan ang pinag-uusapan ngayon. Mahalagang pag-usapan ang ugali ng isang magiging Presidente, kung mapagkakatiwalaan ito o hindi, kung kaya niya ang pamumuno at iba pa. Mahalaga ring pag-usapan ang kakayahan ng isang kandidato, kung ano ang kanyang nagawa na, para malaman kung kaya niyang gawin ang ibinabalak niya. Mahalaga rin ito para malaman kung tugma ang mga pangako niya sa dati niyang pamamalakad.

Napupunta na sa pagiging mas mature ang politika sa Pilipinas. Hindi na Kindergarten, hindi na Elementary, hindi na rin High School. Sa iilang bagay, Undergraduate pa, ibig sabihin hindi pa naka-graduate para maging Bachelor. Sa iilang bagay, Graduate level na, ibig sabihin papunta ng Master’s. Hindi basta-basta ang magpatakbo ng isang bansa. Lalo na iyong nagiging moderno na, pero hindi pa sanay doon. Lahat ng bansang naging moderno, nagdaan sa gulo at hirap. Pag-aralan ang kasaysayan para malaman ito. Pero balik tayo sa programa ni Atty. Rodrigo Duterte:

  1. Corruption: Increase salary of military and police to give them dignity and dissuade them from taking bribes
  2. Public Order: Inspire Filipinos to be disciplined so future Filipinos can inspire each other to do the same.
  3. Industrialization: Revive the country’s steel industry, arguing that it’s the most important step towards industrialization
  4. Economic Policies: Make our economic policies and laws simple and believable, protect the investments that will come in.
  5. Foreign Investments:  Creation of Free Zone-type “business islands” to encourage investmentand create jobs.
  6. Food Security: Improve logistics to lower food costs; Make GOCC-banks’ credit facilities more accessible to the poor farmers and fishermen
  7. Education: Use of technology to address classroom shortage; Use of government and mass media to revive and promote Values Education
  8. Education: Implied the return of children’s TV programs, so the question is… ibabalik ba niya ang Batibot?

Pagsusuri sa Programa

Corruption: meron modernisasyon na ang PNP na nabanggit ko sa artikulong Seguridad ni Duterte, sa tulong ng Alemanya mula pa noon 2009. Siyempre hindi kaagad mababago ang isang organisasyon na napakalaki at marami nang nasanay sa maling pamamalakad. Maganda ang magtaas ng suweldo, at itinataas naman ng gobyerno ito. Pero tignan muna kung kayang bayaran. Maraming mga gustong magbaba ang taxes. Hindi maaring isabay ang pagbaba ang taxes at itaas ang suweldo ng mga nasa gobyerno. Sobrang dami na yata ng government employees ngayon. Dapat bawasan ang mga ito sa tagal-tagal, pero dapat may matinong plano sa computerization. Merong proyekto ang DOST na iGovPhil. Malawak na computerization program na para sa gobyerno. Ilang taon na. Computer specialist ako, beterano na talaga. Alam ko kung gaanong katagal ang ganyan. Dapat kasama din dito ang isang database para sa kapulisan. With national ID if possible. Lahat ng bansa sa Continental EU may national ID at lahat ng tao dapat mag-register kung saan nakatira. Sa England at USA lang ito hindi uso. Bakit kasi sa USA lahat ginagaya?

Public Order: kasama sa K-12 ang Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao. Hindi nakukuha sa biglaan ang pagiging displinado. Noong panahon ng Martial Law, bawal ang private firearms, pero iyong mga may hawak ng sandata sa estado, minsan inaabuso ang kapangyarihan nila. Mas maganda ang bagong programa ng PNP, kasama ang taongbayan, community based. Otherwise, iyong mga curfew ng Davao hindi masama. Normal ang ganyan sa Alemanya kung saan ako nakatira. Ang Protection of Young Persons Act halimbawa ay isang Federal Law. Bawal ang magtinda ng alak o sigarilyo sa mga menor de edad, kung bata ka pang tignan hihingan ka ng national ID ng tindahan – kung hindi sila ang magbabayad ng multa. Pero pagdating sa Public Order, mag-ingat sa pagka-close ni Mayor Duterte sa mga NPA. Ayaw na siya ng maraming militar gawa nito, lalo na iyong sitwasyon sa Davao ngayon. Pagkakaisa ang mahalaga para sa Public Order. Nadanas na ng Alemanya ang karahasan para ipilit ang Ordnung. Hindi umobra. Kung sa ngayon lang, lahat ng ibang kampo inaaway na ni Duterte at lalo na iyong mga supporter niya, baka lalong magkawatak-watak lahat.

Industrialization: ang steel industry sa buong mundo ngayon nahihirapan na. Iyong mga murang mag-produce tulad ni Mittal na taga-India, natatalo ang mga European companies. At hindi na lahat nagdedepende sa steel. Iyong mga modernong kumpanya tulad ng Airbus na gumagawa ng eroplano o Daimler-Benz na gumagawa ng Mercedes, composite materials na ang madalas gamitin. Ang Daimler-Benz, gumagamit pa nga ng abaca ngayon – native product ng Davao at Albay ito. Tignan kaya ng mabuti kung anong magagawa rito. Dahil kahit sa metal kailangan ng matinding pananaliksik para makagawa ka ng matibay na produkto. Meron na nito ang DOST: iyong Metals Industry Research and Development Center. Kaya sila nakadevelop ng Roadtrain at AGT na maaring pumalit sa MRT balang araw. Nakita sa MRT na mahirap ang umasa sa parteng galing sa abroad. Lahat ng maunlad na bansa may sariling teknolohiya at pananaliksik. Huwag tanggalin ang Algebra para sa magiging scientist, iyong vocational wala nito sa Grade 11-12. Tignan ang K-12 Plus na tinutulangan din nga Alemanya, may training sa trabahador sa manufacturing.

Economic Policies: tama. Halu-halo at tagpi-tagpi ang mga batas ngayon. Maraming lusutan na pampabagal sa hustisya. Nabanggit ko rin sa artikulong Seguridad ni Duterte na matagal nang may project ang DOJ para gawing mas simple at wala nang lusot ang Criminal Code, sa tulong din ng Alemanya. Natapos na ang Draft nito noong 2014, pero ewan ko kung nasaan. Sa nababasa ko mukhang tamad ang Kongreso, baka hindi nila ito inaasikaso. Pero meron nang nagawa ang Go Negosyo Act, meron nang mga Negosyo Center, halimbawa sa Cebu at Davao. May nakinabang na.

Foreign Investments: meron nang katulad ng sinusuggest ni Mayor Duterte ang PEZA. Para ito halimbawa sa mga gustong magtayo ng BPO company. Ano pa ang kulang sa tingin ni Mayor? Baka parang Hong Kong at Macao style ang gusto niyang gawin, o kaya iyong mga Export Processing Zone (EPZA) ni Marcos? Ang naging problema sa mga EPZA ni Marcos, iyong mga karapatan ng mga trabahador, madalas na natatapakan kaya lumakas ang mga Komunista. Sa bagay, mukhang close si Mayor Duterte sa mga NPA. Baka puro Chinese companies ang ipasok sa Pilipinas. Racist ang mga Chinese, baka alipinin lang nila ang mga Pilipino. Mabuti pa iyong gumawa ng sariling industriya na nakabase sa pananaliksik at engineering. Magandang simula na ang mga proyekto ng DOST at ang K-12 Plus, pati na ang K-12 para tumaas ang antas ng edukasyon na kinakailangan ng Pilipinas para maging tunay na industrial country at hindi lang pagawaan ng iba.

Food Security: mukhang napabayaan ito. Pagdating sa logistics, marami ng mga daang ginawa ang gobyerno ngayon sa pamamagitan ng PPP. Iyong namang distribution logistics, maganda ang nakita ko rito sa Alemanya: iyong BAYWA. Sila ang nag-aarkila ng mga makina sa mga magsasaka, pati harvest storage at building materials may serbisyo sila. Pag-aralan ito dahil may ganyan ding si President Quezon noong araw, Marcos din kaya lang cronies ang nakinabang. Pagdating naman sa financing, meron nang mga microfinancing projects na tinutulungan din ng Alemanya.

Education: nabanggit ko na sa itaas na maganda ang mga lesson plan ng K-12. Meron nang Values Education. Use of technology – meron akong nabasang partnership ng Globe at DepEd para mas gamitin ang Internet. Meron na akong nasulat na artikulo tungkol sa Internet sa Pilipinas – dapat ayusin ito dahil mabagal talaga. May ginagawa ang DOST ASTI pero baka kulang sa suporta. Tungkol naman sa TV, ang problema hindi iyon: maling paggamit ng Internet ang problema. Sobrang Internet nakakasira ng ulo. Dapat magulang ang piliting mag-control sa mga anak nila. Mahigpit talaga rito sa Alemanya pagdating doon. Kapag mga anak mo hindi pumapasok, o kaya laging nahuhuli sa kung anu-ano, puwedeng alisin sa iyo ng Jugendamt o Youth Office ang mga ito at ilagay sa foster family or kaya state facility na parang Boys Town. Bago mangyari ito, may counsellor munang bibisita sa pamilya para tignan kung ano ang kalagayan ng pamamahay, kung pabaya o kaya patapon ang mga magulang. Sa ganyan, maraming natutulungan bago pa mapunta sa krimen o droga iyong mga bata. Hindi kasalanan ng isang bata ang kanyang mga magulang.

Chikanobu Toyohara - Imperial Lineage

Imperial dynasty ng mga Hapon

Mga kulang pa

Metro Manila: pinakamalaking problema ito ng Pilipinas. Bakit?

  • overpopulated – pinakamasikip na na lugar sa buong mundo. Tignan ang population density para malaman.
  • lumulubog na – gawa ito ng groundwater subsidence. Nauubos ang groundwater, lumulubog ang lupa.
  • pataas ang dagat – lumulubog na, tapos pataas pa ang dagat. Puro baha ang mapapala sa ganyan.

Paalisin siguro ang Crame, Aguinaldo at Bilibid sa Maynila, pati na rin ang Wack-Wack, tapos iba pa. Kapag kumonti ang tao sa Maynila, mas madaling solusyonan ang traffic. Siyentipikong napatunayan na mas agresibo ang mga tao at dumadami ang krimen at droga sa mga siyudad, lalo na sa mga megacity na over 10 million na katao. Bawasan!

International relations: nasa gitna ang Pilipinas ng isang malaking conflict ng dalawang superpowers.

  • mas kabisado ng Pilipino ang ugaling Amerikano, kaya sa tingin ko mas magandang sila ang kaalyado.
  • ang Chinese, mababa ang tingin sa lahat ng Southeast Asian, dapat ba silang kaibiganin tulad ng sabi ni Duterte?
  • sa tingin ko, maganda ang ginawa ni Presidente Aquino. Kinasuhan ang China para iwasan muna ang gyera. Anong karugtong nito?

Mga oportunidad: para umasenso ang mga masisipag at matalino, kahit galing sila sa hirap o kamangmangan. Madami akong nakikitang mga anak ng mga migrante na umasenso sa abroad. Tulad ng anak ng dati kong yaya. Siya mismo, pinaaral ng nanay kong Aleman dahil nakita niyang matalino at masipag. Pero nahirapang makakuha ng trabahong katumbas ng pinag-aralan niya dahil ang tingin sa kanya dating katulong pa rin kaya nag-abroad din. Iyong anak niya, maraming wikang isinasalita at nag-aaral na ngayon sa Unibersidad. Ama niya magsasaka at tricycle driver dati sa Pilipinas, nanay niya nagdaan sa pagiging katulong at sekretarya doon. Maraming angking talino at kakayahan ang mga Pilipino na nasasayang gawa ng makalumang lipunan doon, kasi nagdedepende masyado sa level ng magulang mo ang makakamit mo sa buhay. May mga political dynasties – kasama na rin doon ang mga Duterte – pero hindi lang doon. Pati sa UP may mga dynasty ng mga propesor, sa Army may mga dynasty ng mga officer at kung saan saan pa. Kulang ang tunay na kompetisyon. Mga bansang maunlad, meron nito. Kahit iyong meron pang mga hari at reyna, hindi na masyadong binibigyan ito ng importansya kung anak ka na royal. Si Prince Andrew ng Inglatera, pareho lang ang trato sa kanya noong nasa militar siya. Walang favoritism. Kaya kung hindi sana nakipag-alyansa si Senadora Santiago sa mga Marcos na dynasty din, siya ang mas gugustuhin ko sa lahat. Umasenso siya gawa ng pag-aaral at kasipagan. Bihira sa Pilipinas ito.

Pambansang diskusyon

Babaeng Manobo (Wikimedia)

Mabuti at nagsisimula na ang pambansang diskusyon tungkol sa mga dapat gawin para matuloy ang pag-asenso ng Pilipinas. Sa ekonomiya meron na, pero marami pang hindi pa nakinabang kaya maraming hindi kuntento. Kasi ang Pilipino swapang madalas. Noong panahon ng mga Marcos puro mga crony. Noong panahon ni Arroyo puro mga oligarchs. Maski noong panahon ni Cory may mga kamag-anak siyang nakinabang na hindi niya macontrol gawa ng sobra niyang bait at pagiging inosente. Si Noynoy minsan hindi rin makahindi sa kanyang mga KKK. Si Ramos OK sana.

Itong mga pangugulit kong artikulo, ambag lamang ng isang napatagal sa abroad at nakakita na ng magandang pamamalakad. Maaring hindi magagawa ang lahat ng suggestion ko dahil baka hindi pa bagay sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon sa Pilipinas na magulo talaga. Malaki ang mga pagkakaiba ng bawat lugar, pati na ng mga tao pagdating sa ugali, edukasyon at kakayahan. Dapat siguro gawing mas pantay ang pamumuhay sa loob ng bansa – sa Alemanya, requirement pa nga ito sa kanilang Konstitusyon, Article 72 (2) – equivalent living conditions. Mahirap kasi kung may mga naiiwan.

Ang tingin ko kay Duterte, mayabang at pampagulo, pang-mayor lang. Pero maganda rin minsan iyong pampagulo para magising lahat, mapag-usapan, maiplano at maisagawa ang mga dapat gawin. Huwag sana biglaan at baka mahulog pa sa bangin, pero huwag din iyong sobrang bagal. Iba-iba ang mga Pilipino ngayon. Sa iba’t-ibang isla. Sa buong mundo. Pagsama-samahin ang kaalaman at karanasan. Makinig at gumalang sa magkaibang opinyon. Buhayin ang Demokrasya.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, ika-20 ng Disyember 2015

P.S. ano ang mga suggestion NINYO tungkol sa lahat na ito?


Evolution of Order

Ramses ii statue-london-england-british-museum

Pharaoh Ramses II

Order is a problem in the Philippines. Seems people have different ideas on what order is about. Some seem to have no idea of order whatsoever to others, some too much. This is why I have looked at how order has evolved in the human race, to get some order into my own mind on this:

  1. Bands: Khoisan, Agta
  2. Villages: kraal, barangays
  3. Warlords: Nebuchadnezar, Ampatuan
  4. God-Kings: Pharaoh, Duterte
  5. Rebels/Prophets: Moses, Dagohoy
  6. Moral lawmakers: St. Paul, Mabini
  7. Secular lawmakers: Justinian, Quezon

The different stages

Some explanations on how these different stages looked like:

Stage 1) Bands: hunter-gatherers like many Agta before. Fedor Jagor, German-Russian businessman and amateur ethnologist, wrote that the Agta in Bikol hunted together, and those who were able-bodied but did not join the hunt did not get their share of the food. Fair enough. But anthropologist Jared Diamond noted that this way of life needs a lot of space to be sustainable.

Stage 2) Villages: agriculture is more efficient in sustaining larger groups, but once people have more you need to regulate property. Conflicts were settled by going to the chief, a role the barangay captain has until today. Germanic tribes had primitive versions of today’s American juries – trial by councils, and simple forms of democracy with village assemblies.

Stage 3) Warlords started in places where there were many people around big rivers that made large-scale agriculture possible.  They controlled the people who worked the fields by fear and took their surpluses. Nebuchadnezzar was Babylonian, in the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. These often shifted their course, causing fertile areas to change, with numerous conflicts as a result. The epic Gilgamesh and the movie 10000 BC show the shift from villages to warlord-run cities.

Stage 4) Pharaohs and Chinese Emperors were the first God-Kings. Pharaohs maintained control of both the upper areas of the Nile and the lower areas and controlled water and harvest distribution. Cats were holy in ancient Egypt because they guarded the granaries. The novel Ancient Evenings by Norman Mailer shows how Pharaoh Ramses was head of the harvest and fertility cult of Egypt. Women adored him. He even shows his erection at a harvest festival. God-Kings also made final decisions, literally over matters of life and death, war and peace, by themselves.

Stage 5) Prophets were rebels. Moses led slaves out of Egypt, the Pharaoh pursuing him. The idea of one God kept people together for a while. But when the Jews were in the desert, they started to worship idols. Moses went up the mountain, and had to come back with the Ten Commandments. Pirates were also rebels. Greek democracies had their origins in mercantile city-states, but it is clear that the Greeks started as pirates. Troy was simply a pirate raid on a rich city run by warlords. Pirates in the Carribean also had some form of democracy. Vikings also did.

Stage 6) Moral lawmakers. Moses became a moral lawmaker with the 10 Commandments. St. Paul of course was a more prolific moral lawmaker, his Letters to different Greek and Roman cities were lectures on how to behave correctly. Common morals are useful to keep large communities together without having to resort to fear which God-Kings and Warlords did, or rely only on faith in God. Bonifacio with his Kartilya and Mabini with his Dekalogo also tried to give Commandments to the Filipino people. One of Bonifacio’s Commandments was to respect women.

Stage 7) Secular lawmakers. Roman Emperor Justinian was one of the first to codify laws. His “Roman law” became the basis for later laws in Europe. The nice thing about secular law is that it is logical and clear, and does not depend on what God you believe in, or what morals you have. Of course it depends on justice and police that are not corrupt, so the foundation of morals is important for it to function as well. Quezon said he would prefer a country run like hell by Filipinos than one run like heaven by Americans. Did he believe too much in Filipinos?

The Philippine situation

Because in the Philippines, you have almost no more people in Stage 1, but many in Stage 2-4. Barangay captains are little datus. Mayors are often little rajas. Mayors and governors are not warlords as often anymore, but in some places they still seem to be. Duterte talks like a God-King who decides who is bad and who is good, just by himself. Let us look at history:

Stage 1) Isolated groups of foragers. Agta, but also remontados or Cimarrones during Spanish times, who wanted to escape forced labor and impunity. There are Agta-Cimarrones in Tiwi, Albay.

Stage 2) Barangays. But the barangay system was coopted by the Spanish and the datus became the principalia. It became the barrio system under the Americans and was revived by Marcos. Aguinaldo started as a cabeza de barangay and even as a President had that mentality.

Stage 3) Warlords. Raja Mangubat of the teleserye Amaya comes to mind.  They consolidated several barangays into areas they controlled. Also most generals of Aguinaldo were de facto warlords. Many postwar Filipino politicians were warlords, until President Marcos became the supreme warlord with an army that was enlarged and recruited many Ilocanos. The NPA and the different Muslim insurrections produced new warlords of different types, masquerading as revolutionaries.

Stage 4) God-Kings. President Marcos was a God-King to some extent, at least to his followers. Legendary figures like Handyong, King of Ibalon or Bikol who may have ruled from near Naga, or proven historical figures like the Kings of Tondo, all ruled economically prosperous regions like parts of the Manila Bay area or the estuary of the Bikol river.

Stage 5) Rebels/prophets. The Colorums or Pulahanes were often rebel prophets. Dagohoy was a rebel and a prophet, restoring native religion in the mountains. Felix Manalo was a prophet in the days after Aguinaldo’s failed Republic. His INC followers use a Tagalog that is remiscent of Bonifacio and Mabini to this day. Corazon Aquino was a bit of a prophet against a God-King, helped by military warlords who made problems for her later. But also a lawmaker and institution-builder: Local Goverment and Family Codes, the Ombudsman and the 1987 Constitution.

Stage 6) Moral lawmakers: Spanish Catholic priests. Bonifacio and Mabini. Noynoy Aquino with Daang Matuwid. Some of his actions in the beginning: Arroyo and Corona – may be seen as arbitrary or not, while the actions of the Ombudsman recently show that the fight against corruption seems to be picking up. President Aquino, both mother and son, have made the mistake of trusting their people too much. Cory the Cojuangcos. Noynoy trusted his sisters too much who supported Binay. He also may have trusted people like Abaya and Purisima way too much.

Stage 7) Secular Lawmakers: 19th-century Spanish administrators. 20th-century American administrators. Filipinos supporting them, including Manuel Quezon, afterwards postwar lawmakers. Mar Roxas has been an institution-builder as DILG Secretary. The modernization of the PNP and the enabling and monitoring of LGUs picked up under him, continuing Jesse Robredo’s work.

The Presidential Candidates


Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (source: Telegraph)

No wonder the Philippines is so disorderly. Many different levels in the evolution of order coexist. Let us look at the presidential candidates:

Jejomar Binay: in the book “Raiding, Trading and Feasting”, Laura Lee Junker shows how datus used to consolidate their power. Those with economic power gave a share of the spoils to allies. Sounds like Binay’s sister cities program. Binay is in Stage 2.

Rodrigo Duterte: he is clearly in Stage 4. He acts like a Pharaoh in the Egyptian fertility cult, with women on his lap on stage, the Mocha Girls endorsing him and followers nearly worshipping him. Davao today is also an economically prosperous area. Duterte’s vice-mayors are from different tribes, like God-King Alexander the Great delegated his regions to satraps. Duterte federalism might be similar.

Grace Poe: she wants to fix the Philippines, but has no idea how to. She is definitely in Stage 5. More than Cory Aquino ever was.

Miriam Santiago represents law, meaning Stage 7. But Miriam Santiago has teamed up with Bongbong and is not healthy. Miriam Santiago is for the law and has implemented it, usually as bombastic micro-management. She may also have been in the Senate too long.

Mar Roxas represents modern order, meaning Stage 7 as well. Mar Roxas has done good work so far, but in some parts in may have been effective, in some not. Parts of the PNP may still be doing things the old corrupt and/or brutal way. Many LGUs are not compliant, the worst example of this may have been Tacloban during Yolanda. The famous video where he says “bahala kayo sa buhay ninyo” is only his reaction to the Tacloban mayor. Filipinos are often non-compliant, “pasaway” and need micro-management, even by motorcycle.

Choices and Consequences

Finally people will vote for the candidate who is at the stage they are themselves. Stage 7 is much better. It is logical and organized. I have seen it work over here. But of course it only works if the people implementing it have internalized Stages 6 and 7. Daang Matuwid had its difficulties in forcing Stage 6, sometimes using people who still were partly in Stage 5 or even below. Those that are modern and compliant would make a Roxas presidency successful. Those that have to be motivated by fear and guided by micromanagement will be looking for a Duterte presidency.

Mayor Duterte is a lawyer. His mind was educated for Stage 7, but his guts act more like Stage 4. Has he understood Stage 6 in his heart? I don’t know. He is popular among those who have not yet fully assimilated Stages 6 and 7 – moral and legal. His satraps who have not understood this will be a danger. And after Alexander the Great died, the satraps formed their own kingdoms. There is a clear danger that the Philippines would Balkanize after Duterte dies, which is likely within the next years.  Unless he is as virile and strong as Pharaoh Ramses II, Shelley’s Ozymandias:

Defaced Marcos bust (Photo: AP)

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Conclusion and Perspectives

Finally, Filipinos will choose the President that they deserve at this stage of their social development.  The difficulties of Daang Matuwid, and of Roxas not being popular, show that the Stages 6 and 7 have not yet reached enough people. Of course the leaders who have been taking the country forward are from richer families. They passed through the other stages earlier and had the possibility to learn things that others did not have. It was like that in all of human history.

The Agta that Fedor Jagor observed near Tiwi in Albay were the 1870s. That is hardly 150 years ago. Europeans and Americans had centuries to go through similar developments. Children learn attitudes from their parents and their environment. Hopefully they improve on their parent’s attitudes. But a rest of old attitudes always remains.

Racism took long to be removed in American attitudes. Democracy took long to take root in Germany. And still you will find people in both countries that have the old attitudes, or make others slide back into them. I really hope the Philippines finds its way. Because today the world is more interconnected, and sliding back means losing to others. Merry Christmas to all readers.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, 11 December 2015, München

P.S. I am taking a break until after Christmas, but will be answering comments for a few more days.

Seguridad ni Duterte

PNP training by Bavarian State police (source: Hanns-Seidel foundation)

Maraming humahanga kay Rodrigo Duterte. Sa totoo lang, marami talaga siyang nagawa sa Davao, hindi mapagkakaila ito. Pero maraming gustong siya ang maging Presidente, para lumaki raw ang seguridad sa Pilipinas. Maraming krimen ngayon sa Pilipinas, maraming takot, at maraming sawang-sawa na. Pero siya ba ang solusyon? Tignan natin ng mabuti.

Mga nagawa na ng gobyerno

Tignan muna natin ang nagawa na ng gobyerno. Matagal ng tinutulungan ang Pilipinas ng Hanns-Seidel Stiftung sa München para repormahin ang pulis at hustisya. Ang Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung, Pundasyon ng partidong CSU (Christian Social Union) na konserbatibong partido sa Malayang Estado ng Bavaria, isang federal state ng Alemanya.

Hindi lang konserbatibo kundi kanan, kinikilala pagdating sa law and order. Ang mga tulong nila sa Pilipinas na mababasa sa brochure na ito: at balita rito:

Naniniwala ako rito dahil dito ako sa Bavaria nakatira, sa München, mula noong 1996. Walang bolahan dito. Mahigpit ang pulis, marunong ang hustisya. Kahit gabi makakalakad akong pauwi na walang takot, kahit babaeng mag-isa rito puwedeng gawin ito. Ano ang itinulong?

  1. Sa paggawa ng bagong Codigo Criminal ng DOJ. Natapos ito noong 2014, at narinig ko na baka ipass ito by 2016. Kapag mas simple ang batas, wala nang lusutan.
  2. Ang PNP, binibigyan ng mas modernong training sa tulong ng Bavarian State Police since 2008. Merong follow-up ito ng mga Aleman mismo, hindi lang ito pakitang-tao.
  3. Binibigyan ng human rights training ang PNP para mas magtiwala sa kanila ang taongbayan. Dito rin ay may follow-up ang mga Aleman since 2008, hindi nagpapabola.

Hindi biro ang Bavarian State Police. Kinikilalang pulis sa Alemanya at sa mundo. Pulis noong panahon pa ng Nazi, kaya natuto rin sila sa human rights after the war, ngayon sila ang mga teacher.

Ang München parang Davao ng Alemanya. Sa Berlin magulo minsan at maraming krimen. Dito sa Munich hindi. Kaya kung sila ang nagtuturo sa PNP, bilib ako. Pero hindi overnight results iyan.

Totoo ba ang lahat tungkol kay Duterte?

Hetong posting ang nagbibigay sa akin ng duda: Duterte is a legend in his own mind! tignan natin ang iilang nilalaman:

Every Davao City resident follows the law and city ordinances to the letter.

Parekoy: ‘Every’ is an exaggeration! My friends (Fil-Chinese) who are close to Duterte keep on violating the city ordinances and even the speed limit and they get away with it dahil malakas sila kay Duterte. Also Davao City has criminals and the record shows that they exist but less compared to other cities.

It is the only city in the country (and perhaps in the world) where criminals fear to tread.

Parekoy: Petty criminals are not welcome for sure but the heavyweights, like the Ampatuans, even have residences there and enjoys the protection of Duterte. NPA commanders even have safe houses there that and the Military can’t touch them for they don’t want Duterte to be offended.

All drivers in the city observe the speed limit of 60 kilometers per hour on the highway and 40 kph in the city proper.

Parekoy: All drivers? Nope. I visited Davao City and my friend who is a friend of Duterte drove faster than 60kph and even saluted by the traffic officer!

An owner of a nationwide retail store chain told me how his application for a business permit breezed through the process without paying a single centavo in bribes to City Hall. That’s the reason many businesses are scrambling to set up their main office in Davao City.

Parekoy: Robredo did it in Naga City for that is what our LGUs are mandated to do but seldom followed. I will give a thumbs-up to Duterte on this regard.

He is also on the prowl for criminals he wants to catch in the act.

Parekoy: Propaganda. Digong is a coward. He makes sure that the petty criminal is caught firs by his goons then his goon calls him and for media mileage he shows how tough he is kuno by slapping the petty criminal when the tipped media is present. Sarah Duterte learned from her father in abusing people in front of the public for they know that the poor guy can’t fight back who is scared shitless surrounded by Digog’s death squad.

His sterling leadership in Davao City will be replicated in the entire country—if he is elected President.

Rody duterteParekoy: Replicated? More death squads to eradicate petty criminals but coddle bigtime drug lords, smuggling lords, plunderers, oligopolists, etc…

Posting lang ito, pero mukhang may inside sources ang nagpost, matagal ko nang ka-exchange iyan sa Cyber Plaza Miranda ni Raissa Robles.

Siguro dapat alamin kung totoo iyong mga nasa posting na ito, at huwag paniwalaan kaagad ang lahat ng maganda tungkol kay Duterte.

O ano ngayon?

Ano ang mas maganda:

  • idevelop ang isang maayos na sistema ng batas, hustisya at pulis tulad ng nasa mga bansang moderno gaya ng Alemanya? o
  • umasa sa isang tagapagligtas na inaakalang Superman ng mga tao, pero maaring hindi rin o kaya tipong warlord pala?

Ang isa pa:

  • Davao siguro maaring nakaya ni Duterte. Kabisado niya itong lugar niya, baka kaya pa niyang idesisyon kung sino ang nasa listahan niya, kung meron man.
  • Pilipinas maraming isla, ang daming tao. Baka hindi na niya mahawakan ang mga taong gagawa para sa kanya. Baka marami pang mga madamay na inosente.

Hindi madaling gawan ng solusyon ang sitwasyon na nasa pangit na. Pero baka mas malaki pa ang side effects ng solusyon na biglaan at hindi kontrolado. Pag-isipan sana ito.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, ika-26 ng Nobyembre, 2015

Tungkol sa Pagkatao ni Grace Poe

Grace Poe-Llamanzares portraitPagsasalin ito ng isang artikulo ni Joe America: pulitika ang usapang ito kundi tungkol sa pagkatao.

Sinimulan ito ni Leni Robredo noong sinabi niyang “moral issue” ang citizenship ni Senadora Poe.  Heto ang artikulo ng Inquirer tungkol dito:  “Leni Robredo: Case vs Grace Poe moral issue“.

Mas maganda ito kaysa maraming artikulo ng Inquirer dahil tinatalakay nito ang both sides. Meron pa ngang quotation galing sa spokesman ni Senadora Poe na si Rex Gatchalian:

“Never in her entire life did Poe turn her back on our country. She has always considered the Philippines her home, her domicile and her country.” 

Ako, Amerikano, kaya may problema ako doon, dahil tinalikuran ni Senadora Poe ang United States. Kaya heto ang problema sa pagkatao niya na maliwanag na ipinakita ng kampo niya mismo.

Heto ang ipinanata ni Senador Poe sa kanyang Oath of Allegiance sa Amerika:

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

Maliwanag ang US Immigration Service tungkol sa ibig sabihin nito:

Ang mga paninindigan na kinakatawanan ng panata ay nakatakda sa Section 337(a) ng Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), na nagsasabing dapat manumpa ang lahat ng aplikante, at ito ang nilalaman ng panunumpang ito:

1. Pagsuporta sa Constitution;

2. Lubos na pagtakwil sa pagiging matapat sa anumang dayuhang pinuno, estado o bansa kung saan dating naging mamamayan o citizen ang aplikante;

3. Suportahan at ipagtanggol ang Constitution at batas ng United States laban sa lahat ng kaaway, banyaga man o nasa loob;

4. Magdala ng buong pananampalataya at katapatan dito at;

A. Humawak ng sandata sa puwersa ng United States kung nakatakda sa batas; o

B. Magsilbi sa United States bilang isang hindi sundalo kung nakatakda sa batas; o

C. Gumawa ng trabahong mahalaga para sa bayan sa pamumunong civilian kung nakatakda sa batas.

Ang tanong ngayon tungkol kay Grace Poe, nagsinungaling ba siya noong isinumpa niya ang Pilipinas? O nagsinungaling ang spokesman noong sinabi niyang home niya palagi ang Pilipinas?

Hindi tahanan sa kahulugang bahay ang pinag-uusapan dito. Tahanan ng puso at kaluluwa ni Senadora Poe ang pinag-uusapan, kanyang katapatan ngayon at kailanman.

Profile photo of Senator Chiz EscuderoAlam ko kung paano minamahalaga ng mag taga-ibang bansa ang kanilang US citizenship. Hindi bola iyong kanilang panunumpa. Lumalaban sila at namamatay sila para makapasok. Isinasalita nila ang panunumpa na iyon at umiiyak sila sa tuwa dahil sa nakamtan nila.

Ano naman ang kahulugan para kay Grace Poe?

“Sinabi ko lang iyon para makapasok?”

Ngayon, anong ibig niyang sabihin sa anumang sabihin niya? Pangagatawanan ba niya, o tsarot lang niya para makalamang siya. Pagkatao niya ang pinag-uusapan. Hindi biro ito.

Kung titignan natin, baka naman laro lang ang kanyang mga ipinapangako sa kampanya. Baka pumuporma lang siyang may nagagawa dahil wala naman halos siyang nagawa hanggang ngayon. Baka puro bola lang siya.

Hindi biro ito, mga kaibigan.

Beterano akong Amerikano sa Vietnam War, ginawa ko ang utos ng bansa sa isang hindi popular na gyera, naiintindihan ko ang sakripisyo na pati buhay itataya mo kung isang citizen ka sa marangal at malalim na kahulugan nito. Milyon-milyon na Amerikano ang sumisilbi sa militar at sandaang mga milyon na Amerikano ang nagbibigay ng pagmamahal sa mga naka-uniporme gawa ng sakripisyo at paninindigan na pinangangatawanan nila. Maraming-maraming mga dating Pilipino na nagsilbi ng marangal at magiting para sa United States. Hindi ako tumingin, pero malamang may mga pangalan na Pilipino sa Vietnam Memorial wall, nakaukit para makita ng lahat… na sineryoso nitong mga Pilipino, na tiyak na nagmamahal sa tinubuan nilang lupa tulad ninyo, ang kanilang matapat na panunumpa sa Amerika.

Iyang panunumpa ay pagpapahayag ng pagiging handang sumakripisyo. Bigyang dangal, mahalin at mamatay man kung kailangan para sa ipiniling bansa.

Pineke lang pala ni Grace Poe?

Tungkol nga ito sa kanyang pagkatao.

Isinulat ni Joe America at isinalin ni Irineo Baginda Rainer Salazar sa ika-14 ng Nobyembre, 2015

The Chinese challenge

Just a few days ago, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague decided that it has jurisdiction over the filing of a case based on the UNCLOS by the Philippines in the matter of the islands known by different names in the sea known by different names: More clippings on this may be found in the Facebook page This article is to give a broader context to the issue and help understand what China is about today.

Shipping routes

Global shipping routes

The Philippine situation already is about the island situation in the sea between Vietnam and the Philippines: Vietnam and the Philippines are planning to cooperate in this area against China, which is taking one island after the other. But the situation is more complex, I shall explain why shortly.

What did others want before?

The Philippines became an object of international politics because of the sea routes that intersect in front of its shores: details this. Spain wanted the spice trade of the Portuguese and ended up with the galleon trade. The Iberians built up a global trading network.

America wanted to join the Asian trade, which was why they invaded the Philippines. This is detailed in this article: America then had the Manifest Destiny doctrine as their political bible, the Monroe doctrine having been their assertion of control over the American continent.

What does China want now?

Now China is taking island after island, but what do they want, long-term, globally and locally? This has to be looked at, since Sun Tzu says in his Art of War:

He who knows oneself and knows his enemy cannot be defeated in a hundred battles.

The Chinese situation

Illusions and humilation

The Chinese used to see the whole world as tributary to them, and their own empire as “All Under Heaven”. People who came to trade were defined as “giving tribute”.

These illusions were shattered by the following:

1) Decadence under the Manchus – not real Chinese, in fact they forced their Chinese subjects to wear pigtails as a sign of being subjects.

2) major inflation caused in 1750 because the Empire was flooded by silver from the galleon trade with the Spanish. Too much of any currency in relation to production causes inflation, and the de facto currency in China was Mexican silver pesos. Until then, China had been Number one in the world not politically, but economically. Many inventions came from China.

3) In that economic and moral crisis, many Chinese resorted to opium, shipped by mainly Scottish smugglers. Attempts by the Chinese to stop them were answered by the Opium Wars.

4) China was finally occupied in parts by 8 powers – European powers, USA, Japan. The Boxer Rebellion was an uprising against these powers, with Chinese martial arts involved.

5) Annexation of Manchuria by the Japanese, the World War 2 with atrocities such as the Rape of Nanking.

The subsequent conflict between Communists and Nationalists caused more blood to flow, Communist rule as well with its brutal reorganization of Chinese society.

Recovery and revanchism

Hopes of Chinese liberalization under Deng Xiao Ping were dashed by the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Yet effective transition to turbocapitalism under a nominally Communist government brought economic progress which is the backbone of China’s resurgent political and military power. Rhetoric and actions from China amount to an ideology of revanchism for past humiliations.

The Chinese obviously want the Iberian, later British Empire trading routes of old AND the Silk Road: Harbors in Sri Lanka and Mozambique, natural resources interests in Africa, planned Nicaragua canal. Locally, they may want to control:

Nanyang (Chinese: 南洋; pinyin: nányáng; literally: “Southern Ocean”) is the Chinese name for the warmer and fertile geographical region south of China, otherwise known as the ‘South Sea’ or Southeast Asia.[1] The term came into common usage in self-reference to the large ethnic Chinese migrant population in Southeast Asia, and is contrasted with Xiyang (西洋; Western Ocean), which refers to the Western world, and Dongyang (東洋; Eastern Ocean), which refers to Japan.

There are indications that Malaysia is close to becoming a Chinese client state. If China manages to make the Philippines into a client state, Vietnam will be isolated and China can squeeze them eventually. Southeast Asia could become like Eastern Europe before, when it was ruled by the Russians. Not a pleasant prospect.

PLANS Liaoning (CV-16)

Aircraft carrier Varyag passing the Bosporus

China bought the Varyag aircraft carrier from the Ukraine indirectly, via a “travel agency” that said it would make a floating casino out of it, completely unarmed. Now the totally armed and refurbished former Varyag is in the Mediterreanean Sea, helping the Russians in Syria:

And thereby practicing aircraft carrier skills which they need to project seaborne power. They are also building their own aircraft carriers now. The have intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBM) with conventional warheads that could hit Southeast Asian cities. Chinese hardliners may want to get back the rule it imagined it had for millenia – ruling the world and “Nanyang”.

Other players involved

The overseas Chinese

Most overseas Chinese are Cantonese and Fujianese, who speak a very different dialect from the Northern Chinese. China’s economic boom after Deng Xiaoping was mostly driven by the more enterpreneurial Southern Chinese, while the present ideology that drives China is ultranationalism coming from the Communist Party. Northern and Southern China are very different, Peking is in the North.

Those who traded with Spain in Manila and came to form the bulk of the Filipino-Chinese or Chinoy population were considered pirates – the Manchu dynasty did not want foreign trade and forbade leaving shore. The only ones the Chinese officially traded with where the Portuguese in Macau – just like the Japanese traded with Portuguese “black ships” in Nagasaki. They were exclusive mercantilist partnerships. Many of the overseas Chinese do not identify with China, some still do inspite of ideological differences. Filipino-Chinese are mostly assimilated into society.

Turkics and Mongolia

Map of independent Turkic countries.

Independent Turkic countries

In case China wants to control Eurasia and the old Silk Road with Russia, the Turkic nations might give resistance. Turkey is massively helping its brothers in Asia, where the original Ottomans came from. Turkic languages are very similar and it is easy for for someone with his mother tongue in that language to learn another. The Uigurs in Xinjiang are also Turkic and are not treated well by China. Sympathy for them may prevail. Also, Turkey is a member of NATO and militarily strong.

The Mongols are related to Turkics, are in between Russia and China, but have been doing business with the USA lately. They used to rule vast areas of Eurasia. They are known to sleep for centuries, but when they unleash their fury they are like volcanos that sleep for long. This could be a geopolitical Pinatubo waiting to happen. More here:

The United States

America has changed from the times of Manifest Destiny. Great powers that get humiliated may learn and become more human. America in 1898 was racist and imperialist, much like China today. Spain in 1521 was inhuman as well.  But the United States witnessed two humiliations that would cause great soul-searching. The Vietnam war, and the recent wars of George W. Bush. America is learning, in fact they now have Foreign Area Officers to understand the countries better they are dealing with. America often bumbled when it came to culture, besides they are overextended.

Philippine strategic options

US Aircraft Carrier Pearl Harbor (7733393760)

US aircraft carrier Pearl Harbor

Define Philippine national interests FIRST

The Philippines is usually very self-centered in the wrong way, hardly aware of what is going on around it. Self-centered should be different in the sense of knowing one’s own place in the world, one’s culture, one’s history and from that finally one’s destiny: Only a tree with deep roots can grow to be tall. Does the Philippines want to be an object of other’s interest, or define it’s own. What are it’s true values – just to get by as comfortably as possible, and parrot whatever the next colonizer says? Spain a hundred years ago, America effectively until the early 1990s, China next?

I think the Philippines and the USA have more in common in terms of values than the Philippines and China. For this reason, the Philippines will not want to be under Chinese control. Japanese occupation of the Philippines in World War 2 was terrible for Filipinos – Chinese occupation or even just being a vassal state would be similarly bad if not even worse.

Age of Relationships, not Empires

This article says it all:

The morning I arrived at the American embassy in Ulan Bator, Wilhelm, newly promoted to colonel, greeted me wearing a gray suit, a white shirt, a tie, and suspenders. Born in 1959, raised in Orlando, Florida, and given formative military training at West Point and the Army Ranger school, in Fort Benning, Georgia, Wilhelm had risen through the ranks of the military as the Cold War order was falling apart. On the ground in several theaters of military operation, he had witnessed the messy collapse of communism in Eurasia. Known to warlords in Bosnia as “Mean Mr. Tom,” and to colleagues in Tajikistan as “Aga Tom,” he became the ultimate area expert on the former Soviet empire and its shadow zones, from Yugoslavia all the way to Mongolia.

Wilhelm’s plans for the morning I arrived were typical in their variety: he had to deliver personal thanks to the parents of a Mongolian-born U.S. Marine fighting in Basra, Iraq; he had to plan for a visit of the chief of the Mongolian military, Major General Tsevegsuren Togoo, to Washington; and he had to make arrangements for a visit by fourteen American brigadier generals. Also due to arrive was Lieutenant General Wallace Gregson, then the commander of the Third Marine Expeditionary Force (“III MEF” as it’s written, and “Three MEF” as it’s spoken). That last visit was the most important: if there were ever a land war in Asia—on the Korean Peninsula, for example—III MEF would play a role just as prominent as that played during the invasion of Iraq by I MEF, which marched from Kuwait to Baghdad.

… The statue had begun to flake and crumble, but its size and substance meant that it might well be around forever, like the abandoned statue in Shelley’s “Ozymandias.” It brought to mind ideas not just of brutality and domination but also of cheapness. “Everything the Soviets built looks like it was constructed by a high school shop class,” Wilhelm said, laughing.
“We should be careful of our own ambitions,” I said. “We don’t want to end up like the Soviets.”… “There is nothing we need to build here,” he answered, “except relationships.”

China pretends it is building relationships, but wants a global trading empire. The USA may be closer the new mindset, even if there are definitely still old-school hawks.

President Benigno S. Aquino III

President Aquino

Short term perspectives

President Benigno Aquino III is following a three-pronged strategy:

  1. cooperation with the United States via EDCA.
  2. filing of a case based on the UNCLOS.
  3. Cooperation with Vietnam.

Multilateral initiatives together with Korea and Japan might be complementary. It is a strategy based on using international law and avoiding all provocations while having the USA as a partner in the background – without being totally dependent, as evidenced by the cooperation with Vietnam.

Medium term possibilities

In the next 10 years, the following could be done to improve the situation further:

  1. Build Philippine defense capabilities, especially naval and air force. Concentrate on true deterrence and not expensive purchases.
  2. Look for more possible allies: Indonesia, Thailand, maybe even India which treats its neighbors like China does, but is a rival of China.

Long term visions

Maritime awareness was mentioned by retired Commodore Plaridel Garcia as an important mindset for the Philippines. A long-term vision would be to make the Philippines a true thalassocracy, like the Visayans had in the old days, like the Kingdom of Tondo – or like the Delian thalassocracy in ancient Greece. It could be a very good and powerful partner of the USA, like Turkey is in its region. It may lead in the long run to China becoming more a normal partner in international relations. Russia was on its way to that, but is unfortunately back in the Age of Empires, mentally.

Political consequences

There was a Native American tribe, I read somewhere, that had this rule for its chiefs and elders:

Consider the next seven generations for every decision you make.

Filipino voters will have to ask their future leaders where they want to lead them, and how they want to do this.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 31. October 2015

P.S. Thanks to many contributors at the Society of Honor – Joe America, LCPL_X, Karl Garcia – and the Chinese trolls who were the grain of sand that is at the core of every pearl.

P.P.S. The relationship to the USA must be managed carefully because it depends on the President in power. Donald Trump may be at best an American Berlusconi, at worst a US-style Putin.

Recommended reading regarding the US and the Philippines: – thanks Joe America.


Ang Saligan ng Batas


Hihingi muna ako ng tawad sa aking ama pagkat inaangkin ko iyong titulo ng kanyang artikulo noong panahon ng 1970s Constitutional Convention. Lalong humihingi ako ng tawad dahil hindi ko binasa iyong artikulong iyon dahil tinatamad ako. O ngayon, alam na ninyo na kahit may pagka-dalubhasa ito, huwag na huwag ninyong seryosohin lahat. Pagkat hindi ako Propesor tulad ni Tatay, hindi ako Dr. tulad nang kapatid ko, sa aming tatlo ako ang parang dropout. Isang Erap na intelektuwal na walang ginawa kundi magbulakbol, Erap para sa mahirap umintindi..

1987 Constitution reviewerAno ba ang pinag-uusapan natin?

Bakit ba tayo may CONSTITUTION? Ano ba iyan? Saligang Batas ang tawag sa Pilipino. Saligan? Ang lalim na salita huhukayin mo pa. Ang Saligan ay Pundasyon. O iyan, pundasyon ng mga batas. Ano naman ang konstitusyon? Iyong kabaligtaran ng diarrhea? Hindi ah! Itanong natin kay Joe, ating titser na Kano: – these are possible definitions of the word constitution:

  1. the system of fundamental principles according to which a nation, state, corporation, or the like, is governed. Anong prinsipyo? puro tayo lusot-lusot…
  2. the document embodying these principles. sa dokumento, sa technicality, magaling tayo!
  3. (initial capital letter) Constitution of the United States. di natin kailangan iyan, may sariling atin tayo!
  4. the way in which a thing is composed or made up; makeup; composition: the chemical constitution of the cleanser. magaling tayong mag-makeup, itago ang squatter di ba..
  5. the physical character of the body as to strength, health, etc.: He has a strong constitution. matatag ba ang estado natin? Ewan…
  6. Medicine/Medical, Psychology. the aggregate of a person’s physical and psychological characteristics. Kung tulad ni Brenda ang estado natin, patay tayo.

Nasaan tayo ngayon? – heto ang Preamble ng Constitution natin:

We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.

wow, ang gandang pakingan! Pero simulan na natin sa “just” – hindi iyong just-just na babae, huwag madumi ang mga isip ninyo. Ang “just” ay makatarungan. Makatarungan ba ang Pilipinas? Ang susunod, “humane” o makatao. Makatao ba ang Pilipinas? Apat na milyon daw ang nakatira sa slum area ng Metro Manila sa nabasa ko. Onse milyon ang buong populasyon. Ibig sabihin, sa bawat tatlong tao sa Metro Manila, isa iskwater. Huwag nang pagandahin na urban poor – kawawang iskwater talaga. Pero huwag kayong umasang umupo sa isang meeting room sa Makati o sa Bonifacio Global City at mag-count-off: Reyes, Santos, Garcia – Garcia pangatlo ka jologs ka. Hindi ganyang kadali. Kahit bayaning pang-manggagawa daw si Bonifacio, may pagkasosyal noong araw iyong trabaho niya. Sa isang kumpanyang Aleman siya nagtatrabaho. Kaya medyo sosyal din siya, kasing sosyal ng mga call center worker ngayon. Mga maingay magsalita sa Istarbak…

Magbiyahe muna tayo!

Nasaan na ba ako… kung sa simula pa lang, hindi natin isinasagawa ang Constitution natin, paano ito magiging Saligang Batas – o Pundasyon ng lahat ng mga batas natin? Nagtatataka pa ba tayo na hindi tayo sumusunod sa batas, kung mali ang pundasyon ng mga batas natin. Ano kaya ang solusyon para rito? Tumingin tayo sa ibang bansa, tapos balik tayong Pinas. Parang OFW…

Gessler und TellSa Switzerland muna tayo. Naku malamig. Pero marami daw Pilipino sa Geneva doon sa UN. Hindi tayo doon pupunta. Doon tayo pupunta sa lugar ni Wilhelm Tell. Sino iyon? Isinalin ni Rizal ang Wilhelm Tell sa Tagalog pero hindi ko rin nabasa. Tamad talaga. Pero gawa nang nasa Alemanya ako, ako na ang gumawa ng sariling pagsasalin. Patawad po Dr. Jose Rizal, hindi ko uulitin:

Ninanais nating maging sambayanan ng magkakapatid
Na hindi magkakahiwalay ni sa panganib ni sa kasawian

Ninanais nating maging malaya, tulad ng ating mga ninuno
At mas ninanais nating mamatay kaysa mabuhay bilang alipin

Ninanais nating magtiwala sa kataastaasang Panginoon
at kahit kailan hindi magpapasindak sa kapangyarihan ng tao

Aba astig pakingan! Ano iyan? Panata ng mga Swiss matapos na patayin ang kanilang mga mang-aapi. Pinana ni Tell si Gessler. Parang NPA yata. Pero hindi rin. Dahil iyong tatlong tribong nagpanata ang nagsimula sa Switzerland. 700 na mahigit na taon nang isang sambayanan. Panatang wagas, parang Lord of the Rings.

AtatürkDalawang oras mahigit ang biyahe papuntang Turkey. Bisitahin natin si Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Ama ng mga Turko.

Anim na pana ang tawag sa kanyang pananaw na para sa Estado. Hanggang ngayon itinuturo sa mga eskuwela:

Republikanismo – republikang demokratika at sibiko
Populismo – pagsisilbi sa tao ang higit sa lahat
Laisismo – walang pakialam ang iglesia sa estado
Reformismo – unti-unting pagpapabuti sa sistema
Nasyonalismo – malaya ang bansa
Estadismo – estado ang tumutulak sa pag-unlad

Aba para yatang Marcos ito. Mali! Si Atatürk, disiplinado. Hindi nagdiktadura. Kahit militar siya. Hindi nangurakot. Kahit babaero siya.

President Manuel Quezon - source: Wikimedia CommonsBalik tayong Pilipinas. Sa Quezon City. Bakit doon ang tagal sa trapik? Kasi pupunta tayong Quezon Memorial. Para maalala natin si Quezon na babaero din.

Siya ang masasabing nagtayo ng estadong Pilipino. Pati 1935 Constitution masasabing responsibilidad niya. Pati COMELEC nagsimula noong panahon niya.

Binago rin ang Constitution para puwede siyang tumakbo nang pangalawang beses. Cha-Cha pala noong araw pa. Hindi pa Mambo Magsaysay 1950s iyon.

Pero meron din siyang ipinalabas na Code of Ethics. Walang kinalaman sa Mathematics. Asal ang pinag-uusapan:

Aba nasa webpage pa ng Palasyo. Di napakaganda na siguro ng asal nating lahat? Pero nakalimutan yatang ituro sa mga eskuwela.

Hindi rin orig na gawa ni Quezon ito, cover version lang ng Dekalogo ni Mabini. Na siguradong hindi marunong mag-Cha-Cha o mag-Mambo. Tignan natin kung ano ang nasa Dekalogo:

Ibigin mo si Bathalà at ang iyóng̃ kapurihán nang higít sa lahát ng̃ bagay.Apolinario mabini PG

Sambahín mo si Bathalà, nang ukol sa lalong̃ minamatuwíd at minamarangal ng̃ iyong̃ budhî.

Palusugín mo ang mg̃a piling̃ kayamanan na ipinagkaloób sa iyó ni Bathalà.

Ibigin mo ang iyóng̃ bayan ng̃ sunód kay Bathalà, sa iyóng̃ kapurihán, at higit sa iyóng̃ sarili.

Pagpumilitan mo ang ikagiginhawa ng̃ iyóng̃ bayan bago ang kaginhawahan mong̃ sarili.

Pagpilitan mo ang pagsasarilí ng̃ iyóng̃ bayan.

Leni RobredoHuwag mong̃ kilalanin sa iyóng̃ bayan ang kapangyarihan nino mang tao na dî mo pilì at ng̃ iyóng̃ mg̃a kababayan.

Pagpilitan mo na ang iyóng̃ bayan ay magíng̃ isáng̃ República at huwág mong̃ tulutan kailán mang magíng̃ Monarquia.

Ibigin mo ang kapwà nang gaya ng̃ pagibig mo sa sarili.

Laging̃ titignán mo ang kababayan ng̃ higit ng̃ kauntî sa iyóng̃ kápuwá.

Aba, lumang Tagalog, pero hindi naman mahirap maintindihan.

Iyong Facebook Page naman ng Atty. Leni Gerona-Robredo for Vice President Movement:, ang ganda ng motto, sinabi ni Leni at halos kasing ganda niya: Go to the people. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say “We have done this ourselves”.

Anong gagawin ngayon? Sinong gagawa?

Sa tao dapat manggaling ang panata ng bayan, ang pundasyon o saligan ng republika. Kung naituro siguro sa lahat ng tao ang talagang ibig sabihin ng 1987 Constitution, naisaloob na nila sa halos 30 na taon, isang henerasyon. Pero hindi pa yata, dahil Preamble simula pa lang wala sa realidad ngayon. Hindi ibig sabihin na gigibain natin ang banal na Konstitusyon ng 1987. Kilala ng Nanay ko si Father Bernas na isa sa mga nagkontribusyon. Matalinong Jesuit. Hindi Padre Damaso, hindi talaga. Pero ano ngayon ang gagawin natin?

Ewan ko ba sa inyo. Hindi naman na ako sa Pilipinas nakatira. Bahala kayo, dahil kayo ang dapat mag-isip-isip tungkol diyan. Kayo ang nasa iisang barko, iisang tahanan ng sambayanan. Anong mga paninindigan ang mahalaga para maayos ang pakikisama ninyo sa isa’t-isa sa loob ng barko o tahanan? Ano ang dapat tuparin ng bawat isa para malinis ang mga pinggan, may madadaanan papuntang banyo at kubeta, walang basura na kung saan-saan? Pareho-pareho ba ang magiging karapatan, o iba ang karapatan ng mga katulong at sikyo? Kayo ang bahala.

Sa taas, may mga prinsipyo na makukuha sa panata ng mga Swiss, sa anim na pana ni Atatürk, sa Dekalogo ni Mabini. Tignan din ninyo ang 1987 Constitution, pero sa totoo lang, hindi ko rin iyan nabasa dahil ang haba talaga. Mabuti pa iyong Swiss Constitution, madaling basahin kahit ngayong moderno na. Pero ang ugat pa rin niya, panata ng tatlong tribo na nagrebelde sa kabundukan. Hindi sila Balweg ang pinag-uusapan dito kundi si Wilhelm Tell. Kaya pag-isipan muna kung ano ang mahalaga sa una. Puwede kayong magproposal dito. Kung may tanong kayo, sasagutin ko.

Irineo B. R. Salazar

25. October 2015, München


Reconstitute the Philippines!

A. Present State

Bad Sanitation in Intramuros, Manila Philippines (3486250812)The Philippines is built on a colonial foundation – that of the principalia who got to rule the country. These were the datus that collaborated with the Spaniards to become the ruling class.

I must thank contributor Renato Mariano Pacifico of Joe America’s Society of Honor for this statement that set the ball rolling to a discussion with Society of Honor contributors giancarloangulo, Juana Pilipinas and Karl Garcia, as well as a final exchange with Joe America that led to me writing this article as the summary of collectively inspired thinking:

“Just look around us … From PDAF Babuyan Island to Muslim jolo …. half-naked children walking the streets dumpster diving for morsels of Jollibee.”

Now how can a state call itself modern and humane if that is the way it is constituted – the word “constitution” means exactly that as well! A Constitution not really applied is just paper. – now where are the principles of this constitution truly lived, with so many people living worse than dogs in the country:

We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.

Where is the Philippines a just and humane society? Where does it promote the common good? Where does it conserve and develop its patrimony? Of what use is a constitution, which should be the foundation of how a state really IS, if it is just on paper? Like many things in the Philippines.

A.1. Definition of Terms – these are possible definitions of the word constitution:

  1. the system of fundamental principles according to which a nation, state, corporation, or the like, is governed.
  2. the document embodying these principles.
  3. (initial capital letter) Constitution of the United States.
  4. the way in which a thing is composed or made up; makeup; composition: the chemical constitution of the cleanser.
  5. the physical character of the body as to strength, health, etc.: He has a strong constitution.
  6. Medicine/Medical, Psychology. the aggregate of a person’s physical and psychological characteristics.

Now let us see how these definitions are applicable to the present Philippines, by means of a story.

A.1.1. Pedro and Joe

There is the old series of jokes about Joe, the American, and Pedro, the Filipino. Joe tries to teach the Filipino to pronounce apple and Pedro says epol. Let us have them talk about the Constitution, which after all is a legacy of American thinking, lost in translation. Joe is a very patient Thomasite teacher:

History of the United States from the earliest discovery of America to the present time (1912) (14580116157)Joe: Good morning Pedro. Let us look at the dictionary to see what constitution means. No 2.: yes, the 1987 Constitution is a piece of paper, correct Pedro, very good…

Pedro: Good morning Sir. I was very diligent in fulfilling your assignment. Thank you very much.

Joe: No. 1.: IS governed. No Pedro. You do not apply your Constitution. It is the system according which your state IS SUPPOSED to be governed, but not HOW you govern it.

Pedro: Sorry po Joe, I will improve my lesson the next time.

Joe: No 3. Definitely not.

Pedro: That is your American Constitution. We have ours.

Joe: No 4. Is your state made up the way your Constitution describes it? I don’t think so.

Pedro is silent.

Joe: No 5. Is the body of your state as strong and healthy as that paper describes?

Pedro: Yes Sir, I will take you to The Fort and to Forbes Park, it is clean there.

Joe: No 6.: Are the physical and psychological characteristics of your state really like that?

Pedro: Very healthy in body and mind Sir, just like Senator Miriam Santiago.

Joe: Go home, Pedro. Good we did not make you a State of the Union.

Pedro goes home, making kamot-kamot – scratching his head and thinking: I don’t care even if I am not real State, I can always buy Real Estate in Makati!

A.2. True Philippine ConstitutionEmilio Aguinaldo (ca. 1898)

The true State of the Philippine nation’s foundations, which is what Constitution should be, are the following if one is realistic and looks at the dirty kitchen, not the clean one to show guests:

PREAMBLE: We, the entitled of the Philippines, have for centuries run an unjust and inhuman society. We have decided to drop all pretenses and hypocrisy, and by virtue of our own Entitlement, we hereby promulgate the True Constitution of the Philippines:

Article 1. Laws only apply to ordinary people and to our political enemies, not to us.

Article 2. Those who support us will be given food and drinks, and smiled upon.

Article 3. Those who do not know who we are shall be punished arbitrarily.

Article 4. Business opportunities are for us and our own group, not for ordinary people.

Article 5. Ordinary people and our political enemies are suspect, we are beyond doubt.

This constitution is binding upon all matters in the Philippines, and is above the written law we have pretended to follow for all these centuries.

This constitution is valid for all time and may not be amended.

B. Possible Solutions

B.1. Rütli Oath of Wilhelm Tell

Gessler und TellThe legendary Rütli oath of Wilhelm Tell was the foundation of the Swiss state in the Middle Ages – after freeing themselves from oppressive overlords embodied by Gessler:

We want to be a single People of brethren,

Never to part in danger nor distress.

We want to be free, as our fathers were,

And rather die than live in slavery.

We want to trust in the one highest God

And never be afraid of human power.

Jose Rizal translated Wilhelm Tell into Tagalog, but few Filipinos know of this. Rizal is not seen as a revolutionary. But maybe he knew that most revolutions fail. The three original cantons of Switzerland were like Kankanai, Bontoc and Ifugao people of the Cordillera making a tribal alliance against oppressors from the lowlands, and swearing to defend each other to the death – it is very respectable that this oath is the foundation of a seven century old federal state.

B.2. Six Arrows of Kemal AtatürkAtatürk

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern Turkey, defined the Six Arrows upon which the modern Turkish state is based – modernizing a feudal, clannish and highly religious society with various ethnic groups into one strong nation and reliable NATO partner:

Republicanism – a democratic republic built on civic virtue

Populism – serving the people is paramount

Laicism – the state is free of all religion

Reformism – the state is to be constantly improved

Nationalism – the nation is to be fully independent

Statism – the state is the driver of progress

These tenets are taught in all Turkish schools until today. Unlike President Ferdinand Marcos, Atatürk had the self-discipline to live by these principles and not succumb to the temptations of power and hypocrisy – do as I say and not as I do. This did not prevent him from being a womanizer just like President Quezon was – and Jose Rizal.

B.3. Filipino role models

President Manuel Quezon - source: Wikimedia CommonsPresident Manuel Quezon was the closest the Philippines had to an Atatürk. There shall be a biography of him in this blog at some point. The foundations of the Filipino state were laid by him. His 1939 Code of Citizenship and Ethics tried to build a moral foundation, a common set of values for Filipinos, but its spirit was lost.

It was based on the Decalogue of Apolinario Mabini:

First. Thou shalt love God and thy honor above all things: God as the fountain of all truth, of all justice and of all activity; and thy honor, the only power which will oblige thee to be faithful, just and industrious.

Second. Thou shalt worship God in the form which thy conscience may deem most righteous and worthy: for in thy conscience, which condemns thy evil deeds and praises thy good ones, speaks thy God.

Third. Thou shalt cultivate the special gifts which God has granted thee, working and studying according to thy ability, never leaving the path of righteousness and justice, in order to attain thy own perfection, by means whereof thou shalt contribute to the progress of humanity; thus; thou shalt fulfill the mission to which God has appointed thee in this life and by so doing, thou shalt be honored, and being honored, thou shalt glorify thy God.

Apolinario mabini PGFourth. Thou shalt love thy country after God and thy honor and more than thyself: for she is the only Paradise which God has given thee in this life, the only patrimony of thy race, the only inheritance of thy ancestors and the only hope of thy posterity; because of her, thou hast life, love and interests, happiness, honor and God.

Fifth. Thou shalt strive for the happiness of thy country before thy own, making of her the kingdom of reason, of justice and of labor: for if she be happy, thou, together with thy family, shalt likewise be happy.

Sixth. Thou shalt strive for the independence of thy country: for only thou canst have any real interest in her advancement and exaltation, because her independence constitutes thy own liberty; her advancement, thy perfection; and her exaltation, thy own glory and immortality.

Seventh. Thou shalt not recognize in thy country the authority of any person who has not been elected by thee and thy countrymen; for authority emanates from God, and as God speaks in the conscience of every man, the person designated and proclaimed by the conscience of a whole people is the only one who can use true authority.

Leni RobredoEighth. Thou shalt strive for a Republic and never for a monarchy in thy country: for the latter exalts one or several families and founds a dynasty; the former makes a people noble and worthy through reason, great through liberty, and prosperous and brilliant through labor.

Ninth. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: for God has imposed upon him, as well as upon thee, the obligation to help thee and not to do unto thee what he would not have thee do unto him; but if thy neighbor, failing in this sacred duty, attempt against thy life, thy liberty and thy interests, then thou shalt destroy and annihilate him for the supreme law of self-preservation prevails.

Tenth. Thou shalt consider thy countryman more than thy neighbor; thou shalt see him thy friend, thy brother or at least thy comrade, with whom thou art bound by one fate, by the same joys and sorrows and by common aspirations and interests.

Therefore, as long as national frontiers subsist, raised and maintained by the selfishness of race and of family, with thy countryman alone shalt thou unite in a perfect solidarity of purpose and interest, in order to have force, not only to resist the common enemy but also to attain all the aims of human life.

Leni Robredo, from what I have seen so far from her works in Camarines Sur, already lives by principles that really involve the Filipino people, to empower and free them by sustainable, hard work. The Facebook page of the Atty. Leni Gerona-Robredo for Vice President Movement states:

Go to the people. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say “We have done this ourselves”.

C. Rebuilding foundations

The foundations of the national house need to be rebuilt. The foundation of centuries of oppression is completely rotten. But a revolution will not work – from the center or from the bottom. The residents of the national house must have a shelter when storms come. This is why evolution is the way, and only can work if there is a consensus on how to…

C.1. Reconstitute the Philippines

A liberation constitution could look like this, replacing the “True Constitution” described above, and thereby giving the impulse to reconstitute and rebuild the country:

PREAMBLE. We, the people of the Islands called the Philippines, of all racial and cultural mixtures, of all religions, income groups and educational attainments, strive to make our lives better after centuries of oppressing each other. This is the Constitution by which we shall live every aspect of our lives from this point onward, and make sure each and every one of us, from now on to be called Free Filipinos, lives by from this day:

Article 1: We shall be honorable, humble and kind in all our dealings towards other human beings.

Article 2: We shall adhere to the laws we have pretended to live by from now on, and adjust these laws in order to make our society as free, humane and just as possible. We shall make sure that these laws are followed by each and every one of us as legal equals.

Article 3: We shall work to make our country, the Free Philippines, free of hunger, fear and unrest. We shall strive to give opportunities to all willing to work for them.

Article 4: We shall make sure that we think about what we are doing, and promote thinking instead of unreflected belief. Religion and conviction is each person’s private matter.

Article 5: We shall build a state that reflects the principles of this Constitution. In the meantime, we shall support the state that we already have, and rebuild it step by step.

This Constitution may be extended by the will of 2/3 majority of the Free Filipino people. The first five articles are valid for all time and shall never be amended.

May the aspirations embodied in this Constitution give us the strength to fullfill it.

C.2. Commitment, Continuity, Consistency

This is but a humble proposal, my submission to the Filipino people. It is they who must find their common oath. Because it is they who must commit to it. Nag-iisang panata. Pinangangatawanan.

Continuity and consistency is needed to fullfill its aspirations, in patient perseverance. Like the Swiss for 700+ years. Like Mustafa Kemal. Like Manuel Quezon. Like Mabini. Like Leni Robredo.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, München, 22. October 2015

P.S. this article also challenged my mind, I give credit to it as well: – yes the Philippines lacks the capability to look forward, visions if ever are only unconsciously implemented but never truly defined. Because the basic tenets of what the country IS and where it wants to go to are not even properly defined as a true commitment people buy into. Because the stuff we have was imposed on us, colonially.

Filipinos have to define the basics first, then fix things from there. Where I disagree with you, benign0, is that we who live abroad have the right to tell the folks back home, the stakeholders, how to do it. We can only help them, mocking them but not giving them any solutions but basking in superiority is not the right way to go I think. If they are hopeless why rant about them?

P.P.S. another thing I see as important is to educate all Filipinos on the important aspects of the 1987 Constitution to increase acceptance. On that basis, reform things later.


Philippine Internet speed

Introduction, Present Issues

The Philippines ranks 16th worldwide in terms of number of Internet users, with nearly 40 million out of a population of nearly 100 million. Many Filipinos use social media heavily. However, the Internet in the Philippines is in bad shape, being very expensive and slow. The are 9 main providers, PLDT and Globe Telecom being the largest. Complaints about the service quality and internet speed are numerous when it comes to the PLDT and Globe which are the only choice for many not in Metro Manila or nearby.

A recent article in Joe America inspired me to research more on the possible causes of this situation and look for solutions. I would like to thank the members of Joe America’s Society of Honor for assisting me with numerous hints and taking part in a practical check of the Philippine Internet from various locations using the tracert command.

Internet Exchanges, Peering

AMS-IX core cage eunOne major issue is that PLDT and Globe are not directly connected via an Internet Exchange Point in the Philippines. The following links explain more:


To put it in a simplified way, Philippine Internet traffic that has to go between PLDT and Globe or the other way around goes abroad first, resulting in inefficiencies for the 20% of traffic that is local. The correct way usually followed by internet service providers worldwide is to have a peering agreement which governs how different providers bill each other for the traffic they exchange. There are three possibilities (Source: Wikipedia) :

  • Transit (or pay) – The network operator pays money (or settlement) to another network for Internet access (or transit).
  • Peer (or swap) – Two networks exchange traffic between their users freely, and for mutual benefit.
  • Customer (or sell) – A network pays another network money to be provided with Internet access.

Contributors at Joe America were able to show how Internet traffic is routed to and from the Philippines. The results can be summarized as follows:

  • Reaching PLDT is only easy from within PLDT. From outside the Philippines and from other providers, it goes a complex way and seems slow.
  • Reaching DOST from abroad is easier because they are connected via Hurricane Electric, a global backbone provider and have their own promising research network.
  • Traces from PLDT to DOST did not confirm that there is peering between the two, inspite of PLDT recently connecting to PHOpenIX which is run by DOST ASTI.

Internet map 1024In addition to this, all Philippine Internet Exchanges are located in Metro Manila. Meaning that nearly all Philippine Internet traffic from the provinces must probably pass through a bottleneck, even if the recent opening of an IX in Cebu will most certainly make routing more efficient, at least some traffic within the Visayas and Mindanao would not have to go to Manila first and back, freeing up much needed network capacity. Globe Telecom has been calling for peering with PLDT, but it seems the two giants are not able to reach an agreement.

Submarine cables

Nearly all international submarine cables leave the Philippines from near Manila or at least from Luzon, notable exceptions being Davao and Parang in Mindanao, with another major internation cable passing by Davao under construction. The intra-Philippine submarine cable network looks pretty good, although there is no data available about capacities.

However, the available information suggests once again a bottleneck for international traffic – which comprises 80% of Philippine internet usage – in the area around Manila. Not on EDSA this time, but probably on the way to a submarine cable in Batangas or La Union?

No excuses please

Even if one considers that the number of users and the use of the Internet has probably increased a lot in the past few years in the Philippines and providers probably are doing what they can to catch up with it, they are according to some Internet commenters overpromising and overselling – which is dangerous. And finally, even the profit motive does not excuse them – after all, American robber barons in the 19th century made money but delivered by producing steel, building railways from coast to coast and more.

In Russia wide transcontinental expanses were connected by Rostelecom and as of 2007 all schools are online. In Romania the Internet is faster than in the United States, partly due to small enterpreneurs who built local neighborhood networks and connected them with one another and later with Romtelecom. These are ex-Communist countries that once were far behind.

Progress, possible solutions

More competition could be helpful. Telstra is planning to move in partnering with San Miguel, which could help against the de-facto duopoly that PLDT and Globe presently are. Converge ICT which is mainly located in and around Metro Manila has received positive reviews, meaning that there already is competition in the Metro Manila area and surroundings.Hi Speed Internet Neon Sign Minneapolis 4573842992

More Internet Exchanges would ease intra-Philippine traffic and open up capacities badly needed for international traffic. An IX in Davao could help in conjunction with the submarine cables already leaving from there and being built to have another conduit for international Internet traffic, easing the bottleneck in Manila that I consider very probable given the indications.

Additional undersea cables not only from Luzon towards international destinations should in my opinion also be built – to increase capacity towards the provinces that are growing quickly economically and will probably be contributing to growing internet traffic.

Expand government network. DOST has a network connected to most of UP, DOST, MMDA, PSHS Diliman, Pagasa, DFA and Ateneo de Manila University, among others. This could be the basis of a government network that connects to schools and to government offices nationwide. Via peering agreements, the network capacity thus built could be billed to others, helping pay for the investment.

Separate network and retail parts. This is done in New Zealand for example. The network could be run by the state or by a state-regulated company while the providers compete in connecting to end consumers. In such a scenario, even Romanian-style neighborhood networks could be possible local players to take care of the last mile. Before doing this, forcing big players to peer, even to provide capacity at fixed rates to other players should be tried so that there is a real intra-Philippine internet backbone for all.

Fast Internet access is a competitive advantage and can help improve governance as well as internal communication and learning, especially for a country that is separated into so many islands. Short-term profits of some should not stand in the way of long-term progress for the majority of people.

Irineo B. R. Salazar, 1. October 2015, Munich

P.S. Thank you JoeAm for the reblog!