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Jan 25th
Home Sections Politics The Philippines: A Country of Contradictions (As Updated)
The Philippines: A Country of Contradictions (As Updated) PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 15 April 2007 06:59

It is hard to be a citizen of the Philippines, especially for Filipinos in the United States. Why? It is becoming embarrassing to come from a country of contradictions and explain to non-Filipino friends the contradictory conduct of some of our countrymen and leaders

Just look at the following contradictions (the numbering does not connote order of importance or relevancy):

1.0  The Philippine President tells the universe that the Philippines has one of the freest press corps in the world while at the same time the First Gentleman files criminal libel cases against 17 (or more) Filipino journalists. (Editor's Notes: Please see Comments below, as the First Gentleman has instructed his lawyers to dismiss his libel suits filed against 46 Filipino members of the Fourth Estate. It is a well-advised move on his part. Kudos to Mike Arroyo.)

2.0   Quite a few Filipino congressmen and senators, especially Filipino-Muslim representatives, do not eat pork because of health and/or religious reasons. Yet, they receive happily pork barrel year in, year out.

3.0  Filipino Catholic bishops and the clergy condemn jueteng and other forms of gambling. Yet, the men of the cloth conduct bingo sessions in parochial halls. And some of them receive grants from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., which runs the country's casinos.

4.0  Some nationalistic leaders of the Philippines condemn the alleged neo-imperialistic practices of the United States. Then they send their children to study in American universities, visit American hospitals when they get sick and keep their investments in Wall Street and American financial institutions.

5.0  Almost all of the country's political and religious leaders are against the legalization of divorce as being contrary to the Filipino sense of morality. Yet many married leaders are actually living with spouses who are not legally married to them. And even bishops give communion to national leaders and some members of the clergy who are known publicly for keeping mistresses.
6.0  The nation's political leaders are obsessed forever with changing the country's constitution (AKA supreme body of laws) at their whim and caprice. Yet very few of them are concerned about the constitution of their constituents. Yes, very few leaders actually care about their constituents' health, physical nature or physique.
7.0  The country's national leaders like to praise the nation's veterans, especially those who served during World War II, for their heroism and valor. Then they tell the WWII veterans: "Go to the United States, become American  citizens and secure pensions and healthcare benefits for we cannot take care of you." What country in the world would send its elders to a foreign land, so as to be relieved of providing care for its senior citizens and veterans?
8.0  The Philippines is one of the few countries in the world where two of its female leaders have become President  (for 12 years of the last 20 summers since 1986 and counting). And yet the national government continues to permit hundreds of thousands of Filipino women to work abroad as often-abused maids, bar girls, prostitutes and what not.
9.0  The Philippines is the number-one provider of nurses, physicians and other medical workers in the world. And yet millions of Filipinos are born, then live and die without being seen by a medical professional.
10.0  The Philippines is one of the biggest providers of seamen and other merchant-marine officers in the world's seven seas. And yet the country does not have a naval academy or even a world-class maritime institution.
Perhaps readers of this essay may like to add more contradictions, as stated in this short list . . .
I often wonder why the Filipino people tolerate a perennial state of contradictions. Perhaps as I wrote in 1972, the leaders of the country could not really go above the level of their constituents. If water seeks its own level, then perhaps leadership goes with the level accepted by the people.

Perhaps there is hope in the horizon. Because of global warming, the sea level will go up by at least five feet supposedly as early as 2020. Perhaps by that time, the Filipino people would have then realized the folly of permitting their leaders to continue their contradictory conduct. Because if they don't, then they may drown literally in their miserable state of contradictions.
Will the people change for a better life, without the perennial contradictions? Only time can tell. # # #

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Last Updated on Saturday, 19 May 2007 19:06

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