A nation of softies....
A rant against contemporary Filipino society by an average Joe.
I hate to say it, but we're a nation of softies.
It's this soft stance on things which makes us all a bunch of undisciplined spoiled brats, unable to take ourselves, the things we do, our personal circumstances, or other people seriously. As a result, the concept of personal responsibility seems alien to us, and we lack the credibility for our acts or statements to have any teeth to them.
Examples, from the top of my head:
Our government tolerates squatters. There are politically correct terms such as "informal communities" or "depressed areas", but it's all the same to me. They're all just squatters, plain and simple. They arrive and occupy land which they clearly do not own, act as if they own it, and resist with all their might when the owner tries to get them to vacate. And they have the gall to ask the government for land and even sources of livelihood. Squatting is theft, plain and simple. Whether it's land or anything else, no one has the right to appropriate property which clearly belongs to another. And to demand housing or jobs in exchange for leaving is just plain extortion. Squatting should be treated for the crime that it really is.
Virtually everyone does it, so no one really loses an election. Everyone is cheated out of victory. Hardly anyone gets convicted, hardly any election result overturned, and in the rare cases where the results are reversed, the term is already set to expire. When are we going to see people going to jail for cheating in elections?
Why do we consider drug mules as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) when in fact the vast majority are not? Typical drug mules have no job contracts, aren't formally recruited by authorized recruiters, their travel documents are for tourists and not for workers, and most of them either: 1) know that they are indeed transporting drugs; 2) blinded by the lure of easy money or foreign travel that they will do anything without even knowing all the details; or 3) gullible enough to agree to transport a bag or package without knowing what the contents are. Worse, when convicted for drug smuggling, they plead for the government to help them, despite their lack of common sense or their complicity in taking part in a crime, and if, God forbid, they are executed, the nation treats them as martyrs, ignoring the fact that they are convicted felons in another country. With all due respect, martyrs are people who have died for their principles, beliefs or convictions, not people who have died in the pursuit of personal wealth or because of lack of foresight. You can't just keep blaming the government for lack of jobs. Avoiding involvement in crime is our personal responsibility. This doesn't go for just drug mules, but for anyone unable to keep his or her nose clean in another country. Just because we baby criminals here doesn't mean other countries do the same.
I find it annoying that a lot of Filipinos refuse to follow various laws, rules and regulations when it comes to working abroad, such as working in places where there are deployment bans, falsifying documents, resorting to unauthorized recruiters, or evading immigration authorities (hence, Tago Ng Tago), but the moment the shit hits the fan, such as being arrested for a crime, or being trapped in a war zone, these very people who refused to go through proper channels now plead a resource strapped government for assistance, to the detriment of those who are also in trouble but followed the rules. Yes, the government should help all Filipinos...but the priority should be for those who obeyed the laws and exerted effort in making sure all their papers are in order.
High Fuel Prices and Public Transport
I find it terribly shortsighted when public transport groups think a transport strike (or "caravan") is the solution for higher fuel prices. The higher cost of energy, specifically petroleum products, is a global phenomenon, and it is not isolated to our shores. In fact, we even have it better than some other countries, where fuel prices are higher. It's pretty naive to think that everyone else on the planet is affected by the higher cost of crude yet we shouldn't be. It's common sense that the public transport industry always suffers a direct hit when the price of fuel escalates. If they didn't want to take such a hit, they should have went into some other kind of business. Besides, it's humanity's fault for putting all our eggs into the oil basket. So to them, I say grin and bear it. If you can't do that, than go do something else for a living. Notwithstanding taxes, deregulation, and oil cartels, the price of oil will remain high, and probably increase more in the future. It has consistently done that since the automobile was invented. I don't like any more than you do, but that's just the way things are.
What else is there to say? When was a big fish last convicted for corruption? Have we ever convicted any big fish? Impeachment trials for one of our former Presidents and now one scheduled for the Ombudsman, Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings in aid of legislation...when are we going to send anyone to jail? Are we content just to enter into plea bargains or detain them for contempt? Aren't these people in office to serve us citizens? Or are they in it to serve themselves?
Read the paper and almost everyday there's a story about a police officer committing a crime, the most recent one involving extortion on a TV and radio personality. What kind of standards do we have for recruiting police officers anyway? Can any lowlife Tom, Dick and Harry who wants to be a cop be a cop just like that?
Rotten (or lazy, or incompetent) Prosecutors
The Ombudsman, the country's highest ranking government prosecutor, is impeached. A plea bargain with a plunderer. Inaction leading to the Manila hostage crisis. Whatever happened to "a public office is a public trust" anyway?
I'm against child abuse as much as anyone else, nor do I condone physical violence against children but filing a bill against spanking one's kids is too much. As a parent, I want my right to discipline my own child in the way I see fit, as long as it isn't excessive, cruel, or endangers the well being of the child. Sometimes corporal punishment is the quickest way to get children, especially younger ones who have difficulty understanding the reasons why things should or should not be done, to understand the message. Children should learn that doing the wrong thing has its consequences. There are generations of us raised on corporal punishment. It's been done since time immemorial. To suddenly blame it as the cause of society's ills is pretty presumptuous, when we can't or won't even punish our own criminals, especially those in high places. Lawmakers, leave this alone. Go fix society's problems instead.
War with Communist Rebels and Islamic Secessionists
This has been going on for decades. Either we lack the political will to end these conflicts once and for all, or our armed forces are too corrupt and incompetent to get the job done. It's probably both. We negotiate with these people, have ceasefires, treat them as military belligerents when most of the time they act as common thugs, robbers, vandals, extortionists, kidnappers, murderers and terrorists. These people are just bandits plain and simple and whether they pretend to be patriots with a cause is irrelevant. They should just be treated like the criminals they are. Treat them with kid gloves, and the cycle just continues, and the affected areas hardly see a shred of progress despite the passage of decades and numerous government administrations.
What's Willie Revillame doing here? Well, he's just an example of how society, in particular television, can be so twisted. He has been involved in allegations of domestic violence, objectification and sexualization of women (just search for Willie Revillame on Youtube, you get tons of clips in him engaging in inappropriate behavior), disrespecting the funeral cortege of a former President, humiliation of unknowing friends on live television, and now, allegations of child abuse, all for a show which earns him big bucks for exploiting and debasing the poor. What is he still doing on television?
That's enough ranting...I guess sometimes I just get worked up from all the things I read in the papers, listen to or watch on the news, or browse on the web. We as a people, as a country, should really start taking personal responsibility for our actions, and we should be held accountable for the wrong things that we do, or the things that we should have done but neglected to. Getting away with wrongdoings, no matter how grave, or inconsequential, only perpetuates the cycle of impunity which is the root of the moral decay our society is suffering from. Simply put, we should think twice about doing something. Then think some more. And if that something is wrong, we better be prepared for the consequences. Poverty, ignorance, or lack of common sense is no excuse for not being personally responsible for one's own actions or inactions. This is the least we can do for our country, and we should not always expect our country to do things for us.