The battle for decency and dignity in the Philippines

road warriors

The collapse of civility.

We are seeing in the Philippines a trend that is universal, the movement of large groups of people toward extremism. This appears to be akin to what we see on on social media where easy, uninformed opinions are spouted as if they were clarion calls of virtue and defended to the point of insult or verbal violence.

This trend toward extremism has been fulfilled in the Philippines by millions who picked a leader who shares the ease with which we cast profane or offensive insults. It is a complete rejection of civility as we came to understand it during the recent “enlightened” era when polite was a virtue and rude was shunned.

“But we need shock to change, Joe.”

Okay. Let’s come back to that later. For now, let’s just consider how we got here.

Our thinking during the enlightened era, as technology brought us closer together, drove us to embrace non-discrimination and equal treatment under laws. Courts were assigned to give justice, not the lynch mob or posse or individuals with a gun and an inclination to use it. We tried mightily to overcome our basest, most violent animal tendencies. That led us to the ideals of ‘human rights’ as being the best that we could be. We sought new values that would help us live together in peace and harmony.

But now we see that the violence rages within us. Or within our neighbors, for sure. And from the rage emerged President Duterte.

How did we lose our civility so completely, so quickly? We had worked so hard to understand and get it right, and now we seem willing to pitch our human progress into the Pacific where it can float on the piles of plastic jetsam all the way to Hawaii, and wash up on some deserted beach there, lost and lonely.

Well, we are each three people these days, I think.

There is the real, honest person who speaks mainly to our individual selves. Here we harbor secret lusts and angry thoughts but keep them to ourselves. Envies, jealousies, and bitterness exist here. And light, too. Hope and happiness. We also find desires here, addictions or habits, or even kinkiness. It may be dark, it may be innocent, it may be exploratory or educational. We do our prayers and confessions or our contemplations and meditations to calm this emotional beast that prowls on the edge of our subconscious. We work every day to bring it back within our overt control so it cannot do harm to others or us. It is the private us. No one, neither friend nor spouse, knows the entirely of us.

Then there is the social us, the civil us, the one who shows himself openly to others, learns etiquette for meals, grants honor to the elderly, and follows the legal and social rules because we understand that respect and order are important if we are to be harmonious as a community, or nation. This is a somewhat artificial world because we learn to adjust our feelings and behaviors to benefit others. We follow moral rules taught by our parents, schools, and churches. Sometimes there is a breakdown, a riot, a loud party, a theft, a murder. But, most of the time, we behave as sentient animals, bound together in the discipline of civility, kindness and the desire for fairness and self-fulfillment – for the good of all of us.

Now there is the new us, the social-media us, or texting us, or gossiping us. This us is found wherever a click or ‘send’ or few words can register our opinion or emotional view, and it feels good. We are empowered; we move our private self into the social world with ease, and back again. We can set free the emotions and needs of the private us, often the beast within, to feel the love, feel the power, feel the satisfaction of slapping someone down, feel the feelings we have been trained to hold within . . . for civility and order.

Well, enough of that and it becomes simple to let this expressive and hurtful version of us prowl about entirely free, outside the artificial bounds of civility. We can opine or troll or insult those who, by our reckoning, are idiots.

We can also use the button on the voting machine as another way to express the dark, power-hungry, emotional private us. And it feels good.

Unfortunately, in the Philippines, this kind of applied emotionalism seems to have cast decency and dignity to the four winds. Many are aghast that our civility is so often and so easily set aside. This decency was developed over centuries, representing our agreed path to survival, well-being and happiness.

We left that path.

We have decided to walk the path of our collective private selves, often needy, often dark, sometimes ruthless . . . and the norms of civility have completely broken down. These are Philippine values today:

“It is okay for journalists to be assassinated if they offend someone.”

This is not much different than that horror of man’s darkest rationalization:

“A woman who is raped is asking for it.”

Enough of this kind of dark and disturbing “out of the box” thinking, and we are inclined to ask ourselves, is this really us? Are we really only the dark, private, needy, feeling, punishing self? Have we enabled this, participated in this horror of horrors by being uncontrolled, undisciplined on social media, or with friends?

Is it too late, or can we still summon up enough discipline to SUPPRESS OURSELVES . . . discipline ourselves . . . according to the rules of decency and dignity that will give us a harmonious society?

And how is the world are we going to get OTHERS to want to return to the civilized fold?

The trolls are loose. Those who lie to and manipulate the national press are loose and doing their work. The thugs are loose, the autocrats . . . and the murderers if we are to believe the bodies now turning up and tagged as a gift to President Elect Duterte.

If we agree to suppress ourselves . . . discipline ourselves . . . how do we get this nasty genie we have unloosed back in the jug?

Others resist civility. They enjoy the power, the joy of disruption, of the pleasure that comes with making someone angry. Or hurting them.

Vengeance is loose, and a lot of people are exercising it.

Even Roxas supporters.

How do we discipline ourselves, others, and a President who, from all evidence, appears to represent the uncivil us? Mayor Duterte thrives because of his undisciplined expression . . . hostile, divisive, crude, rude, obscene. He thrives by scorning all those artificial standards of civility we have, until now, relied upon to keep us healthy, together, and rational.

He will soon be our leader.

His supporters say his outspoken way is necessary, because the old ways, the traditional ways, the enlightened ways, do not work. The Philippines has riches, but they are for the favored, and the poor endure the suffering.

“But we need shock to change, Joe.”

I agree that Mr. Duterte has earned the right to lead. And, indeed, there are needs, and plenty of needy.

But the way things are going, we are nothing better better than Road Warriors on a barren landscape where civility used to reside. The man in the iron mask, with the iron fist, is determined to rule his way. No one else counts. The sycophants and power-mad flock to him to get their piece of the action, to feel the power. To chair a committee. To line up behind their master to do his bidding.

I can’t help but think they are the weak, living for the high of power, no better than the druggies President Duterte vows to kill.

Justice in this new world is not set by civil rules, by moral rules, by accepted behavior. It is exercised at will.

And our right to civility, to expression, to live free, to participate in a vibrant, open democracy . . . is diminished. Our right to feel pride in who we are, as Filipinos and fans of Filipinos, is diminished.

In my opinion, we need to return to civility, President Duterte needs to lead us to a return to decency and dignity.

If we need shock to change things, pass the laws that will do that. FOI, Land Use, Anti-Dynasty, revise the Revised Penal Code, Federalism, stricter punishments, even the death penalty if the electorate’s representatives vote for it. Deploying the shock and awe of incivility will do very little for the nation, in the end.

The nation still has heroes, I suspect, and they will not stand for the degradation of Philippine civility. Because it divides. It offends.

A huge number of Filipinos do understand decency, and they do understand dignity. In fact, they can’t live happily without it.

We can help support Mr. Duterte as he leads the nation to change . . . and hopefully to civility, as well. We can be civil ourselves and we can demand it from those we know and come into contact with.

  • Conviction resulting in murder without judiciary judgment is not right. Period.
  • Threatening people is not right. It is extortion.
  • Labeling people is not right. It seeks to find power by humiliating others.
  • Words and deeds that demean women are not right.
  • Words that demean people of faith, or color, or age, or handicap are not right.

Helping people is right. Free speech is right. Real unity, based on respect rather than demands, is right. Polite is right. Giving of oneself to help others along is right.

Change is right, within the bounds of laws and human decency.

That is the kind of change that grants us dignity, that makes us whole. That makes working earnestly for the family and the community and the nation worth it.


190 Responses to “The battle for decency and dignity in the Philippines”
  1. purple says:

    Well said.

  2. Y says:

    Is this what Filipinos are amounting to? That we need to be threatened of death in order to be disciplined? Why?

  3. bill in oz says:

    Joe, the Duterte ‘phenomenon’ arises from what has happened before : the past.. So history is important

    The Enquirer today reports 5 executions of drug trafficers & thieves.. All arrested and released to await trial in the distant future, while continuing their criminal drug trafficing work.. Remarkably the criminal details of each of the 5 were available to the media.. And the executioners knew who to execute..So this is clearly not random ‘hits’. It is an organised response by persons who know what they are doing.

    And so the question is why .. Again the past is important… the Philppines court system does not serve the filipino people. The rich & powerful criminal doing crimes are released on bail till never never day The drug pushers and wholesalers are protected by corrupt police or lawyers.

    In the USA in the old days this gave rise to the High Noon sheriff and the posse. Something similar is happening here fueled I suspect by architypes from those USA movies &TV series..

    Do I like it ? No. But it is not my country. and as a stranger, an outsider, a guest here , I am largely ‘exempt’ from it all.

    But it is a real pity that so many Filipinos feel the need to support such actions ..A pity that the courts & police are infected with corruption.

    The alternative path would have been a wholesale clean up of the courts with corrupt judges being sacked And the corrupt or simply lazy police, ditto. The strong public support filling Duterte’s sails is a clear indication that previous regimes did not do this.

    • Leila de Lima seems to have tried to fix things – in fact she had a completely new and simplified Criminal Code drafted with German help, but it has languished in Congress since 2014. There was a large program at DOJ to fix stuff but I think it came into the usual issues. Karl has posted bits and pieces about Justice on Wheels and other stuff here and at my blog. I also mentioned that PNP was heavily retrained since 2009 with German help.

      Trouble seems to be that there is a swamp of corruption nearly everywhere and either the Aquino administration ran into huge issues fixing things or only worked on cosmetic changes – I don’t know really. Top cops connected to Roxas have now been tagged by the Duterte people as being close to narcos – I wonder is this politics or truth or the Philippines?

      De Lima is now Senator, I wonder if she went that route because she sees more chances of really changing things there – did she get enough support from Aquino or not at DOJ?

    • purple says:

      -The Enquirer today reports 5 executions of drug trafficers & thieves.. All arrested and released to await trial in the distant future, while continuing their criminal drug trafficing work-

      This is the way it works in every 1st world country. No one goes around offing people accused of a crime and then released on bail. It is the cult of the individual over the law.

      You can’t solve crime with more lawlessness. The acceptability of lawlessness allows another new of gangsters to take over.

  4. The animal in us is there… it is a bit too suppressed in many yellow supporters which made them sheep against wolves, but they are learning to push back now which is a good thing… I mentioned in one article (Naga and Davao) that this is villager versus tribesman – the villager Filipino was made timid by colonial powers, while the tribesmen or remontados or taonglabas who lived outside the pale of the churchbells became TOO wild… but there are villagers who are civilized but still are NOT pushovers especially in places like our very own Bikol – Leni, Bert, Will…

    I made a football analogy when Vicara told me about the “Mindanao style” – in football/soccer you have to push back and stand your ground, it is a contact sport unlike basketball, it is harsher… the only way to show the “tough” crowd that one is right is by being firm which many are learning right now – the old ways of parroting “colonial” beliefs (morals, justice, democracy) don’t impress them, firmness does. The next years will be a test of what each and every Filipino truly stands for.

  5. madlanglupa says:

    I can only surmise that pop culture indirectly contributed to the growing, if disturbing and dark, idea that doing things outside the bounds of the law such as vigilantism is better than an entire library of laws.

    Between the end of the war until the 90s, generations of Filipinos have been enthralled and excited of action men like FPJ and Erap, as well as Lito Lapid, and Ramon and Bong Revilla, of dealing with their powerful enemies, be it a neighborhood toughie or a crime lord. Often they operated outside of the law, or that they fought the law. Often the hero triumphs after overcoming waves and waves of minions with Armalite rifles, and sometimes he lives, or dies, whether he wears a talisman or not.

    To this day, reruns of such action movies on cable channels are still popular in the midst of computer-generated effects and heavier weaponry of Western entertainment, as well as local and safe romance-comedies seemingly copied from vibrant Korean pop culture films.

    It in this culture that some of us were convinced that thrilling men of action (the alpha males) do more than men of intellect (those that the media leave it only as small or less stellar reportage several pages inside, such as quiz bee winners, scientific achievements, etc.), and even more that these men of action do it allegedly for real, with myths of awe and terror surrounding them.

    Indeed, as Mao said it, power flows right out of the barrel of the gun.

    • Men of intellect AND heart who know how to stand their ground are sorely needed today. Rizal was an excellent swordsman and shooter, so was Heneral Luna who was killed by Aguinaldo’s Kawit brigade, the DDS of those days. On June 5, 1899 in Cabanatuan…

      The one who impresses me the most in that regard is Will – I see his postings on Facebook and see a typical Bikolano who will not be cowered. He will not shoot but he will push back.

      The other overly tamed sheep will not stand a chance against the cimarrones of today – this was the word in Bikol for the men of the hills who lived away from the power of the Spanish and the church bells. Yes, Bill is right – civil war is close at hand verbal or more.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m starting to buy Elon Musk’s philosophical belief that we are living a video game, a totally artificial world, and we got dealt the crummy one on a betamax.

    • uht says:

      As I was reading this, I thought, perhaps a good screenwriter should write more movies where acting according to the rules is not frowned upon—encouraged even. Education should reflect this in a similar manner.

      • madlanglupa says:

        I would really want to, but at present, only a few indie screenwriters who are not beholden to this elitist clique of writers (where they write down safe boilerplate plot for box-office money).

  6. bill in oz says:

    Yes but almost all of us Irineo never allow the animal to emerge..And I suspect that the actual executioners believe they are cleansing Filipino society..And sleep in their beds at night satisfied that they are doing good work..
    Intuitively I feel that the situation here is on the verge of a revolution. In 6 years time the Philippines will be a very different nation & state.

    • In 6 years? It already is very different NOW.

      Those who want civilization to emerge from all of that and not barbarism will have to know what kind of civilization they want and implement it. Not just words like before, with morals and rule of law only applying to the elite and in the cities. This is the challenge of Duterte. The challenge of Bongbong has been met – his allegations that everybody is a cheater just like his father was have turned out to be thin air or why is no case filed? Duterte remains.

      • Joe America says:

        It is different now. Very. Why, just a little while ago I respected both Senators Cayetano and now I despise the principles they advocate to Filipino citizens. “Learn to adjust to Duterte”, Elephant Sweeper Cayetano says. “I’ll tell Duterte in private what I think about his comments toward women” says Elephant Feeder Cayetano, as she publicly extols the Man’s virtues.

        • NHerrera says:

          Elephant feeder and Elephant sweeper — played by Ex-Sen Cayetano (come July 1) and Sen Cayetano, the Senate President hopeful. One mounted on a ladder and the other on his knees with the Elephant in between. What a picture. 🙂

          • Joe America says:

            Maybe someone will draw it. I think “Sham”, or Chempo, is the cartoonist hereabouts . . .

            • NHerrera says:

              Related item: two recent winners — VP Elect Robredo and Gibo Teodoro for not being enmeshed in the web. A narrow escape for the VPE and by a wise choice for Gibo.

    • bill in oz says:

      No Irineo, I doubt there will be civil war..I said a revolution seems imminent…Beyond that my crystal ball is clouded.

      • I think it was the French revolution that created the very true adage that “Revolutions eat their own children”. Revolutionaries seldom have a real plan for what will replace the old system – not even the “revolutionaries” of 1986 had one and it shows until today.

        The thing is, in February 1986 soldiers in tanks stopped before kneeling, praying nuns – this I doubt would still happen today. Rizal in the Noli mocked those who believed that the Devil could be scared by rosaries, as if he had suddenly become a sensitive teenage girl.

      • bill in oz says:

        Joe you write “millions… picked a leader who” uses “profane or offensive insults. It is a complete rejection of civility..”
        For me personally there has been no change in civility towards me.In fact, there is a mix of complete unawareness & gentle sympathy…I do not do face book or twitter at all. And maybe that insulates me from the noise of those who lack civility.
        So while those millions voted for someone who promised revolutionary change, I suggest that there are implicit limits…
        Meanwhile the new government has not yet assumed office.. There is this interregnum where the old power is fading and a new one forming..over a 7 week time frame…A completely new process for me as I am accustomed to a different process where winning in an election leads to an immediate change of government

  7. Philippines is suffering not only for physical poverty but also poverty of the spirit & morality. If we can’t be right in the poverty of the morality the physical poverty can’t be right too.
    Decency & integrity are the best disciplined we can teach in our children & the young generation today, they are the future.
    Joe always a pleasure reading your blog, thank you!

  8. arlene says:

    The power of social media is wrongly being used by some to catapult them to fame and self-aggrandizement. Morality and decency do not come into play because these virtues and values are not in their vocabulary. And because most of them are in the cloak of anonymity, they treat social media like it is their own turf. The bad thing is we are easily deceived and some of us would believe everything, lock, stock and barrel until we explode in anger and confusion not knowing how we got there.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, that is the way it is. Bots and trolls define the issues. Information is hidden or found too boring to discover. Myths become truth, liars the purveyors of facts. I think you nailed it, arlene.

  9. NHerrera says:


    with these milestone dates:

    – Date A: 30 June 2016
    – Date X within the next 6 years after 30 June 206

    PE Duterte addressing the police: “if you are involved in drugs I will have you killed.”

    Let us grant that by some fortunate circumstance and luck, from Date A onwards, the police officers killed were indeed shown, after the fact, to be greatly involved in drugs — the deaths short-circuiting due process as we know it. As a corollary, of course, I would imagine that the illegal drug lords and manufacturers themselves — whether Filipinos, Chinese, Koreans or other nationals — will themselves be killed summarily as in the case of the police officers. And for as long as we are talking of fortunate circumstance and luck, let us include the corrupt government and non-government officials into the mix.

    Question: Granting the above scenario, are we to expect a Date X after which a human-rights-due-process regime will again reign? Or in the context of the terms used in the current blog article a regime of relative decency and dignity? Or will the policy be essentially irreversible? Until some extraordinary, violent reaction intervenes?

    • The Reign of Terror in the French Revolution was only stopped when Robespierre himself- the one who started it – was finally guillotined. Dr. Guillotine, the inventor of the same instrument of execution, praised it BTW as humane and efficient versus previous methods.

      • NHerrera says:

        I was hoping you will give some historical context. And you did. The guillotine can be very effective in two ways: as being more humane to the victim than hanging; and providing more gore to the observers hence more lesson to would be perpetrators of the crime

      • sonny says:

        The ‘humane’ doctor described the sensation as like somebody blew cool air across the back of the victim’s neck.

    • Joe America says:

      I think once extra-judicial becomes the genie, it is damn hard to push back into the jug. I also think control of the information we receive is high priority for the new Admin, as his media forces move from campaign to exclusion of dissent. I’ve met these people on Facebook, and they are proud of their ability to disrupt and shape the message. It is an army. I wish they would target China rather than their own countrymen, but I always was a dreamer . . .

      • purple says:

        Duterte is pushing extra-judicial because he wants to legitimize lawlessness and destroy institutions. Dictatorship is on his mind.

    • LG says:

      Re: “shoot to kill” verbal order of the president in waiting and after he is sworn in. Can such verbal order ‘legally’ protect the ‘killers’ as he says “I will protect you”. Is the silence of the Supreme Court on such verbal order wise or negligent? Thank you for your opinion and to those who care to opine.

      • Joe America says:

        The term “eviscerate” comes to mind. Removing the body contents, which the future President is doing with the Legislature by enticing most of LP to his cause, and is doing with the PNP by offering raises and putting his guy in charge, and with the SC by ignoring judicial practices. I presume he will also eviscerate the AFP. He is eviscerating the entirety of Manila, journalists and people of civility.

        Seems fairly clear what is going on. He is not a stumbling, cursing oaf.

        • LG says:

          He dared Leila de Lima not to fight him or she will lose! The guy is fearless. He says, he is ready to step down anytime from the presidency. Which I take to mean, impeachment of him is welcomed, as long as he gets what he wants to do, like it or not, at the most expedient time and way available. His end justifies his means. His groupies are busy defending him and reinterpreting his pronouncements to soothe the offended. I can’t wait for Christmas to come. How will we greet one another then?

          • Joe America says:

            Probably by calling Santa an SOB and asking about Santa’s wife’s . . . nevermind . . . and what is he REALLY doing with all those elves anyway. Behavior, like water or excrement, seems to flow downhill. You’ve heard of trickle down economics, we have trickle down values.

            • LG says:

              True.true.true. No more press interviews of him till the end of his term. FOI only about you n me and others, never me. Vindictive. Tooth for a tooth, eye for an eye trouble shooter.

  10. Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserved neither. Those who sacrifice due process for security deserved neither too.
    I think someone who could achieve a peaceful state without giving up something is truly a great leader not a weak one.

  11. Dignity starts within oneself – often the “dignity” of so many “honorables” behind the “desks of power” in the Philippines is just a pose and not real dignity from within. The press conferences of Duterte in Davao were held behind such a classic, heavy wooden desk of power similar to the one Atty. Irineo Salazar, my grandfather, often sat behind. Now HE was a rustical man with a big nose similar to that of Duterte, and peasant manners – but he sure had dignity and pride and would never have gone to the low level of Duterte – my father once told me that my lolo had many chicks inspite of his patent “ugliness” (he married a Sorsogon Spanish mestiza to “improve the race” – his own words) but that he treated each one of them, even the peasant girls in Tiwi, in a good way. Sure his house looked like that of Duterte inside – classical provincial home – but I can’t imagine HIM humiliating any girl by kissing her in public. Or whistling at reporters in his court…

    Another greatEST man died yesterday – Muhammad Ali. He may not always have been nice, he was confrontational but with DIGNITY. And God/Allah – was his only bodyguard… Rest in Power!

  12. Tem says:

    Consider the possibility that the country is swinging away from civility and politeness for good reasons. Perhaps the middle class (who live civil and polite lives because they desperately want a civil and polite world) are seeing that it has not served them well? On one had they see their civility. On the other hand, they see how the powerful (both left and right) manipulate them in the name of civility. The left cry “Human rights,” but might they be only using this to camouflage their own lies and murders? The rich and powerful (perhaps even the church) encourage people to be civil. In the meantime, they concoct all kinds of schemes to enrich themselves some more.

    It took a very long time for the people to gather their collective courage to topple the Marcos dictatorship. People “knew” that what was being said in media was not real, but the mere machinations of the martial law Goebbels (let him remain unnamed). People instead believed in the mimeographed “news” that was clandestinely circulated.

    It is good to have the rule of law, but is that what we have? The poor cry that the law is only for the rich to get richer. They have the expensive pedigreed lawyers who can get them out of any legal predicament. The poor simply end up languishing in jail, or worse. They may be thinking, “The rule of law is fiction. Our reality is the rule of expensive lawyers.

    So when someone comes along and confronts the left and right and their abuse of the law and media, perhaps they see a champion for their hoped for civil and polite society. Even if it takes a blustering, foul-mouthed individual? Perhaps the foul mouth is appreciated because it is needed.

    Perhaps what people are really saying is, the time will come when a fou mouth is no longer appropriate. In the meantime, President Digong, bring it on?

    • Rebel leaders (Duterte IS one) channel anger at existing conditions.

      I remember how many of us in Germany in the 1980s admired Joschka Fischer of the Green Party (the first to enter Parliament in RUBBER SHOES and put his feet up there) for calling the President of Parliament an asshole on national TV, giving the stuff and often behind the times elite around Chancellor Helmut Kohl true dismay – and how they tried to uncover his links to Red Army Faction terrorists from his days of street activism which included fighting cops on the street… the Greens came from the 68er hippie-like movement against the hypocrisy of the postwar elite, which was in denial of its Nazi legacies…

      Now is Duterte a true rebel, a fake rebel, or a rebel without a cause? I don’t know.

    • Joe America says:

      We have very different values, Tem, you and I. The political gameplaying is one thing, treating people with respect quite another.

      By almost every global measure, the PH is on the rise and is taking care of her people better than any time in history, but you the impatient cannot stick it through and work for your ideals within the system and with kindness toward others.

      • Tem says:

        I tried to raise questions and avoid making statements. Perhaps I did not fully succeed. I am not impatient. I recognize the significant economic gains that have been made by the past administrations. They deserve credit for that. What I tried to do was suggest a possible mindset, and request for patience and understanding for those who chose a ‘foul-mouthed’ person for their leader. I grew up in a tough neighborhood in Sampaloc, Manila. Not everyone there was a hoodlum. There were many who tried to make an honest living and carve out a future even in that miserable setting. The overwhelming climate though is that they are victims either of the powerful right or the sinister left.

        In their world (my former world, by the way) cussing, bad-mouthing, and presenting a tough exterior is not considered bad behaviour, nor disrespectful. The Tagalog version of “son of a b___h” is largely ignored because it is used so commonly. Perhaps it can be compared with the way Singaporeans add “la” at the end of their sentences. Unfortunately, ‘la’ is innocuous while SOB has a definite bad meaning in polite society.

        I have been following you because you make a lot of sense. My request though, please do not label me, certainly not lump me among those that you call ‘impatient.’

        • Joe America says:

          So you believe it is correct to abruptly change course of the government, which has been working earnestly and productively, because the residents of Sampaloc are having a hard time getting out of their neighborhood and onto a productive path? In other words, those who are out, or who are sustaining themselves by fishing or farming or working at the BPO or clerking at one of the many malls or driving transportation or holding a government position should have their lives compromised by an abrupt change of direction that may put the nation’s rise at risk?

          My context of impatience is those who hold the current government at fault for not immediately correcting decades of poverty and neglect, when any government will require 15 to 20 years to develop the economy enough to provide jobs for all who want them. Why not work to assure that it will be done in 15 or 20 years rather than 30 or 50 or never? Seems like that is your position, that the current government is the culprit for failing to do that which can’t possibly be done in six years, and it fits my definition of impatient.

          • LG says:

            Home run, Joe ⚾️.

          • Ben Zayb says:

            A light-hearted suggestion as solution:

            Democracy in her complexity needs the magical power of branding and makerting in these turbulent times. Someone should raise Steve Jobs from the dead and sell our democracy! Benta na ‘yan 😉

            On a more serious note—while I will freely admit that the pace of change should be respected, me thinks a lot more effort needs to be put into the “anesthesia” for “national surgery” (national change in any form) as it were. The massive expansion of CCT was brillant in this sense—let it be reminded that the administration candidate ironically got most of his support from the poorest.

            This administration though failed to apply “anesthesia” on some important sectors in society though…

            What is the “anesthesia” though for the often-neglected lower middle classes (and a significant proportion of the rest of the middle class as a whole) who led (and convinced) the poor to vote our current President-Elect? They who cannot either reach for fancy luxury bag or CCT cash? Traffic (they who commute always)? Crime (they who cannot afford bodyguards)?

            Hmm. I think the lesson of this election is the need for anesthesia in achieving national change.

            • Joe America says:

              I disagree the Admin failed at much at all, but the people and press for sure failed the Admin. Crooks, leftists, political opponents, crabs and malcontents won the day. You keep peddling the failed message and deny the tremendous accomplishments made on your behalf.

              • Ben Zayb says:

                I don’t think the administration failed at all and I didn’t mean to deny their accomplishments, especially those that paved the way for long-term growth. The incoming administration will have all the money it needs for their audacious plans precisely because of the thriftiness of the current administration.

                The current administration failed at being perfect, that’s for sure. But just because the administration has made huge strides, doesn’t mean that there are any lessons for future administrations and reformers to pick up. If anything, what I meant to say what the current administration need more was spin and empathy. In particular, while they made sure that the upper classes (slick international rep. building) and the poor (CCT) “felt” (this word is important), the people that galvanized our current President-Elect didn’t quite “feel” that they were taken care of. I don’t mean they weren’t actually (that is, in real terms and materially) taken care of, but they “felt” (read: perception) they weren’t. An analogy from my own experience–like an adolescent son or daughter who can’t get along with their parents despite their parents giving them what they need because of personality differences and the awkward emotions that come with puberty. The adolescence of democracies (and a middle class learning the ropes) take time. That doesn’t take away any of the real material accomplishments of the current administration; if anything, especially in this era of lightning speed communication and data, presentation COUNTS. Especially in boisterous young democracies like ours. 🙂

                I mean, kids need their vegetables and good way for them to introduce them to vegetables (and make them eat it at first) is to hide it in nice meals. It’s good to have steady change, but it’s great to have confidence-building measures with that steady change is what I mean.

              • Joe America says:

                “The current administration failed at being perfect, that’s for sure. . . . the current administration need more was spin and empathy. . . . That doesn’t take away any of the real material accomplishments of the current administration”

                Pardon me for laughing, because your statements have the EFFECT of taking away from the real accomplishments, in the minds of the voters, and it is the same old pigs ear that got sold to voters . . . and you continue to peddle it here. That is the troll in what you vend here, the same old wordsmithing that undermines as it pretends not to.

                The fact is, the administration is done in three more weeks, and it is time to recognize and thank the earnest government workers who have labored so long under the thankless eyes of even intelligent people. Kindly pack your pigs ears off to some other forum.

            • bill in oz says:

              Ben, thank you for your sensitive and thoughtful comments here.I disagree with you Joe in your remarks. Ben is trying to think through why Duterte gained so much support from the Filipino people. My lady’s mother in Bicol voted for him to my great surprise and disappointment. Such Filipino voices are rare here but it is an honorable task in my view .

              • Joe America says:

                Many, many people disagree with me. That doesn’t make them right, necessarily. Many agree with me, I suspect. I’ve had similar discussion with Ben before, and he keeps bringing back the pig’s ears. The election is done. It is time to recognize and thank earnest people who did good work on behalf of the Philippines and Filipinos. Leave the political agenda aside for that higher priority. In the best interest of the Philippines.

              • Joe America says:

                I would add that I’ve had the opportunity to deal with a lot of trolls here, some good ones, actually, most from China. The patterns are the same. You might ask yourself if you are in play or not.

              • bill in oz says:

                You said, “The election is done. It is time to recognize and thank earnest people who did good work on behalf of the Philippines and Filipinos.” I remember a blog about Aquino which did this. But not one about Roxas or others who worked well & hard as part of the departing government. Is it planned ?

                Meanwhile we are watching a seismic shift in the nature and character of Filipino politics and maybe the Philippines as a state and nation. Consider Duterte remains i Davao. All roads lead there now. Davao city is the new de facto capital. That is s big a change as Constantinople replacing Rome. I think that change has started. A federal Philippines will happen I think as part of Duterte’s core agenda.

              • Joe America says:

                You should consider using the search function on the home page. Look up ‘Mar Roxas’ and you will get a pile of articles done by me and others. You’ll have to flip back to “older posts” at the bottom of the page to get them all. Here’s an article I did on the various cabinet agencies:


                Plus I’ve done topics on NEDA, mining, storm relief, defense, and a pile of subjects that pertain to government work. You will even find criticisms here and there, where they are warranted. But you will not find me starting with the view that “government sucks”, which is the view held by those you defend, the infamous 38%.

              • LG says:

                Thank you. Repost for 2022?

              • A couple of friends and I will be going to an orphanage in our birth month. We are doing this to honor the Secretary and the President. We are not in anyway connected with LP and the Secretary, just inspired by his leadership and had enough with the social media battles. We are taking it to the real world in a positive way.

              • Joe America says:

                Fantastic, giancarlo. That is uplifting, and there has not been enough uplift in these parts since the election. More power, for sure.

              • LG says:

                More blessings your way GCA! TGBG.

              • bill in oz says:

                @Joe, Thanks for the links, but you misinterpret me…In an earlier comment today, you said it is time to thank the departing government. My question simply flowed from that…Do you have one planned ?
                Now a second question : you say I am defending the people who brought Duterte to power. No I am not. I am still asking why 38% of the electorate voted for Duterte. Why they chose not to support Roxas. That is a genuine question.

                Any political party or individual politician who wants to serve the Filipino people in the future needs to understand this. Leni Robredo needs to understand this.
                Finally, You talk about the FB & social media trolls & hacks who worked for the
                Duterte victory. But really I doubt there were more than a couple of thousand individuals all up ..the Duterte vote was over 16 million…

                But of course I cannot make you agree with me on this.

              • Joe America says:

                I may do one more blog at the end of June. It will be a tribute to men and women of good principle and earnest work, and a heartfelt personal thank you for giving me inspiration about the Philippines.

                The Duterte (and Marcos) social media juggernauts were impressive, if underhanded and packed with lies and malicious attacks. You might want to research that further to understand media use in the PH and how shallow is the thinking behind decisions. I’ve looked into it, and you need to do your own research rather than ask people whose voice you don’t fully respect.

                It may also simply have been a matter of time. Give Roxas another month, and he could have won, as Duterte was wearing thin as did Poe before, while Roxas was continuing to pound upward with unrelenting and exhausting local rallies. You can use Google Trends to search on the key names Duterte, Roxas, Poe and Binay to see trends. It will show the profound strength of the social media juggernaut behind Duterte, and the gains Roxas was making.

                I do think you need to do your own personal discovery in more depth. Then you will figure it out, and understand that people like gubatvoces are not just shooting off their mouths without good reason.

              • LG says:

                i thought so too, Roxas was moving up. Hope he does not give up his dreams for the Philippnes. Having tried a despotic leader by then, Roxas will be in demand then,

              • bill in oz says:

                Joe, I long ago decided for personal to not use or follow any social media at all…I am old fashioned and do my research in the actual media, in the Philippines and internationally.And I try to see what is before my eyes here in Manila. So I am completely insulated from the social media campaigns of who ever….But I appreciate your remarks about this.

                an off topic thought : I suspect that Leni’s victory as VP means that Duterte is now not a target of the Marcos family’s desire to regain power… If BB was VP he definitely would be…And Marcos bitterness at this loss will soon I think lead to tensions and divisions between Duterte & Marcos..A silver lining on these dark clouds !!!

          • Tem says:

            Please read or re-read the first five sentences of my reply to you. I fail to grasp where your comment is coming from.

          • Tem says:

            Joe, Please read or re-read the first five sentences of my reply to you. I fail to grasp where your comment is coming from.

            I mistakenly posted this in a later portion. My apologies. This was intended for this comment from you.

            • Joe America says:

              My comment is coming from a point of exasperation that intelligent people spend so much time representing how the disadvantaged ‘feel’ when they could play a more wholesome role teaching the disadvantaged about what is being done, and perhaps assist them in some small way. The election is over. It is time to express appreciation to those who served the nation well.

          • bill in oz says:

            You are not in Manila Joe. Here the wealthy are quite prominent with SUV’s and expensive condo’s..
            Meanwhile I have waited in queues here in the Philippines.. The patience of filipinos is extraordinary.. far beyond mine..

            But in making political choices 38% of the voters have said they have waited too long and want faster change via Duterte.. And they voted this way despite knowing Duterte’s foul language and other major faults.

            .It is churlish to say THEY are wrong …It is better now to really research ‘why’

            Aquino & Roxas were rejected by so many. And it makes no sense to say that they were decieved by the media & social media. For the same foul tactics were used against Leni Robredo. But she gained support and is now VP

            For me as an observer, the answer of that ‘why’ question, remains the key to the future. I believe we would be doing Roxa & Robredo and Aquino a favor if we are able to answer that ‘why’.

            • Joe America says:

              No need to speak to me as if I were some unknowing hick from the hinterlands. Churlish? Being smug enough to tell Aquino and Roxas how they missed the boat? How about we simply thank them for serving the nation. It is churlish to neglect to do that.

            • gubatvoces says:

              The poor and very poor are just as prominent in Manila where one can see a lot of the poor living on the sidewalks eking out a hand to mouth existence. the same is true here in Davao. I myself had to unfriend a lot of people and block inumerable Ads which for some reason were able to enter my FB because my FB became inundated by Duterte Ads and trolls who attack, threaten, insult, intimidate, you name it, those who don’t agree with Duterte. The 38% voted the way they voted because they were gullible, fickle, easily swayed by scams and propaganda.

              • Joe America says:

                I read today that prostitutes are protected in Davao, and some 4,000 operate with no problem. Perhaps that is one of the employment industries that can be leveraged from Davao to the rest of the nation. BPO agents can become pimps operating throughout Asia and, heck, globally. It is synergistic to tourism and I suppose gambling. I wonder if those laundering money will be on the “shoot to kill list”. Inquiring minds want to know, as one thing leads to another.

              • bill in oz says:

                the homeless are not registered or lack valid Id. Not many of them vote, As for your comment ” The 38% voted the way they voted because they were gullible, fickle, easily swayed by scams and propaganda.” You are disrespecting 16 million of your fellow filipinos. And such a remark does not contribute to understanding why people voted as they did.

              • Joe America says:

                The remark is consistent with what those in the 62% often say. The background to their beliefs is a population that prefers entertainment to information, emotion to critical thought, and finds the bandwagon of friends and neighbors more impressive than independent thought. Not all of the 16 million fit into that category. Some, I suspect, hope to gain in position or wealth, or like being thuggish, too.

        • NHerrera says:

          I imagine a creative sculptor starting with his hexahedron block of marble. Having painstakingly arrived at a piece with a lot of the marble block still intact, he is not quite satisfied and decides to improve it. It may not do to suddenly — because of impatience — chisel away a huge chip of the marble, an irreversible process, to his own or his patron’s great dismay. He should hurry up and work, but taking the necessary time to chip away methodically to arrive at a masterpiece. Such is the process of building a country I believe.

        • bill in oz says:

          Tem, thanks for your comment. I know Sampaloc a little. Yes it is a hard poor place. But still I found many people there caring, hard working & patient…I like the Noodle King shop there – good food.

    • karlgarcia says:

      You mentioned civility and politeness,what about political correctness?
      PC means do not offend the disabled,the lgbt,the minorities,the marginalized….and just about anyone.correct?

      • Tem says:

        Political correctness is a good thing that has somehow gone bad. It has been hijacked by the liberal left to push their agenda to a point where it has become ridiculous. The latest idiocy that has come out of PC is President Obama’s order to allow men in women’s toilets if they are transgender. Perhaps I am too conservative in my Judeo-Christian upbringing, but I draw a line where PC has gone too far.

        I am fluent in Cebuano and Tagalog. Many Tagalogs consider Cebuanos disrespectful because they do not say ‘po’ when they speak to elders. Take it from me-they are not disrespectful. They are just coming from different cultures. In many instances, the respect for elders is even greater in Cebuano culture than the Tagalog equivalent, but they are demonstrated in other forms. Let us not impose our definition what what is righteous on others without first trying to understand where they are coming from.

        I apologize for what may be coming on strong. I am not usually like this. I do make exception on unevaluated PC.

        • karlgarcia says:

          I understand that you do not have to say po to be respectful,my kid does not say po,but it is fine with me,I tried to encourage him but my parents adviced me to give up,my wife does not use po either.(but she is not from visayas)
          in addition visayan yayas taught him tagalog,he learned to speak english first because of TV.

          Thank you Tem.

  13. karlgarcia says:

    I do not tweet.On fb the unfollow button is my best friend,or if I do not want to unfollow,I just scroll down,better than abandoning social media entirely like what I did before,no blogs,no facebook for a few years,I do not want to do that again.

    Suing bullies can be a last resort,if suing is not a hassle,with the red tape,you just let things pass.

    For our president,no press conferences and no ambush interviews,let his press and communications secretary do the talking.

    We can not teach old dogs old tricks,or in his case old value systems.

    So long as there is no charter change yet,there can be no vote of no confidence and with the composition of the coalition in the lower house,impeachment is next to impossible,so we just watch Delima and Trillanes on how they fiscalize,if ever they will.

    • madlanglupa says:

      I choose my friends carefully. FB in most cases is a business communication tool (if a client is talking too much, I can mute him), and only as a medium for my closest friends I can talk to IRL.

    • gubatvoces says:

      You mentioned charter change which means federalism. Federalism will not solve the country’s problems. As it is, we now have these despots ruling their own fiefdoms. If at all, it will just entrench and make the existing dynasties more powerful and wealthy.

      • LG says:

        Yes, indeed. Makes sense a lot.

      • bill in oz says:

        Almost 100 years of centralised Philippines government has not solved the local despot problem.It has just got worse. But you propose to keep on ding what does not work ? Not very rational.

        • bill in oz says:

          Better to try something different. Now that is rational. And it might work !!

        • Joe America says:

          If the problem is the culture and the people and the principles, and not the form of government, it is perfectly rational. Federated states would PROMOTE the weaknesses, scatter them, and make it harder for national to correct.

          I would add that it is best to discuss the ideas and not imply they (or the writer of them) is not rational. Your challenge could be construed as a personal attack.

          • LG says:

            Thanks Joe, for the perspective, Embarrassed to say but bravely, it might be culture that is to question. Federalism could further bring out the worse in us, Filipinos: regionalism; clan orientation; nepotism; what’s in it for me attitude; to each his own approach; police checkpoints; disunity; etc,

            • Joe America says:

              Yes. It might be moderated to some extent with an anti-dynasty law prior to the Federalism law, but the culture of impunity and favor would still exist. It’s funny, we can see from Gabriela’s failure to adhere to principles that speak loudly for women that even the left is captured by the culture of impunity and favor, over what is good for women of the PH.

              • LG says:

                I seriously doubt the anti dynasty law would pass; not consistent with the Filipino culture of family orientation and nepotism, at least.

          • bill in oz says:

            No personal slight was intended.. My apologies if I seemed to do this. Rather in my mind was the saying in English,
            “If you keep doing what you have always done,
            You will always get what you have been getting”
            the shorter, more pithy version of this will not come out of memory ! But it does sum up the basic thought : to get different results do something different.
            What we in the West think of & label as corrupt, is a common complaint about virtually all eastern societies from the Arab nations through to China & the Philippines. There are 3 exceptions in modern times : Japan, South Korea & Singapore. Now what have these nations done that is different to get rid of corruption ?
            Bu I suggest again, the desire by Filipinos for federaliam is NOT designed to stop corruption. It is springs from a desire to have state government of states issues.

            • bill in oz says:

              The poetic pithy version
              “If you always do what you have always done,
              You will always get what you’ve always got”

  14. Mia Concio says:

    Heart-wrenching, Joe. Beautifully said. Thank you.

  15. Ben Zayb says:

    Interesting angle on the “three selves” interpretation. It was a nice way to integrate the themes of social media and virtue. Two things worth nothing though with regards to the current situation and social media:

    >The looming echo-chamber. Even in this “social media isn’t so bad” article shows very worrisome characteristics of social media that may outweigh benefits…
    [ ]

    “But getting news on social networks like Twitter, versus publications’ own websites, can be different. People see information only from people they choose to follow, the content is user-generated, and information travels quickly.”

    > The literally “too-fast-to-keep-up” growth of internet population in the PH. Exponential is an understatement.
    [ ]

    PH is now almost on par with East Asian (Developing) and World Average in pecentage using internet. Catching up quickly with the neighbors too.

    How can one interpret this?

    You have a newly set-up and rapidly booming “Wild West” Social Media Public Sphere that people are all running towards. A Public Sphere whose credibility (I can’t emphasize this enough!!!) is UNQUESTIONED on there mere basis of being “real” and “authentic” compared to traditional mass media.

    I have no problem with cynics questioning the traditional media. But when these same cynics question traditional media yet treat social media with kid gloves—I just…don’t know what to say. At risk of sounding presumptous—how does such cognitive dissonance even happen?

    Make people SHOHLD give social media the same skepticism they give towards traditional media. The battlefield will level then.

    Extremisim will be a little easier to combat.

    Not saying there should be an “abstinence” campaign for social media—I mean, Plato thought “writing” was bad if I’m not mistaken, but no one stopped writing—but if you are going to exercise your free right to smoke, then at least see the labels…

    Or course—there’s always the option of going nuclear against the other camp. Memes are virtual WMDs for discourse 🙂

    But joking aside—the situation now is like an alternate reality where people use WMDs (in cultural terms) all the time yet do not know what radiation or act as if it doesn’t exist.

    • Joe America says:

      It is an alternative reality, and the only path to sanity is to recognize it as such. Otherwise one succumbs to flights of fantasy and fiction as truth.

    • Every new medium brought its abusers… I am sure writing did… printing definitely did…

      “Lügen wie gedruckt” is a German term (lie like printed) which comes from the times just after Gutenberg invented the movable type press… people printed a lot of nonsense, the old quality control (but also monopoly) exercised by monks and scribes had been lost…

      Of course the movable type press was a major factor in Martin Luther’s success – he was in some ways a reformer, in others he was a provocateur and a troll who caused a real war…

      Yep, a war between German lords on religion, even before the 30 years war from 1618-48.

      And radio caused the Orson Welles spoof on an alien invasion to be believed by many… Goebbels and Hitler used radio… it takes experience to learn to parse a new medium.

    • madlanglupa says:

      There is now a sizable population who are convinced that social media tells more “truth” than mainstream media, so they either believe in quackery or conspiracy theories.

      > Make people SHOHLD give social media the same skepticism they give towards traditional media. The battlefield will level then.

      I wish. But the current intellectual level of our people is wanting, that we still need to teach to promote critical thinking.

      • Tem says:

        Mainstream media’s credibility depends much on the quality of its reporting. During martial law years, nobody seriously believed any media outlet as soon as it became clear they were all just mouth pieces of the regime. Word-of-mouth became the source of ‘truth.’ After a while, some brave souls started to mimeograph accounts of what was really happening. Soon others followed. These were all unsigned, but they had far greater credibility than any of the mainstream media. So, in a way, practitioners in media can be the reason for their lack of credibility.

        Social media is full of outright falsehood. But people catch on fast. Have you read the blog that claimed we no longer needed visas to visit Japan? Many got prematurely excited but quickly disappointed when they shared the information and were told that this came from a website that does spoofing. That website will continually to have followers- from those who want a quick laugh – but it will not be followed for news. Perhaps recognizing crazy blogs and websites will not require a great amount of “intellectual level” just the experience of pain from being fooled.

  16. Noss says:

    “Conviction resulting in murder without judiciary judgment is not right. Period.”

    Are US drones flying?

    • Joe America says:

      Separate issue entirely. This blog is about the Philippines. It doesn’t contribute to try to undermine the author’s point with such a diversion. If you have a point to make, make it directly, I’d suggest.

  17. NHerrera says:

    A tyrant with a relatively low following has a disproportionate sway with the majority, because the majority has the general attitude of “after you …” That is, “you go first, and (if you are successful?) we will follow.” Thank goodness there is blog site such as TSH. The owner of our blog site neighbor, Raissa Robles a perceptive, courageous, responsible journalist wrote yesterday a blog entitled “My heart is grieving” and she has this to say — I feel it in my bones. We are about to enter a menacing period in our history.

    • My new article “Those with feelings” is inspired indirectly by Raissa’s recent article…

      Those with feelings are never slaves, said Heneral Luna. Raissa never was a slave and never will be – just like her father who helped so many pro bono during Marcos times.

      • NHerrera says:

        Truly a nice short blog to go with Raissa’s most recent blog, “My heart is grieving.” Thanks for putting it down, Irineo.

    • madlanglupa says:

      “So this is how democracy dies, with thunderous applause.” —Padme

  18. “We can help support Mr. Duterte as he leads the nation to change . . . and hopefully to civility, as well. We can be civil ourselves and we can demand it from those we know and come into contact with.”

    On a metro ride a few years ago, I tried to “demand” this from a couple of ghetto black teenagers causing a ruckus, I (and buddies) could’ve gone to jail for what we did, except we were lucking we had a very understanding police officer respond to the call.

    Since then I’ve retooled my thinking about how best to “demand” decency, hence I volunteer at my buddy’s Boy Scout troops, a couple other places to help instill values to teenage kids who’ve grown without father or grandfathers, etc.

    That’s why me and JP (where is she these days, by the way?), had that back & forth re how best to handle public displays of disrespect—- sure I saw her point, but simply telling someone off, I’ve come to understand as counter-productive, the possibility of causing the opposite effect is more likely even.

    So we have to be very strategic in the way we deal with the forces of chaos.

    I’d also want to add that all illusion of decency and dignity I’ve lost awhile back, I see decency and dignity more or less as a security issue. It’s artificial but we need it if we want stability. Lack of decency and dignity is our natural state, social media didn’t create it or make it worst, we’ve always been so.

    Joe, can you elaborate on this “demand”? thanks. Is this simply like ‘shoooshing’ in a quiet library, or do you have something more strategic in mind? 😉

    • “we have to be very strategic in the way we deal with the forces of chaos.” exactly.

      There are courses on “civic courage” offered over here in Germany because those who are very civil sometimes do not know how to deal with the wild side. There was some years ago a case of a businessman, a man with martial arts experience, who got killed in a rich suburb of Munich because he tried to help teenagers being bullied by gangsters. This man regularly trained with kickboxer Ivan Steko of the popular “Steko’s Fight Night” show, but he underestimated the wild side of people outside even this not really civil form of SPORTS…

      Just like a Federal cop, an MMA fighter at that, who commented on the unrest during New Year’s Eve at Cologne train station (Trump even mentioned it to say how weak we are at dealing with refugees – ignoring that it was not refugees it was mainly Maghreb gangsters) where women were sexually harrased and police attacked, said a real situation is different. He said MMA you have doctors and referees, any demonstration with really wild people is like being in the middle of a war zone. There are good reasons why even highly trained anti-riot teams try to have at least 3:1 advantage in potentially dangerous situations. The difference I think is that street/wild types are unpredictable. And have very devious tactics. Some counter-tactics I think would include de-escalation and containment of danger.

      Containment can lead to attrition of rival forces, de-escalation can also lead to the some of those on the other side not joining a counter-attack, going home instead of continuing…

      Coming on too strong without having a sure retreat and secured allies to protect you can lead to a deadly situation. Better to act in such a way that the few who are radical become isolated at some point. This I think applies to both political and street conflict situations. Now Duterte is just PROVOKING at this point – hoping to wear out the forces of civility. Then retreat and many will think hey it was not so bad after all… then attack again?

    • Joe America says:

      The word “demand” . . . it is stronger than insist or even advocate, and for sure does not mean roll over in the clover and let them do it to me again. I suppose I meant “demand of ourselves that we hold 100% to the stated principles, but use judgment or discretion as to when and where we beg, ask, or try to impose our will on others”. I’m suggesting people be determined to seat those values as Philippine values, but I would not want anyone to do anything risky or stupid like fall on a spear or something. Nor should we let others impose risks on us or do stupid things, if we can influence their thinking. I like the way Irineo put it in his recent article: “Goodness is something one feels in oneself and lives.”

      I’m suggesting some principles to live by, and in the suggestion is a demand. For myself.

      Irineo’s article:

    • NHerrera says:


      Sketching the “strategic game” is relatively easy; going through the honest to goodness analysis required and hoping to get a passable solution probably needs a Rand Corporation type of think tank with no guarantee that a good action plan can be found.

      Nevertheless, here is such a sketch:

      # Po — the numero uno player of that strategic game

      # Other Players seen to have weight enough to have an influence in the game (can the blogging community such as the TSH be one of these Players?):

      – P1
      – P2
      – P3

      # The strategic options of the Players (we seem to know Po’s but these may just be surface items and may intentionally be diversionary to throw the analysts off, etc)

      # The table of “payoffs” or value measures attached to the options of the players — a most difficult one to assess. It is a combination of the different options of the different players.

      Such a multiplayer-multi-option strategic game that I sketch is something I would not do, not that I need to be paid to do it, but even a US or China think tank with all its bright boys and resources cannot easily do this with a reasonable certainty of success.

      Meantime, I say Joe continues doing in his blog what I believe it is doing well. Whether it is just at the fringes of the sought-after strategic game is difficult to tell.

      So there, I just used up Joe’s blog space in a sketchy response to @Cpl_X. I hope it merits at least a quick scan.


  19. purple says:

    Go back to China-US rivalry here, always. I maintain that Duterte represents forces aligned with China. Their position is in trouble with UNCLOS and US political advances in SE Asia. Throwing the Philippines into chaos or dictatorship is an act of desperation from pro China interests.

    This is why civil war is not too strong a warning.

  20. josephivo says:

    I don’t know, but in the largest newspaper here in Belgium Duterte became almost a daily news item. Willing to rape if he was invited, justifying the killing of journalists, threatening to kill police generals, complaining about stinking v’s because of vaginitis… It started with small quotes in the sundry section, but it moved to the international section and the headings are getting larger and larger (because the readers like them?). This daily articles are not really boosting the image of the Philippines, I wonder if it’s only my daily Belgian paper or if the same happens in many countries. What will the long term effect be on potential investors, traders, the image of OFW’s…?

    • madlanglupa says:

      The same way that Trump is grabbing headlines, by painting America as becoming a democracy regressing into something far worse than Dubya.

    • Joe America says:

      If the “investors” are the oligarchs who thrive on favors, there seems little need to worry. So far, exchange rates are steady and stocks are holding fine.

      • purple says:

        That won’t last though, JA, as I’m guessing you know. ‘The economy’ was fine for a while with Marcos too.

        Duterte’s Filipino facebook workers have already started messing with Facebook operations internally. Banning Anti-Duterte pages without permission. Facebook global knows about it too.

        This sort of fanaticism has a bad ending.

    • Joe America says:

      Quiz: Name the country to which the greeting applies. “G’daye mate!”, “How ya doin’?”, “Buenas dias, amigo!” “How’s your wife’s vagina?”

    • bill in oz says:

      Ditto in Australia…There will be an impact ;tourism and interest in investing in increased trade..Unpredictability always has that effect.

    • purple says:

      In the U.S., Duterte is getting tied to Trump because of the similar disrespect for democratic institutions and inappropriate outbursts. Since Trump is at 65% unfavorable I would say no, it doesn’t help Duterte or Filipinos. Even Right Wingers who love his crime stuff cast a wary eye at his NPA Communist ties.

  21. karlgarcia says:

    Why do the police have to wait for Duterte(to be elected) to enforce the curfew,raid videoke bars,arrest half-naked tambays,street drinking ,etc if the ordinances have been in place for years already?
    Sure it is good,but I hope it will be sustained.

    As for discipline, I just watched a video about the clean streets if Japan,they say they keep the trash in their pockets or their bags since there are no trash bins,when can we emulate that?

    That would be enough to copy from Japan,harakiri after a scandal is too much to ask.

    • madlanglupa says:

      > As for discipline, I just watched a video about the clean streets if Japan,they say they keep the trash in their pockets or their bags since there are no trash bins,when can we emulate that?

      It’ll take generations, not six years, to get to that kind of mass discipline. Proper education should do that.

      > Why do the police have to wait for Duterte(to be elected) to enforce the curfew,raid videoke bars,arrest half-naked tambays,street drinking ,etc if the ordinances have been in place for years already?

      Because he already promised them better pay, in one form or another. And I’m sure he’ll want to make their jobs “easier” to do.

      By possibly taking out much of due process. Or worse, habeas corpus and denying funding to CHR.

    • purple says:

      Discipline comes from empathy and respect for other people, not having a Master shove it down your throat. A lot of Filipinos want a personal dictatorship so things go as they want, and they live through Duterte.

      Japanese can stand in lines because they have empathy and respect for each other. Without that, sorry, no discipline.

      It’s not a matter of education, as the middle classes are the most nightmarish. It’s a failed cultural idea.

      • Joe America says:

        That last line, to me, is the greatest disappointment. Those with the most to gain, with a launch pad for their families for well-being, are willing to toss the culture that created that opportunity aside. Like they can’t stand success, or don’t know what it looks like.

  22. NHerrera says:

    Apropos to the current blog, a quote from Fr. Ranhilio Aquino’s opinion piece today, “The might of the powerless:”

    Unless the matter on hand is one of defined dogma, or of universal, unanimous teaching, there is ample room for dissent in the Church. From the time Christians quarreled about the date of Easter to this day that they quarrel over who is worthy of public office or who Catholics should not vote for, there has always been and there will always be dissent. This is attendant to what our faith does not compromise: dignitas humanae (human dignity).

  23. karlgarcia says:

    Since I mentioned political correctness earlier,
    I read this column of Cito Beltran and he opined that we have a collective adherence to political correctness.

    ps. I agree with most of the POV of Tem with regards to PC.

  24. NHerrera says:

    Here is what DPWH Sec Rogelio Singson had to day about President Aquino and DPWH:
    In a television interview, Singson said Aquino is “underrated in terms of his accomplishments.”

    “He has done a lot for the country, including in the area of infrastructure,” he said.

    He said his agency has been able to shed its image as one of the most corrupt government offices and build a lot of roads, bridges and classrooms because it had Aquino’s trust.

    “He never meddled with us. He wanted us to take over all government infrastructure projects, but it was impossible for us to do it,” he said.

    Singson pointed out that upon Aquino’s instruction, his agency was able to help the Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Agriculture build classrooms and farm-to-market roads.

    Singson said under the Aquino administration, his agency the DPWH, the Department of Tourism and the Department of Transportation and Communications have launched a “convergence” project.

    “We have accelerated the building of roads and other infrastructure leading to tourist designations, and airports and seaports,” he said.

    Sec Singson is a top performer of a Department once noted for corruption.

    • LG says:

      Thank you Sec. Singson. The other Aquino cabinet men should follow suit, tell what they had accomplished, if not for the first time, reiterate what PNoy had reported, as FYI. The tabloid based media was better at headlining a half empty glass than a half full glass. Post election may be a more appropriate time to lift one’s bench. Tp have a better baseline knowledge of where the new adm. is continuing or starting from.

  25. andrewlim8 says:

    If the Pnoy administration was called a student council, the Duterte regime is Monsters University. 🙂

    – Inspired by Joeam’s jokes on his twitter account on matching greetings with the country.

  26. andrewlim8 says:

    Now I get it why Duterte easily gave his support for the Freedom of Information bill. He will not give any information in the first place. 🙂

  27. Ben Zayb says:

    Pardon for somewhat off topic.

    An idle question in my head—as I read article after article online and in print proclaiming the victories of the Genghis Khan. Some have talked of surrender. Others dare a last stand. All speak of the mightiness of his armies and their seeming invincibility. This I can’t help but ask:

    Has anyone ever talked of the weaknesses of his armies? Does not one’s weaknesses flow from the same well as one’s strengths…

    • bill in oz says:

      An interesting question.. his granson failed in his attempt to conquer western Europe. Why ? Too much rain ! There were floods and that made it hard for his horse and wagon armies to advance. And because there was so much rain the grass did not grow. so no food for his cavalry horses and no milk for the troops. So the mongols retreated back to Russia. And western europe spared conquest….Curious ehh ?

      • Ben Zayb says:

        Ah…an analogy worth bring up in the present day….

        What is the….rain…of Trump….? Or….the….rain…of the bad elements of our President-Elect….?

        I mean no pun here 🙂

        • bill in oz says:

          Ben, a good question ! Re Duterte, he has promised much… Fulllfiling his promises will be hard. And he has raised so many other expectations.. So the potential for disappointment is high….

  28. Ed Gamboa says:

    Well said, Joe. Keep writing, please.

  29. caliphman says:

    I can only sigh in frustration at the contrast between the both the present article’s plaintive appeal for dignity and the prior one calling for more discipline with Duterte’s patent disregard for both in how he comports himself as president to be. So long as he thumbs his nose at the country’s laws, rules of civilized behavior, and his very own rules and pronouncements we as a country and as a people will be known more as the land of the Asian Idi Amin and casting aside accepted norms of civilization in voting such a president to represent the country to the world. This is the Faustian trade 16 million Filipinos in the recent election, change even if for the worse at any cost including its self-respect as a people reverting to barbaric, brutal, and might means right society.
    I just hope this trade will have been worth it as for me it is a very high if not too much a price to pay.

  30. Annalissa M. valdez says:

    Joe, I feel like we are losing the battle….and I am so wounded I shun FB and all social media accounts. But seeing you and Raissa picked out the pieces and continue to fight….gives me a glimmer of hope

    • Joe America says:

      When even the most intelligent among us are willing to set aside the compassions of dignity and decency, as a trade off for some impossible and ugly step to utopia, it is easy to get discouraged. We are the kind and principled, and therefore we are the enemy.

    • andrewlim8 says:


      No we are not. When people become silent, that’s when dictators are enabled…. stay informed, stay engaged, pray.

      Even the response of the CBCP was a brilliant ju-jitsu move: “the silence of Christ in the presence of an arrogant Pontius Pilate….”

      Notice that their side is now having difficulty because after the elections, the discussions are now becoming issue-based, something they cannot articulate well… their posts are becoming more senseless and worthless by the day….

      Unless they deliver, things will implode….

      • Tem says:

        Their side…their posts…?

        I dream of the day when we can think “our” dreams and efforts, together.

    • Harry Tan says:

      Same sentiment here. But, as VP Leni says “Let’s pray that PE Duterte succeeds” and benchmark him based on the fair matrix that Joe laid out elsewhere here.

  31. josephivo says:

    Of topic.

    Autocratic or democratic what do we want? Br. Luistro made me understand a main difference. Population growth can be reduced in either way, make a maximum of 3 children mandatory or introduce K12. K12? Yes, teenagers with raging hormones in classrooms are less likely to make children than when they are bored and waiting for a decent job, 2 years less in the reproductive opportunity age. Even more, statistically better educated people have less children, K12 might have a bigger influence than the RH bill. One can force people or invite people. Look also at the difference between the Davao method in reducing crime and the Naga method, using force and vigilantes or build from the bottom up.

    The power of communication. An autocratic approach can do with simple communication, “this is it”, a democratic approach needs endless explanation. Duterte is excellent in getting and keeping attention, in choosing the language of the main audience, not of his educated peers. The previous administration might have failed in its huge communication task.

    Situational management. A direct autocratic style is required when the subordinates are “not ready”, not knowledgeable and/or not motivated. A participative explaining the why’s and how’s is only effective when subordinates are “ready”. Was the average Filipino not ready for a more democratic style of government?

    • Joe America says:

      Superb question. I think the average Filipino was not, and is not, ready for a democratic style government, of the style that is genuinely of and for and by the people. What we have here is a fake one, a facade, an Elon Musk burst of artificial intelligence that has gone cancerous.

      But hey, that’s just me . . .

      • Tem says:

        I agree absolutely. You have a way of putting it that says it well. This is why I keep on following you, even if I occasionally take exceptions.

        On this point though, no exceptions.

  32. bill in oz says:

    The battle for decency & dignity in the Philippines has just had another defeat courtesy of Aquino’s veto of the Nursing bill passed by his colleagues in the Liberal party the Congress & the senate earlier this year..
    Among other things this veto means starting salary nurse working in private hospitals continue to get 9000 pesos a month. their colleagues in government hospital service get almost double that.. Duh ?

    The veto was expected by many.The concensus seems to be that he is a company boss man,. here is what one source wrote in April :

    LP, PNoy to sink further if ‘Nursing Law’ is vetoed

    April 18, 2016
    Written by Paul Gutierrez
    Published in Opinion
    Read: 332

    AN “expected” presidential veto of a bill that would end exploitation of nurses through various unfair practices of hospitals and medical clinics can only sink further the credibility of Pres. Noy and the entire Liberal Party (LP).

    Nursing groups led by Ang Nars Party-list aired this warning to Malacañang as they urged Aquino to reject the appeal of hospital owners to veto the Comprehensive Nursing Law (CNL).

    Ang Nars Party-list Rep. Leah S. Paquiz, principal author of the House bill, warned that rampant exploitation of nurses will continue unless the measure is enacted.

    House Bill 151 provides from safeguards against exploitation of members of the nursing profession and prohibits recruitment of volunteer nurses, false trainings, unjust compensation and other unfair labor practices.

    Paquiz said Aquino should ignore the position paper that the Philippine Hospital Association (PHA) published in newspapers.

    “The opposition of the PHA on the passage of CNL is a complete disregard to their vision/mission: World-class hospitals through leading, enabling, assisting, and protecting hospitals toward quality service.

    “How can PHA claim that they are “in-pursuit of the Universal HealthCare Program”, if they are the ones opposing health worker’s decent pay and decent jobs?” asked Paquiz.

    Filipino nurses, including nursing students and trainees assail the PHA position on the measure.

    “The 1,900 hospital members of PHA will never attain their ‘world-class state’ if they will not treat sector’s human resources as a vital component of health care system,” she explained.

    Aside from strictly prohibiting unfair and unjust labor practices against nurses, the enrolled bill also provides salary grade 15 as a benchmark pay for health workers.

    And my take on this warning, dear readers, is that PNoy would simply ignore this again!

    • Joe America says:

      I would suggest you complement this commentary with an assessment of the financial health of the nation’s hospitals. Let’s try for the complete picture rather than a sliver of it. Or at least report the President’s remarks in sending the bill back. You may find that it has little to do with decency and dignity, and a lot to do with pragmatics.

      • bill in oz says:

        Joe what about the financial health of privately employed nurses ? Government hospital employed ones have already been given a pay rise by Aquino. But nurses in privately owned ones doing identical work have been left in the lurch since 2002. Do you suggest that they go on strike to acheive salary parity ?

        • karlgarcia says:

          Your lady might confirm this.
          Doctors enrolling to nursing school to try their luck abroad should have been an eye opener,but apparently it was not.

          The exodus of nurses,the mushrooming of nursing schools not for local jobs but for the promise of being able to work abroad happened not too long ago.

          Now the givernment is promising Jobs in Japan for our nurses.
          I know that is not the answer you are looking for.

          • bill in oz says:

            Karl that is bizarre.. But you are right.. A couple of her former ‘resident’ colleagues have done exactly this and are now in Abu Dhabi.

            I recognize that there is an industry here : a college industry that churns out young people with nursing qualifications. And the attraction is getting a better paid job in the Middle East or South Korea or now Japan.

            But the nursing college industry is not responding to actual ‘need’. it is just enrolling & churning out as many people as it can because that’s how it makes money. So each year there is a huge over supply of newly graduated nurses seeking jobs overseas and locally in the Philippines.
            and many work for zip at hospitals just to get some actual work experience.. Or give up entirely as recognise that it was an expensive waste of time…
            And for the Philippines as a country it is a wasteful use of it’s human resources. but of course the Philippines has abundant human resources courtesy of the Catholic church’s fueled population growth.. And economically when a resource is abundant, it’s value goes down.

            But is that really the future we want for ordinary people.- your fellow Filipinos ?

          • LG says:

            Maybe there are indeed jobs for RNs in the Philippines, but simply not enough for all the new passers. Besides hospitals seem to sit on their vacancies, see if they can get by with what they got.

            I have yet to meet a nursing student who plans to work as a nurse in the Philippnes. Most are optimistic they will go abroad either on a work, dependent, or fiancée/fiancé visa. Some who are studying at top tier nursing schools in the Philppines pursue nursing as a stepping stone to medical schools, even MBA, can you believe it? For some reason, nursing grads of top tier nursing schools fare well in medical schools.

            Germany was also reported to be hiring nurses in the near future. Whether specifically from the Philippines is guesswork.

            Generally, foreign countries won’t recruit fresh new nursing test passers regardless of country of origin, unless from their own. They require clinical experiences appropriate for their needs. Thus, those who are able to leave on a visa related to work/skill are the experienced ones, leaving local hospitals to hire who can’t leave yet. One is lucky to have as a nurse, if confined, a substantially experienced one, as such are already in management positions. Staff nurses in direct care, not trainees, have, generally, less than 3 years of clinical experiences where assigned. Beyond that, they either go up the clinical/management ladder, change job due to burn out, get married, raise a family, or have been sending big boxes from abroad.

        • Come on bill you are an economist by education. We don’t pay people by how important the work they do is. We pay them on how many people are capable and allowed to do the jobs. Unfortunately as Karl said we have a glut of nurses because of the nursing rush in the early 00’s . To legislate increases specially with government is a big balancing act. Everyone from police to military to doctors lawyers nurses architects and engineers.

          Just google the PAO lawyers demanding parity with judges in terms of retirement pay. This is a sticky topic that was abused by the previous administration giving Salary increases left and right.

          This is too complicated to be binary as good and bad. It is a continuum and a multi dimensional balancing act.

          • bill in oz says:

            Gian..I will give you that it is not a binary of good & bad..I admit there are complexities here.
            1 I stand by my belief that all persons doing he same work with the same level of responsibilities should e paid the same wage/salary

            2 The current wage/salary scheme for nurses employed by private hospitals is manifestly exploitative. It was set in 2002. It ignores inflation since that year.

            3 The starting rate is just over 9000 pesos.a month. After 14 years employed full time my lady’s salary had ‘advanced’ to just over 15,000 a month – less compulsory deductions like income tax, SSS & Pag Ibig. So her net salary was around 12,000 pesos a month.

            4 That’s not a professional ‘living wage’. In fact it is just on the poverty line here in Manila. More so if there are children to support.

            5 I don’t hear of private hospitals going out of business.So their complaint about their inability to afford the proposed salary rates means they have been paying out good
            to shareholders or other staff and managers

            6 Finally why the hell is the president of the Philippines called upon to determine the wages & salaries of nurses ? Such minute micro management is nuts. It’s not how modern societies work

            • chempo says:

              It’s simply supply and demand at work. Price (salary) is the equilibrium. Any forced pricing has consequences.
              The role of the govt is not to set price level but to target quality and quantity of job entrants to the demands of the economy. .
              The underlying problem of Philippines is over population, period.

              • bill in oz says:

                So there is a misplaced supply Chempo.. But did LKY in Singapore allow such free market economis ? No.. Singapore’s current prosperity is a result of very careful planning, management and even orders of how ‘resources ‘ ( people) were to be educated and trained ..

              • chempo says:

                Exactly bill. It’s by careful planning and management that the govt can steer people into better paying jobs. Singapore govt only interfered in salary rates on 3 occasions for strategic reasons.
                1. Pegged ministers pay to a level computed on a formula which is .ore or less a median on private business owners. It’s to recognise responsibility n anti corruption. Obama’ s pay is lower than the lowest NBA player, see what I mean.
                2. Civil servant pay were brought on par with private sector. Not to do so affects quality in civil service. Smart guys shun working in govt. Such is the case in Philippines currently.
                3. A few decades back salary levels were driven up to cause a structural change in the economy. We moved away from low level labour intensive mfg to high tech high end economy.

            • Joe America says:

              Haha, I have to laugh, Bill. Thus we see how the Philippines drives foreigners nuts with the absence of sense and fairness. Our sense of right is so strong, yet the accumulation of nonsense in the PH is broad as the Pasig and just as packed with flotsam. President Aquino did not make the history or the nonsense, Bill, and he has made major strides to get rid of a lot, as testified by Secretary Soliman. You can’t make it right by wanting it right. You can sit under the mango tree with a cold San Mig, however, the sea breeze wafting clean, the sounds of karaoke drifting up from the neighbors, and it is good. Or you can push. Screaming or cursing won’t get you far, I think. Things here are inside out, and to push, you have to pull . . .

        • Joe America says:

          I’ve not studied it. I just believe President Aquino is not the irresponsible stone-heart you make him out to be, but is a prudent and rational caretaker of government services. You have stepped into the role of lobbyist for nurses, SSS beneficiaries and Mamasapano victims, and I’d prefer to strive to grasp the President’s full set of responsibilities, as that is what he should be judged on. He ought not be judged on how well he takes care of vested interests.

        • LG says:

          Nurses employed in private hospitals can exercise their right to self determination as any citizen can, regardless of the nature of their work. No one has to stay where they don’t want to.

      • LG says:

        👍 Joe.

    • LG says:

      To Bill in Oz. In the same news article (published 06/16/2016 in all the 3 major national newspapers) which stated that the bill to increase the minimum entry level salary for nurses was vetoed by PNoy, did you read, as well, that PNoy had issued EO No. 201, series of 2016, whereby the minimum entry level salary for nurses was increased from Php228,924/pa (Php19077/mo) to Php344,074/pa (Php28672.83/mo) exclusive of other benefits.

      If in fact true that some nurses receive only Php9000/mo as you noted, such compensation may not be ‘salary’ but ‘stipend’ and such nurses may not have appointments as ‘staff nurses’ but as ‘trainees’. I have in fact encountered/observed in more instances than one, during visits, some fresh-faced young ladies in nurse’s uniform (tending to a sick relative) at a local private hospital in my province. Sad to say, based on my encounters/observations, I have concluded, I won’t have myself confined, neither a sick relative, if I am the one paying the hospital bill, in such noted hospital. Mind you the noted hospital has a decent reputation in the province. I wonder how the nursing dept. of the other private hospitals of ‘lesser’ names are staffed? I admit I am biased.

      I relate to the reasons cited by the president for vetoing the bill in question. He acted responsibly and realistically? What other health care professionals, whether working in public or private institutions, are not underpaid, hence deserve a raise! For that matter, as well, all the auxiliary health care workers. How about non-health care workers?

      Would there be enough funds to increase entry level salaries for public servants? Teachers, polices, soldiers (who else?) …. all 4-year degree holders with tests to pass to become bonafide…. all performing essential services, thus, all deserving entry level raises.

      While at it, add the Php2000/mo for SSS pension that pensioners and politician supporters insist Congress to override. 4Ps expansion? Increasing students in public schools. More infra needed.

      In the Duterte adm, Php50000/mo is allegedly planned for cops. If such happens, I expect other public servants to rally for raises. NPA Revolutionary Tax, increased VAT in the works? How else to create more money besides printing more of it?

      By the way, does anyone know if in fact the VAT monies are remitted promptly and honestly?

      • madlanglupa says:

        Trillianes plans to revive the bill in the next Congress. Some young RNs I know of on Facebook are hoping for due recognition.

        Of course it will be inevitable that Duterte, ever the socialist demagogue and priest-king, will sign it and the SSS pension increase into law because his followers see Aquino as “a cold-hearted elitist blockhead”, and because “the masses demanded it”, but would cause a domino effect where every other professional, and even the lowly worker asking for Php120 per day, would demand for higher wage increases.

        In turn, potential investors would be wary of making business here because labor suddenly becomes expensive for them to sustain.

        • LG says:

          Of course! No one wants to be left behind. Thanks for your input Madlanglupa☺️.

        • bill in oz says:

          But Madlanglupa ‘labor’= people.People need a decent wage to live ‘decently’ – the subject of this blog.
          As it happens nurses have had no salary increase since 2002.- 14 years. But how much inflation has there been since 2002 ? When you have worked that out, you will know how much nursing salaries have been devalued since 2002. Aquino sorted out the nuses employed in public hospitals but decided to leave those working in private hospitals to hang out to dry. And we are not talking about peasants & day laborers, we talking about professionals.

          • LG says:

            It’s not Aquino’s fault that nursing schools were allowed to mushroom decades ago in the name of money. Such nursing schools were poorly regulated and managed. Except for some performing nursing schools, enrollment in many nursing schools lacked limits despite the dearth of qualified nursing faculty and educational facilities. Result: the supply far exceeded the demand for nurses both here and abroad. The oversupply is in spite of the fact that the RN licensure exam pass rate is consistently less than 45%.

            In the Philippines, as there are so many looking for a entry level nurse’s job, hospitals can be snubs, particularly private ones. Take it or leave it. No hard feelings, if you don’t. Their pay offer. It’s likely not what you wish for. The rationale? Most believe they need to orient (read: train) the new nurse to their ‘informed’ ways to become useful to them. Thus, the low pay. Such can be true as well with public hospitals. But, in general, I believe, for most new nurses, private hospitals are their first preference.

            Private hospitals, though pay less, likely have better working conditions than do public hospitals. Consider some factors: 1). Occupancy rates in public hospitals are way higher than in most private ones; 2). Patients in public hospitals are likely more seriously and acutely ill than their peers in private ones; 3). Patient:RN ratio is likely higher in public hospitals (that is more patients to one RN) than the ratio in private ones. With such factors, I imagine many RNs, then, may opt for better working conditions (= private = low pay), than for more stressful working conditions (= public = higher pay).

            The dismal pay for nurses in the Philppines will continue for as long as the supply of them far exceeds the demand for them. Whether public or private….

            • Joe America says:

              I very much appreciate this real-world interpretation of health care in the PH, which I find very consistent with my own experience in both private and public hospitals. Health care cannot be first world when population growth and poverty are third world, and low cost is the common denominator in everything from construction to household help to nursing. Nurses are over-worked and under paid, and if everyone who worked in those conditions got a raise, businesses across the land would go bankrupt or raving inflation would hit the land and there would be hell to pay by everybody. It’s hard to be an earnest president in a poor country when responsible work gets condemnation by everyone who has not yet made first world, and the corrupt are accepted for being good managers.

              • bill in oz says:

                Joe,I hear what you are saying..But if there is no moderate peaceful way of improving working conditions, the alternative is revolution ! Born of seeing nothing else but despair & death. Even the popes have recognised this ( since 1894 I think ) Where is the peaceful reasonable path to a shared prosperity here ?

                Even Duterte is better than that..

              • Joe America says:

                Continuing to generate 7% GDP for 20 years and working earnestly on many improvements. The nation can’t dictate wealth and can’t get it in 6 years. If PE Duterte can give the nation 6 productive years, that’s excellent.

      • bill in oz says:

        LG re ….”did you read, as well, that PNoy had issued EO No. 201, series of 2016, whereby the minimum entry level salary for nurses was increased from Php228,924/pa (Php19077/mo) to Php344,074/pa (Php28672.83/mo) exclusive of other benefits. ”
        Yes I did read this.. But nurses working in private hospitals are not covered by this..Only nurses in Public hospitals..

        Recently I spent a week in Chinese General Hospital re the smashed broken elbow. So as it happens I have a lot of direct experience apart from what my lady tells me. 🙂

        It was, in the non medical aspects, very different to what would have happened in Oz, but medically/caring just as good.. Too much to write about it now.. Still working through many aspects in my head & body …

        • LG says:

          I see your grief Bill in Oz.

          The president’s noted EO should have covered all RNs working as RNs in healthcare institutions.

          Something is making those RNs in private hospitals remain there. Why won’t they resign if they believe they are underpaid? And start looking for government employment.

          There are a variety of places RNs can apply to work as government employees: state, city, provincial n town hospitals; Phil Health; DOH; rural n community health centers. May be more.

          I should note that staff RN positions may not be aplenty in above noted places for a reason or two. Registered midwives (RMs), nursing assistants n orderlies are employed by many hospitals n health centers.

        • LG says:

          Chinese Gen is a decent hospital with decent medical and nursing staff. To my knowledge.

          Get comfortable quick. Lucky you, you got your own private duty nurse 24/7 maybe:)

  33. bill in oz says:

    Slight change of topic

    .It’s an interesting informative article

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] via The battle for decency and dignity in the Philippines — The Society of Honor by Joe America […]

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