Is Filipino citizenship worthless?

president-cory-aquino-and-justicececilia-munoz-palma-with-draft-of-constitution

1986. President Cory Aquino accepts draft of constitution from Chairwoman of the Constitutional Commission, Justice Muñoz-Palma. [Photo from Rappler]

By Joe America

We generally think of the Constitution as a technical legal document that tells us how government works. But it is so much more than that.

The Constitution is written by you, the people, and it is for you, the people. It says this in the opening words:

We, the sovereign Filipino people . . .

Article II makes the point even more explicitly:

Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.

In the Preamble, we are told WHY the Constitution exists. There are two reasons:

  1. . . . build a just and humane society, and
  2. . . . establish a Government that
    • shall embody our ideals and aspirations,
    • promote the common good,
    • conserve and develop our patrimony, and
    • secure to ourselves and our posterity, the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace . . .

Just look at the concepts represented in the reasons for the Constitution. The words are powerful and righteous: “humane, just, common good, ideals, aspirations, independence, rule of law, truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, peace.” This is a well-meaning document, embodying the best of our human condition. It aspires for grand ideas of how to live and build a community. These words state what the Philippines stands for . . .

And it is good. Very, very good.

Beautiful, in fact.

ARTICLE III contains a Bill of Rights. It is modern, classy, of high mind and principle, protecting women and religious worship and a host of freedoms.

ARTICLE IV defines who qualifies as a citizen. Kids born in the Philippines are citizens. So are poor people who are not registered to vote. So are people who use, peddle, or manufacture illegal drugs.

There is no subset of citizens that are worth more or less than others. There is no entitled class of citizens. There is no underclass, no servant class. There is no class for whom Constitutional rights do not apply.

Then we look at the reality of the Philippines and how its government operates today.

What happened to what the Constitution stands for? Where are the hopes and aspirations and ideals and freedoms written there? Where is the high-minded vision and inspiration of a well-meaning community building something special?

Well, my judgment counts for little because I am not a citizen. But how about your judgment? Do you believe the Government is working diligently to give you the protections guaranteed BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE under the Constitution? Do you think your citizenship is all the Constitution meant it to be?

Does government sponsored propaganda promote a regime of truth? Does a Secretary of Justice on a political rampage represent a regime of justice? Does a government that declares that drug users are not human promote a regime of love and equality? Does a government that endorses killing of citizens strike you as living up to the high ideals of the Constitution?

I would ask, who, exactly, is protecting the Constitution these days? By my observation, no one. Not the Legislature which is a giant muppet with a hand up its backside like on Sesame Street. Not the Supreme Court which is interpreting personal interests rather than law. Not the Executive which is abandoning Constitutional precepts left and right. Not the people who are home reading Mocha Uson, that amazing icon of democratic virtue, and allowing themselves to be stripped of their rights and freedoms.

All this leads me to believe the rich concept of citizenship written into the Constitution is under dire threat. Citizenship is reduced to meaningless words. Citizenship no longer represents dedication and unity and aspirations and inspiration. One does not fly high with Filipino citizenship. Citizenship instead is coming to represent suffering and shame and burdens and obedience to self-serving masters.

Here are some of the guarantees of the Constitution that seem no longer to exist based on actual practices:

Article II. Declaration of Principles and State Policies

  • Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.
  • The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people.
  • The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.
  • The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights
  • The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution.
  • The State recognizes the vital role of communication and information in nation-building.
  • The State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service . . .

Article III, Bill of Rights

  • No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law
  • . . . nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws
  • The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable,
  • Free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty.
  • No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against him.
  • No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law.
  • In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved,
  • No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.
  • No involuntary servitude in any form shall exist except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.
  • The employment of physical, psychological, or degrading punishment against any prisoner or detainee or the use of substandard or inadequate penal facilities under subhuman conditions shall be dealt with by law.

Do I believe the people want these sections struck from the laws or the quality of their citizenship diminished by making them less than they were before? Do I think 16 million voted for THAT?

No. Certainly not. Yet it seems clear to me that Filipino citizenship has lost tremendous value during recent months. Citizenship is no longer high minded. No longer inspiring.

It would seem that government does not seek to fulfill the uplifting vision set forth in the Constitution, the one that makes being a citizen a source of great joy, security, and excitement about the future. Propaganda is not care-taking. Death sentences are not uplifting.

Citizens have become the underclass in an autocratic stacking of people according to their worth. Poor drug users are on the bottom and pegged for extermination, power-mongers are on top manipulating the Constitution for personal advantage. Those in the middle have shrunk back within a shell of self-containment, for security. Or are snickering with glee at how their President is insulting big-shots. The Pope. Obama. EU. UN. Even their own Church.

Last year, citizens were “the boss” and the nation was a rising star. This year, citizens are fodder for the powerful and the nation is in a state of perpetual crisis.

So what do you think your Filipino citizenship is worth?

Here’s what I think. I think your citizenship is priceless. Precious. Beautiful. It is what holds the nation together, in security, in hope, in respect for the cherished value each citizen brings to the Philippines.

It astounds me that so many in government . . . who took OATHS . . . don’t find citizenship as precious as that. They don’t find it worth preserving. They are in it for themselves, and damn their neighbors, damn the children, and damn the idea that being Filipino means something special.

 

Comments
75 Responses to “Is Filipino citizenship worthless?”
  1. There is no such thing as citizenship in real Filipino culture. There is subservience.

    Parroting the American masters of before required those nice Constitutional words.

    Filipinos for the most part are ass-kissers to the powerful. Bullies toward weakness.

    Catholicism was just kissing Spanish ass. Democracy was just kissing American ass.

    Of course very few became true believers. But most are like Pacquiao reading the Bible.

    • andrewlim8 says:

      I think the really sad thing about this country is that after all these years, so many Filipinos can only grasp two things: tribe and family.

      “Country”. “patriotism” and most abstract concepts are really still way up there, incapable of being understood. Perhaps due to poverty, I am not sure.

      • But the educated elite, the leaders, should grasp the ideas and comprehend that only good, fair dealing can bring the Philippines back from its wretched poverty and angers. My disappointment is with the educated class that cannot grasp ideas about productivity and fair dealing. I see Senator Hontiveros working diligently to propose new laws and promote fairness, but everyone else is soft-shoeing their way across the floor, apparently lacking any kind of patriotic discipline or courage. They just blabber words, like Senator Poe, trying to look pretty without influencing minds. Then there is Senator Gordon, who personifies a kind of weakness that I only thought existed in Charles Dickens’ books from centuries ago when the world was dark and infested with illness. Character illness.

    • chemrock says:

      Irineo
      Many are those that lay blame the plight of Philippines on tribalism which has prevented the concept of nation and national patriotism in the people’s psyche. I have a question. Now, I can, as a matter of comparison, the physical likekness of Indonesia with Philippines. Malay race, archipelago, 100+ million population, colonised by Europeans. What is your take on Indonesia — are they also tribal, if not, why not?

      • Excellent question. Please also add Malaysia to the comparison Ireneo if you are willing.

        • I think there are three factors – I have asked myself these questions myself recently…

          1) Indonesia and Malaysia had larger states already before colonialism… Sri Vijaya and Majapahit which the Philippines did not belong to.. so aside from what chempo called the “barangay mind” which they also have not barangay but kampong they already had an internalized, indigenous idea of how to run a state… aside from very loosely held together domains like Manila and Cebu which were more like pork barrel states, not much in the Philippines… and then…

          2) colonial rule dismantled both Manila and Cebu as dominions. The Sultanates of the South no, but that is a different case. English and Dutch colonial rule made use of local nobility and structures to their advantage but did not dismantle as much… Spanish did turn datus and barangay notables into principalia, but ran even the provinces by themselves. Filipinos unlearned whatever larger scale they knew how to operate before colonialism, while Indonesians and Malays kept more traditions, even the common language Bahasa.

          3) The mestizos formed a separate group in the Philippines that started getting rich in the 19th century with agricultural business. They and parts of the principalia that got educated formed the Westernized national elite of the Philippines. The parts of the principalia that stayed in the provinces stayed closer to the people in behavior and more – witness Duterte. But both groups effectively kept the masses from understanding and internalizing the kind of state apparatus they were living in – it helped them keep the masses where they were!

          Even in the LP I see few who really have done something to bring the state closer to the people – Bam Aquino and Leni Robredo are notable examples of those who have done it. Those who have done something against misuse of state power by the provincial elite are very few also – Leila de Lima was notably one who went against Duterte even while the rest of the LP was still “friends” with him. Even now when she is attacked, much too little help.

          While the national and provincial elites of the Philippines concentrated, I think, more on their comfort and convenience, I think the elites in Indonesia and Malaysia had more political will to build real nations out of the states they were given. Just my two cents…

          • And I think that the rule of law – meaning that the state really RULES its territory in terms of making and enforcing the rules by which people live – broke down already in 1946, when provincial warlords, with former guerillas backing them up, started to control local politics.

            Of course the Indonesian way was much harsher than Marcos, with the army crushing resistance in so many islands with enormous brutality – but the country never disintegrated into places where NPAs, different Muslim groups and even militia control the boondocks.

            Malaysia is federal, and I can imagine that local dynasties are in control of a lot of money, but there are no indications of them running private armies to intimidate ordinary people. Both Indonesia and Malaysia are NOT exemplary democracies. But that is another topic.

          • No warlords after independence in Malaysia and Indonesia, unlike in the Philippines…

            • karlgarcia says:

              Irineo,
              Thanks for your analysis, it answered a lot of questions.
              Just some minor points.

              The Free Aceh Movement and Free Papua for movement for me can be considered as warlords.

              Private armies also exist in Indonesia and Malaysia.

              http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/indonesias-private-armies/3460770

              • karlgarcia says:

                Self correction.
                For Malaysia, The only state with its own army is Johor and its army is only “ceremonial” in its functions.
                So you are correct about Malaysia having no warlords with private armies who intimidate people.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Malaysia’s newly formed NSOF or National Special Operations Force
                It is attacked by netizens not because of human rights violations, it is attacked because of their logo.

              • LOL!

                it does say “SPEED and ACCURATE” ( I’m no grammarian , but that should probably be, Swift and Accurate ; or Speed and Accuracy ) but w/out that SPEED and ACCURATE at the bottom of that logo, i’d be hard press to figure out what that logo’s all about —- especially since light travels waaay faster than sound , how do you shoot a lightning bolt?

                IMHO, the SAF’s logo is actually one of the better uses of sniper cross-hairs in military logo design,

            • chemrock says:

              Thanks Irineo

              I have a fairly good grasp of Malaysia, we have a close history. Two things Malaysia had that Phils don’t have — Bahasa Melayu (as Edgar noted) abd states existed before independence (as you explained). I’m not that versed with Indonesia — I travelled there a few times, tourist thing, but still lack depth of knowledge.

              They have princely states each with their own sultans (kings) as spiritual and administrative leader. They federated and kept the sultanates intact as states. Each of the sultans (except for East Malaysia of Sabah and Sarawak where there are no sultans) take turns to be King of Malaysia for a few years by rotation but they serve only as head of state and religious leader for Muslims. Admin is left to the PM. Pretty fair and workable system I think. So here’s the thing with Philippines flirting with federalism. There is no clear cut delineated ‘states’ to base on. Like I said in my old blog, they need to cut up the land then fix it up again. When humpty dumpty falls, it may be difficult to fix it again.

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            Great answer.

            A common language is a great unifier. Time to remove the mother dialect as the medium of instruction at the primary level?
            *****

            • josephivo says:

              “Time to remove the mother dialect as the medium of instruction at the primary level?”

              That is what the French speaking minority did for a century in Belgium but failed in the long run. My father was the first generation with part of his education in Dutch, my education was 100% Dutch. Belgium does not feel a need to be “unified”. We evolved into a federation downwards and upwards as part of the EU, But we are unified by a common history, common culture and a common King (the last one is just ironical)

    • I totally agree, Ireneo!

      When I was there, I got the sense that most (if not all!!!) Filipinos wanted to leave the Philippines, all with just varying degrees of capability stopping or slowing them.

      It’s the Titanic mentality more than this oft cited “Colonial” mentality that’s the issue, IMHO.

      The Filipinos that have the means and ability to leave, will leave; those that see opportunity still, will stay and fleece the Philippines as much as they can squeeze, but they have their exit strategy already lined up (ie., sending their kids to Canada, USA, Australia, Europe, etc. buying property outside the Philippines, etc.);

      and then you have the rest of Filipinos essentially playing the lottery, either actively seeking marriage via social media or in clubs over there to foreign nationals, or playing match maker legitimately or illicitly by pimping & pandering their loved ones, to ensure escape.

      it’s the Titanic.

      It was very rare to meet a Filipino that was committed to staying, mostly among the old maybe after realizing there’s no escape after years of trying. The folks who I met who had the closest to commitment were expats (like Joe and chemp) and Filipino retirees and returnees (these though encouraged their kin to leave, to copy their foot steps).

      So since only expats (proportionally speaking) tend to understand Citizenship over there, the way it’s understood in the West at least—- ie. commitment to stay , I propose let the Philippines make citizens of these folks, offer them dual citizenship, allow them the opportunity to serve in public office! even encourage them to do so.

      Can you imagine chemp and Joe as barangay capitans or mayors? or city or town managers?!!! They would totally kick ass!

      Then extend this program to Filipino returnees retiring over there, but still clutching tightly their foreign standing, ready to jump ship when the Titanic sinks (but also knowing they are in the twilight of their lives, death is near hence committed more to staying), allow them (especially recent retirees, 65-70 yrs are still active!) the opportunity to run for public office there.

      Expand Filipino citizenship to those with a more committed understanding of this word, CITIZEN.

      Everyone else is just waiting or scrabbling for the ship to sink! So sure that it’s gonna sink, rendering this concept of citizenship all moot. You gotta commit to stay first, then the hard work of actually staying. Without commitment (with a refugees’ mindset) , the sinking becomes a self-fulling prophecy! 😦

      • josephivo says:

        Also a major difference with Indonesia is that they invested most of the corrupt money in Indonesia, here most corrupt money is invested abroad (see as an example the Marcos wealth)

        • I don’t see too many Indonesians and Malaysians in the US, josephivo , so maybe the other component to this brain and money drain , is the Filipino diaspora, which ironically brings us back to this whole Titanic mentality, of everyone just jumping ship , wanting to leave.

          If Trump can en act an anti-immigration order (or at least try 😉 ) ; maybe DU30 or the next Philippine president, en-act an anti-emigration policy , wherein everything of value stays put in the Philippines? A stop gap measure of sorts to stop the brain drain (it’s probably too drastic, but the bigger concept is to keep stuff inside).

          But my point is like Indonesia (and Malaysia) if the money and brains have no where to go, it’ll probably do more , than less, if it stays put inside… common sense.

      • madlanglupa says:

        There’s a term I came upon, that is just as bad as “crab mentality”: “F*k you, I got mine”. Meaning to say, in a race, whoever gets to be first across the bridge, destroys the bridge before the competitors can cross it.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Or another way of puttung it is to complain about handicap parking zones or pwd access ramps because one is not handicapped.

          or more recent. Complain about the one who blocked the counterflowing bus, because you are on a rush.

          • I don’t know about handicap ramps and zones, karl, over here, the handicap are pretty militant, forcing every establishment (gov’t offices i can understand, but private too? c’mon) to construct ramps and special zones for them, thinking it’s a right for them, and not a privilege bestowed on them thru the goodness of their fellow citizens hearts (which means at any given time, we can cancel said compassion, not that we would, but the law of nature trumps the laws of men … going back to our talk re rights vs. privilege, knowing how to differ).

            But what madlanglupa is talking about here is more I think connected to the idea of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_destruction , there’s a balance of course , like all that news I read during that big Japanese tsunami where citizens orderly bought what they needed ensuring not to buy more than necessary to ensure their neighbors also get their provisions, now super-impose that to the scenes during hurricane Katrina here where you had hording and riots… but I think though the Katrina scene is more symbolic of America,

            always been “F*ck you, I got mine” mentality over here, of course balanced with community and eventually the Rule of Law, but when we started out it was rugged individualism that carried the day , so IMHO “F*ck you, I got mine” isn’t wholly bad, it’s what you then do after getting yours that’s important.

          • chemrock says:

            Recently there was a guy who did a counterflow on an expressway which caused a fatal accident. That guy was charged for manslaughter. His lawyer sent him for psychiatric evaluation.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Also recently in the news, a fire truck could not attend to an emergency because of a counterflowing jeepney.

              • What’s counterflow?

              • karlgarcia says:

                You go against the flow of traffic, it is like overtaking with out returning to your proper lane.

              • Oh, man, yeah this counterflow is bad, karl. Even at just 25 mph, with the other car going 25 mph head on, i didn’t do too good in Physics, but i’m sure the force like triples or something.

                I think Gen. Patton died a similar death, car accident at low speed, everyone else in his car survived with just scratches; but he broke his spine near the neck, a couple weeks later, he died. His last words if I remember correctly from a bio, was “What a lousy way to die!”.

              • karlgarcia says:

                He survived the war, but not a head on collission.😕

              • NHerrera says:

                I shouldn’t belabor this, but the engineer-science man in me is tickled to respond. I read your collision note as two cases:

                – one in which two cars approach each other in a straight line in head-to-head collision each traveling at 25mph;

                – the other is the case of one of the cars above hitting a wall.

                There are two aspects here. First, there is the energy to be dissipated to produce the force that you spoke about. The second is the force that is produced.

                Clearly from dynamics of motion the former has twice the energy versus the latter. Translation of that to the force that is generated to dissipate the energy will need other data or assumptions. The key in the dynamics is

                E = F times D or F = E/D

                A relatively yielding fence of hollow blocks with poor mortar versus a one meter thick wall of steel generates a much different force. That is for the same energy E, the force generated is lower for the hollow block wall and much much higher for the one meter thick wall because the yield D in the latter is very small compared to the former.

                The head-on collision case, will result in a higher force because of double energy and the effective yield D is probably lower compared to the car bumping into a the hollow block wall.

                But your note about the scale (3 times) is probably a result of an actual experiment which is done and so no need for the theoretics I mentioned.

                (Too lazy to google, but used my elementary motion dynamics. Glad to be corrected if wring.)

                N.B.

                The reason for the concept of the “air bag” is to increase the yield or distance D so for the same energy to be dissipated, we have

                F=E/D

                so that increasing the yield D decreases the Force on the car passenger.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                Yay, I understood some of that!
                *****

              • NHerrera says:

                Of course you do. A technical man no matter his evolution later to higher more profound thoughts, as you demonstrate in our bogs, still retain those earlier physics concepts. 🙂

      • Zen says:

        Too true. It would seem that the yearning to stay and become a committed nationalist would come after having seen and lived with people in other parts of the world. It might be because you would have seen values of our culture and theirs that are universal and therefore could be put into reality. You become tolerant of your own people’s weakness and idiosyncrasies as much as you had accepted in other people’s culture and then understand and appreciate the good things in ours. Duterte would have been a better peerson and politician if he was only granted that ‘damn’ visa he is so bitter about.

    • paugie says:

      How sad this comment is.
      It’s so sad, I can’t even try to start analyzing it. What if one finds himself agreeing?

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        Then perhaps you become enlightened.

        You begin to understand that we have the forms of religion and of democracy but not the substance.

        And you will ask what is the substance of Christianity? What is the substance of democracy?

        And after learning the substance and the teachings, you will ask do we practice them?

        And perhaps the scales will fall from your eyes.
        *****

  2. Bill In Oz says:

    Joe I have only one quibble with your post : the reality is that most of the guarantees of the constitution have never been followed. The Philippines has always been ruled by an oligarchy of powerful families competing with each other for position.

    Yes Duterte has started a war against drugs and since June 2016 over 7,000 people have died. But executions by the authorities or by gangs are simply the way in the Philippines.

    As I write this I am thinking about a small sim card & cell phone stall holder on some empty land next to Isetan Mall on Blvd Quzon. One Friday evening in early June he was executed with a bullet in the back of the head by a 2 man team on a motor bike. We saw his bleeding body lying on the ground with police around him. His killers were never found.

    “So, ?” you may be asking.

    I remember that the Enquirer reported he was having difficulties with his landlord and had not paid rent for a month. In fact he had been asked to vacate the site.But he did not want to leave such a good trading position. It seems he wanted some compensation for the move. And then he was dead. And the word went out he was ‘pushing drugs.’

    Well within days his stall was gone, completely vanished, along with all the 4-5 other stalls on the ’empty’ land. The owners had clear title. And now there is a huge new mall under construction right next to Isetan Mall on Blvd Quezon. in Quiapo in the heart of Manila.

    Force and violence especially against the poor and ‘under powered’ has been always present in the Philippines. The guarantees of the constitution have been a clarion call for change. But no real change has happened. And Duterte has simply carried on the same fashion.

    • Yes, I agree with your point, which echoes that of Irineo. But there is a core of people, mainly the LP stalwarts, who do believe in the law and the principles in the Constitution. That it is a small part explains why the law-abiding president received such bitter criticism during his term, whilst the guy who steps around the law gets high satisfaction ratings. I prefer to supply fertilizer to the idea that the Constitution is precious, and if the article is seen as shit by most and nutrition by some, I can only hope that the “some” will expand by a few people, hopefully those with influence on others. At least I have not been complacent and enabled weeds to take over without a word being spoken.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        II posted my earlier comment Joe because your article seems to suggest that it all went wrong on June 30th last year when Duterte took power. I’m glad we have clarified that Duterte’s policies and drug war are a consequence of a long standing characteristics in Filipino society..(.It’s just so much more blatant with so many people dying ).

        So the question, the issue changes. The real question is : ” how can the these long standing characteristics of Filipino society be changed for the better ? ”

        Thinking wider afield, there is an Australian constitution but it has no provisions in it such as you list in the Philippines constitution or in the USA one – none at all. But despite this omission, governments in general here, are law abiding and respect the people they serve. The same is true for New Zealand and the UK. So there is no one to one corelation of having constitutional rights and governments abiding by them.

        • Right. The US and Australia are similar in that they were founded essentially by disenfranchised people who were determined to create a more compassionate and orderly union. The Philippines retains its tribal tendencies and it is much harder to get to lawful because the people have learned not to place a whole lot of value on laws because the people wielding them are out for themselves. The desire of Filipinos to take care of other Filipinos “off in the distance” is weak, as it has been since before . . . and after . . . Aguinaldo. I’ve been noodling on a blog that discusses the weakness in compassion that seems to accompany need. Without compassion, it is hard to run a fair nation, and without fairness, it is hard to be law abiding and productive.

          • Bill In Oz says:

            Yes, I agree Joe..Here we use the phrase : “A fair go” It resonates deeply with our psychology.

            • It all boils down to game theory. Fairness is seen as weakness in the Philippines.

              Win-Win thinking works well if people expect others to act the same way – prisoner’s dillema but without Secretary Aguirre – but if you expect to be screwed what do you do?

    • I wish this was uncommon. I’ve heard several people when fighting invoke. Ipapa tokhang kita. I am a hermit these days, manila/quiapo being one of the places I work in.

      But, I think we are nor very unique in this aspect. Lynching were very common in the south (US) before but the rule of law swings left or right. It just seems that in our country Chris Rocks old joke applies. 1 step forward 2 steps back.

  3. NHerrera says:

    Citizenship = the state of being vested with the rights, privileges, and duties of a citizen.

    Generally speaking, to the extent that a Filipino citizen gets rights and privileges, citizenship is not worthless, in fact, priceless.

    Think at least of

    – Marcos
    – Binay
    – Pacquiao
    – or even Poe fighting tooth and nail for natural born citizenship

    With respect to the duties or obligation part it may well have not been mentioned at all. But here is a counter example:

    Kris Aquino — the most colorful of all the Aquinos. Paying some P50 million for income tax. Is she crazy? Who does he think she is? Sy of SM fame or Tan of tobacco fame?

    • NHerrera says:

      In fact, I believe the Aquino family of Ninoy and Cory are marked by sense of duty as a citizen. From which, as a premise, they believe that Filipino citizenship is valuable.

    • chemrock says:

      Most of Kris’ income are professional fees subject to with-holding tax. Since it has already been deducted, there is no motivation to go into the shadow economy. Just declare accordingly.

  4. josephivo says:

    Want to experience citizenship? Easy solution. Millions did show the way, and it starts in NAIA.

    (And don’t be silly requesting Philippine citizenship)

    • Or as a poor and/or dark and/or barely educated Filipino, go to a government office, a court, a police station and see how you will be treated. Ask an Indio from the 18th century if there is a time machine if he was treated any differently. I think the answer was and is very clear.

      • josephivo says:

        Have been there, seen the rights of the peninsular white men. Came back to today to see that for Kanos nothing has changed at a government office, a court, a police station we still are treated with respect.

    • josephivo says:

      (As a footnote: Please do not stir up expectations. I have my life savings, just enough to buy in the mall all I need. Keep the others poor and political illiterate so wages of the serves can stay low.)

    • Circumstances seem to inch me towards that way.

  5. It’s hard coming back here. The gulf between the circumstances 1 year apart is too striking. I want my country back.

  6. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. It was Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno who said the Constitution is our North Star. Literally, the North Star is the brightest star in Ursa Minor. Figuratively, it means a guiding star that is used as a reference point in navigation.

    2. I keep a copy of the 1987 Constitution handy and refer to it many times. I am familiar with the document, in particular, Articles II and III. I am aware that some sections in these articles are not being observed now. Still, it is shocking to see how many have been stricken off.

    3. We have lost sight of our North Star. In these times, the Philippine ship is tempest-tossed. The winds are fierce and the seas are wild. The Captain and his crew have led us into uncharted waters, and we are lost. We have no idea of where we are or where we are going.

    4. Worse, while some citizens huddle like sheep and others plot, the Captain and his crew strut the bridge and deck, tossing loose people overboard.

    5. A ship of fools? Yes, but more like a ship of fools and madmen.

    6. To think that barely a year ago, this was a ship plying placid seas, moving slowly but surely to ports of safety.

    7. I have been proud to call myself a Filipino because we are a people of many talents. But in October last year, I was talking with my financial adviser, and he asked about this new President. This was the first time in more than two decades that I felt the blood rush to my face and felt ashamed to be one.

    8. We must overcome.
    *****

  7. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. The question “Is Filipino citizenship worthless?” reminds me of Ninoy”s “Is the Filipino worth dying for?”

    2. The first question sort of turns the second around. Whereas Ninoy’s question relates to sacrificing self for the country, JoeAm’s question relates to living for self and family in the country.

    2.1. In Ninoy’s question, the primary responsibility is to others. In JoeAm’s, the primary responsibility is to self and family.

    3. I think many citizens, like Giancarlo, are contemplating JoeAm’s question more than Ninoy’s. That many, like me, have voted with their feet and sought permanent residence and citizenship in foreign countries would tend to show that Filipino citizenship is – well, not exactly worthless but less worthy than other citizenship.

    4. There are other citizens, like Madlanglupa, who have considered JoeAm’s question and rejected it out of hand. In truth, these citizens have reflected more on Ninoy’s question and have answered it in the affirmative.

    5. The central question is: Where does one’s loyalty lie? To country? Or to self and family?

    5.1. There are people who say one should stay in one’s country and try to improve it from the inside. All things being equal, this sentiment makes great sense.

    5.2. From the viewpoint of tangibility, family and self are more real than country. True, a country is physical, with mountains and plains and seas, but the concept of a nation is intersubjective. It is a mental construct in which one has agreed to participate. However, one can dissolve the agreement unilaterally and disassociate one’s self from the construct. With family, one can hardly do this.

    5.3. I think there should be no conflict of loyalty. If one believes one must stay, then stay. If one believes one must go, then go.

    5.3. I believe the great problem with the country has to do with public service. Public servants – the civil service, the appointed, and the elected — have put self and family above country.

    5.3.1. In reality, there should be no conflict between family and country because public servants are properly paid. If they do not think so, then they should find more gainful employment elsewhere. Thus in their work, public servants should always and only consider the country’s interests.

    5.3.2. In other countries, like Oz, the conflict between personal financial gain and public duty almost never arises. (To be sure, there are some crooked politicians, but the majority are not corrupt.)

    5.3.3. If this ethic had been inculcated into the public service since the Commonwealth – when Jose Avelino voiced the essence of corruption in his question “What are we in power for?” — we would not be in this pretty pickle.
    *****

    • Madlangbayan is a fighter. He will resist if I remember correctly to the hills if need be.
      My admiration goes out to you Madlangbayan.

    • josephivo says:

      I have no clue where my loyalty lies. I don’t think it is a “or” condition, more a “and” condition depending on the context. For me the state has 2 major functions: a romantic one of identity and a practical one of regulating the playing field and keep it flat/fair for all.

      The romantic identity feeling here is not provided by the state and its heroic history, but only by the Pacquiaos and Wurzbachs of this word. The playing field is as tilted as can be. Even more, it is tilted so much that many slide abroad.

  8. chemrock says:

    Note: NHerrera, thanks for reference to imgur. Simple to use. Hope they won’t close shop like twitpic

    • NHerrera says:

      Welcome. That is my wish too — that imgur does not close shop. At one time I saw a lot of cats and dogs pictures there as edgar also noted. I hope the cats-and-dogs lovers keep it alive.

    • NHerrera says:

      Thanks for the concepts embodied in the two pyramids — with the pyramid on the left depicting the classes, small in numbers as one goes to the tip of the pyramid; the right depicting the weight and influence of the classes. The picture captures well the situation.

    • madlanglupa says:

      Somewhat relevant considering our pre-Hispanic past which had aspects of the Indian caste system: the Datu or ruling class, the Maharlika or noblemen, the Timawa or freemen, and the dependent class which is divided into two, the Aliping Namamahay (Serfs) and Aliping Saguiguilid (Slaves).

  9. madlanglupa says:

    There are several types of people when faced with the question of citizenship:

    * Those who believe that something better lies elsewhere; these people emigrate not only because they can afford it, but also because of greater material and/or security benefits that could not be provided by both government (corruption and nepotism) and society (lack of discipline and ignorance). Although America is a traditional choice of emigration, of late emigration to New Zealand is becoming more attractive.

    * Those who remain because they have power to subjugate, to tax, to impose their will on others who cannot afford to leave or rise in revolt, but they also have the ability to emigrate should the fat lady sings as chaos overpowers order; after all, it’s been said that a reign in hell is better than servitude in heaven.

    * Then there are people who are like me, who believe that there is still a way to achieve peace and prosperity without having to resort to what I call “sharia mentality” (i.e. a desire for hasty on-the-spot justice, posse comitatus, cruel punishment and death to create “heavenly peace” as espoused by many of the President’s buddies, ultraconservative/fundamentalist politicians, and their fanatic supporters who watch amputation and beheading videos).

    • madlanglupa says:

      I prefer to remain here because this is my home, this is where I’m stronger and more comfortable, and of course should the fat lady sings I might as well fight to stay here.

  10. NHerrera says:

    Break Time

    From Communication Groups of the US and PH — praises for the concept of “alternative facts.”

    Conway of the US heaps praises on Andanar of PH — if I were Andanar I will not be pleased. But birds of a feather flock together — if I remember the cliche right.

    http://usa.inquirer.net/1577/team-trump-praises-inquirer-columnist

  11. RHiro says:

    Theory and Practice —

    http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/morning-joe-schools-trump-adviser-stephen-miller-law-and-insists-white-house-has

    Constitutional law versus Presidential Proclamation/Order

    A Presidential order has the force of law and as such is subject to review under the U.S. Constitution. Trump unwittingly decided to challenge the Constitution.

    The U.S. has a strong civil society. (System of rules and laws and historical precedents, academe and peoples orgs. ACLU, etc)

    The Philippine constitution is in theory still a road map. Hence the civil society behind it is still weak.

    It was the first and second wave of the industrial revolution that moved people from the countryside to the cities. The root of the word citizen comes from city. Obviously all the theories/ ideas came about about representative government since you have large groups of people in a geographical area whose life depends on a different system and structure of economics.

    Example today from that historical base the premier theorist for macro-economics in the U.S.A. is Janet Yellen. In her first testimony before Congress she fired a sort of warning shot to the new government in town. As is her job.

    Trump and his people who together share a reality that is totally based on myths will not understand the speech.

    just like our favorite President here.

    Janet Yellen’s predecessor while in office did actually create close to $4.5 trillion worth of new money that bought debt papers and this asset will eventually be transferred to the federal government as payment to the debt bought with new money creation.

    Practice in action of the state able to create new money out of nothing to pare down the debt.

    Theory and practice in action.

    Filipinos who live in gated communities separate from the vast majority know the reality of the political economy and have little loyalty to the state.

  12. In gated communities, the real democracy is the homeowners association, public services are privatized – streets and security for example – and even schooling is private for the children.

    Not that much gated communities in the 1950s Philippines – I think that the failure of public services from schools to streets to safety forced those who could not or did not want to migrate into internal migration, into gated communities, while the poor migrated from the province into slums.

    There was I think more of a “res publica” (public matter = Republic) in the 1930s than today.

  13. alicia m. kruger says:

    People would like to think that Filipino citizenship is priceless. Sadly, it had lost its meaning and worth when Duterte and his minions came along with their everyday stripping of the peoples rights and privileges and how they use ‘charming’ words to manipulate public opinion.

    I think about an obedient frog placed in a container along with water from its own pond, while the water is slowly heated up. The frog doesn’t react to the gradual increase in temperature, then it reaches to the boiling point, and the meek frog dies.

    It frightens me to think about the comparison, that with so many apathetic people in the country, that what is good in the Philippines Constitution is dying too. But I still hope that some brave souls will come forward so that goodness, justice and truth will prevail.

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