Nationalism, treason, complacency, and us

From Tagum City web page (expired)

By Joe America

Nationalism fascinates me because I live in a nether world between the land of my birth and the land of my choice for raising a family and dying. Some Filipinos tell me to go back to America, some are quiet with their resentments that I intrude, some are kind with their thanks for what I write, and some tell me that I am a better patriot than a whole lot of Filipinos. I don’t think so, but if I look at the deeds of the Philippine State, I get very confused.

Inviting China to establish a cellular network across the nation with no look into alternative providers? The same with Benham Rise, the jewel of methane and minerals and prosperity lying just east of Luzon, under water. China will explore it even though Korea and Japan have also expressed interest in doing that. What kind of national character is it that does privileged deals with a nation that has stolen Philippine seas?

Is the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Alan Cayetano, who is the middle man on these deals, a patriot? Is President Duterte? What values are these that apportion the Philippines, one part for Filipinos and the rest for China? I really can’t comprehend this kind of deal. From my experience in doing contracts, it has “sucker” written all over it, and Filipinos are the sucker. The gullible loser. The riches of the nation are being gifted to robber barons.

Pity the children.

And the people give the President glowing approval ratings?

I am aghast with each iteration of the SWS and Pulse polls.

I don’t understand this kind of nationalism, this kind of patriotism, this kind of complacency about what makes a nation whole.

Is the complacency ignorance? Is it a strange form of bitterness, a willful self-punishment or a misguided strike at the elite, the people of knowledge? Is it being gullible, falling for the trollish lies and manipulations that flow endlessly from this Administration’s officials and paid hacks? Almost two years in and we are still looking for the jet ski, still looking for the first major drug lord arrest, still watching the persecution of ‘yellows’ as if respect for the Constitution were a crime.

Tens of thousands of Filipinos dead and no one in jail for it? The killers, once discovered, just get re-assigned to a new hunting ground.

THAT is Filipino nationalism? To be satisfied with the killing of one’s fellow citizens? To blank out from one’s conscience the cries of tens of thousands of fatherless children?

THAT is being a loyal Filipino?

These strange patriots want to jail former President Aquino for trying to stop dengue, want to impeach Chief Justice Sereno because she is not corrupt, and want to keep Senator De Lima in jail for daring to investigate Davao. We see a conniving cabal of Duterte, Marcos, and Arroyo and THIS is what it means to be Filipino? We are besieged by vicious trolls who believe patriotism is found in insulting decent people, telling lies about them, and threatening them. This is nationalism rising? This is heroism?

The patriotic Philippine State allows citizens to condemn other citizens by putting their name on a target drug list. Such a foul, foul practice. Dark ages. Not since Adolf has patriotism been found in killing thousands, wiping away one’s guilt with a fist salute, and gifting one’s soul to someone other than Jesus.

So I am confused about what it means to be patriotic.

I shocked myself the other day when I realized that I have a greater affinity for Filipino ‘yellows’ than I do for Americans who back President Trump. My patriotism seems to be bound to values rather than government, and my loyalty gets lost when the representatives of that government, and the people backing them, violate the ‘contract’ we have in the Constitution.

That contract calls for fairness and rights and due process, not obedience to people who themselves apparently have no respect for the Constitution.

If the leaders and people can so willingly violate everything from decency to sovereignty  . . . what is a nationalist supposed to be loyal to?

The PERSON Trump, or the PERSON, Duterte?

I don’t think so.

We are supposed to be loyal to a people who have no respect for democracy or due process or even life itself, and substitute their insulting opinions for knowledge?

I don’t think so.


110 Responses to “Nationalism, treason, complacency, and us”
  1. madlanglupa says:

    Of late, Robin Padilla demonstrated his own brand of chauvinism as he asked a young contestant, a Korean, to converse in Tagalog despite the latter having little knowledge in the language.

  2. NHerrera says:

    ME TOO!

  3. karlgarcia says:

    Now they are opening the telco “third player” to Korea. Why limit to three, if they are not really giving it to China?

    • The China network is already being built, as I understand it. Powerful micro-towers. I wonder as to the feasibility of a private initiative. I suspect the China effort would have state sponsorship of some kind.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Andanar’s statement is just for show.

      • karlgarcia says:

        The transmission lines and towers are already owned and run by China, they can or might use that in addition to other technologies.
        The National security advisers can nit advice anything.

        Lorenzana wanted to protest on the runway on WPS, the self proclaimed international law expert and spokesperson said that there was no need.

  4. The first rajas and datus of Manila shifted loyalty from Brunei to Spain in exchange for tax free (a few leading families) or less taxes.

    In 1899, Aguinaldo hoped for US patronage similar to what the Cubans got – wasn’t needed.

    In 1942, nearly everybody collaborated with Japan. Nearly all were exonerated by McArthur.

    Just family interests, what nation, finally?

    Hoping to stay elite, or be part of the next one..

  5. Sup says:

    Philippines,,,rich in minerals poor because of politics……

  6. karlgarcia says:

    Boo Chanco in his article, “The Chinese Solution”, talked about the New Yorker article called “Making China Great Again”.

    If Belo patients can not face their problems because their problem is their face,then how can China be the Solution, if our problem is China.

  7. I’m happy to realize that I am patriotic per Joam’s definition. I’m not ‘yellow’ and not elite but has always been a believer in the principles of the 1987 Constitution. I therefore fear the loss of the check and balance of the democratic way of running government which may just resort to the issuance of self-serving EOs. Unlike Joam, I am not American but Filipino with a sprinkling of Chinese blood. I keep a low profile for fear of being targetted by vicious trolls who think patriotism and heroism are found in defending people of low morality with questionable objectives.

  8. josephivo says:

    I’m afraid that “the Philippines” does not exist. Nations are imaginary constructions supported by storytelling and consequent beliefs in those stories. The stories told here are very diverse, the share in beliefs only fractional.

    Most have their hands full with reality, food on the table tonight. There are no beliefs left for the stories of those liars. A chief of the national police earning 78,000 peso a month and having a car, sending his kids to a good school, living in a decent house, travel to the US, paying taxes… How does he do it? How are all the other story tellers do? “I work seven days a week, 10 hours a day and I can only dream of all that!”

    The frustration is enormous, the feelings so powerless, seeing big SUV’s, walled condos, air-conditioned malls, hearing what OFW’s earn in other countries and tomorrow will not be any better.

    The only way to voice their frustration is swearing as loud as they can: vote and support DU30.

    • Gemino H. Abad says:

      Mabuhay ka, Joe America! I’ve not lost hope that the opposition to Dutertismo will grow! Matter of time –maniacs are doomed from the start!

    • True. Nationhood swells when boxers and beauty contestants win, and is otherwise not to be found.

    • sonny says:

      Thanks for this theme and response, Joe and Joseph. Many expatriates of my generation were caught in the many cusps, fits and starts of our search for nationhood and are left to search, find, live in those nooks and crannies that are created, shifted and many times rendered useless by forces that leave only amorphous debris of culture to work with. After many decades of these, we are left to settle among communities that will harbor us in survival mode because pf the inhospitable circumstances of a homeland that is itself looking for its bearings.

  9. Sup says:

    Rappler is now RIPler
    The SEC orders closure of Rappler due to foreign ownership

    • edgar lores says:

      This is very high-intensity repression. Freedom of the press is at stake.

      As noted in “The Anatomy of a Barbaric Autocracy,” Repression is the second pillar of regime stabilization, of which Legitimation and Co-optation are the other two.

      2018 is a pivotal year for the country. Complacency will lead to the loss of other freedoms.

    • madlanglupa says:

      I’ll be expecting self-congratulatory messages from the leading mouthpieces of this regime.

      Time to shift tactics. It’s a declaration of war.

    • NHerrera says:

      Working on a “War Plan” Timetable: by 2018 Q1, this; by 2018 Q2 that, etc.?

      • madlanglupa says:

        It appears they’re trying to accelerate their plans given PRRD’s current health, and the President allows Alvarez Inc. free reign to do as they wish, get “federalism” loaded in, control the populace and public opinion, bring down dissenting individuals and groups, reward religious sects for their loyalty…

      • edgar lores says:

        Speaker Alvarez has mapped it out to 2032.

        o 2018 Q1 – New constitution completed.
        o 2018 Q2 – New constitution ratified coincident with May 8 barangay elections
        o 2019 Q2 – Midterm (senatorial) elections postponed
        o 2019 – 2022 Transition period (3 years)
        o 2022 Q2 – Senate and presidential system abolished; Vice President position abolished
        o 2022 Q3 – Parliament inaugurated with current reps serving for 10 years
        * Gloria Arroyo at 75 is too old to serve as Prime Minister
        * Alvarez at 64 serves as Prime Minister
        * Pimentel at 58 serves as Deputy Prime Minister
        * Federalism is implemented
        o 2022 – 2032 – PDP-Laban is enshrined as the only political party

        • chemrock says:

          Hey. what’s left for Cayetano? or Pacquao?

          • edgar lores says:

            Federal Philippines will be split into 7 States plus one Capital Territory.

            The initial States and Governors will be:

            o Northern Luzon – Imee Marcos (or Bongbong)
            o Central Luzon – Dick Gordon
            o Capital Territory – Grace Poe
            o Southern Luzon – possibly Leni Robredo
            o Eastern Visayas – Up for grabs
            o Western Visayas – possibly Franklin Drilon
            o Northern Mindanao – Juan Miguel Zubiri
            o Southern Mindanao – Manny Pacquiao

            Some Cabinet positions will be filled by:

            o Peter Cayetano – Minister for Foreign Affairs
            o Tito Sotto – Minister for Defense
            o Sonny Angara – Minister for Finance and Treasurer
            o Loren Legarda – Minister for Natural Resources
            o JV Ejercito – Minister for Local Government
            o Harry Roque – Minister for Justice
            o Ronald (Bato) Dela Rosa – Minister for Education

            • NHerrera says:

              Wheel of fortune? No. Rather like, to the winner belongs the spoils — in this season or cycle. In the grand scale: China/ Middle East, Europe, US, … China/ Asia.

              Or to go biblical:

              To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose, … a time to kill, … a time to break down, a time to weep, … a time to build up …

              • Very good. I think perhaps we waste too much energy wishing and hoping, and ought to either ‘do’ something, or wait patiently to do it. I think chemrock already did something. He left. And so did I (make a decision), with my family. We decided to stay. These decisions lead to more decisions, to each his own, and united an opposition can stand.

            • What is the source of your info, edgar? Makes a whole lot of sense. For both this list and the Alvarez timetable.

              • edgar lores says:

                1. The bare bones of the Alvarez timetable can be deduced from his pronouncements. There are impediments and knots in the timetable.

                1.1. The biggest knot is Duterte’s health. This poses a big problem. The “normal” way is for Federalism to be implemented in 2022 after Duterte’s term. Two major impediments stand in the way:

                1.1.1. The midterm senatorial elections in 2019. Senators will be elected to serve until 2025.
                1.1.2. The completion date of the draft of the new constitution and its ratification. This must be done in a hurry (before May 2019) for two reasons.

                o One, whether to proceed or cancel the midterm elections; the preference is to cancel.
                o Two, whether Duterte will survive until the completion and the ratification. If he does not, all bets are off because Leni will succeed him.

                1.2. The second biggest knot is the Senate. The Lower House is not a problem because it will transition into the new parliament, with the terms of the present crocodiles extended.

                1.2.1. One solution is to retain the Senate in a bicameral parliament. This is not tolerable because Alvarez will not have total dominion. So the Senate must go. What to do with the senators?

                1.2.2. As I have suggested, the best way is for the senators, at least those allied with the regime, to become the governors of the new States. The Transition Provisions may allow for the appointment of the first batch of governors without resort to an election. The 12 senators whose terms end in 2022 and who are not appointed as governors will be absorbed as honorary members of parliament. They have to be offered something because no one will accede to his own demise.

                1.2.3. Note that if there are no midterm elections, the Senate will only be composed of 12 bodies after June 30, 2019. This is not tenable for appearance’s sake. Therefore, it is imperative that the new Constitution and its ratification be in place before May 2019. The Transition Provisions may extend the term of the senators whose terms end in 2019 up to 2022.

                1.3. The third largest knot is the timing. The drafting and the ratification have to be done this year.

                1.3.1. The biggest impediment is the resistance of the people to sudden change without sufficient preparation. To overcome this, the government has to gain complete control of news media and majority control of social media. Hence, the assault on Rappler.

                1.3.2. Also, the regime has to control the barangays. The impediment here was the barangay elections. At first, they wanted to appoint the barangay puppets with no elections. But they need the barangay election for the ratification. They believe they can control the barangays just like Marcos did. And there are the Makapili boxes so anyone can dub in recalcitrants.

                1.3.3. What government will not have control of are the anti-Duterte secret groups on FB. They can pour money into the cyberspace troop of trolls and they can hope the third telco will be up in time to control the flow of social media intercourse. But the troop of trolls is being weakened by infighting.

                1.4. The fourth and last largest knot consists of the Judiciary and the Ombudsman. But these are minor because the majority of the SC justices are captive and Carpio-Morales is on her way out.

                1.4.1. There is an outside chance that the SC-PET will declare Bongbong the winner. If this can be made to happen before Duterte croaks, the Alvarez timetable becomes less critical. Or it could be the fallback if the original timetable cannot be adhered to.

              • Superb work. If I were an opposition strategist, I’d look at those dates and figure out how to take it down, or push it back.

              • edgar lores says:

                The Federal partitioning is a figment of my imagination. It is the simplest way to divvy up the country. All that is needed is a straight ruler, with perhaps some concession to natural boundaries like mountains and rivers.

              • NHerrera says:


                There are certainly information not in your possession, but using what you have and having followed developments closely, I say that you have used your analytical mind to come out with a picture that — setting aside details — seems plausible. Thanks for the picture, edgar.

                In business and certainly in the military, contingency planning is a mantra that is drilled into the psyche of those in those fields of activity. Individually, if not as an organized group of whatever stripe, do we have contingency plan? Joe mentioned chemrock activating his contingency plan and so has he at this stage of the development.

              • chemrock says:

                Those who understand the realities of the Marcos years know the light at the end of the Philippines tunnel is the train coming at you.

                Some pals pulled out, with serious losses. and I had to follow suit. The wisdom they shared with me was money can always be made elsewhere. No need to stay and get hit when shits fly.

                Lots of sympathies for those I left behind, but it’s not my fight. But what the heck, some of those I left behind are rejoicing at the change taking place.

        • Sup says:

          Salamat Edgar..interesting……….

      • Take the war plans to a different forum, eh? I can’t provide aid for such efforts, as I fully support the Constitution and assorted rules as to how foreigners ought to behave.

  10. edgar lores says:

    1. It is a question of Loyalty, isn’t it? Loyalty the base of the Three Primary Virtues, of which Honor and Duty are the other two.

    2. To What or to Whom are Duterte and Cayetano loyal to?

    2.1. It is NOT to their country… because they would sell its sovereignty and give away its patrimony.

    2.2. Neither though is it to China… because they do not raise the Chinese Flag or force the people to learn Mandarin.

    2.3. I think for Duterte his loyalty is to his Legacy. He wants to be remembered as the president who brought order and progress to the nation, who modernized the country’s infrastructure in the Age of the Internet.

    2.4. And I think for Cayetano his loyalty is to his Ambition. Seeing as how he is brilliant compared to his compatriots, he wants to become the president.

    3. Basically, both are being loyal to themselves. And consequently, they have become treasonous. They dishonor the country’s sovereignty and patrimony and forget their nationalistic duties to preserve these.

    4. There is a difference with Trump. Despite everything, Trump is being loyal to his country in his own deluded way. He would build a wall, stop immigration, and make America great again.

    5. In contrast, Duterte and Cayetano would keep the Philippines weak. No standing up for the country’s honor. Just quiet acquiescence to China’s demands.

    5.1. And the majority of the people are equally quiet and complacent to their own ravishment.

  11. Bill In Oz says:

    I have just read on the Enquirer website that the SEC has ordered that Rappler be closed down. What ever is going on ? Is it an attempt by the Dutters mob to shut down independent media ?

  12. Pablo says:

    You pity the Filipinos because their country is being sold out under them. Let’s think about the longer time. I pity them because they are being led into slavery and the Filipino’s are cheering at the traders. If you think I am exaggerating, think again at the population profile in China and their needs in 20 years time. Think about the deteriorating education in Philippines and the reduced chance of skilled foreign employment (=stuck in Philippines or work abroad in a decade in China as expendable labour). Think of the richness in natural resources. Think of the attractive location of Philippines and think of the complete lack of defence by the Filipinos and the lack of effective commitment by the Americans who (hopefully) learned their lessons in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan. In short, a process has started with a 20 year timeframe. I am old, but will probably still see most of the events.
    Yes, I am sad but like Joe said, the sheep are cheering at the victory parade of the wolves. Spoiling their party would result in substantial damage of the poreiner. So, like we have seen in history before, we can only sit, keep commenting in the vain hope that more people understand, but prepare for mayhem.
    5 more years to go to consolidate the sell out. Maybe a federation to ensure that the sell out train will not derail and we are totally committed.
    Crying “Wolf!!” ????
    More like crying at a funeral where surprisingly few people turned up.

    Prove me wrong
    I hope you do.

    • You speak of the future, which is unwritten, but your sketch is pretty reasonable, I think. No one can prove you wrong. Or right.

      • Pablo says:

        The future is unwritten and everyone makes his own assessments but without having an idea where you are heading for, you are like the average local drifter who does not care about tomorrow. We will have to adjust our visions during the journey, but planning and being prepared is a critical part of survival. Being a drifter and surviving on fruits picked from trees is not something Western trained people are good at.
        But my assessment also speaks about today (en-route to an uncertain future), about the risks of poreiners antagonizing the masses of partying supporters. It is difficult to change the mind of those masses, Don Quichotte was fighting windmills, but the times have changed and dodging bullets and machetes is a skill most of us don’t have. You know the saying that a brave man changes the things he can and a wise man does not try to change things which cannot be changed. At This Moment.
        Be Safe. Be Brave. Survive.

        • I don’t think there are drifters in this forum. Although I agree that precautions are in order, any worthwhile cause needs voices speaking, lest we roll over in the clover and die from uselessness.

  13. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    Joe Am, your brain and your pen are stainless steel with the power to write. You write with the heat of power.

    It never happened, not yet because the Philippines is not there yet but the likes of blood that flooded Rwanda approaches and does not wait. There’s a book that featured the details of how gruesome and bloody, how merciless Magellan and his soldiers painfully met their death in waist deep waters in Philippine shore.

    That will be nothing when Filipinos follow the flow. Foreigners and traitors should be very afraid if they have been suspected to have feasted on the naiveté, flesh and blood of locals. Philippines will then become the world’s nuclear tinderbox. To happen, this will need the longest time or NOT AT ALL.

    Even statesmen like Churchill and Roosevelt need to have the vision of surrealist artists to discern the images of DOOM. Truman showed them the canvass on how it SHOULD be done to end a war.

    Animal predators are clueless of their victims. Wolves get surprised when even chickens stopped scratching for food and fight them to death. What’s written on bloody ocean water and the sands of atolls is not a handwriting on the wall. The bolo and the balisong (beinte nueve) is quiet, and hurts more and longer than bullets. It is its leaders and not the Philippines which should wake up.

  14. madlanglupa says:

    Offtopic: madman finally gets a government seat worthy of the Inquisition.

  15. Wilfredo Monroyo says:

    Joe America, I agree with you in all aspects of your arguments. I wish I could instill in the minds of our politicians the same sentiments you have for our country. At least, Pres. Trump said, “Let’s clear the swamps” while Duterte and his followers are creating it. With your permission, I am compiling your writings in one folder for my and some educator friends’ reading purposes.

  16. caliphman says:

    The darkness descends inexorably over the last flickering embers of our people’s democratic ideals, laws, and institutions. For those who see with eyes wide open the muzzling of the press and the enslavement of our society, it is hard not to be grief and terror stricken. It is the willing silence, subservience, and caring solely for self-interest and self-survival of the Fililipino masses that enables the final death grip of the coming constitutional dictatorship. Be afraid…I am.

  17. Thea says:

    Your confusion lead me to reflect on my love of this country, the Philippines. So, I paused and list five items what comes first to my mind when (not why) I love this country, for it is not everyday that one feel this kind of love. Honestly.
    1. When abroad and feeling nostalgic.
    2. When in my birth town and walking in the once prestine beach now full of plastics.
    3. When I think that a coal plant is on the rise in the vicinity for which I am not so supportive.
    4. When I see this only one blue bird, a constant in this part of this country. And of course, spiders of varied colors!
    5. When my neighbors take time to talk and chide of what is going on.

    Hmmn, I love this country and I will defend what I think will be good for this place within my grasp. That’s what I think.

    Perhaps many feel the same as I do. Because, it is natural. Patriotism is based on a communal feeling. Of what are the traditions, culture, beliefs , aspirations and projects of a community where one belongs. And from there breeds loyalty. A patriotic loyalty.

    But why WPS, Benham rise, EJK not in my list?

    WPS, Benham Rise and EJK are the sins of a nation of which I am part of and therefore be part too of its reparation? And if I fight for, will I be tasting its fruits…or bile? When I question these, am I not nationalistic?

    Again, honestly and speaking on the ground, these issues are of minor importance. What worries more are everyday struggles of being a Filipino. Can we afford life’s necessities?
    Are these people not patriotic? Nor nationalistic?

    At the end, my conscience tells me with irony and pain, real patriotism and nationalism are dying in the Philippines like the beach and the only blue bird in my place.

    “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrels” – Samuel Johnson. Wonder why world did not change since 1770s? Joe, you are not confused. Not at all. You are speaking of the truth. And it is abstract.

  18. Sup says:

    Smells like hell…Bong Go the defence expert? Really? From pastor Quiboloy waterboy to fregat outfitter?

  19. NHerrera says:

    Palace spokesman Roque on Rappler: no one is above the law. A cringeworthy statement to say the least.

  20. karlgarcia says:

    With all the scenario and contingency planning, there is one thing we almost never used and it is the people’s initiative. Unfortunately, the last time it was attempted was for the Cha-Cha.

    This could have been used for people initiated legislation like the anti-dynasty, land use, agrarian reform, etc., etc.

    If and when resistance and dissent proves futile,
    We must ensure that thie people’s initiative will remain in the ammendent charter.
    Direct Democracy is one way to adapt and bend with the wind.

    • Asa ka pa… they will probably remove it… don’t expect them to listen to the people.

      A possibility would be to use it now.. if some group quickly puts together a counter-proposal and sends it straight to the people for approval.. I know Kiko/LP is inviting for discussions now..

  21. karlgarcia says:

    The main reason federalism wil suck because same people would still be power drunk, and ways for that power drunkenness is to ensure sobriety.
    Aside from that, the poor provinces or states must not remain poor.

    No more blaming of mega-Manila, people won’t need to go to Luneta or Mendiola to rally.
    They camp outside the Minister’s place of work.

    Of course less check and balance will make this parliamentary-federalist proposal ugly, again, vigilance and more citizen participation will do the checking and balancing.

    • Bill In Oz says:

      Karl, until one has seen how Federalism actually works, it can be hard to understand it’s advantages…

      So many formerly very centralised nation states have become very federal in the last 60 years. Some examples : The UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, India, South Africa, Belgium, Brazil…In addition to the already federal countries like the USA, Canada, Australia etc..

      • karlgarcia says:

        Maybe the only way to find out is by trying it and making it work.
        Everything can work, even in the Philippines where just about every thing seem not to work.

        • Federalism requires independent-minded and strong people at the local level. Not serfs who will give political dynasties power because utang na loob and other ek-ek.

          The Swiss were ready when they overthrew the lords from the lowlands – William Tell’s story. There might be some parts of the Philippines that are ready but most are obviously not yet. Apply Federalism now and you have the Holy Roman Empire in the time of the robber barons.

        • Bill In Oz says:

          Based on my experience in Australia I think 2 things will happen which are good. .
          1: State based elites will be competing with each other within states for power & influence. That means gaining more popular support. It also means losing power & authority if they stuff up. And as the states are far more smaller & local in character stuff ups will be more obvious.

          2 : There will also be more competition between the elites running all the states, for federal money and investment & for investment by business ( whether Filipino or international )….The Northern Luzon state will be competing with Mindanao & competing with Visaya state & competing with Bicol etc etc.

          One thing I recommend as very important : prohibit all elected politicians. from being elected for state based positions & Federal positions simultaneously. They have to be either one or the other.

          • You are AUSSIES. You can say BULLSHIT to your politicians without getting shot for it.

            Filipino elites KILLED ordinary folks even in the allegedly so golden 1950s for being contrary, sent their goons, often former WW2 guerillas, after them. Then Martial Law, then goons again.

            Somehow you strike me as a bit dense, sorry to say that, but I know you are an Aussie and can take it. Saying that to a Filipino politician in Manila, I would have to watch my back all day. The men on motorcycles can come quickly, and teach “ordinary people” a lesson in “respect”.

            • Bill In Oz says:

              It was unionism here in the 1860-90’s that developed in working people the capacity to challenge the elites in Oz. It culminated in the great strikes in the 1890’s which the employers groups broke with scab labor. That ’caused’ the birth of the Australian Labor Party in the Australian colonies…

              Maybe it will take a similar process in the Philippines Irineo.

              But the interesting thing in that historical process is that not all the colonies developed at the same rate..Each colony having a separate government & elite made a difference.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Good points.

        • chemrock says:

          You can never solve a problem if you cannot, or in the case of Philippines, refuse, to see the real problems. The problems with Philippines is people, not systems. The same freaking political leadership will go on creating the same problems under Federalism. The same freaking massa is going to elect the same freaking politicians.

          “Problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them.”
          ― Albert Einstein

          • Even revolution won’t solve the problem, for as Rizal wrote “what if the slaves of today become the tyrants of tomorrow”.. and “vanity, all is vanity”..

            the derivation of that being “vanity is the root of all impunity” (c) Karl Garcia.

            The former slaves will probably be even vainer than the former masters, and their impunity, their corruption, their desire to show power both by force and by wealth even greater.. this partial “revolution” of a vulgar kind shows it.. wang-wang, favoritism, thuggishness.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Mindsets canbe changed, Attitudes can be changed….Stubornness keeps that from happening.

          • sonny says:

            Vaguely I recall an observation by an Aussie sociologist married to a Pinay from CAR region.

            Headhunting between tribes in CAR stopped when the tribes involved came to realize their male birth rates could not keep up with the decimation of their menfolk due to tribal/headhunting. This logic was pointed to them by American colonists. Would that a similar intervention can be listened to by our powers that be: people need each other and affairs can be settled by trade-offs, negotiation and win-win alternatives rather than zero sum actions or, my way or the highway attitudes. Eventually death will result from disunity without our help.

    • I have mentioned some things in my latest article… .. lots of fine-tuning is needed.. Just some examples of the German system that is a mix of incentives plus sharing revenue:

      “Gewerbesteuer is a fixed percentage of income tax or Einkommenssteuer times a Hebesatz or multiplier. Municipalities that want to attract business will have lower multipliers than those like Munich which have high multipliers. Municipalities even get to keep 15% of all income tax, 42.5% of which goes to federal and state levels respectively.

      This is an incentive of course to try to attract not only strong businesses but also good earners. There are people in Munich who complain that “the Social Democrats like to attract low wage earners because those are their voters”, but the incentive to attract professionals is still higher than in the Philippines with its Lina Law for informal settlers and its population-based Internal Revenue Allotment for Local Government Units..

      What I have understood is that the likes of SM in the Philippines pay their taxes only in the place where the headquarters is. Since there is nothing like the Gewerbesteuer over there, it probably does not matter. Here in Germany, chain stores with branches in many municipalities have to divide their income taxes to provide the basis for the business tax to be paid in each municipality. The law for that is a bit complex (link).”

      PLUS you need some kind of rules what each level is allowed to regulate and what not. Filipino LGUs already now tend to think they can make all sorts of rules on their own. Imagine the chaos of Filipino federalism where you have that plus the local macho “laws” of every mayor, enforced by his local goons. Plus the interpretations of the law of every State Premier, as per definition of their own Solicitor Generals. But maybe you have to experience it to believe it..

      • edgar lores says:

        Gewerbesteuer would matter under a Federal system in that State branches of SM should remit tax income to the State government rather than to the Federal government.

        Unless taxes collected by headquarters is paid back to the States where the SM branches are. It would work but it would be roundabout?

        The advantage of a centralized collection is that the Federal government can redistribute the income according to a formula whereby poor States get more. This arrangement exists in Oz with respect to the GST (VAT).

      • karlgarcia says:

        I am only preparing for the scenario where resistance would fail, but we can do the fine tuning.But it is not yet too late to say we are not yet ready.

  22. “My patriotism seems to be bound to values rather than government, and my loyalty gets lost when the representatives of that government, and the people backing them, violate the ‘contract’ we have in the Constitution.”


  23. Bill In Oz says:

    Slightly off topic but very relevant to the whole issue of why so many Filipinos support Duterte.

    There is an assumption in almost all the discussions here : that humans make reasoned evidence based decisions in our lives…But is it in fact actually so ?

    Dr Peter Attia has launched his new website with a very relevant article on why we are NOT programmed to think scientifically…

    The human species is a couple of hundred thousand years old. But logic as a formal skill dates from Socrates time 2500 hundred years ago, while the ‘scientific method’ dates from the 1500’s.

    Prior to the development of logic & scientific method other ways were used to survive. And one very important way was imitating & joining the ‘successful’ & ‘powerful’….

    And this ‘method’ is still used by the majority of humans : “imitate authority figures and absorb the views and facts of these authority figures” !

    I think this is very relevant to the political situation in the Philippines.

    Here is the link

    • A German I know who has been in the Middle East extensively says that over there, the truth of something does not matter much – WHO says it matters more.

      Looking at the European Middle Ages with its Kings and Popes, or Iran with its Ayatollahs and Mullahs, or how so many Filipinos hang on every word of “Tatay Digong”..

      the latter of course is how it works in many Filipino families and even in schools – what a certain figure of authority says is correct, don’t question is if you do you are disrespecting the figure..

      even more you are going against the unity of the group, embodied by the figure of authority..

      and American-style democracy in the Philippines? That was when the patron was Uncle Sam. What was being run was a simulation of democracy including words and rituals, not reality.

    • chemrock says:

      Now need to look far. You can see this in many corporations. The secretary of the boss thinks she is above the other departmental managers. She sees her little box in the organisation chart as higher than the other dept heads, so she feels bossy. This is what they call corporate star dust. The closer you stick to the boss, the more of his stardust falls on you and you feel the power flows through you.

      • In old Hawaii, they believed in a kind of power called “maná” that could be acquired by defeating a powerful person, being on the side of a powerful person – or having sex with a powerful person. They also believed that it flowed in families of chiefs, as long as they won.

        Sorry that I thought of sex when you mentioned secretary. I was channeling Imbecile Alvarez. But I guess his mistresses also have acquired his force, and can feel very important.

        • – Philippine version c/o MLQ3..

          ..the public posturing of both camps to prove to the public that one was more malakas than the other. This was a concept Filipino historian Mina Roces introduced in her book, Kinship Politics In Postwar Philippines: The Lopez Family 1946-2000.In many ways an effort that arose out of dissatisfaction with the anthology An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines and Phoenix: The saga of the Lopez family, Roces puts forward two highly useful ideas for understanding politics and business:

          ..One who does not want to his/her position or power to help his/her kin group is “mahina.” And to be branded “mahina ka” (you are weak) is pejorative. In the cultural value system, “malakas” is a virtue. One who is malakas is looked at with awe and it would enhance once’s position to work for such a “malakas” person. Thus, one’s being malakas or mahina becomes a culturally-defined yardstick of a person’s prestige, power, or influence. If a family is malakas, many would want to work for it or desire an alliance with it. The unabashed ability to display how malakas one is by using one’s power to give one’s family special privileges and concessions in business is received with great admiration.

          Palakasan is a system wherein those in power compete with each other in obtaining special privileges and exemptions from regulations and beding the rules of law for their kinship group. For the palakasan system to function, there must be various groups of family rivals all attempting to exercise power in the pursuit of family wealth and privilege. Each family then tries to outdo the other in being “malakas.”…

          Malakas implies special status, blatantly stressing the inequalities in the social structure between those in power and those out of power. But malakas status is not dependent on social or economic class (although one could argue it represents the current political class, a position far from being static, as family alliances constantly move in and out of political office). Since the criterion for malakas status is solely political power, a wealthy person can lose out to a relatively poor but more influential family alliance. A group of squatters in a Manila slum area may be malakas because they have close ties with the mayor and therefore feel no threat of eviction. The person who owns the land illegally occupied by the squatters though wealthy, has no hope of retrieving his/her land or of evicting the squatters as long as these squatters maintain their malakas status vis-a-vis the mayor…

          ..She pointed out that when it comes to powerful blocs duking it out, Western notions of the “rule of law” become a benchmark of success when one bloc manages to prove itself better at legal manipulation, in other words, malakas.

          • edgar lores says:

            I know of a nurse, a very caring soul, who was among the top of her class. She could not obtain any work experience because of the palakasan system. With so many nurse graduates, competition for hospital workplaces was very stiff. Without experience, she could not rise to the top of her career or go abroad.

            She now works as a data analyst.

        • chemrock says:

          Indeed. This ‘mana’ is contagious. See how many people want to acquire Duterte’s mana. Latest success stories being Sandra Cam and VACC Jiminez

          • Bill In Oz says:

            From all the comments in response, seems I made a useful comment… By the way the term ‘Mana’ with the same meaning is also present in the Polynesian cultures : Maoris, Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga etc.

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        In Tagalog, it’s nakatuntong sa kalabaw, or a bird who stands on a carabao’s back, assuming the height of the beast on which it is perched. Imagined power.

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      “imitate authority figures and absorb the views and facts of these authority figures”

      I digress, why didn’t Filipinos imitate former President Benigno Aquino and absorb his views and facts of this authority figure” instead elected Duterte.

      It did not work in Benigno Aquino’s administration. Probably imitation of authority figures do not work in the Philippines?

    • NHerrera says:


      About logic and the scientific method and their use in viewing things, I quite appreciate the observation that mankind has only a short history of such, considering man’s longer evolution. And so man — a few or many? — reverts to its old ways, meaning, pre-logic/ scientific method.

      But, I wonder. And this is a different thought — and in any case, only my opinion and not supported by research or deep thinking.

      As man grows from infancy to maturity, instinct, through experience, wires his brain to the concept of if this, then that. And this elemental concept of logic is instilled in man. More so after the formal introduction of logic and scientific method especially to those of us fortunate to go to schools.

      Now, if “educated” people as our Senators are — with the exception of one or a few — behave as they do, it is not for want of logic. It is, in fact, use of logic in a rather sophisticated Game Theoretic way; Game Theory being labeled by some as part of mathematics and economics and explains rather well some aspects of evolution.

      A central item in GT is the notion of “value” and this is carried over to the innate nature of man to maximize value, as is done in GT. Now the definition of value will differ — certainly, the value defined by, say, edgar, Will, and chemrock as compared to Senators Gordon, Poe, Angara will differ.

      It is in the combining of value and logic that the subsequent action of an TSH stalwart and the typical Senator (or even a businessman with considerable wealth) is defined in the context of PH political reality. In the US, a “good” Senator is “reasonably” assured of re-election until he retires or expires — a good Senator in the US is generally recognized as such and re-election is a usual consequence. To a PH Senator the “expiration period” is 3 or 6 years because of PH political reality; so logic dictates he acts accordingly, which is generally to attach himself to the current “fearsome” party or power.

      If the behavior of an educated Senator or Businessman is based on the logic-based concept of Game Theory, how much more do we expect from the poor who lives by the day or to use the oft repeated phrase, a hand-to-mouth existence.

      Long live logic!

      (Sorry folks. That is rather long. As Lance observed, I am lazy and generally posts only a paragraph or two.)

      • LOL, NH (your last sentence)! This is the stuff I want more of from my fellow wise octogenarian! 😉

        “If the behavior of an educated Senator or Businessman is based on the logic-based concept of Game Theory, how much more do we expect from the poor who lives by the day or to use the oft repeated phrase, a hand-to-mouth existence.”


        I don’t know if you’ve seen , but the 2 professional Go players who first played AlphaGo essentially took away from that experience Go’s non-zero sum nature (how AlphaGo tends to just do the minimum to win, does not seek to dominate) ,

        in a way humans learnt the logic of balance from a program (and took the game of Go to the next level… to the age of program-aided compassion??? ). Long live logic! (and to healthy prostates! 😉 )

        • NHerrera says:

          Lance, I did not see the movie, but viewed the trailer you posted. Re dominance in a Game of Go, I read that there is some sort of courtesy in long-ago games of Go, to contrive to play so that the master or strong player wins only a few points over a weak one. That is sportsman spirit.

          • I do remember watching footage of say Bobby Fischer and Kasparov, and their arrogance (chess arrogance?) ; the 2 professional Go players (2nd Dan, Sedol as 9th Dan) were in comparison without arrogance (though you can tell like any professional, they’ve had a lot vested in the game of Go).

            It’s on Netflix. I hope you can watch it, NH, would really love to hear your take on it, and your thoughts on “God moves”.

      • edgar lores says:


        1. “If this, then that” logic is Aristotelian logic (AL). It is used in science, rhetoric, and Game Theory (GT).

        2. GT is “What if” logic. It extends AL with “What?” Essentially, “What if this, then that.”

        3. Insofar as objectives are concerned, the intention of:

        3.1. AL is to arrive at the Truth.
        3.2. GT is to arrive at a maximal Outcome.

        3.3. In AL, it is true that the Truth is an outcome. But it is a static outcome.
        3.4. In GT, the Outcome is not necessarily the Truth. It is a version of what may be true or what may become true. It is a dynamic Outcome, a probable Outcome.

        4. Insofar as the methodology is concerned:

        4.1. AL looks at a single proposition at a time.
        4.2. GT looks at a situation – a game. A game usually contains several propositions (or values).

        4.2.1. A proposition may contain several instances (of values).
        4.2.2. One instance of one proposition generally employs AL. But apart from AL, GT also employs probability. It is not strictly “if this, then that” logic.
        4.2.3. An instance of a proposition says, “When this (say, Factor A) is varied so, then that happens.” The latter — “that happens” — is a calculation of:

        o Factor A (as varied)
        o Factor n (as varied)
        o The interactions of Factor A and factors n1, n2, and so on.

        5. Insofar as time is concerned:

        5.1. Generally, AL looks backward and GT looks forward.
        5.2. AL generally is based on time past and time present and may be used to predict time future.
        5.3. GT operates in time present, using AL, and calculates an outcome in time future.

        5.3.1. However, GT is also based on time past – that is, precedents and statistical probabilities — when determining outcomes.

        5.4. In both cases of AL and GT, future outcomes are probable outcomes.

        6. Insofar as the number of “players” is concerned:

        6.1. AL can be single-player or multi-player (a discussion).
        6.2. GT is almost always multi-player.

        7. If one combines “intention” with the “number of players:”

        7.1. In AL, the player(s) seek/s to arrive at the Truth.
        7.2. In GT, the players generally seek to win.

        8. Politicians and businessmen may use GT. However, their usage is not strictly within the limits of AL and precedent/statistical probabilities. I believe they use magical thinking (MT) to a high degree. I think MT predominates Filipino thinking.

        9. In life, our intention should be to play (the journey) and not necessarily to win. It should be to play fairly and without taking advantage.

        9.1. If it is to win, it should be in a non-zero sum way, without disadvantaging anyone (the Pareto Minority).

        • NHerrera says:

          Thanks for the elaboration and taking the time, edgar.

          Item 9 — In life, our intention should be to play (the journey) and not necessarily to win. It should be to play fairly and without taking advantage — is an ideal to be sought: a taste of heaven on earth, if that comes about. Agreed. Unfortunately, many act using the “logic” of GT which is driven by some “animal” desire or appetite for gain.

          SOME NOTES ON GT

          1. There are GT variants:

          – where all the “cards” and the associated values are known (face up), but the choice of which card/ decision will be selected by a player is not known. (Example: Prisoner’s Dilemma.)

          – where there the values of a decision by a player are not known, hence the variant which employs probability.

          2. In general, a GT game is not zero-sum — that is GT admits of zero-sum and none zero-sum games.

          In the Prisoner’s Dilemma (a none zero-sum game), rational GT “players” both choose to “Confess” (a Nash Equilibrium) resulting in less value for both, whereas the Pareto Optimal decision for both is “Not to Confess” — resulting in a higher value for both, though not the max for either, but better than the result in the NE.

          • edgar lores says:

            Thanks for the Notes.

            1. I was thinking our politicians and businessmen are mostly confronted with “open-ended” GT variants. “Close-ended” GT variants, where the cards and the associated values are known, occur rarely (?).

            1.1. Open-ended GT thinking is required in the drafting of complex legislation like TRAIN.

            2. Often, situations do not require GT thinking, just AL. For example, the decision to switch to PDP-Laban is born not of a consideration of many variables but just one — that of self-interest. If you don’t join, you and your constituency suffer.

            2.1. So, too, the decisions to curtail the investigations on EJKs and the 6.4B shabu shipment. Either you are or you are not with the President and his kin. If you are not, you are staring into an abyss.

            2.1.1. It would be interesting to speculate what would have happened if the Senate found Duterte responsible for the existence of the DDS and the EJKs of hundreds of victims. One would have a hostile Senate, a friendly Lower House that would not impeach, and an inutile Executive. The Ombudsman may act to investigate but may not file a criminal case or summarily dismiss a sitting president. One would have a constitutional crisis and an inoperable government.

            • NHerrera says:

              I agree.

              My initial post was a reaction to the link posted by Bill. That is, instead of the politicians reverting to pre-logic thinking of millennia ago, I assert that logic is in fact being used by the politicians in the their actions, in the PH setting. However, that logic is driven by self-interest goals or values in the immediate and short-term; compared to self-interest plus country-interest in the medium and long-term.

              Interest = values of the politicians

              compared to values that you, Joe and I may define with a longer horizon.

              SIDE NOTE. It is interesting to me to speculate why a man with a brain such as Enrile — living on borrowed time — has values which may not have evolved to the uplifting ones that we oft discuss here. Of course, I can quite understand why Imelda may be stuck in the same set of values.

        • Brilliant. You should write a book on this, but make it short because today’s readers have the attention span of a gnat. MT is indeed the form of Filipino logic, in the main. There is also troll logic, or 1/GT thinking.

  24. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    This is my take on the SEC-RAPPLER raging forest fire to burn down the vegetation and fauna of press freedom. Congress in shame should repeal the law that caused it. May be delete it in the archives. This should be done even if there is one or more countries which have similar laws. It puts on the docks those who governed and the governed for lack of trust on themselves to do the right thing ; and could manifest to the outside world the people’s low self-esteem as the law negatively show the world global mistrust of foreign business investments in mass media.

    There should be enough evidence among other countries to test and substantiate validity of this fear. Discounting the existence of War, historical facts and experience demonstrate that physical and mental brainwashing violence are inflicted to the public by home grown elements; which seldom happen in the Free World. It is an admission of fear of foreigners since it does not consider that production and processing of information and the use of sophisticated thought massage could be land mined to discourage business ventures.

    Why are the heretofore very lucrative Philippine newspapers not been purchased by behemoth newspapers in Europe and North America, or even the Middle East even before the passage of the law?

    Certainly, not may be, the deliberations if there were any in Congress about the basis of the law should be reviewed thoroughly. The SEC if it has discovered any publication violating existing press freedom laws inimical to the public interest the Executive Department should have been informed. Any factual and critical publications on the person of government officials or their actions may not be absolutely adverse to public interest.

    The President and other high government may govern and represent but they are not the people or the country. Philippines is an admired democracy in the free world which experienced the warts and pus of lost freedom. The present and future generations should not be gifted with the same experience.

    • Sabtang Basco says:

      Trump supporter Robert Murdoch wanted to invest in the media in the Philippines … If you are anti-Trump I bet you wouldn’t want him to invest.

  25. Sabtang Basco says:

    “Tens of thousands of Filipinos dead and no one in jail for it?”

    KELLY: But if I may, the criticism is not just coming from Americans and human rights groups. There have been thousands of people protesting on the streets of your capital of Manila this month.

    CAYETANO: In the Philippines, 85 percent of our people support Duterte. You’ll have a hundred people in the streets protesting. You’ll have 10,000 people in the streets for Duterte. And it’s not because we want to violate human rights but because they know that his campaign is to return to rule of order. Nowadays, you interview anyone, and they say they feel safer. This is a law enforcement campaign. These are legitimate police operations.
    (Trump-esque response)

    KELLY: And they will continue.

    CAYETANO: I’m not saying that there are no abuses. But could you live in a country where 11,000 people are killed every year and 60 percent are because of drugs? Can you say I won’t do anything?

  26. Bernard-adan Ebuen says:

    Kudos to your well thought articles. Keep writing, please….and….sharing! And soothing for my sanity

    Sent from my iPhone


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