Quo vadis, Philippines?

The lifting of Proclamation 1017, or the State of National Emergency, has not done much to quell the political unrest in the Philippines.

Joseph Estrada, the president booted out of office in 2001 after a failed impeachment trial, finally took the witness stand in his trial for plunder. Willie Galang says it is a charade… and madness. He says:

For added showmanship, I won’t be surprised if Estrada flip-flops (again) and suddenly refuse to acknowledge (again) the authority of the court and then “fire” his lawyers (again) just to further stall the trial while he waits and sees if his Magdalo soldiers can spring a surprise and actually manage to win a putsch this time so he can be installed as the leader of a civilian-military junta. (And yes, Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos can both sit at his right hand. They’re all allies now, I remember?)

For those those who believe that a mere change in leadership will solve the country's problems–the turmoil will end when Gloria Arroyo leaves Malacañang, voluntarily or by force. Luis Teodoro writes about a proposal by Senator Edgardo Angara who thinks there is a legal way of calling for snap elections. The Black and White Movement staged another “mass action” on Friday, March 24th, which the police forces did not even monitor–it was a picture taking event. Caffeine Sparks laments that the group's latest slogan, Patalsikin na! Now na!, is “so…text message-y, as if it were almost a joke.” Interestingly enough, it is rather reminiscent of the burgis (bourgeois) practice of mixing Tagalog and English made (in)famous by colegialas in the 1970s.

For those who view the Philippines’ problems as mere manifestations of a deeper social and cultural malaise, there is no quick solution. Newbie blogger Arnel Endrinal points to 10 problems that have not been solved through the past five administrations, including the current one. Class interests make it difficult to draw up any program that will be acceptable to all–if the majority really cares about solutions at all. As Luis Teodoro sums it up–the middle class and the poor are equally self-centered. The middle class is too concerned with maintaining its lifestyle; the poor is “too focused on survival to care.”

The tension between the government and the media has not abated. Danny Arao writes about an urgent motion filed by the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), a human rights lawyers’ group, for a speedy resolution of a petition filed earlier this month that stems from a pronouncement by National Telecommunications Commission head Ronald Solis to the effect that government can legally impose guidelines on broadcast news media.

There seems to be no immediate solution to the tension between mainstream media (MSM) and blogs either. My Liberal Times was interviewed for a newspaper article that also discusses why MSM does not look kindly at bloggers.

Meanwhile, for others, life goes on as usual. EntrePinoys is a blog by an overseas Filipino worker of 13 years who wants to “go back home for good and put up a small business.” Through his blog, he chronicles his search for what that home business will be.

Finally, ExpectoRANTS reacts strongly to the gamut of information and opinions that do not always inform nor enlighten. Whether he is referring to MSM or blogs, or both, he invites everyone to read the classics to help us with:

- advancing our arguments
– deciphering ‘spinned’ information
– discerning between primary resources data and secondhand lies
– second-guessing things left unmentioned or unsaid
– getting down to bare-bone facts
– sifting through propaganda materials
– identifying unimpeachable evidence
– winnowing the chaff from the essential


  • bayi

    Anyone who thinks that a mere change in leadership would be the immediate panacea to the country’s ills is merely deluding himself. Recent history has shown that every time a new leader is swept into power in a wave of popularity, as was Estrada who was voted in and Gloria Arroyo who was installed when Estrada was ousted, the people become hopeful and wait in expectation. When they realized that the waiting was in vain, that the positive changes were not taking place, it was already too late. The leaders were already deep into activities of questionable ethics and were doing all that they could to stay in power.

    For every new President who completes his tenure and fails to accomplish anything substantially beneficial for the people, he is actually allowing the problems to snowball to more critical proportions, setting back the country’s progress.

    One of the more critical problems facing the country now is that even if Gloria Arroyo were to step down willingly or if she is ousted, the country is not ready for a peaceful transition of power. Perhaps she should stay on *shudder* for the want of better leaders…*still shuddering*…

  • joey

    I think that we are just fooling ourselves to think that to get PGMA out of the way will solve our problems.
    It seem that we are leaving in a constanat denial about really facing our problems.
    From the start of this problem I have always beleaved that it would serve the long term good of the country that PGMA “remains firm & holds her ground”.
    I was convinced then & I’m always more convinced that the bottom line line was all about a “power grab”.
    I have always taken the position that indeed we do have so many problems.However, the real question is. Are we just using “problems” as a ,means to an “agenda” or do we sincerly want to solve our problems?
    Actually, it is almost close to impossible to get anything done in this country.Because there are so many interest masked as “false nationalissim” w/c makes every step of the way to reform extremly problematic.
    It seems to me that anyone who would like to give this country some direction has to go beyound the “political noise”.
    I think a “leader” must really lead the way & every step of the way fight-off all the “interest” that there are around.
    It seems to me that there is something fundamentaly wrong w/ our concept of a “popular” democracy.How can democracy ever be popular when the right things to do are never popular.

  • […] Connie Veneracion debuts on Global Voices Online. The other regular Philippine observer there is Jose Manuel Tesoro who points to a discussion  on rent control in Another Hundred Years Hence. […]

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