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Monday, October 5, 2009

Madali Nga Bang Makalimot ang Pinoy? (Why Filipinos have short memories)

Sa isang artikulo na nalathal;a sa "The Daily Guardian Online" isinulat ni Jason Gonzales ang isang artikulo na tumutukoy sa tanong kung bakit madaling makalimot tayong mga Filipino.

Sa kabila ng mga nagawa sa ating hindi maganda, sa kabila ng pagkaka alam natin sa kabulukan ng isang tao ay tila nalilimutan natin ito sa paglipas ng panahon. Hindi lamang sa pulitika pati na sa mga sakuna at naisin. Tulad na rin sa nangyari sa Marikina na nangyari na rin pala noong 1978 at 1998 pero tila pagkalipas ng ilang taon ay nakalimutang kumilos.

Narito ang artikulo ni Jason Gonzales:

Why Filipinos have short memories

ON February 25, 1986, Ferdinand Marcos and his family fled to Hawaii after being chased out of MalacaƱang by the people. The EDSA revolution ended more than two decades of conjugal misrule. Escaping conviction in an American court and suffering the death of her husband, the unrepentant widow, Imelda, was allowed to return home in 1991. To add insult to this injury, she ran for President the following year and got more than two million votes, placing fifth in a seven-way presidential race.

Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr., a loyal crony, accompanied the Marcos family in their flight to the United States. Danding's exile didn't last long either, and he too had the gall to contest the 1992 Presidential elections. He placed a close third to Fidel Ramos and Miriam Defensor-Santiago, garnering more than four million votes. The votes for Imelda and Danding put together would have won either the presidency.
Today, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., is on his second stint as representative of the 2nd district of Ilocos Norte after completing three terms as governor of the province. Bongbong is eyeing a senate seat in 2010. Sister Imee also finished three terms in Congress from 1998-2007. In attendance at Imelda's 80th birthday bash last July was a veritable who's who of the country's business and social elite. A gala tribute entitled Seven Arts, One Imelda, was held by the Cultural Center of the Philippines for Mrs. Marcos last September. Based on the latest Forbes List, Danding is 4th richest in the country with a net worth of $840 million and continues to enjoy the reputation of being a political kingmaker. It's as if they never left the country. Happy days have been here all along.
On January 17, 2001, eleven senators voted against opening the second envelope supposed to contain damning evidence against President Joseph “Erap” Estrada. Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., nine opposition senators and eleven prosecutors walked out of the impeachment trial. Again, the people took to the streets and ousted Erap in another popular revolt at EDSA. Honasan, Enrile, and Miriam Defensor, the three re-electionist senators who voted “No” were rejected by the people in the 2001 general elections. But three years later, Enrile and Defensor were back in the saddle again. And six years later, so was Honasan.

On September 11, 2007, after more than six years of house arrest, former President Estrada was found guilty of plunder by the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court and was sentenced to life imprisonment. But less than two months later, Estrada was granted executive clemency by President Arroyo. Today, Erap threatens to inflict his stupidity on the people with another run for the presidency.

This affliction isn't limited to national-level politics. Entrenched political families at the local level continue to thrive in spite of recurrent charges of corruption. Entire clans have made a business out of politics and even court convictions have done little to diminish their strength in obtaining votes. We have amnesia they say. In electing our leaders, we've never learned our lesson.

Why do we keep electing bad leaders?

After EDSA, President Corazon Aquino failed to deliver on the promise of a genuine land reform when the family-owned Hacienda Luisita was spared from state appropriation. In 1987, we saw the return of a landlord-dominated lower house. There were new faces to be sure, but the old structures of patronage stayed put. Debt-servicing became a top priority instead of much-needed spending on social services like health and education. Disillusionment with the government led factions within the Armed Forces to mount nine coup attempts. This crippled the Aquino administration and sent foreign investors packing.

In 2001, we killed an ogre in Erap only to find a troll in Gloria. And the people were battered with news of scandal after scandal: the Diosdado Macapagal highway; the P728-M fertilizer scam; the P1.3-B failed poll automation contract; the $500-M Northrail project; “Hello, Garci...”; the ZTE Contract; the $20,000 Le Cirque dinner; the mansions in the U.S.; and the list goes on. Next to Gloria, Erap almost looked saintly. She is “evil,” said Romy Neri.

In both cases, the change of regimes failed to uplift the lives of the people. Juan Dela Cruz still feels hunger in the pit of his stomach. More than twice, his hopes have been thwarted. And he is left unable to make the connection between the leaders he elects and the poverty around him. This is so because he hasn't seen any better. And then you begin to understand why selling his vote becomes the easiest thing to do.

Elections are both a release valve for the pent-up frustrations of the people, as well as a renewal of their ties to each other and to the community. Elections are supposed to be a time for hope. Instead, they've turned into cynical one-night affairs between dirty politicians and those who would prostitute the vote. P500 for a pop. Never mind the morning after.

Had Cory been able to capitalize on the gains of EDSA and made real our dream of a prosperous Philippines, maybe the Marcoses and their ilk wouldn't have been able to stage a political comeback. Had the PCGG recovered a greater portion of the Marcos wealth, and had they secured a court conviction against Imelda and her cronies that would have placed a definite stamp on the past. EDSA would have become a living memory, instead of one that's continually threatened by revisionist accounts of martial law, expletives being mouthed by Imelda herself. The same thing happened with Gloria and Erap. Had Gloria kept to her oath to serve the country selflessly, Erap would be a political non-entity today.

History is the study of a relevant past. And for a developing country like ours, a thing establishes its relevance only when it creates prosperity and engenders well-being. In the same vein, identity is formed when values and norms persist across time to serve the purpose of enhancing our quality of life. It is tempting to say that there is little from our past in the way of events and values that have created prosperity and well-being today. Massive poverty is the living ghost that haunts our present and induces amnesia in our people.

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1 comment:

  1. Pakibasa din ito:

    Give Me Back My EDSA (this is not meant for the buses)


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