It has been 33 years ago when I first set foot in Manila, Philippines. It was in 1979 when I was sent on a lengthy assignment by my Multinational Company superiors to assist in the Materials management at two of their semiconductor Plants. Both the Plants were located along the South Superhighway heading towards Muntinlupa.
My first impressions
As the jet plane approached Manila for landing, the landscape consisted of rusted corrugated iron roof tops, coconut trees and sporadic ponds that gleamed with brackish waters as seen from the plane’s elevation.
We had to alight ourselves down a stairway and walk a distance on the airport’s tarmac towards the airport building. The humidity smacked hard on my face and I was soon bathed in sweat.
Inside the airport building, I found it at that time, probably the most disorganized situation that I have experienced from all of my international travel to airport buildings.
I was able to very quickly assay that the Philippines teem with people in every direction I turned my head towards. Filipinos articulating loudly even while their eyes tried to hide their suppressed indignation about their daily plight and their confounded situation.
Remember, it was during chaotic Marcos’ rule when I had arrived in the Philippines.
Most of my stay in the Philippines was devoted to improving management systems at both the Semiconductor Plants. It was instrumental in having me bond with my work colleagues at all levels at work in order to correct inefficiencies at the Plants.
This bond drove deep. It was not easy as I found later to create work ethics amongst my Filipino workers.
Keiths de Leon, one of my senior Staff stood head above the rest with his sense of responsibility and commitment to work. He explained to me that the problem with most Filipinos is their lack of confidence. Filipinos he said, often question who they are after 400 years of Spanish rule, the Japanese Occupation and the American colonial period. The national identity or the lack of it was never comprehensibly answered even by their founding fathers till Marcos.
Culturally, the mañana outlook on life that the Filipinos imbued from the Spanish culture had done enough havoc to the local Filipino. Basically the mañana outlook made them easy going, procrastinating and a slothful lot.
On the contrary, when the Americans ruled the Philippines, it capped the lid on their life’s empty container with materialism, greed and short cuts towards attaining wealth. All in all this leads Filipinos to embrace a cest le vie attitude and to live with an extravagance that is beyond their means.
Neither did the Spanish nor the Americans leave the Filipinos with a system that could sustain self governance and self sufficiency among the Filipinos.
Peering across the shores of the Philippines
If one were to take a break and peer at what was the history of other Sovereign nations across the shores of the Philippines, one would be able to see at least in South East Asia, neighbor countries that had either overcome fragile internal struggles with poverty, political uncertainties, wars or had just gained their own Independence.
To avoid making this article too much reading, I shall refrain from explaining what were the problems and progress in Thailand, Vietnam, Kampuchea, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia – all these countries had challenges and even wars that ran almost parallel in time during the Philippines history.
The reader would have to do his own research.
Here lies my reason for mentioning these other South East Asian countries – 33 years later these countries have advanced so far ahead of the Philippines and unmistakably continue to progress in all indices of life and governance.
Wither Philippines? (Conclusion)
The Filipinos since their Day of Independence have been unable to capably govern and rule themselves and make purposeful progress with sustained wisdom.
The Philippines lacks an effective System of Rule of Law, Order and Politics that is above nepotism and cronyism for its populace.
The Catholic Church leaders in the Philippines should never consider themselves as the Biblical or of Ancient times, a Priestly Hierarchy, as one that has power over the Secular Order or is it Disorder?. There is so much more that the Catholic Church has to do right in their backyard with regard to spiritual healing for the Philippines.
Filipinos who can afford it manage to add themselves to ever increasing population their diaspora. These find greater satisfaction and pride in supporting foreign nations than their motherland.
This also results in a massive brain drain that is detrimental to the situation in the Philippines.
I could even say that the Philippines is ruled by a selective lot (members from the same Filipino family and blood relatives) who have over the decades formed a political permanence and while yet there are newer additions being formed right now as I write. These new group bandits will soon themselves further acts of treason over their subjects.
Subjects whose poverty and ability are brutally severed by suppression in their effort to rise above their hardships – find themselves severed the acts of their bandit leaders and bandit law protectors, who manage without a scruple with their manipulative laws of re-interpreted democracy and self gain.
Here is a democracy as I had earlier expressed, one which flourishes on nepotistic popularity, vote buying, sham handouts that precede the National Referendum. Above all, a population of ambivalent Filipinos who through generations of political humbug, they dream of a Renaissance and they await for a Biblical-like appearance of the “Second Coming of a José Rizal” to save their posterity from irretrievable economic damnation and from what appears to be incorrigible corruption to the bone marrow, all across the motherland.
To be continued…..NEXT
And The Beat Goes On
Note: This article was originally published by Windy on October 16, 2012 over at Windmill of my Mind.