" Fear history, for it respects no secrets" - Gregoria de Jesus (widow of Andres Bonifacio)
- WHAT WE FILIPINOS SHOULD KNOW:
- WHAT IS NATIONALISM [Filipino Nationalism]?
- Our Colonial Mentality and Its Roots
- The Miseducation of the Filipino (Formation of our Americanized Mind)
- Jose Rizal - Reformist or Revolutionary?
- The Purpose of Our Past, Why Study (Our) History?
- Studying and Rethinking Our Philippine History
- Our Filipino Kind of Religion
- Our Filipino Christianity and Our God-concept
- When Our Religion Becomes Evil
- Understanding Our Filipino Value System
- Bell Trade Act-1946 (Parity Rights)
- US Military Bases & Military Assistance Agreements (1947)
- President Roxas Railroaded the Approval of Bell Trade Act (Philippine Trade Act),1946 & Military Bases Agreements
- US Bilateral Immunity Agreement (BIA) aka Article 98 Agreement
- Globalization (Neoliberalism) – The Road to Perdition in Our Homeland
- Resisting Globalization (WTO Agreements)
- Virtues of De-Globalization
- THE RECTO READER: Nationalism,Internationalism,Ultra-Nationalism, Part 1A of 6
- THE RECTO READER: Mission of Nationalism, Part 1B of 6
- THE RECTO READER: Economic Independence,Economic Nationalism,Part 2A of 6
- THE RECTO READER: Economic Nationalism Means Industrialization,Part 2B of 6
- THE RECTO READER: Industrialization: The Alternative to Poverty, Part 2C of 6
- THE RECTO READER: The Fallacy of "Philippines First," Part 2D of 6
- THE RECTO READER: Parity Rights, Currency Dependence, Foreign Loans versus Foreign Investments, Part 2E of 6
- MORE TO FOLLOW
In Part 1(A&B), Recto defined and clarified for us what Filipino Nationalism is and what it is not.
In Part 2, Recto elucidated the need for economic independence: the "what, why, how, where and when" of economic independence characterized by a nationalistic outlook and drive for industrialization.
He reminded us that economic independence propelled by nationalism is the sine qua non for political independence, domestically and internationally.
Unfortunately for us native Filipinos, economic independence never materialized as all our so-called national leadership -- all traitorous to the native Filipino majority-- have continued to pursue an economic policy, which has been and is destructive to the common good, as practically dictated by America via the IMF-WB/WTO Agreements.
THE RECTO READER (1965): PART 2 - ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE
- Selected and Edited by Prof. Renato Constantino
For our country today, industrialization and nationalism are twin goals. Indeed, they are two sides of the same coin. Nationalism cannot be realized and brought to full flowering without a thorough-going industrialization of our economy by the Filipinos themselves. And you can not have an industrialized Philippine economy controlled and managed by Filipinos without the propulsive force of a deep and abiding spirit of nationalism. (1)
The propulsive force that will take us to our economic goal is nationalism. We achieved political independence, or the restoration of our sovereignty as a people, by asserting consciously, fearlessly, and unceasingly, our aspiration to become a free and independent nation, until the foreign sovereign power, America, finally agreed to the restoration of our independent political status. In other words, we asserted the prerogatives of our nationalism.
Today we are politically, but we are far from free economically. A nation that has been a colony for a long time cannot and does not, on the day of its political independence, achieve simultaneously its economic independence.
But we have had ample time to be well past the first stages of transformation, and we would be so now were it not for the stubborn insistence of past administrations to cling to the old system.
That transformation can still be worked out by the people themselves, under the guidance and inspiration of their leaders, through the stimulus of wise and farsighted policies, perhaps with calculated sacrifices, and perhaps also with the advice and suggestions of disinterested foreign friends.
It is people, through their leaders, who must achieve economic freedom, or the change from a colonial pattern of economy into an independent one. Only economic nationalism will enable us to achieve basic and lasting solutions to our problems of mass poverty, unemployment, underproduction, perennial trade imbalance, and misery and backwardness in the midst of rich natural resources and abundant manpower.(2)
My program of industrialization is a logical outgrowth of my stand on Philippine nationalism. Nationalism in the economic field is the control of the resources of a country by its own people to insure its utilization primarily for their own interest and enjoyment.
Its political expression is independence and sovereignty, the desire to be treated with respect by all nations, and to decide, without bowing to outside pressure, the most advantageous course of action for a country vis-a-vis these powers.
The political aspect of nationalism becomes a dynamic mobilizing force which insures the realization of the economic objectives. In turn, the economic objectives lend practical reality to the fight for sovereignty.
What does economic nationalism mean for us Filipinos? Economic nationalism means the control of the resources of the Philippines so that they may be utilized primarily in the interest of the Filipinos. What course does this economic self-interest indicate for the Philippines at the present time? I have demonstrated by means of facts and figures that a raw-material exporting nation, that is, an agricultural nation, is always dependent on a manufacturing nation.
In any relation between the two, the industrial nation is the gainer, the agricultural nation, the loser.This is implicit in the fact that we export our raw material cheaply, because we can not use them as such; and we import the finished products at high prices, because we need them in our daily lives. Clearly under this setup, we are not in control of our natural resources for our best interest.
But if we industrialize, we shall no longer be at the mercy of manufacturing nations, and, in more and more instances, as we thoroughly industrialize, our own people shall become the beneficiaries of the values added to the raw materials by the manufacturing process. There is no question, therefore, that economic self-interest demands that we industrialize.(3)
The simple meaning that may be given to economic nationalism is a nation's aspiration, desire, and willingness to improve its material and cultural conditions through its own talents, resources, and sustained labor, and for the benefit of the whole national community.
Its mainspring is a strong sense of togetherness of the people in a common desire to progress, to improve livelihood, to achieve worthy and noble things, to enhance the good name, even the glory, of the national community, of the country which is the homeland, of the flag that symbolizes country,nation and the nation's history and ideals.
Without that dominant and ever-present will to achieve the enhanced well-being of the large community, rather than merely one's own selfish interest, any economic effort or activity, however large or impressive, is not nationalistic in character.
A certain kind of progress and material development can be achieved by economic activity that is not nationalistic in orientation but it can not solve any of the major social, economic and cultural problems of that large community which we call a nation.(4)
Why Filipino Ownership is Necessary
Now you may ask, why the insistence on Filipino ownership or control of such variegated industries? The answer is: unless it were so, it would be impossible to place the benefits to be derived from these industries within the means of enjoyment of the largest majority of the Filipinos. We must remember that if industries of such variety and scope were actually existing, they would be creating enormous amount of wealth annually.
If the wealth created were to remain in the Philippines and be reinvested again and again in other productive enterprises which would create, in turn, new wealth, then all that wealth could sustain an ever-spreading and rising standard of living.
But if the industries were alien or foreign-owned, then much of the wealth created would have to leave the country, what remains would never be enough to cope with the ever-increasing needs of an expanding Filipino population --and this is precisely the circumstance in which we have found ourselves through many decades-- the few rich would merely continue becoming richer, and most of them would be aliens and foreigners, and an ever-increasing number of the poor would be getting poorer. It is a similar circumstance, we may note, which brought about the Fidel Castro revolution in Cuba not long ago.(5)
To expect non-Filipinos engaged in large-scale enterprises in our country to have a nationalistic orientation in their economic activities is, as they say in Indonesia, like expecting lizards to grow feathers. We have no choice; it has to be Filipinos themselves, through the nationalistic aspiration of their economic endeavors, who must bring about a truly industrialized Philippines.(6)
Alien Control of our Economy
Our economy is heavily dominated by aliens. They have, per capita, more income than our own people. This is so because capital, which here is to a large extent foreign, begets profits, whereas salaries and wages, which constitute the share of the people in a colonial economy, are never high enough to allow their recipients much beyond their needs for daily living; consequently, there is almost nothing left for savings. If therefore, we mean to develop an economy that will bring welfare to our people, we must reverse this trend.(7)
As late as 1951, raw material sources and channels of distribution were in alien hands, according to F. Rodriguez, erstwhile chairman of our National Economic Council. Other officials at that time revealed that 80% of our retail trade was alien-controlled; that 78% of our foreign trade was in the hands of aliens; that sugar, and trade in rice, copra, tobacco and lumber was also alien-controlled; that 68% of our foreign exchange was bought by aliens.
There is urgent need for study and adoption of measures calculated to eliminate this alien stranglehold on our economy. Will our friends and advisers help us succeed in this great endeavor? Will they assist us in the study and adoption of the needed measures? Can we expect this kind of assistance from them? They, too, have their economic welfare to think of and protect. That is in the nature of things.
We will have to depend, therefore, on our own resources, on our own ingenuity, on our own judgment which, right or wrong, shall at least be guided by the consideration that the national interest is supreme and that the common patrimony must always be defended and safeguarded with all the care, awareness, dedication and vigilance to which every Filipino must be regarded as having pledged his honor from the cradle to the grave.(8)
The Cause of Our Poverty
Why is the Filipino worker poor under the present feudalistic regime? Although underproduction, unemployment and poverty are the three principal problems of the working class, the truth is that these are only the natural consequence of the two dominant facts in our economic system:
- that we are predominantly an agricultural country, and
- that we have a colonial economy characterized by foreign denomination in many important areas.
In wartime, the workingmen suffer most at the hands of foreign invaders. In peace time, it is still the workingmen who suffer from the alien control of our economy. This is true because of the very nature of foreign denomination, whether in peace or in war.
Foreigners who go to any country for conquest, or to set up businesses, do not do so to serve the interest of their host-nation. They go because they are attracted by abundant natural resources and cheap labor, both of which guarantee higher and easier profits than in their home country.
If this were not the case, no foreigner would leave his country to seek his fortune elsewhere; no foreigner would fight to conquer another people without expectations of profit or a better life than he has at home.
A country dominated by foreigners enriches the foreigners, a few of the nationals, but seldom its workingmen. Our country therefore is poor, its workingmen are poor, and many thousands are jobless, mainly because we have had an alien dominated economy and political life for more than four centuries now.
If Filipinos had been independent from foreign domination in these four centuries, with the tremendous natural resources in their homeland, they would surely have found better ways of developing their economic assets to achieve a high standard of living and prosperity for all elements of the population, including the class of workingmen.
The workingmen of the Philippines are poor for still other reasons besides alien control of our economy.Throughout the more than four decades of American regime, the emphasis of our educational system was on the training of our people in democratic principles and in public administration. This emphasis was well-placed, for the high literacy of our people and their better understanding of the workings of the democratic processes have been beneficial results of that policy.
But commendable as that educational orientation was, it left a gaping void in the integrated education of the Filipinos.The educational system fired our people's desire for political liberty, but it purposely neglected to develop economic nationalism among the citizens, and instead insidiously inculcated in them ideas of economic dependence on America.
The literacy of our people, their awareness of the high standards of living of the West, so temptingly shown in movies, televisions, books, magazines, and other forms of advertisement, merely made the Filipinos more vulnerable and readily susceptible to the sales appeal of promoters of American trade and commerce.
The Filipinos, ill-prepared to develop their country economically in order to attain a standard of living comparable to the West, were nevertheless thoroughly conditioned to become avid and insatiable consumers of Western finished products, from canned milk to flashy cars and televisions sets.
Thus developed the preponderance in our national economy of a merchant class composed mostly of aliens, leaving the native producer class to shift for itself as best it could in an economy that is thoroughly colonial in nature.
To meet the needs of the merchants, especially import tycoons, there must be a continuous supply of foreign exchange. The native producers were thus encouraged to concentrate production on a few export products, mainly raw materials, that earn a foreign exchange with which to pay for ever-increasing imports of foreign goods, from lipstick to automobiles.
Importation and distribution of foreign goods, however, create few opportunities for mass employment; and the production of raw materials for exports requires less manpower than the processing of those raw materials into finished goods. (10)
We must have the courage to face the true problems of our nation so that we may succeed in raising the standard of living of our millions of poor and unemployed. We must have the honesty of mind to tell them the truth, as Rizal in his time had to do, so that they may free themselves from their empty illusions, so that their minds may be awakened to the real solutions to their difficulties.
We must have the integrity of patriotism to tell our people that they are poor because of economy is unbalanced, and therefore, unable to give them the opportunities to use in their interest the tremendous potentialities of the country's natural resources.
We should have the courage to tell our masses and make them understand that our economy as a whole is poor and underdeveloped because it is colonial in pattern, and that all the hand-shaking and back-patting of the men they elect to office will not improve their lot if these leaders are not nationalistic enough to change the character of our economy.(11)
The Need for Economic Planning
Economic planning is, therefore, a "must" for us. For without such planning, either the greedy few will despoil the nation of its resources or those resources will remain unexploited to the detriment of national interest.
Ours is an underdeveloped country and has been so for centuries. While our economy has stagnated, our population has increased. Mass poverty and mass unemployment have been the inevitable results. It cannot be doubted that if we let things continue drifting, we will soon prey to communism, for the decisive battle against this enemy shall be fought not on the legal and parliamentary stage, as some people want us to believe, but on the economic.
And this planning should be the government's special concern. Some will call this socialism. Be it so. But it has been our sad experience that private Filipino entrepreneurs, without government initiative and intervention in the form of incentives or aid, have not been able to take advantage of opportunities for increasing the national wealth that would provide employment and bring welfare and economic security for all the people.
Only a bold leadership and decisive action by the government can produce the break-through that will set us moving away from the present poverty and national unemployment.(12)
The Colonial Pattern of our Economy
There is, of course, an economic policy in the Philippines, but it is not one made by Filipinos nor is it intended for the welfare of Filipinos. it was conceived and formulated by others and introduced and implemented here for purposes other than the nation's interest.This economic policy has for its objectives:
- to keep the Philippines the agricultural country that it always has been;
- to attract to the Philippines foreign investments.
For the realization of these objectives, appropriate measures have been devised:
- economic aid, to be dispensed through officers and economic advisers who are alert to the above objectives;
- advisory assistance in all sectors of activity, both public, including practically all government offices and agencies, and private, including labor and peasant organizations, and in all fields --political, economic, military, social, and cultural;
- military protection, or more accurately, token military protection, through a so-called alliance loose in terms and terminable in one year's notice, and a lease of bases for 99 years with no provision for its earlier termination; and
- parity rights for the Americans with respect to all business activities and public utilities and the exploitation of the country's natural resources.(13)
- the kind of economy that the nation must have, and
- the proper approach to the question of foreign investments and financing.
We have not settled these basic issues.(14)
1. Nationalism and Industrialization, July 30, 1957
2. The Role of labor in our Economic Emancipation, September 8, 1957.
3. Nationalism and Industrialization, July 30, 1957
4. Industrialization and Economic Nationalism, October 3, 1959.
7. A Realistic Economic Policy for the Philippines, September 26, 1956.
8. Our Raw-Material-Export Economy, June 26, 1957.
9. The Role of labor in our Economic Emancipation, September 8, 1957.
11. Filipinism and the Coming Elections, August 10, 1957.
12. A Realistic Economic Policy for the Philippines, September 26, 1956.
....TO BE CONTINUED...Economic Nationalism Means Industrialization, Part 2B of 6
"This, his message, valid as it was in his lifetime, is even more timely now. For there are still those among us, devoid of sufficient faith in our potentialities, who would in their attitude and thinking, in effect reject the gospel of national dignity, national pride, and the national responsibility of self-reliance. The words of Claro M. Recto may, it is fervently hoped, occasion a change of mind and of heart." - Justice Jesus G. Barrera.
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