Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Our Street Protests Nowadays

The Need for Deeper Understanding of Our Reality

WHAT WE FILIPINOS SHOULD KNOW: These "politics of the streets," etc. led by diverse groups of conflicting interests and the Arroyo regime reacting to them are nothing new; we've been there, done that: in EDSA 1, EDSA 2 and EDSA 3 (if the Oakwood Mutiny is lumped with both). We will only have more of the same.

As we all see/experience, the long-run results are the same: ever-worsening existence for the majority. Because we, the so-called educated among the middle class and up, only talk among and plan for ourselves, only think within a caged mentality, without looking at and/or avoiding the need to deal with the root causes of our socioeconomic problems, which requires questioning our basic assumptions: the socioeconomic system we inherited from America and unquestioningly practice and propagate. We do not question because we profit from it. And at the same time we ignore and put down the poor and ignorant, we are that arrogant and cocksure.

Thus, we all get bogged down and spent on personalities among our so-called leadership who,then and now,still have no honest desires and actions that would lead to public good (It is so discouraging and outrageous to see an endless pretense/show to "fool the people, buy the people and off the people.)"

Most of these personalities are from within our ranks of so-called educated class; and many of us desire to be among these personalities in power: in government to make and have our share in the people's money cum power. Thus we want to keep the majority ignorant and use them only for our own selfish purposes.

We know that with an ignorant majority, we can easily fool and get no pressure from them to have us change our decisions which adversely impact the majority in the long haul. Radical changes for their betterment and for the common good will therefore not come from us. Unless the majority of the populace are made to raise their national consciousness (nationalism) and thus gain national unity and united action, fundamental changes for the generations of Filipinos, for their common good will never come to fruition. Of course, again, deep down we so-called educated do not want these fundamental changes to occur.

So we continue to self-destruct as a people, while our foreign "friends and /or naturalized citizens," i.e. Chinese, American, Japanese, Canadian, Korean, etc. thanks to the WTO, laugh at us and enjoy themselves in our house, i.e. homeland, take our women and children, our patrimony: our land and its minerals, buy off/shut our factories, convert our agricultural lands into malls and golf courses, steal our accumulated native knowledge, etc. all so very cheaply with our devaluated peso. At the same time, depriving millions of natives of decent jobs. We the so-called educated are traitors by allowing these economic disasters to perpetuate since we can still go on with our selfish and merry ways.

It's been 40+ years since we last enjoyed a "Filipino First" national policy, to look out for #1, i.e. us native but decolonized Filipinos.

I hope it will not be as long, that I witness a nationalist, true revolution (not these at best short-term revolts financed and/or led by selfish members of the ruling elite ) by a middle class and the impoverished majority, both nationalistic and working together to stop us in our repeated self-destruction.

A true nationalist revolution to overthrow our present economic system that only maximizes profits for foreigners and their local partners, and our politics that is characterized by foreign subservience; and to be replaced with a socioeconomic system and culture that cater first to the impoverished majority and generations of native Filipinos to come.

[As to the source of leadership, we Filipinos still look up and limit ourselves to the same socioeconomic-political elite, the same prominent dynasties, many of whom were of the collaborationist and mendicant variety. There are potentially good leadership, maybe still unknown, outside the selfish, morally bankrupt and oftentimes subservient elite.

When we have done away with our massive ignorance, we Filipinos can surely find and actively ensure that only individuals -with courage and strong nationalism- earn respect; thus who will successfully propel the people to fight, and finally win for the common good.]

please see:



"“Nations, whose NATIONALISM is destroyed, are subject to ruin.” - Colonel Muhammar Qaddafi, 1942-, Libyan Political and Military Leader

“The true Filipino is a decolonized Filipino.” – Renato Constantino

"Upang maitindig natin ang bantayog ng ating lipunan, kailangang radikal nating baguhin hindi lamang ang ating mga institusyon kundi maging ang ating pag-iisip at pamumuhay. Kailangan ang rebolusyon, hindi lamang sa panlabas, kundi lalo na sa panloob!" --Apolinario Mabini, La Revolucion Filipina (1898)

"To read the destiny of a people, it is necessary to open the book of its past" - Dr. Jose Rizal''.


Anonymous said...

" One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors " Plato

" It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs " Albert Einstein

" To reveal error, expose it to the light of God's truth " anonymous

- Narciso Ner

Bert M. Drona said...


Thanks for your quotations.

To not be in the streets is not necessarily not to engage in politics. One can be effective in some other ways. In fact, your Einstein quotation answers your first. I hope you see that.

Now, for the last, let's flush God down the toilet; even priests and pastors are mainly part of the establishment, wittingly or unwittingly (if similarly ignorant). Only we Filipinos can solve our problems.

BTW, if you believed in Plato all the way, you believe in elitism which in our homeland has proven disastrous then and now. Democracy is "rule by the demos," and in classical Greek, demos can be understood as "the people" or " the mob," the latter the unwashed, the unfit, the vulgar. So far, we so-called educated ones define our impoverished as the latter, thus we ignore and them.

We know what we got from our elite in the last 40 years (longer if we count pre-WW2).

Anonymous said...

I dare to disagree. I have seen the effect and influence of street demonstrations on government policies, even in stopping tragedies as the execution of some Japanese volunteers by a group calling themselves freedom fighters in Iraq a year or two ago, or even evil schemes as what our small band of concerned Filipinos and ex-Filipinos was able to accomplish in 1989-90 to stop the sales of Philippine patrimonies in Japan, or .

Some may have ulterior motives in doing this kind of activities, but as far as the majority of us in this kind of movements or have experienced joining this kind of activities, it is pure and simple show of sympathy for a worthy cause.

The problem in such environment as the Philippines is indifference and/or uncalled for skepticism who may not have vested interests as they claim but are ironically paying lip service to those who have!

Fortunately, over here we can have a more responsive audience regardless of whether or not they just stare blankly, in disgust or in sympathy or simply because of a practical reason as "Sorry, I am too busy to participate, so I leave it to you guys to do what's best even for my sake."

This kind of attitude I can tolerate but not those who try their dumbest to kill enthusiasm especially among people who are just learning how collective action can have the power to effect changes and accomplish goals and aspirations the way people here are used to and have been trained to do since kindergarten, something that some imperialist has been trying hard to kill because it is in fact what makes Japan strong, and its people united against any kind of odds.

BTW, we are having a demonstration over here as well on Sunday to show our concern and sympathy to those who are doing their best to oust a CRIMINAL, who has broken the law ten folds but is able to circumvent the law, manipulate even the Constitution to the hilt, etc. because she has managed to place her relatives, friends and cronies in positions vital to her survival.

I believe in miracles as when we protested against the sales of Philippine properties in Japan, and though I must admit, our protests helped stop them even by being able to frighten Japanese entrepreneurs from submitting their bids because they would not like to be caught in any scandal (most Japanese are allergic to scandals as a matter of fact), it was a miracle that finally stopped the bidding for the properties.

A negligence that must have been moved by some unseen hands because it must be right and good was why the bidding was stopped and considered null and void. A confident bidder submitted his bid alright a few minutes before the closing of acceptance of bidding application, and in his haste, forgot to enclose the required check of his bid. He was disqualified leaving only one bidder out of 35 to bid that was not allowed by Philippine laws, and thus, the bidding was stopped and considered null and void, moot and academic. If that is not a miracle, what is?

What I see now is some maturity as I watch rolls and rolls of video transmissions in my job as translator/interpreter for TV networks in Tokyo. They may look fragmented with not even one prominent mover to inspire them to do what these protesters have endeavoured to do and try to achieve like what their critics, provocators and skeptics say about this present attempt to oust the CRIMINAL sans any foreign meddling except by Philippine-born Japanese like yours truly, and may turn out to be the genuine and true FILIPINO PEOPLE'S POWER.

I have no hidden agenda except that I want to be proud of the land of my birth. Right now, I would be a hypocrite if I say I am proud of the Philippines with its present image of being a country where the presidents are conceived to be robbers and thieves, and the women good only for the bed these women being deployed to Japan, Korea, China, etc. to work in bars and clubs as hostesses cum prostitutes if they are not employed as servants on a 24-hour call as those exploited domestic helpers in Singapore, Hong Kong, Middle East, etc.!

If that is being prudish, I don't care, but I sure do care. In fact, I am angry that I cannot be proud of my Filipino me; forced to hide behind my Japanese looks, and Japanese credentials (vis-a-vis Japanese passport, etc.) to be able to get the more civilized and human treatment, even awe that I enjoy as a Japanese, compared for example to the kind of shabby treatment a lot many of my Filpino friends still carrying Philippine passports are subjected to, and why a lot many Filipinos here would opt to be naturalized even when the only benefit they can get out of doing so is a fair and better treatment anywhere they go around the world carrying a red or blue Japanese passport!

Now, if we do not help, even teach those, who have even been conditioned to think it is right to be receiving some cheapy cup noodles for a photo-op instead of feeling indignation over the reality that they are being used and reduced to being beggars who have no right to choose, to fight their battles, who will?

As I have stated, the things I see as to how Filipinos are responding to this call for mass action against the CRIMINAL regardless of who lead them is very encouraging. Many of the protesters are young ones risking police brutality.

They remind me of the members of the ZENGAKUREN, a national student union, who fought the police fiercely with a lot of them ending up in jails or in urns, but are now the ones running partly Japan with a lot many of them becoming the bureaucrats that they dreamed of having in their youth, making sure that the politicians we vote behave, and do their best to make us happy and contented.

So, who says that the CRIMINAL is irreplaceable or indispensible? I dare to disagree. I'd rather gamble on an unknown alternative armed only with a wisdom born out of a sincere love of country and people than on a mediocre economist, especially one said to have gotten her doctorate degree through a diploma mill.

I have met a lot many non-college graduates over here who are much better achievers than I can say about myself, and surely make me feel humble to the point of being ashamed. Fortunately for them, Japan is one country where industry and dedication can have more weight than a useless diploma. They are the ones who have contributed more to making life better for a lot many of us, and surely make me appreciate the fact that I am a national of Japan!

I would like to see the day when Filipinos can say likewise, "I am a Filipino, and I am proud of it!"

Just sharing, take it or leave it.

Yuko Takei

Bert M. Drona said...

It's all right to disagree anytime.

Sure, street demos work especially when conditions under which they are made: against a weakened regime, or a strong government (Japan) that respects valid protests or has leverage (with Iraq) or values honor; when made under heavy local/international media coverage; when attended by a massive presence that understands the issues. Thus, effective under the presence of most, if not all, these conditions.

But when the cause(s) is/are worthy but specific, i.e. GMA to quit (as in the Estrada case), street demos -even revolts- may be effective in their short-term goal(s); but NOT with the long-term goals since they are not addressed, e.g. calling into question the social order or socioeconomic system as a whole. Our "parliament of the streets," as have been led in the past and present, is serious but do not challenge the exisitng socioeconomic order. And thus, the final outcome can only lead to the same.

That is why, I always rant about educating ourselves (the so-called educated) and the impoverished majority, for nationalism, which in our homeland, is the most efficacious means for strong national unity and social mobilization against domestic or international politics; and for radical transformation.

That is the failure of the EDSAs because both have not questioned the roots of our homeland's predicament and have been revolts mainly by the middle class with the elite, using for the moment the impoverished majority who they both ignore. With such limited participation the results are therefore conservative if not actually retrogressive. The majority are worse off today than yesterday, as yesterday was worse off than the other day. and the ranks of the poor majority are growing as middle class declines.

You can not dismiss those who disagree with your stance as paying lip service; you do not really know them or where they are coming from. Speaking for myself, I understand the idealism of the young. When we are young we do not want to be told that; but that is reality. We are more idealistic when we are young and that is good. But ideal-ism may not be wisdom at times. So allow for that. If some people disagree, for whatever reason, with one who really believes in what one does, he should neither be discouraged nor care; just go and do what you want to do.

As to foreign meddling, if you really know Philippine history, you'll correct what you said.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, the Japanese are not as transparent as other people may think they can decipher them. In other words, you won't be able to really understand them even with your 100 percent Japanese daughter-in-law unless you are one of them, or live like them, and/or together with them in a very typically Japanese setting and society to be able to really understand them.

I am actually not being typically Japanese when I am in the Filipino crowd with the way I argue, although my blatant frankness and honesty that may even be misconstrued as audacity and insolence may be what makes me more Japanese than Filipino. Otherwise, I don't argue with the less argumentative Japanese, and the ambivalence is something that foreigners have difficulty understanding..

BTW, I majored in history at UP and was a research fellow at Oxford University, so I am not really that ignoramus about Philippine history, and how a lot many fallacious things washed into the brains of Filipinos need to be revised, and they be debriefed even just to make them love being what they are in fact---Filipinos regardless of whether or not the name of their country should have been different and not after the name of a Spanish king or their calling themselves as Filipinos by which they have been known these past 60 years or so in contrast with how they were referred to in books published prior to 1946 as "Indios" or simply, "inhabitants of the Philippine Islands" and categorized according to place of origin as Ilocanos, Tagalogs, Kapampangans, etc.that some people try to use as argument in some silly debate on whether or not Filipinos should re-hispanized themselves!!!

This reminds of a time decades ago, when I joined an expedition to the hinterlands somewhere off the Sierra Madres to do some research on the languages spoken by tribes there. We visited the headhunting Ilongots and the Dagat-Dagatan of now Quezon Province. I was mistaken for a Chinese as a matter of fact because of my slit eyes and fair skin. Otherwise, my companions were called "mga Pilipino." When I said, "We are all Filipinos," the chief of the tribe, an Aeta tribe as a matter of fact, corrected me by saying that they were "Baluga" and my companions were "Filipinos."

Now, a friend has told me that with the construction of roads during the Martial Law years, etc. and mountain people getting down from the mountains to earn a living, the distinction is no longer prominent and has become almost nil. They speak the national language based on Tagalog, and they now call themselves Filipinos.

As for foreign meddling, and this nonsense of Filipinos not being able to remove this menace called "GMA" without US help, of course, there is the attempt on the part of the Americans to still try playing the big white brothers to the so-called "brown Americans," but with the big brothers having their own domestic problems now, I would rather encourage Filipinos to have the guts to prove themselves now the way they withstood the Japanese during the years of waiting for Macarthur to come back, during which time Filipinos had to depend on their own ingenuity and will to survive! This I learned from interviews with aging guerrillas we made for a documentary on the guerrillas VS the members of MAKAPILI, who were originally known as SAKDALISTA fighting for Philippine independence from the USA, in commemoration of the end of WWII last summer.

For me, the resistance that stopped the Japanese Imperial Army from totally conquering the Philippines was good enough evidence that given the right incentive and chance to prove their worth, Filipinos can do the impossible against all odds sans US, etc. foreign help. I'd definitely give them the break!


Bert M. Drona said...

Thanks for giving me some personal background and interesting experiences. That help when we communicate via emails.

Anyway, as you may know we Filipinos, just like any race or group, can fight on our own, as demonstrated against Spain and with the US. Our forefathers fought them for amost 13 years (not just 3) before finally being completely defeated. And it took the US to send more than 70% of their Army and of course their modern armaments (the deciding factor) to defeat us..

But recognize that fighting a foreigner is easier vis-a-vis your own kind. Against a foreigner, a people can be united easily; any foreign invader knows that. Fighting one's kind, in a civil war/revolution is more difficult and painful.

Thus, instilling nationalism is more difficult when there is no foreign enemy to confront. The enemy is us, so to speak. But still nationalism will help define one's "affiliation:" status quo or for radical change of the socioeconomic order. Not just for a changing of the guards.

We should expect the US policymakers betting on both sides as usual: GMA and some in the opposition.

Anonymous said...


When I get the chance to put in CDs the videos I was provided by the TV production that asked me to transcribed them into Japanese, I'll give you a copy. It will make a good material for research on a period in Philippine history that is no given emphasis in Philippine schools, thus, the ignorance and lack of pride of Filipinos in their own selves and abilities, thus, encouraging more such flagellant attitude among Filipinos that they have the tendency to think of themselves as a terribly hopeless people who cannot do anything right without depending on others. Call it masochism but what they say about crab mentality is actually self-degradation. I have actually difficulty understand how Filipinos can talk aout it in reference to their own selves, and not try to cure it considering tht it is not hopelessly incurable! It is in fact a matter of self-discipline that Filipinos likewise must have the capacity to develop if they want to !

I guess, it boils down really to having confidence and the will to do what is right and good. The problem really, in a way, is how Filipinos have been made to think that they are a hopeless and inferior race, and amazingly lap it up either because they believe it or they find it convenient and good enough reason for not taking any big responsibility!

Sad, but true and time for us to do something about it. In my case, I believe in the advocacies I am in, and try my best to do what is expected of me.

I have an appointment with the police tomorrow to get the needed permit to enable us to march down to the Philippine Embassy on the streets of Tokyo. Hopefully, we can get enougn Japanese media exposure.

Thank God that Japan is a free country where the people are very particular about the provisions of the Constitution regarding the basic freedoms from want, and of speech, assembly and press. We don't have to worry any censorship the way the Dorobo (Thief) tries now to suppress those freedoms for her own benefit and gain.

BTW, the religious in the Philippines should complain about the frequent showing of the Dorobo praying always and looking pious and holy. It makes a mockery of the Christian faith. It's just nauseating!

Yuko in Tokyo

Bert M. Drona said...

Hello Yuko,

Thank you for your response.

I fully appreciate your observations and I can only say that thinking about the Filipino is very discouraging. To change ourselves, individually or as a people is a humongous task; there is so much to change that one is almost at a loss as to where to start and how.

I believe that we humans are born not as tabula rasa; but already with some imprints from nature via our genes. Then nurturing or environment (parental, education, experiences) come in and finally if critical thinking/analysis is learned, self-knowledge or self-consciousness come in. A combination of all will be what we can be/are at best. Self-consciousness is the best way to know ourselves, know what may need changing and change towards what direction.

A Filipino in the Philippines is born with so much predefined beliefs, superstitions, etc. learned from his folks at a young age, reinforced by his community,society and insititutions. Our educational system, even in most private and state colleges, does not really educate one as a whole person, but one surely gets "instructed" very well indeed in his chosen profession. Thus, he can be very intelligent and highly specialized but lacking in the humanities/social sciences including history; consequently in social perception of himself and his homeland/society as a whole.

Those who took the 2-year general education at UP, if a student appreciates them, can make him different from the many; that is why, they become so after school; as many UP grads are. (Though no guarantee of deep nationalism or incorruptibility just like anyone else from other schools).

Add the fact that Filipinos in general do not like to read even when they can afford in time and money to spend for that activity. He has other things he would rather do in his leisure time.

In my 58 years, I have not seen many Filipinos in bookstores and if seen, not in the more intellectually stimulating sections of the store: humanities/social sciences and/or those under liberal arts. I can go on and on, but in short, our educational system fails to develop a Filipino mind that thinks critically (though he may be good in analyzing problems and identifying solutions in his technical specialty).

What more for the uneducated Filipinos, the impoverished ones, the masa thus so easy prey to the manipulations of the so-called educated politiicans, etc all with vested interests in the status quo. These unfortunate ones should not be blamed if their immediate concern is today's meal.

Sadly, the so-called educated see them in the usual elitist way. We the educated should have a better understanding of them who are ignorant through no fault of their own, poverty breeds it; it is a vicious circle that is hard to break and of course, a few do break from the shackles of poverty but again, some of these forget where he came from and become elitist too. As if becoming one with the materially successful is all there is.

I blame this attitude and behavior to the selfish, tribal and materialistic features of Philippine society, and thanks to westernization (Americanization) or cultural imperialism that was subtly imposed via colonization and now reinforced by globalization. TV is the most influential medium.

As to the churches, Catholic church especially, the last refuge and hope for the people, essentially is part of the establishment. Its hierarchy mostly conservative, some still with medieval concepts of Christianity.

The church has many ignorant clerics in its hierarchy and laity. Thus many are more concerned with outward religiosity than the one major (of two) teachings of Christ :"love of neighbor". Anyway, you have observed them. I have touched on this issue about religion and society, when religion becomes evil, etc. in my blogs.

Sadly, the church has a very strong influence among the so-called educated and surely, the poor. The beliefs in "Bahala na ang Diyos", that "we are only in this world temporarily," "god wills it," etc contribute greatly to disastrous consequences.

Catholic Christianity as taught to us has a retrogressive effect. Plus the authoritarian conditioning from colonization and from Asian culture, all these reasons complementing each other to produce a nation of sheeps.

I think non-christian thoughts like Buddhism and Confucianism are more humanly positive. Even Japanese Shintoism highly values the group (community, nation).

Ours is more tribal, atomized, individualism reinforced by Christianity and competitive mindset in Americanism. All contribute to our selfish individuality.

Got to go.

Take care,

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about Gloria's recent Emergency Rule.

She's tried professorial rule. She tried maternal rule . She tried good buddy rule.
She tried kada rule. She even tried no rule at all.

Nothing worked.

Give the little girl a chance.She's still growing up.
Wait till she grows up enough to match her fully-grown husband.

Then,she may also decide on self- exile!

But if you really can't stand her,there is one sure way of throwing her out .
Pull out the platform she stands on.

She will then disappear beneath the rostrum - and she can rule no more.

-Richard T

Anonymous said...

Hi Bert,

You have presented a picture of our situation today [ very true ] but you have not proposed any actions to take on how to change it or retouch it. You may have said it in your past columns but would it be appropriate to say it again.


Bert M. Drona said...


Please visit my latest blog on Nationalism and Our Ignorance (see: http://thefilipinomind.blogspot.com/).

A short response or several blogs may not be enough but,it boils down to priorities: mass education for nationalism, whoever rules in Malacanang; else changing of the guards will not solve our long-term problem as we have seen in the last 20 years. Reform has not or will not happen because the power elite in business and government will be adversely affected, and they have and will not allow any fundamental reform to occur.

Only a nationalist revolution to remove the ruling regime (GMA or other) and replace with a nationalistic socio-economic system together with cultural revolution to recover certain useful/good values in our heritage and to dismantle our colonial mentality.

A mixed economy (as before martial law and with 1958-62 Filipino First policy removed by GMA's dad - his promise to US support).

Granted defeat of the ruling regime in a bloody struggle (hopefully minimized by mass education and not settling of personal scores), the revolution still continues for years (10+ years or more depending on internal and external pressures/sabotage for revolution to fail); that is why the need for a nationalistic populace and armed forces to ensure revolutionary implementation and success.

Study Vietnamese and Cuban revolutions, though seen as communists, they are actually nationalistic-communist then, but more of nationalist now because communism does NOT work for the common good and is a failure if you follow recent history.

I do not see the urgency to have full political freedom during the early stages as the dispossessed ruling/power elite and their foreign friends will continue to fight/sabotage the revolution. But then again, the real measure of the steadiness and rigtheousness of a revolution depends on the degree of nationalism of the revolutionary leadership and the majority of the citizenry. These all sound rhetorical but that how I see it.

Malaysia and Taiwan have done so successfully, the latter under a military dictatorship for 25 years and economically developed then while gradually moving towards full democracy, which it is today. I have a long posting on this. Please see: http://thefilipinomind.blogspot.com/2005/05/learning-from-taiwanese-from.html

The choices for us are very difficult either way, but much worse and worsening if we do not develop nationalism. The "bad" thing about us is we value freedom more than our stomach, so to speak; thus we have these prioritizing problem. There has to be trade-offs somewhere. I can go on and on but check out: