The issue facing us is the fundamental ineffectiveness of Philippine democratic institutions and processes. There are three branches of government, supposedly co-equal. Here is a rough idea of the status of each:
- Executive. Led by a capable, honest family "name", Noynoy Aquino. Mr. Aquino tends to favor friends for high positions, whether because of confidence or comfort, it is hard to tell. He rewards those who have worked to fulfill his ideals. He requires honesty and straight dealing and expects a lot from subordinates, so his picks are generally good ones. In that way, he is a good leader. He also has a lot of activity in the pipeline as all of his cabinet secretaries have their priorities and marching orders. Still, he does not press forward independently on important social programs like RH or FOI, and never something shocking like divorce. So progressive initiatives get bogged down.
- Legislature. Stuck up like an engine filled with Mighty Bond. The Legislature could correct the weaknesses of Executive by pressing forward with bills to modernize the Philippines, but it does not. Indeed, the Legislature is largely frozen in time, stuck between Catholic/Trapos values and sporadic efforts by younger thinkers to modernize. But the progressives have no power. When the majority leader of the senate, Senator Sotto, can bog RH deliberations down by making four lengthy speeches on a subject that could easily be dealt with in 10 minutes, we know we are dealing with an organization mired in political game-playing. That his arguments are stolen from others means he has little personal pride invested in thinking things through honestly and honorably. He's a master game-player. The Senate is not energized by public interest. The House of Representatives is younger, more flexible, and will march to the tune of the President because it is in their pork-laden interest to do so. But the Senate gums up good works. The Legislature is not effective. Period.
|Source: Mars One Project|
- Courts. This is the biggest nightmare imaginable. The courts are jammed with no sense of priority, corrupt methods, and damn little justice. People who are legitimately damaged cannot get damages corrected because it takes money and so much time that they give up. 25 years to deal with the Hacienda case and it is still open for judgments. New Chief Justice Sereno is facing jealousy and bitterness among the justices she is supposed to lead and, indeed, seems the lightweight they claim she is by calling to God for strength rather than intellect. Two glimpses of hope for a new environment: SALN's of Supreme Court Justices have been released, and a new bill has been passed to get some load off the courts, namely the requirement that courts certify citizen requests for name and date corrections to birth certificates. However the mass of the judicial mess is huge, and it will take years to correct.
So we have an Executive that is sound and honest, and could lead the nation strongly forward, but chooses not to in areas that provoke hostility from the Church (RH) or power-people (FOI). The Legislative and Judicial branches of government are lost to the public as their representatives, respectively, of social modernization and justices.
Switch gears entirely.
A few days ago, a Dutch consortium announced its plans to put people on Mars in 2028 as a private venture. Here is the link to the article. If you take the time to review the brief video imbedded in the article, you will hear one of the principals explain that by going private, the initiative can proceed forthrightly, faster and cheaper because it does not get bogged down in the political bickering, or the shove and push of vested interests who are behind the politicians.
The program will be funded by selling rights to video the mission as a reality television show.
Is there a lesson here?
If you want poor women of the Philippines to be educated, and to have condoms, you would be better off to organize and fund the effort privately than beat your head against the congressional brick heads and walls. You can seek donations from wealthy Filipinos. If they don't have a passion for Philippine well-being, go to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or the Clinton Foundation or other global organizations set up to advance the well-being of women on planet man.
Go around the Executive and Legislative blockades. Reduce them to the irrelevancy they are striving so hard to achieve.
If you want the FOI Bill passed, organize to publicize the critical information that is being held back and make sure people know: (1) why it is critical, and (2) who is hiding it. You turn over one rock at a time. And make sure that people know which legislators, and who within Executive, are supporting the hiding of information from the public. President Aquino made the point in his 2012 SONA that the public is boss.
- "I stand before you today as the face of a government that knows you as its Boss and draws its strength from you. I am only here to narrate the changes that you yourselves have made possible." (President Aquino, 2012 SONA)
Prove it. Prove that you are the boss.
The only organization I see that is proactive in representing public interest is the PCIJ, the Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism. A number of blog sites agitate for progressive acts but they are fractionalized and, not unified, represent irritating flies on an elephant's butt. They are not a tiger, strong and threatening.
That's the take-away I get in looking at the entire Senate ignoring the blogging firestorm over Senator Sotto's outrageously bad ethics.
There are no organized women's groups having heavy impact. We can hear a lot of sporadic shouting from here or from there. The noise is mostly ignored by leaders who are listening to the louder, organized cry of the CBCP.
There is no VOICE for women.
Perhaps the Filipino penchant for doing things "my way" gets in the way of organizing to speak as a unified voice (refer to the recent blog "How Filipino Personal Independence Undermines Community").
Well, ladies, I'd say you ought to get your act together, privately.
And FOI mavens, build your own ship to Mars.
And RH backers? Forget about that irrelevancy called the Senate, organize, and go straight to poor women with your messages and assistance.
The Senate does not want to do its duty to drive the Philippines progressively forward?
Let them stew there in their own muck. Irrelevant.
Mars or bust!
Privatize, oganize and modernize.