|How educated are Filipinos,|
I'd like to raise some ideas regarding dynasties. Two, to be specific:
"Affirmative action" is a term emerging from the U.S. during the 1970's and 80's as America tried to figure out how to solve the deeply engrained problem of racism.
The dilemma was that white America had locked out blacks because blacks could not get the education and qualifications they needed to rise into executive positions. The awareness of the problem eventually expanded to include all minorities.
The solution was new laws establishing a kind of "authorized reverse discrimination" requiring that colleges and large corporations establish goals to move a targeted percentage of minorities onto their student or employment rolls. Colleges and companies were required to open doors to minorities in an affirmative, pro-active way.
There were of course complaints. "It's unfair to whites." "You'll have to bring aboard unqualified people." Court challenge was undertaken and the court ruled that affirmative action was a legitimate tool to overcome prior negligence (racism) that was punitive to minorities. It was authorized as a legitimate policy to correct prior damages in order to "right the books".
And it did right the books. It was not done without friction, without occasional complaint or abuse, but it brought ethnic diversity to universities and to the workplace. It gave minorities a fair shot at high achievement. It reached its apex with President Obama's election in 2008. Today, minorities are highly visible in government and corporate executive suites. In the future, we will see minorities continue to rise to prominence in the U.S. as whites subside to their appropriate demographic levels.
If you look at dynasties in the Philippines, the situation is pretty much the same. The dynastic families have a lock on opportunity. They form an aristocratic class. They have a lock on the top jobs and the key legislative and executive positions. They rule the provinces and cities. It is hard for a person of good brains but no welcoming committee to break through. The dynastic leaders have better qualifications and better networks supporting them.
The solution currently being proposed is to restrict or outright ban dynasties. That's what the Constitution requires. But no implementing laws have been passed because it is such a complex and self-punishing job for leaders who belong to those dynasties. How can they be expected to end the favors that allow their sons and daughters to rise to success? So the Constitutional obligation has sat for 25 years in the "pending" file.
My thought is that perhaps it would be better to follow the logic of America's affirmative action laws. Forget about punishing the dynasty members outright. Don't take their jobs away. In the U.S., that would be like taking a white guy's job away and handing it to a black. Brutal.
|Our President's family. These are good people.|
REQUIRE that COMELEC candidate approval lists include 20% or more non-dynasty candidates in 2016. Up it to 30% in 2019 and increase it at 10% per election cycle until it is 80%.
It will be necessary to define dynasty. If Congress can't do that, Humpty Dumpty would be happy to step in and supplant the cranial shortcomings of the Congress and their ample legal staffs.
The idea is to avoid punishing any specific dynasty person or family. Agreed, the competitive environment for available positions would tighten steadily. But that is a good thing, no? It would assure that the qualifying dynasty members are voted into office or appointed based on skill, not name.
When that nettlesome Constitutional obligation is fulfilled, then Congress can turn its attention to equal opportunity in the corporate marketplace to end nepotistic hiring by large businesses. To open channels of opportunity for talented Filipinos so that ambition and "to aspire" becomes a driving force for higher productivity in the Philippines.
Recognizing the Truth of the Philippines
This is a completely different take on the matter.
The subject arose during a brief exchange I had with Raissa Robles on her blog. In her article, she had cited the differences between U.S. and Chinese governmental structures and processes. Then brought in the Philippines. Here's the link to our exchange within the article thread. The remarks I made that are pertinent to dynasties are contained in the following excerpts from JoeAm:
- "The Philippines needs its own vision rather than a sottocopy of the US. But no one has articulated a clear vision unique to the island structure and family allegiances that are distinctive to the nation. Edgar Lores did a parsing on my blog of President Aquino’s SONA vs. President Obama’s victory speech. Dramatically different fundamentals, with Obama focused on liberty and hope – a softer almost spiritual orientation – while Aquino centered on achievements, corruption and practical matters. One was a dream, the other a check list."
- "What does the Philippines want to be when it grows up? I have no idea."
- ". . . the family/clan structure is so very different in the Philippines. Writing the response to you made me think that the Philippines should stop denying that it is a clan society, and structure its government to recognize it and leverage it as strength, rather than try to fit clans into a US style democracy. Far out thinking, I know. . ."
Why deny that the Philippines is what it is? It is a divided nation, geographically, with over 7,000 islands. The 114 dialects testifies to the cultural divisions as well. Then there are the clans, the families, the tribes. Most provinces and cities are controlled by dominant families. Those are facts. Imposing a vanilla U.S. style democratic ideal at the national level tends to deny the local power structures.
It ends up being a mutation as dynastic forces and the trading of favors dominate democratic process. Ideals like free expression are shoved aside in favor of power plays.
Many of the local leaders, in U.S. terms, would be considered corrupt as they devise ways to apply government funds to assure staying in power. Vote buying, physical intimidation through private armies or local police, or directing project improvements to those areas that support candidates. In the Philippines, that is business as usual. Using government money to stay in office.
Within that framework of local power, does Philippine culture support U.S. style freedoms? No, not at all. Authority is pronounced. You don't hear leaders touting liberty and diversity. It isn't in the lexicon or national personality to welcome outspoken protest. Too threatening. You hear leaders touting obedience and the idea that citizens should cooperate and work hard to contribute. To give. Not take.
My natural inclination is to condemn such values. But what if I said:
- "No, wait a minute. Is there order? Is there peace? Are there rules everyone understands? Is there a framework for development?"
The answer is yes, yes, yes, and yes.
So my brain, deciding to skip from A to Z and forget G and M and other intermediates, wonders, what if the national government were not of the American style? What if it were of the Chinese or even Afghan style, a committee of clan leaders or warlords? What if provinces were re-aligned to FIT dynasties rather than dynasties slugging it out to claim provinces?
What if there were only one Congressional house, the Council of Elders, that sat as a Board of Directors to the nation to approve proposals from its appointed Chief Executive. Empowered to fire the Chief Executive if necessary. Empowered to approve laws drafted by Executive.
National elections would not be needed. Perhaps elections would be held in the province to endorse or contest the elder for that region. Or perhaps each province would operate as a little dictatorship and we could get rid of COMELEC and its impossible task of being judge and referee in a convoluted mutation of democracy. And sell all of those clunky machines.
It seems radical, no?
But at least we would eliminate the bastardized monstrosity of ineffectual democracy that exists now, in which tribal powers and authority run against the grain of democratic ideals. Sotto could pull his power within his province. Plagiarize, cheat, lie, even steal. If his provincial subjects are willing to put up with that, so be it.
At the national level, Sotto would have to tread lightly because there would be rules in place to deal with recalcitrant elders not willing to walk the national line. Like merge their province with a neighbor, or divide it up.
Conflicts would be resolved as they are now in Mindanao. Localized. Powerfully. Killing is a wonderful enforcer.
And the Philippines would thrive.
Because we are fitting the government and the method to the madness, rather than trying to force the madness into democratic form.