Saturday, September 6, 2008

It's Our Turn

Already, a good number of our eternal politicians have made known their intentions to seek even more political power in the elections scheduled in 2010. What dismays this observer is the seeming redundancy of the personalities vying for leadership positions. It’s as if they all want us to believe that as soon as they succeed in getting our votes, they will completely change and proceed to inform the country that very difficult times are ahead and the miserable poor will be asked to sacrifice even more for the common good.

Anyone with a modicum of perception will realize that any solution short of peaceful revolutionary change will fail to arrest the decline in our society. We are far behind because we have lamely hoped after all these years that our system of dynastic politics, depending on the wisdom and experience of our traditional politicians will finally produce a different result without changing the methodology.

All the solutions and novel ideas are out there, we only need to replace the cast and give a chance to a completely new group of Filipinos with markedly different experiences and backgrounds to implement changes that a deeply entrenched and compromised class can never be expected to apply.

An astounding majority of our people have become inured to the system-wide corruption and have begun to take this reality for granted, seeking instead to focus on other areas that would mitigate the substantial losses that result from this mindset. We do not have to accept that we are intrinsically a corrupt people. But we also cannot expect the same entrenched and compromised people to convince us otherwise.

Filipinos are neither fundamentally corrupt nor lazy. There are millions of Filipinos abroad who serve as shining examples to dispel this prospect. We can do better without any help from the entrenched and compromised. They have stunted our country enough. We need to apprehend, try and punish these criminals who have destroyed our country. The grossly unequal dispensation of justice is a direct result of the convoluted web of corruption that dynastic politics weaves.

In order to provide more healthcare and education, we urgently need to fund these investment programs with money traditionally reserved to service our huge debts. Essentially, we are at a point when we are borrowing new money so that we can pay off our old debts. This dependence on loans and importation has turned us into an unproductive force. We need to break out of this cycle that can account for the fact our neighbors have left us behind. The entrenched and the compromised are too fearful to unshackle us lest they disturb an arrangement that has traditionally benefited their narrow, selfish interests.

We need to be bold and we need to be confident that as a united country, there is no challenge we will not courageously face. This year, despite the struggling world economy, $17 billion will be remitted through official channels versus $1.5 billion in direct foreign investments. If we pull together and sacrifice side by side, this crisis will ultimately pass and we will become a stronger nation peopled by citizens working for the common good. Our nation will be lifted by our youth made more vigorous and competitive by the investments we will be making towards their health and education.

Over a period of three election cycles, every elected official will serve only one term; relatives to the first degree of consanguinity may not seek elective office simultaneously. This is to provide an opportunity for everybody to participate in the political processes of the community. This regulation will also emphasize the sacrificial aspect of public service, that political office is not a lucrative way of securing a livelihood.

Legislation is serious business and those elected to create laws must focus on crafting public policy which will be for the benefit of the common good. The pork barrel system needs to be immediately abolished.

The comprehensive agrarian reform program is not working because the entrenched and the compromised lack the credibility and moral courage to effect meaningful change. It is grossly insufficient to simply redistribute land to poor farmers without providing them with intensive support. It is also a terrible injustice to take away land that is productive and award it to someone who is incapable of acting like a responsible steward.

There is so much disease, pollution and crime because we do not sufficiently stress the concept of property rights. Squatting has always been a felony but those entrenched and compromised take continuous advantage of these unfortunate people and view them as a dependable source of votes notwithstanding their perpetual state of misery. Felons must not be allowed to vote. The government needs to embark on a program similar to Gawad Kalinga on a national scale. We must build communities that will transform apathetic dependents into productive stakeholders.

Overhaul the civil service commission. Government service is an honorable career that requires citizens who need not become afraid of politicians as long as they discharge their duties with competence and integrity. Political appointments must become restricted to senior executive positions.

Immediately double the salaries of teachers and develop a curriculum that teaches students to read early and voraciously. Students need to become proficient in Tagalog and English. Magnet schools in the sciences and in the arts should be established in all the provinces in order to identify and nurture gifted students. Vocational schools must become widely available throughout the country. We must exploit the benefits of information technology. Even students in remote areas in the country can have access to the latest news, opinions and analyses from renowned institutions.

Expand and develop the citizens military training program as an instrument to instill civic duty and commitment to the common good as well as producing more physically fit youth. This will also allow us to maintain a smaller army.

Establish nurseries and seedling banks throughout the country and aggressively plant fruit bearing trees, energy-producing flora and ornamental flowers. Reforestation must become a national priority.

Explore alternative sources of energy, specifically solar and wind. Restudy the potential yield of nuclear power as quite a number of developed nations rely on nuclear power for the generation of electricity. Heavily tax energy-inefficient vehicles and invest in a national program to develop a fuel-efficient Filipino automobile.

As in most countries, results of elections have to be determined and published within 24 hours. The shameful conduct of our electoral process has been in the stranglehold of the entrenched and the compromised because this has been the most effective scheme of staying in power. It will be the responsibility of government media outlets to provide equal time for all national candidates. Television and print advertisements will be strictly monitored and regulated. Election Code violations will be enforced.

I am opposed to abortion and various forms of birth control after a serious and thoughtful evaluation of the available methods. We must however respect the right of every person in the spirit of education and enlightenment to evaluate for themselves these available methods and allow them to follow the dictates of their conscience. There are far too many abortions occurring in our country and to be silent amid this tragedy is an immoral choice.

Gambling weakens the national spirit and prevents people from becoming optimally productive. The gaming industry should be confined to islands developed specifically for that purpose, away from the general population.

In lieu of dole-outs, the government should embark on massive work programs like dredging and cleaning the Pasig River using many thousands of laborers to demonstrate the lesson that if we act together, there is no problem too difficult to solve.

This is by no means a complete and definitive list. I did this on my own. I will get together with my friends and debate, discuss and dream unendingly. Our country deserves better. Our children are entitled to a more hopeful future. We need to take our country back.


azron said...

Looks like you have given some serious thought to this - I wonder if there is a way to get some like-minded people together to institute some of your ideas.


Anonymous said...

Martin, what's your opinion on the UPCM mandatory 3 year sevice for all grads beginning next year?

md bautista said...

UPCM mandatory requirement--I am thinking about it and will have an opinion soon.

giveload said...

Just like we had some coffee at Krispy Kreme Greenhills Martin, do count me in ! where can we start, so we can get things moving before 2010 sets in ?? -jovic

Anonymous said...

Martin, nag CMT ka ba o nag-pa-exempt ka? ;-)