Posted by: Elmer Brabante | June 29, 2009

The Real State of the Nation

Expect lies to honk from the speakers as your president delivers her version of the State of the Nation before the month ends. As usual, she would highlight her government’s “achievements” throughout the past fiscal year. Expect a report of economic growth inspite of global economic crisis, contained unemployment threats (thanks mainly to business process outsourcing), sufficient food supply and productivity, winning anti-terrorism mechanisms, etc. Expect glossy graphs and tables from an economics expert, to bloat the positives and hide the real statistics. Expect a handful of “outstanding” Filipino acheivers like Manny Pacquiao to be given recognition by the government. Expect a runway of solons clad in signature barongs and gowns and jewelries. Expect a showcase of wealth and prosperity as the real state of the nation. Yes, expect a spectacle of lies in the grand cinematic tradition. Expect as well public agitations and uproars. It won’t be a special day. Only a realization that we had been toyed for five long years, and we just sat and watched, letting all the lies to run our lives. The choice is ours. Let the whole world know of the real state of our nation.

Just a glimpse of the conditions gripping our nation today:

We are still hounded by massive graft and corruption, and the government agencies fail miserably in eliminating this chronic vice basically because it is rooted from the very government bureaucracy itself. All the laws are the there supposedly to arrest the manic situation, but the people who are tasked to implement these laws can even be guilty of the crimes themselves. Years in and years out, we had been treated to corruption scandals like the ZTE- NBN deal that probably points to the Malacañang as the culprit. Unexplained multi-million government spendings like the trips abroad (either “official” or the whimsical “support” trip to the Pacquiao bouts) at the expense of public coffers – remain unchecked; the responsible officials remain unaccountable to the public.

The number of extra-judicial killings of journalists and political activists continues to grow by the day. And we have their executors-perpetrators being rewarded with seats in the halls of Congress. Convicts of heinous crimes are being given summary pardon by the chief executive, presumably for possible political favors or for popularity from the masses. The drugs maze remains a no-brainer for the government task forces – they try and try formula solutions.

Hail to our English-speaking Filipinos! Global employment is no problem. We send our heroic domestic helpers, nurses, teachers, doctors – name them, we have them – abroad. Or, we don’t even need to leave our shores since the BPOs (business process outsourcing companies) grow like mushrooms right in our neighborhood. Learn some net-surfing and neutralize your accent, and, presto, you’ll have a seat in the call center for a pay that is equivalent to a regular local supervisory job. This has been the flagship of the Arroyo government, thank you. The Philippines will soon become the BPO capital of the world. Ergo, the Philippine educational system should have geared the curriculum towards training the students to be efficient, submissive call center agents. These BPOs not only reflect the Filipino workers’ commendable ability to multi-task; these BPOs represent the Philippine economy as a mouthpiec of global capitalism.

By and large, the Philippines remains a neo-colony of the superpowers (The United States and the rest of the G7) and its creditors (the International Monetary Fund, etc.). Our primarily agricultural lands are being transformed into golf courses, real estates, economic zones, and techno-hubs of foreign investors. The best of our produce goes to the global market, while the tables (if any) of the Filipino masses remain servient to leftovers and under-nourishing food stuffs. The dumping of excess products into our shores, care of the much-in-placed trade liberalization policies, has left the growth of the local industy stunted. Our economy has remained dependent to foreign and domestic loans (read: grants, aids).

The Philippine political and social set up remains a semi-feudal one. The seats in the executive and legislative branches of the government, from the national down to the municipal levels, remain occupied (read: reserved) by the few monied clans, the oligarchs. From this reality, we expect the laws and policies they pass to be servient to their and their cohorts’ interests, while apathetic to the plights of our people.

Despite all the socio-political and economic ills pervading the nation, the Filipinos remain as the most patient, persevering, jubilant people among the Third World countries. Historically too, Filipinos collectively act to oust a system that is no longer serving the purpose of public good. We will see tomorrow how the nation will react to another sets of lies. One thing for sure, we know the truth and we are at the helm of taking the necessary steps in the name of truth and justice.


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