Amidst the innumerable occurrences in our social context which elicit differing perceptions and reactions among the citizenry, it is inevitable that confusion ensues. The ordinary citizen on the street is bound to ask, as did my friend Lito:
“Unsa man gyuy tinuod ani, Bai — ang giingon ni Presidente Pinoy nga mi-ayo na ang ekonomiya sa atong nasod? O ang giingon sa mga kritiko sa gobyerno nga misamot kaut-ot ang kinabuhi sa katawhan?” [What is the real score, my friend—what President Pinoy claims that the country’s economy is improving? Or what the government critics say that life among the people is getting worse?]
“Kinsa man sa imong pagtuo ang nagsulti sa tinuod?” [Who do you think is telling the truth?]
“Ambot! Wa ko masayod og kinsay tuhoan. Naglibog ko! Gusto ko motuo sa Presidente, kay murag naa man siyay basihan sa iyang gisulti. Nagbandera man pud siya sukad sa singudan nga subay siya sa matuwid na daan” [I really don’t know whom to believe. I am confused! I want to believe the President because he seems to have a basis for what he says. And he also brandished his banner motto from the start that he is treading on “matuwid na daan”]
“Pero unsa may imong paminaw sa imong kinabuhi? Mi-ayo ba? [But how do you feel your life is getting into? Is it getting better?]
“A…bisag kinsay imong pangutan-on dinhi sa atong purok moingon man nga misamot ang kalisod!” [Ah, whoever you ask here in our village will tell you life is getting harder!]
The real measure of society’s economic condition is the quality of life the broad masses of the people are having. What counts is what transpires in the day-to-day existence of the ordinary man and woman in the community. No amount of rosy picture the President paints of the country’s economy can alter the real reality that the people experiences from sunrise to sunset in their daily lives.
But, of course the President’s assessment of the state of the economy could be based on statistics about gross domestic product or whatever else is traditionally used as index for a country’s development. Or what appears in the book of accounts of the Financial Institutions in government. Or what the capitalist sector enjoys according to the expansion of their businesses.
Or multiplication of their profits!
And this brings us to the fundamental question: Who benefits from the vaunted advance the economy has supposedly attained? Is it the broad masses who need to be extricated from their longstanding impoverished conditions? Or is it just the big capitalists and the members of the elite—the rich and super rich—who have since been lounging in luxury and enjoying the privileges of the “good life”?
From no administration since the beginning of the Philippine has economic benefits trickled down to the poor masses of the people. It has always been the ruling elite and affluent upper classes who have improved their respective lives. Come good and bad weather the downtrodden would always remain in their wretched conditions as a “constant” in any evaluation chart of the country’s development.
In the most succinct description, the Philippines is “miserably underdeveloped”. And it is bound to remain so until the end of President Pinoy’s incummbency, and will still remain so under the ascendancy of the next chief executive who is another representative of the same ruling elite of Philippine society.
As I have repeatedly averred over and over in this quarter, unless there is an honest-to-goodness reshaping of the social architecture in favor of the demands spelled out clearly in the agenda of the revolutionary forces who are now fighting for Change, there can be no real progress, nor a a real emancipation of the broad masses of the people from poverty .
Right now the government of President Pinoy is trying to realign its priorities in favor of a closer and tighter economic cooperation with the government of the U.S. The current congressional move to amend the Constitution unfolds the unabashed scheme of a grand sell-out of our country’s patrimony to foreign imperialist interests. Instead of strengthening the Constitutional barricades against foreign economic aggression, it has opened the country to the easy entry of foreign nationals. Under this shameless move of the current national leadership, it will just be a matter of time before the entire Philippine archipelago would be under the ownership and control of the foreign imperialists.
It addles our mind how these varied moves of President Pinoy can be considered to have figured in his grand motto of “matuwid na daan” which at his first day of assumption of power was hailed as a mark of integrity and honesty. Not long after the inception of his governance, the supposed mark of integrity and honesty has fallen off as a mask. It seems that his primordial concern has been how to enhance, to say the least, the Philippine government’s accommodation to foreign imperialist interests.
But perhaps, it would be more accurate to say that he is trying hard to prove he can surpass all other past Presidents including his own mother in government’s puppetry to American imperialism. And perchance at this stage of his puppetry as President it would be proper to already extend our Congratulations for a job well done.