Community in the Philippine Context: Reality or Myth?

Community is “common” “unity” . . . In the context of the Philippines, we see localities which we superficially call “communities”. But strictly they are not because in practically all instances, family interest surpasses and even supersedes “community” interest. People give more importance to the family than to the “community” and in a lot of cases, family interest doesn’t sit well with “community” interest and vice versa.

People mind a dangerous situation in a barangay not because the whole barangay is in trouble but because their families will be in trouble. There are so many unsolved crimes in a “community” because people don’t want to testify as witnesses in the court. Why? Because they’re afraid that their families would get into a big problem. And that is true. But since there is no community, nobody tells someone that her/his family will not be in trouble because the community will protect her/his family. This proves to us that, generally, Filipinos don’t care about the community because there is just no community to care about. They’d rather care about their respective families because they are more real than community.

We see group actions* in the Philippines not because people are pulled together by a common commitment but either because there is a strong leader (usually a warlord) who “commands” them to organize or there is a “magnetizing” factor (like something with a “showbiz” level of strength) that spontaneously pulls them together. But since a group action is not grounded on a principled commitment, at the end of the day, the group disintegrates and the action finally gets insignificant. The EDSA people (not people’s) power uprising was a clear case in point


* The term “group actions” used in the present context is NOT in relation to actions effected by progressive political movements which are of course grounded on principled commitments. That is basically the reason why their actions are solid and significant. In the context of the post, I meant “group actions” that are barangay-based.


I took not only “the path less travelled”*
But also the thorny trail uphill “where angels fear to tread”.¨**
I never went the easy way of “god pleasers” and “silent followers”
For I wasn’t cut out to please nor to be a follower.
Others have achieved the highest desires of their hearts like in a fairy tale
Which usually ends with the clause, “and they lived happily ever after.”
They are the ones who have enjoyed the good life in comfort and recreation
Right smack at the gilded center of “a land flowing with milk and honey.”
I’m not where they are because I chose to do things the hard way.
I chose this life because in doing so, I knew I would be true to myself.
I haven’t changed–and won’t ever change–this commitment
As I’m still –and will always be–true to myself.
* with apologies to Robert Frost
** with apologies to E.M. Forster

Revolution or Reform?


What the Philippines needs is a REAL revolution, not the circuitous and belabored reformist program the present government advocates and implements trying to mix together “water” and “oil”. But if one looks closely at what has been going on, this government takes a lot of tactical efforts to pacify and neutralize the left while the fascist AFP and PNP continue to perpetrate their old oppressive and terror operations against the people of the Philippines, more particularly the poor segment of the population.

On the one hand, the central government projects the image of an enthusiastic advocate of peace negotiations with the left. However, on the other hand, the AFP and the PNP are totally desynchronized from the central government’s plan of action as the latter relentlessly pursue their own terror agenda against the left and the poor as well.

Now, they are using Operation Tokhang–originally conceived for the war on illegal drugs–to terrorize those whom they suspect as members and sympathizers of leftist movements. What is scary here is the trajectory of this operation which is highly probable to get nasty and result to the summary execution (read: extra judicial killing) of leftist activists after smacking on their faces the fabricated accusation that they are drug addicts, drug pushers or even drug lords.

(c) Ruel F. Pepa, 4 December 2016