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community
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

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* 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.

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st-sunday-crag2-31
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

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Revolution or Reform?

revolution

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

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marcos-libingan-ng-bayani-20160808_4c94f81dafad41bba3d54b5f7cd6005f

It’s one’s word against another’s. One is convinced of what s/he believes in as the other likewise is. One says, “Move on” whereas the other says, “No way, there are still a lot to settle even at this point in time. We can’t just move on.” So be it. The first has her/his own reason; the other has hers/his. The issue remains controversial and will most likely perennially remain so because the debate will never ever stop.

But here is where the “glitch” is: Why do we get furious as others tell us to move on when we have determined once and for all that we don’t because we can’t, so we won’t? In other words, this issue is in our hands; it is our own decision and not theirs. They want to move on, so let them. We don’t want to move on and what they tell us is nothing . . . nonsense . . . not a thing for us to get serious about. The point here is, even if we tell them about the truth, they will still move on. None can prevent them from doing so as none can prevent us from not moving on.

It’s a waste of time and energy to present to them what we have always believed to be the truth. They don’t care. Giving them the tragic lessons of the past with all the articles, books, graphic presentations, photos, extant news items, etc. will never have any significant effect on them as these things never had in the past. Those who have chosen to be blind will never see the light for the power of brainwashing is lasting, even permanent.

About the Supreme Court’s decision, nobody can avert that, much less in a fragmented society like the Philippines. The only power that can effect it is a united majority with a strong political will. Unfortunately, we don’t have–in fact, we’ve never had–it in the Philippines.

(c) Ruel F. Pepa, 9 November 2016

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philippines

The President of the Philippines is an honest man. He sincerely loves the Filipino people. His passion to rid his country of criminals is genuine and commendable. His zeal to boost the economy of the nation is authentic. His tenacity to establish a strong government is outstanding. At this early point in time of his administration, we should exercise more patience and give him enough space as he balances his way towards a more stable stage of his journey as a leader of a nation struggling to transcend the miseries of its past.

The road to victory is arduous but getting into this worthy undertaking is a heroic act driven by the immeasurable intensity of an intransingent spirit. Many of us have made up our minds to follow suit, so to speak, and engage in the newfangled struggle. We’ve seen the light of hope and decided to travel along the path that it’s leading us to pursue.

Yet, at this very point of the journey, it’s getting more and more apparent that some seemingly insurmountable obstacles are persistently hindering the flow of productive, beneficial and constructive events originally geared towards the full fruition of certain ideals of national significance. As events continually develop, it becomes much clearer to us that the ghost of the abominable past has kept on haunting every nook and cranny of Philippine society. The surge of crimes both in the city and the countryside continues unabated despite the fact that its eradication is the present government’s centerpiece.

In the final analysis, we are faced with the undeniable reality that these crimes are perpetrated by the very agencies of government tasked to vigorously act on them with unequalled persistence. One thing is therefore incontrovertible: the President of the Philippines himself DOES NOT HAVE CONTROL over these agencies called the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). There are certain dynamics and mechanics of the old system still exerting seemingly indestructible influence over the new government and have unceasingly been operating to perpetuate the culture of crime and in the process undermine the government until its ultimate destruction is achieved.

 (c) Ruel F. Pepa, 8 November 2016

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Lying? Rear view of man in formalwear keeping fingers crossed behind his back while three people sitting on background

There are people–and mind you, these are urban denizens–who cannot handle the truth because of certain preconceived notions in their minds that narrow down the sphere of their perception.They only listen to what they want to hear and look at what they want to see. Reality at face-value is not real because the mind suggests that it must not be so. It is not acceptable and at times even shocking. It is not true.

It is not the proper way to view reality. But we have gotten used to it and so we need to deconstruct our story–a cosmopolitan narrative that others have long prepared themselves to listen to. And the urban world continues to smoothly tread upon the only road that the majority have paved for those who call themselves “normal”.

In this sense, “normal” is but a lie; something we cannot tolerate within our so-called moral realm once the floodlight of consciousness is thrown over it. But this is what “normal” people in the metropolis want to hear, read and see. This is the smooth lie that tickles their ears, excites their minds and delights their eyes.

To survive in this urban world of artificial expectations and superficial sophistication, one has to master–and master to perfection–the “fifth columnist” art of elegant deception by deconstructing reality the way the normal majority want to hear, read and see it. S/he who emerges victorious in the end transcends discrimination of all types and forms.

But what about the truth? Let the truly honest ones whose intellectual worth and moral integrity are unblemished candidly and sincerely talk about the truth. They can handle it and handle it so perfectly well.

(c) Ruel F. Pepa, 4 November 2016

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first-100-days

The first one-hundred-day period of the administration of the new Philippine president Rodrigo Roa Duterte has now passed. By and large, I’m giving his administration a passing mark of C in recognition of a series of laudable achievements in the resumption of the peace negotiation between the government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front/Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (NDF/CPP/NPA). Duterte’s keen interest and willingness to reopen this long-stalled peace negotiation is indeed praiseworthy. Its magnitude of importance is highly crucial and paramount considering that the communist insurgency in the country has been going on for almost half a century. I’m immensely optimistic that the negotiation flow will finally get to the desired end result.

However, I think the new government has been unsuccessful to give solutions to many other very significant concerns. The war on illegal drugs doesn’t seem to be heading to its most ballyhooed objectives because of a totally wrong trajectory. In this connection, a series of assassinations have occurred as leaders of big-time drug syndicates have embarked on a no-holds-barred “program” to silence their own people whom they have deemed to have the tendency to spill out the beans when caught by authorities. And most (if not all) of these big-time syndicates have connections with the shady variety of the so-called authorities among the high-ranking police and military officers. These are the people involved in EJKs which I think are not directly ordered from the legitimate commands but rather decisions made by these officers themselves to remove all the possible obstacles that could implicate them in the big-time illegal drug syndicates and thus in the end destroy their careers.

Moreover, nothing has remarkably and dramatically changed at all as far as the crime situation of the country is concerned.* It’s all the same old story, so to speak. Holduppers, snatchers, pickpockets, etc. still proliferate here and there especially in major cities particulary Manila. And it’s dismally disappointing to know that extortion and bribery are still considered normal in certain government offices.

Duterte made a lot of promises while on the campaign trail among which are the issues of ending contractualization and raising the salaries of public servants like the public school teachers, the police, and the soldiers. These promises are yet to see the light of day, so to speak.

One specific issue that is highly critical in the new government’s negligence is its inability to transform the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) into professional institutions committed to defend the people’s interest.** Up til this point in time, the fascistic mindframe of PNP’s and AFP’s leadership effected in violent, destructive and murderous operations continues to wreak havoc in the lives of the poor–more particularly the indigenous minorities called lumads–in the countryside. In this regard, a herculean effort to radically change such a mindframe is of the essence but the new government hasn’t seriously taken even a single initiatory step to change such nefarious culture in the military.

Another equally critical issue is found in the area of local political state of affairs: Warlordism is still generally well-entrenched and formidable in Philippine provincial and municipal government units. This matter is of course inseparable from the issue of patronage politics which is still very much around and expected to continue on. Many instances may be cited in this regard like in Cavite, the Remullas are still the province’s indisputable power-wielders. Another case in point is Chavit Singson in Ilocos Sur where he is still considered as the uncontested warlord. I’m sure this situation is likewise true in most Philippine provinces. And besides warlordism, nepotism is very much alive, active and kicking.

In the final analysis, an AFP and a PNP controlled by high-ranking officers with unyielding fascist conditioning and disposition and the continued existence of certain local government units dominated by warlordism and nepotism are stark factors that hinder the growth and maturity of a nation towards a more democratic way of life. Yet, it is not well apparent if this new government has the clear insight to frame a more reasonable trajectory in dealing with these matters of utmost national importance.

 

(c) Ruel F. Pepa, 12 October 2016

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