Celebrate Philippine Independence Day? No, Thanks.

BY BONGV
Jun 21, 2011

The modern Filipino remains a serf to the ruling oligarchy, incompetent, lazy, uninspired and dull.

More than a century after Jose Rizal wrote “The Philippines, A Century Hence”, not much has changed.

The Philippines remains

– without confidence in their past, without faith in their present and with no fond home of the years to come. The former rulers who had merely endeavored to secure the fear and submission of their subjects, habituated by them to servitude, fell like leaves from a dead tree, and the people, who had no love for them nor knew what liberty was, easily changed masters, perhaps hoping to gain something by the innovation.

1020 This month marks the 150th birth anniversary of the country's national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.

Contemporary Filipino society needs still depend on the noblesse oblige of the Filipino oligarchy. The local Filipino monopoly business interests have turned foreign investors into a bogeyman of sorts. The myth being perpetuated is that ALL foreigners are evil people who will take away the wealth of the Philippinesand leave Filipinos forever poor. It is this irrational fear that has allowed a flawed protectionist 60/40 economic policy into the 1987 Philippine constitution. Three sections in the mother of all Philippine legislation has given birth to a slew of highly restrictive economic laws like the Foreign Investments Negative List or FINL, the Retail Industry Laws, the Renewable Energy Act, the Rice Trading restrictions among others.

The latest government creation – a DOJ agency to ensure competition is an administration public relations move. It tries to present the government as trying to do something to ensure competition – a) within the framework of a protectionist constitution; b) and a policy which does not prioritize charter amendments to remove the 60/40 restrictions. Another red herring to take the ignorant Filipino in a wild goose chase. The most effective way to ensure competition is through a free market – not through protectionist legislation, not though a government agency – and a Filipino one at that.

 

Pseudo-liberalization

There is so much chatter about becoming “more competitive”. Fact is the Philippines is rated as among the most restrictive economies in the world. According to The Heritage Foundation,

The absence of entrepreneurial dynamism, however, still makes long-term economic development a difficult task.

The Philippines has pursued a series of legislative reforms to enhance the entrepreneurial environment and develop a stronger private sector to generate broader-based job growth. Progress has been mixed, although some fiscal reforms have been accomplished. Deeper institutional reforms are required in four interrelated areas: business freedom, investment freedom, property rights, and freedom from corruption. The government imposes formal and non-formal barriers to foreign investment, and foreign remittances do little to promote sustainable growth. The judicial system remains weak and vulnerable to political influence and corruption.

 

What the current slew of pseudo-liberalization measures offer is just a repeat of the hearings of the NTC with regards to the faux “competition” between PLDT, Globe, Bayantel, and Digitel. Why faux? Because there are more competitors in the global telecom industry – there’s Verizon, NTT, AT&T, Sprint, many more – who can match even outclass PLDT and Globe. However, these companies are being prevented from providing Filipino consumers and jobseekers with better choices of services and jobs – because of constitutional restrictions. These same restrictions in telecoms, utilities are present in retail, in health, in education – and a whole lot more.

 

The road to serfdom is paved with good intentions

All you have to do is pick up a copy of the Foreign Investments Negative List and weep at how our constitution has barred our countrymen from getting better-paying jobs and services.

The only way for foreign investors to come in – is to partner with a Filipino national. And according to the 1987 constitution – the foreigner cannot own more than 40%. The Filipino will always have a minimum of 60% ownership. This is wrong on many counts. One, how many Filipinos are there who can match the required 60%? Two, just because there are no Filipino joint venture partners, should Filipino jobseekers be deprived of employment and income? Three, economic policy should be provided for in legislation – not in the constitution. From a flood of domestic protectionism Filipinos ride the boat of serfdom into foreign shores. Is this being “independent” or has our dependence gotten worse. We have become entertainment for ABS-CBN, cash cows for NLEX/SLEX/MAYNILAD/Globe, SM, PLDT, PAL, drug mules for China and HK, DH for Saudi and Singapore

 

Colonies of the oligarchy

After removing the Spanish, we replaced them with Hollywood and temporarily with Tokyo. Today, to re-echo F Sionil Jose – we have become a colony of our own elite.

The centuries have found the Filipinos intoxicated in a heady mix of predatorial and rent-seeking economic protectionism laced with a culture of entitlement, victim mentality and passing the buck.

 

Tradition of folly

Having been bred illiterate and at best miseducated and misinformed, the Filipino is used to having a padrino (government/trapo/church/collective) to watch after his own welfare. Thus, through the centuries we perpetuate a welfare state – from the tribal and feudal noblesse oblige to the altruism of the socialist.

Indeed as China was bullying around, Vietnam stood up for its territory and announced live fire drills. All the Philippine can muster is to run to Uncle Sam and beg for protection.

To Juan de la Cruz – the thought of actually having to think for himself in order to move on in life – on his own merit – is scary.

To Juan de la Cruz – the thought of actually having to think for himself in order to move on in life – on his own merit – is scary. To actually think – is scary. To challenge the authorities is scary. To open ourselves to competition – is scary. To learn new things about the world and ourselves – is scary. We have paranoia and anxiety as the main drivers if not the centerpiece of our national policies. To actually stand for something – is scary.

A century and a half after Gat Jose, Filipinos still do not know what liberty is, still easily change masters from one egghead to another dumbass, perhaps hoping to gain something by the innovation.