Thursday, December 15, 2016

“The youth is the hope of the fatherland”

In this day and age, we may want to say “the millennials are the hope of the fatherland” and Rizal wouldn’t mind? “Mr. Paolo Campos III . . . a next-gen leader summed it up when he said: ‘in the past and previous generations, I might have been more concerned with the stability of employment, having one career rising up the ranks in one company. But now, the key decision factor is more about purpose, more about meaning. It’s more about the buying into the vision of the company and believing in how a company operates in terms of its values, and motivating and providing meaning in the vision that the millennial workforce can get behind.’” [The next-generation leader, Mary Jade T. Roxas-Divinagracia, MAP Insights, Business World, 13th Dec 2016]

What about a Rizal refresher? “Professor Jose David Lapuz . . . on the life of Dr. Jose Rizal [from a speech delivered to . . . O.B. Montessori Professional High School and college students.] “From 1896, the year of the death of Dr. Jose Rizal up to now, the third millennium, we have not yet produced a Filipino who can equal the extraordinary greatness, as well as the spectacular eminence of Rizal.

“Rizal cultivated all his qualities in order not to perfect them, but he practiced them in order to bring about the moral betterment of the race. Rizal possessed a great mental caliber and he, therefore, demonstrated that the Filipino race was able to give birth to individuals endowed with the highest attributes, who could be considered an honor to the human race.

“Before, Filipinos were always considered stupid, lazy, and lacked dignity. Well, Jose Rizal proved the opposite of all these qualities. He showed the finest characteristics of the race, and was called “Una Perla del Ombre” or Pearl of a Man.

“Finding his country inert, disunited, voiceless and unconscious of its own miseries, Rizal galvanized it, united it and inspired in it sentiments of solidarity, self-respect and dignity . . . Rizal lived loving the Philippines virtuously, disinterestedly and with profound religiosity. Virtuously, meaning with virtues of character. Disinterestedly or unselfishly means thinking of others before himself.

“Rizal has been dead for a long time now . . . Still, we see the injustice in our country, as well as the widespread poverty. Because of that poverty, there is injustice and oppression.

“What Rizal said still applies. During Jose Rizal’s time, the oppression came from the political structure. Now, we have a constitutional and liberal democracy, but we still have poverty because of economic misplanning. This poverty will produce oppression, injustice and a great amount of unhappiness. Thus, Rizal’s dream has not yet materialized.

‘Those to whom much is given, much is expected.’ Thus if you have a social conscience, you start asking, why is this happening to our Mother Filipinas? What have I not done that I can do? This should be asked by all Filipinos.

“We need the Concept of a Nation – This is where the word Nationalism comes from, ‘the advocacy of the interest of a nation.’ Nationalism is ‘the advocacy, the promotion, the persevering pursuit of what is good for the nation.’

“First, we should relate ourselves to a nation advancing the interests, the good, and the welfare of our nation, which we call Nationalism. Then, we relate that nation to other nations, which we call internationalism. So, step by step – the Self, the Family the Nation and then the Family of Nations under the auspices of an Almighty God.

“Rizal is a great Internationalist as well as a Nationalist. Being a nationalist does not mean Rizal is anti-foreigner or he won’t go to other countries. The more he traveled abroad, the more he became profoundly a Filipino by interrelating with other nations and cultures. We should not become a closed nationalist, so that we become a Fascistic nationalist. We should be open to a larger world so that we become Cosmopolitan Internationalist even as we are nationalistic. This is the life of Jose Rizal.

“The desperate search for true leaders today. What is a true leader? A leader originates and does not imitate. A leader keeps his eyes on the distant horizon and sees what an ordinary person does not. This is the evidence of his leadership. He does not accept the status quo, but instead challenges it. They follow their genius not just the party line.” [Dr. Jose Rizal, the symbol of ideal leadership today, Preciosa S. Soliven, A POINT OF AWARENESS, The Philippine Star, 30th Jan 2014]

With that as backdrop, should we pause and ask ourselves how we measure against the ideal that is Rizal? Or is “ideal” even in our consciousness? “Should Philippine society just ignore the killings (?),” Atty. Joey D. Lina, Former Senator, Manila Bulletin, 12th Dec 2016. But . . . “We are a narco-state,” Ma. Lourdes N. Tiquia, The Manila Times, 13th Dec 2016.

“It is disturbing to note that many view the victims as the expendable dregs of society who, in life, posed a constant menace to ordinary citizens. If they were killed with impunity, then so be it. As far as decent people are concerned, that is a public secret that is not worth talking about or investigating.

“What quickly come to mind in our case are the inconclusive reports from the recent Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings and the hitherto unheralded investigation conducted by the Department of Interior and Local Government. By failing to pinpoint responsibility, and, in the case of the Senate hearings . . . they may have unwittingly served the cause of impunity.” [The production of impunity, Randy David, Public Lives, Philippine Daily, Inquirer, 11th Dec 2016]

For example, “The National Bureau of Investigation has branded as murder the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa by policemen. But the President has said none of the policemen will be punished. No mass denunciation of the President’s pronouncement was heard.

“When Martial Law is imposed once again, let us not ask how that happened. We are letting it happen.” [We are letting it happen, Oscar P. Lagman, Jr. To Take A Stand, Business World, 13th Dec 2016]

Why? “One looks to authority figures for help in obtaining a job. Benefits come by way of patronage and gift . . . The authority figure must be followed even when insisting on old-fashioned ideas.

“[T]he sacrifice of one’s individual needs for the . . . deference to authority . . . [was a] defining feature of the ‘psychology of Filipinos’.” [The psychology of Filipinos and the deep roots of authoritarianism and gender inequality, Rachel A.G. Reyes, The Manila Times, 13th Dec 2016]

On the other hand, a sense of purpose –  and meaning and values – is something the generation of this writer must learn? We’re the regional laggard for a reason: “Pinoy abilidad is overrated”? OFW remittances will compensate for underdevelopment then BPO – and now Federalism? For a people defined by “crab mentality” – and are parochial and insular – Machiavelli can only celebrate? It’s about the common good?

What about cause and effect – when we want to beat the symptoms of our woes black and blue? With due respect, we are a narco-state because we subordinated the rule of law to a culture of impunity? Impunity – on top of impunity – is the way to develop a sense of purpose and meaning and values? Did Marcos not execute a drug lord in Luneta to scare “the industry”?

But Marcos (amongst the world’s top ten most corrupt leaders) is a hero because if he didn’t declare martial law we would be communist by now? So let’s have Bongbong in Malacañang since we can’t have the father?

But the Du30 administration is in fact entertaining communism? Do we know freedom and democracy in the first place – before we entertain another system? Let’s start with the rule of law and free enterprise – as opposed to an oligarchic economy. They are pillars of freedom and democracy. In Clinton’s lingo, “It’s the economy, stupid.” And there is an Asian version, as in the Asian tigers?

While we remain the regional laggard? “$100-billion exports target getting more elusive,” Catherine Pillas, Business Mirror, 7th Dec 2016. “THE private organization Export Development Council (EDC) had been forced anew to scale down expectations of growth for the sector, this time projecting export receipts to finally breach the $100-billion mark by 2019.

“The EDC earlier set a more optimistic expectation of P92.1 billion in export revenues by end-2016 and $99 billion to $104 billion in 2017.”

With due respect, until we craft and put in place (and put oligarchy in check as South Korea did) a coherent industrialization initiative, we shall continue to set overly ambitious goals that will simply frustrate us: we reap what we sow.

And even more fundamental is for us to develop a sense of purpose and values because nation building is not a walk in the park. For instance, it demands a set of building blocks that would make up an ecosystem. Yet we believe the war on drugs is such a building block – when it is a symptom of a bigger problem?

Consider: “Economic forecasts for 2016-2018,” Romeo L. Bernardo, Introspective, Business World, 12th Dec 2016. “Expect the unexpected . . . Our unease has grown after observing the President’s decision-making habits, which do not appear to benefit fully from consultations with his cabinet or wider stakeholders.

“His capacity to create policy shocks on his own and his seemingly narrow focus on a handful of issues (mainly drugs, peace, security) translate into higher political risk that may adversely impact economic policy. The more immediate of which are the executive’s proposed tax reform package, still not yet filed in Congress, and the sought-for emergency powers for solving traffic congestion. It is also unclear whether and how the President’s own preferences would factor into resolving policy differences in areas where economics intersects with sector departments manned by crusaders, whose policy prescriptions may do more harm than good.”

“Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow? And that they will be such is not to be doubted, for he who submits to tyranny loves it.” [We are ruled by Rizal’s ‘tyrants of tomorrow,’ Editorial, The Manila Times, 29th Dec 2015]

“As a major component for the education and reorientation of our people, mainstream media – their reporters, writers, photographers, columnists and editors – have an obligation to this country . . .” [Era of documented irrelevance: Mainstream media, critics and protesters, Homobono A. Adaza, The Manila Times, 25th Nov 2015]

“Development [is informed by a people’s] worldview, cognitive capacity, values, moral development, self-identity, spirituality, and leadership . . .” [Frederic Laloux, Reinventing organizations, Nelson Parker, 2014]

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