Mr. John Laurinaitis is wearing a sling and a neck brace and is walking with a crutch…and he’s still able to make it to the ring.
That, my friends, is a great example of:
Five years ago on the 20th anniversary of People Power, I had just returned to the Philippines and was in a grim mood. On that day, an armored personnel carrier was parked outside ABS-CBN. This was the piece I wrote in 2006 – my attempt to understand how the Philippines squandered the potent energy unleashed two decades earlier.
… Instead of creating a meritocracy – leveling the playing field so leaders are the best and the brightest – politicians returned to the familiar: elite politics, giving economic and political power back to about 8 oligarchic families pushed aside by Marcos. That aggravated the gap between the rich and the poor and pushed more Filipinos overseas to look for greener pastures – draining the country of the vital middle class needed for regeneration. Instead of professionalizing the military, soldiers empowered with a political agenda never really went back to the barracks – plotting at least ten more coup attempts in succeeding years. Instead of rebuilding institutions, corruption and patronage undermined democratic processes – leaving Filipinos powerless to effect real change. Instead of an enlightened and professional mainstream media acting as the fourth estate, we have journalists corrupted by vested interests, some for sale to the highest bidder – with not enough attention focused on skills and ethics. Through all sectors of Philippine society, the lack of transparency and accountability allowed back-room deals that hampered true development at every front.
What’s clear is that American-style democracy in the Philippines has largely failed. More form than substance, it has given back little to the people who flocked to the streets in 1986. Another survey done by Pulse Asia last January showed that only 36% of Filipinos now believe Marcos should have been removed by people power…
Quite a long article but read it if you’re bored.
People power should have never become a political tool; it was a once-in-a-lifetime act that should have been followed by the hard work of building democratic institutions. That never happened. That is the work that, twenty years later, desperately needs to be done.
I’m proud that that the Philippines was a big inspiration when it came to peaceful protests. The first People Power Revolution was a united movement against a dictator that repressed certain freedoms within the country. But years later and in various occasions… Let’s face it. We’ve turned People Power into militant movements that raised a generation of complainers and scene-stealing politicians that felt they could oust any leader out of the government, fighting with the tag of “democracy” when it was democracy itself that put the president they were protesting to in the first place. And it’s not just the people that bother me. What happened to the leaders that were put in power to advance the country? Why are we still in the same place we were in 25 years ago? Why are NGOs doing more for this country than what these guys are obliged to do?
I love democracy. I love the freedom of speech we’re privileged to enjoy right now. But please. Let’s not abuse this freedom and pretend that this is a country being run by dictators. I know, we’re being run by a lot of scumbags and incapable leaders… You hate it. I hate it. But be critical, for chrissake. Why should “democracy” fight “democracy”?
This isn’t verbatim but I think I remember hearing JC Tejano cry out during the Miting de Avance… “Ang aktibismo ay hindi lamang isang palakasan ng boses.” (Activism is not just a battle of voices.) Protesting is a solution. We know, it worked before. But it’s not a solution to everything.