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Sunday, January 18, 2015

AN AMERICAN’S VIEW OF THE COUNTRY


THE following is from the blog of Joe America, a retired US Citizen who now lives in our country and has an interesting blog which comments on what is going on. ( I know that a lot of you will react by saying that as a foreigner, Joe has no business talking about out politics I do not agree. I feel I can comment on American politics and actually do. If I allow myself to do that, why not Joe?) Here is his take on recent politics:

“The Philippines is a democracy in transition and it is moving faster than some people think. The transition is from economic poverty to economic wealth, and from a feudal democracy that favors the few to a forthright democracy that works for common good. The catalyst may be President Aquino, but the transition is out of his hands now. Control rests with the Middle Class.

“And the Middle Class is angry. It is angry that it carries the burdens of train fare increases, traffic jams, lousy internet service and expensive electricity. And it is in a rage that Vice President Binay is allowed to game the system, fool the people, and use sneaky premature campaigning – at taxpayer expense – to try to establish a Binay rule. It is angry at the sense of entitlement that oozes from the Binay family.

“After all, the Middle Class has to earn its way forward.

“We can see the transition taking place if we look at the Senate. A few years ago, it was ruled by ‘the good old boys’ of Enrile and Sotto, Drilon, Osmeña and Angara the Elder. They connived and colluded and operated in smokey back rooms deciding how to kill legislation that would put the entitled’s grasp of authority at risk, or pass legislation that would favor them.

‘They are out. We now have a younger crowd moving in to take over, funded by the old dynastic ways, yes, but with a different mindset. They operate under the ideals of youth, that this nation can do better.

“So we have Freedom of Information and Anti-Dynasty Bills in the works, likely to pop out in 2015. We have aggressive attack dogs like senators Cayetano and Trillanes, and even Legarda and that old but vicious purebred Santiago, on the hunt for people and deeds that are offensive to their sense of what is right. We have progressive pragmatics like Bam Aquino, Sonny Angara, Koko Pimentel, Grace Poe and Cynthia Villar working diligently on legislation that will energize the economy, promote better health and well-being, and an honest government.

“The ‘old dogs’ have been pushed to the side, three of them all the way to jail. Senators Sotto, Drilon and Recto are largely irrelevant except as figurehead statesmen. Senators Marcos and Ejercito are marginalized. Senators Escudero and Pia Cayetano seem not yet able to get to the forefront of the new movement, but they could jump in any time. Senator Binay is an outcast.

“This is not your father’s Philippines.

“The last dying gasp of the feudal Philippines is to be found in the (alleged) crook who is running for President, Vice President Jejomar Binay.

“Here’s my take on him.

“The Vice President is fostering class warfare in the Philippines but the classes are a little different than the routine alphabet classes based on income. They break out as follows:

“The oligarchs, generally law abiding but using the forces of unrestrained economic power to acquire huge commercial empires.

“The feudal barons backing Binay, those who owe him favors, or are owed favors by him. And those seeking a ride on the gravy train, the sister city mayors, many of whom share his values: “I get a priority claim to taxpayer money”.

“The middle class and honest local politicians, an educated, decent people . . . some funded by OFW’s or even family wealth. . . who desire a Philippines of honorable intent and good deeds, a nation that presents opportunities for citizens to be safe and healthy, and to prosper.

“The poor and the subsistence workers who are not in touch with opportunities to prosper because they have so few. They are the fertile field of votes that Binay seeks to harvest in 2016.

***

“Many of us think the fate of the 2016 election rests with the poor, the D/E class in terms of personal income. I have come to the conclusion it rests elsewhere.

“It rests with the oligarchs and the feudal barons.

“These two groups control Philippine politics. One operates in the backroom with money and whispers being its way to exercise power. The other operates in the public eye, controlling local votes through favors granted to friends, favors too often funded by taxpayers.

“I suggest that it is very important for people in these two groups to read the Middle Class rage accurately. Their futures depend on it.

“Here is what they need to factor into their calculus:

“There is a possibility that if Jejomar Binay is elected President, the Philippines will tear itself apart. What are the odds that this will occur, what is the risk? Small? So-so? Big?

“The danger scenario is that – if Binay is elected – Middle Class rage will erupt in another people power moment that will shut Manila down in ways that Hong Kong protesters could not imagine. It will be huge, it will engage not just the youth but the ordinary man and woman, and it will be destructive, on the fringes. Now this may give Binay the incentive to declare martial law and “move like Marcos” to seal his control.

“In that case, the eruption will go national. It will go nuclear.

“So the questions the Oligarchs and the Feudal Barons need to ask is . . .

What are the chances? Do I want to risk that? Will I prosper if that occurs?

Or do I want the stability that is assured under a transforming government that emphasizes honesty and productivity?

“I’ve conducted no survey and I’ve read no tea leaves, but I have read commentary on social media and in discussion threads here and there. The rage is intense. It is widespread. It is like nothing I’ve seen during my nine years here. Maybe you have insights into it that you could share.

“Well, I’m guessing the crooked sister city mayors will accept Binay because an honest government is threatening to them. It will eventually catch them. But the honest sister city mayors may reject Binay. He risks leading the Philippines nowhere or backward in time, and the city needs to move forward.

“The Oligarchs, if faced starkly with those questions, may very well direct their money and whispers toward the mainstream opposition to Binay. For stability in their money-making empires.

“The now-silent opinion makers, the Aquino sisters and uncles, the young senators, the priests, the oligarchs and business leaders, will be forced to speak as the elections approach. Their futures and reputations ride on the preferences of the Middle Class, not the poor, and they are also likely to shun destructive turmoil. Or even the social media storms they will witness as the election approaches. They will start to shade their opinions against a Binay presidency. Or for his mainstream opponent.

“The point here is very simple. By offending the Middle Class, Vice President Binay has thrown a monster wrench into the Philippine machinery for growth and prosperity. The palpable dislike for Binay threatens the stability and progressive development of the Philippines. Stability and growth is the platform for riches and success across the nation.

“I suggest the oligarchs and feudal barons calculate well.

“There are many paths to continued success.

“There is one clear path to trouble.”

***

Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at duckyparedes@gmail.com or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.
- See more at: http://www.malaya.com.ph/business-news/opinion/american%E2%80%99s-view-country#sthash.rvZ3tuuL.dpuf

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