CHAFF FROM THE GRAIN
By HECTOR RONALD ROMERO VILLANUEVA
“Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law.” — Oliver Goldsmith
It is more fun in the Philippines.
It has sun, beautiful beaches, pearly white sands, and hospitable citizens to a fault.
It is one of the fastest growing economies.
It has a booming population.
It has consumption-driven economic growth.
The country is democratic, relatively peaceful, and politically stable.
Thus, can be heard the exaltations and paeans from the minority of affluent elite, nascent middle class, the gainfully employed, and the oligarchy-controlled nation and economy.
This is the general impression of the country as perceived and viewed from one side of the great divide.
On the other hand, there is the majority of the population who feel resigned to a life of poverty, or to a constant search for food, or hovering on the border of the poverty threshold.
Unlike in other troubled cities, the famished silent majority are too timid and unconcerned to go marching down the streets to protest issues, such as high prices, unemployment, corruption, injustice, fuel, and inequality as in countries and cities as Chile, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Paris, Iraq, and Moscow.
Thus far, the Philippines has been spared from such catastrophes.
For these reasons, the widening gap between the few rich and the many poor, compounded by unablated population growth, is cause for concern and a wakeup call.
First, the unbridled capitalistic system and lack of constitutional and political reforms or status quo is anti-poor.
As John F Kennedy once said” If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
In spite of the apparent wealth of the country, the state is unable to provide, say, mass housing for the poor; or affordable medicines or health care.
Moreover, the government is unable to stem population growth which adds to poverty and unemployment.
In short, the status quo cannot hold unless there are dramatic constitutional and political reforms. Or the face the prospect of authoritarian regimes or worse.
Second, the impulsive, bizarre, and subjective vetting and recruitment policies need to be more eclectic and expansive to attract to government service the best and brightest Filipinos from all over the world.
To get out of the box, so to speak, and continue development, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte needs to rejuvenate his Cabinet and presidential appointees with fresh and young blood who will not be intimidated, who are not petrified by Digong Duterte.
If the Philippines wants to catch up with Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, the Philippines needs an epic transformation and ethical reforms.
You be the judge.