Change in system of governance equals prosperity? Hmmm…

My esteemed colleague Orion makes use of two cornerstone arguments to support his position that a change in form of government will necessarily translate to an improved probability that the Philippines will prosper as a society over a given period: (a) a correlation between systems of government and evidence of prosperity in today’s nations, and (b) an “algorithm” for demonstrating how differences in systems of governance determine the quality of leaders elected into office.

The by-association argument is discussed in Orion’s recent article The Parliamentary System Fits the Philippines. The algorithmic argument, for its part, is fleshed out comprehensively by Orion across two well-researched articles Philippine Progress: Shift in Sports, Shift in System and SP & PS: Sen. Pangilinan & the Parliamentary System, both of which defer extensively to previous studies by renowned scholars on the subject.

The cornerstone of my argument revolves around a simple problem statement (what I will refer to henceforth as the proposition being tested):

Statement A: Does a society’s system of governance strongly determine its ability to prosper?

In short, is..

SoG => P

(where: SoG = system-of-governance and P = prosperity)

… a valid argument?

The term prosper in the context of the above (and for the purpose of this article) I define as a society’s collective ability to tap natural capital, create and accumulate non-natural capital, and apply both to realise economic-added-value productivity gains to realise an improvement of its people’s standard of living.

My hypothesis is just as straightforward:

Statement B: System of governance is not a strong determinant of ability to prosper.

Before I go on to explore my hypothesis in greater detail, I shall first articulate a bit of what I think of the two persuasion approaches I cited above that serve as the cornerstones of Orion’s proposal to consider a change in the form of political governance over the Philippine state:

(1) Association does not imply a causal relationship

Asserting that the number of the top ten-odd most prosperous nations on the planet make use of the parliamentary system and the bottom ten-odd most impvoerished nations on the planet make use of a presidential system establishes a correlation but does not conclusively establish causality between a system of governance and an inclination to prosper.

(2) The algorithmic framework establishing the impact of a system of governance to the prospects for prosperity of a society proposed by Orion’s material stops at the quality of leaders elected.

As I stated earlier, this “algorithm” is fleshed out in impressive detail over two brilliant works and are available for perusal to all, time and attention span permitting. Fortunately in a previous comment Orion provides us a succinct executive summary of this “algorithm” which I share as follows:

Now, on to the meat: Why do I state that there is a causal aspect to the relationship? Simple… Because if you look at the ALGORITHM of how the presidential system of the Philippines works (or works poorly), you’ll notice that it is very easy for the wrong bozos to get elected simply because they’re popular or have name-recall. Once in office, the policies such winning bozos make end up to be lousy policies (poor minds make poor policies), hence, you get lousy results.

But with a parliamentary system, the very nature of its meritocratic intra-party competition ensures that only competent people emerge at the top leadership of the parties and hence only competent people can ever end up as prime minister. That algorithm is very clear in establishing that it is the algorithm that is associated with better governance.

Thus Orion successfully establishes (trust that he does because he’s got a pile of research to back him up on this) a clear causal relationship between system of governance and quality of leadership.

To put this in its proper perspective, let us break up the problem statement, Statement A, into two of its relevant component parts:

Statement A(1): System of governance determines quality of elected leaders.

Statement A(2): Quality of elected leaders determines ability of a society to prosper.

In short:

SoG => QL and QL => P; therefore SoG => P.

(where QL = quality of elected leaders)

For our purposes, let us consider Orion’s “algorithm” to have successfully “proven” the first half of the proposition being tested:

System of governance determines quality of elected leaders; or,
SoG => QL (proven to be valid!)

That then leaves the second half of the proposition being tested open for debate:

Quality of elected leaders determines ability of a society to prosper; or,
QL => P (not proven to be valid!)

That is where this “logical gap” is. A space that, in the venerable words of Captain Kirk, is the final frontier.

Indeed, my electioneering magnum opus Platform, plez is built around around a component structure consistent with Statement A and its components: (1) elect the right leader using world class thinking; and (2) hold said leader accountable using world class thinking. Perhaps, the nature of our system of governance is proven to be an enabler — or hindrance — to doing the earlier. But is it a factor in the latter?

In fact I had, a while back, already put a bit of rigour in fleshing out that last question in my article Who cares if Gloria is president after 2010?, thus:

* * *

Is there some kind of evidence or at least some kind of logical construct that convincingly describes some kind of causal relationship between (A) the character or even identity of the President of the Philippines and (B) the prospects of the Philippines achieving some semblance of sustainable prosperity?

Can we, infer from a value of A, what the probability distribution for a set of values of B might be?

For example, what many people claim to be a certainty can be expressed like this (using the conventions I loosely spelled out above):

IF A = GMA and Year > 2010,
THEN B = Disaster for the Philippines

My question is this: Is there an A=>B relationship?

* * *

Therefore the question in Statement A remains debatable and, hopefully, a convincing answer will emerge over a continued process of free enquiry.

Does a shift to a new system of governance necessarily imply a significant change in the probability that the Philippines will be a prosperous country, say, in ten years time?

Or for that matter in 50 years?

It’s another one of those things that make you go hmmmm


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68 Responses to Change in system of governance equals prosperity? Hmmm…

  1. ulong pare says:

    “Change in system of governance equals prosperity? Hmmm”… hay naku… different saddle, same jackasses, … and you all expect different results???? … same ladrones garapales in power to lead same group of gung gongs!!!???

  2. Orion says:

    How you should  actually understand it is  exactly how I really said it in my response to you (which means correct quotation is necessary)…

    You shall find the exact comment here:


    1. Successful countries are countries who usually have high economic output.
    2. High economic output is caused by higher economic  activity.  
    3. Higher economic activity has a  higher chance of occurring if the conditions conducive  to higher economic activity are set up.
    4. To set up those conditions, the right policies are  necessary.
    5. There is a higher chance of having the right policies if you have the right kinds of leaders in place in government.
    6. There’s a higher chance of having the right kind of leaders if the system in place allows the best/most competent members of their party  to emerge at  the top of their  own parties’ leadership.
    7. Parliamentary Systems are set up to cause the best members of the parties to emerge at the top of their own parties, and so regardless of which  party wins, the leader of the winning party is sure to  the best person within his own  party, ensuring that the emerging  Prime Minister is sure not to be someone who is considered to be incompetent within his own party. In case of a  ”mistake” where the leader on top turns out to be incompetent or makes a major mistake, that leader can be very easily replaced.
    Now, what you unfortunately *fail* to recognize is the fact that changing the system of governance specifically from presidential TO PARLIAMENTARY increases the chances of success of the Philippines. 

    Increased  chances of  success = Increased likelihood = increased probability

    You know, despite the chronic unemployment that pervades in  the  Philippines causing even college grads to end up jobless,  one fact still remains:

    That a  college degree is seen to increase one’s chances at obtaining financial success.

    Does a college degree  = success? Does getting a college degree automatically mean success?


    But simply because getting a college degree does in fact increase one’s chances of employability as far too many job ads require or prefer applicants with college degrees, millions of Filipinos go to college hoping to finish their degrees in the hope that they may land themselves a job that gets them towards financial success.

    In the same way, all those correlations (with strong causal relationships) shown by the eminent PhD’s who made those studies as well as the simple raw-data presentations I provided that show that most rich countries use parliamentary systems while most poor countries don’t point to one thing: 

    Countries that use Parliamentary Systems have higher chances/higher probabilities of being well-run and financially successful than countries that use Presidential Systems.

    If you therefore look at  all my statements,  I never claimed  that a Parliamentary System = Success.  I never claimed that the adoption of a Parliamentary System automatically results in wealth and prosperity.

    What all my articles as well as all  those PhD-authored dissertations quite simply illustrate is the fact that  a country that shifts from a currently dysfunctional Presidential System  to a Parliamentary System significantly increases its chances of being successful.

    Whether that country actually does achieve success or  not  is a different story altogether because the political  system is just an enabling platform that requires other things to happen, such as the right policies to be  adopted and  that those policies be properly implemented.

    Now, just like students who take up a college education do so  in order to increase their chances of success, the same goes with countries that decide to shift over to a parliamentary system who do so because of their desire to likewise increase their chances of success.

    In other words, is it wrong to advocate that the Philippines take on steps to improve its chances  of achieving success such as, say, shifting to a parliamentary system, or should the Philippines just let  things be as-is, forget about the whole exercise, and accept the country’s sorry state and do nothing about it?

    As you have noticed, Benign0, I will seek out any solution that can increase the Philippines’ chances at being successful. No solution is really ever a “sure thing.” People with certain diseases or conditions undergo operations simply because there is a strong chance – not   100% –  that the operation may increase their chances of living a better life by eliminating and/or mitigating the condition that afflicts them. As with any operation, there is always that “off chance” that  something could go wrong,  and yet, people still go for operations anyway, because “improving their chances at living a better life” is something worth fighting for.

    Will a shift to the parliamentary system guarantee 100% success? Of course not.

    But thanks to all those studies showing correlation and causal relationships between a society’s overall success and the use of a parliamentary system, and since I believe that doing anything that can improve the Philippines’ chances of success is worth doing, I’m willing to go with proposing that the  Philippines shift over to the parliamentary system if only to improve the country’s chances.

    You know, at the very least, Benign0, a parliamentary system’s operational costs are much lower CETERIS PARIBUS  than the costs of a presidential system. Economic success or not, the lowered cost by itself is already a big improvement. (again, go into the details of  those PhD dissertations to read more about it)

    Now does that make sense to you, or would you still rather stick with the rotten status quo?

  3. BenK says:

    I think it’s a little disingenuous to suggest that this is a question of making a choice between “applying this solution” and “doing nothing”. What Benign0 is questioning, altogether rightly IMO, is if the apparent benefits of a particular formula represent causation or correlation. After all, Iraq, Cambodia, and Bangladesh are also parliamentary countries; the assertion of causation might be a little suspect. The real choice is actually between “applying this solution” and “applying a different solution”.

    From my perspective, I see the federal-parliamentary-open markets “grand formula” as a desirable end state, but not actually the ‘solution’ — in other words, insufficient in rigor and detail to account for the steps moving forward from the ‘As Is’ to the ‘Desired’ conditions.

    If we have a goal of, say, “We want to go to the Moon,” then “We need a spaceship” is a solution in principle, but not in detail. Give that solution in those terms to a bunch of people who don’t have any clue as to how to actually build a spaceship, and guaranteed they’re going to still be on the ground the next and every subsequent time you go back to check on them.

    • Orion says:


      Actually, there’s a commenter who asked – and I answered  – about those few outlier countries that use parliamentary systems but are “not  up there” in  terms of ranking. (Try going to the other thread to check it out)

      Bangladesh, unfortunately for it is a perennial casualty of monsoons, flooding, cyclone, and is essentially full of vast “swampland” which explains why its transportation infrastructure (something that is required in developing the economy) is so underdeveloped.  (Swamp = neither navigable water nor land) Then there’s Cambodia with the huge human resource problem of Pol Pot’s products: people who did not have any education (and he got rid of those who were educated), plus landmines, but  yet, Cambodia actually has been steadily developing itself economically. Just hasn’t zoomed  up, but there is some “slow-but-sure” progress. Iraq, well, that one is obvious: insurgency, recent war, etc…  

      The way to really see the effects of whether their system works is to look at them over a longer period of time. 

      The point of why the correlation/causality thing was already addressed yet still ignored anyway is what bothers me. As it goes, to establish causality, you first need to establish correlation.  I didn’t do that with my raw-data examples because I did not do any special number-crunching and regression analysis. But Thacker and Gerring as  well as Loayza, Lederman, Soares, and even Linz  did. And once the correlation is established, you then look at the algorithm  of cause-and-effect of how the system  works. Based on that algorithm, you can then determine whether A causes B, B causes A or whether A and B are correlated only because they are both affected by C. 

      Now quite unfortunately, Benign0 didn’t look into the algorithm to FOLLOW the direction of causality.

      1. Is the country using a parliamentary system because it is rich/successful?

      2. Is it rich/successful because it uses a parliamentary system?    

      3. Or are the use of the parliamentary system and wealth/success both results of  some third cause?

      These three questions should have been asked and then the algorithms (which have time and again been carefully described numerous  times in my explanations of how the parliamentary system works)  are to be checked to match either  1, 2, or 3.

      Number 3  is clearly out because the reason for why a country uses a parliamentary system  is clearly because A COUNTRY CHOOSES TO.

      Number 1  is also out because being  a rich country does not result in using a parliamentary system because some countries are rich but they are not parliamentary: instead, they are presidential, semi-presidential, absolute or  strong monarchies,  etc.

      Number 2, on the other hand, actually matches the correlations. Moreover, by tracing the causality step-by-step (the list of seven steps I listed) we see that the causality, while not being direct, is one of PROBABILISTIC CAUSATION so that A increases the chances of  B occuring.

      I think that the problem here is that Benign0  (not sure if you hold the same view on this, BenK) probably thought  that there is  only ONE TYPE OF CAUSATION.

      Truth be told, there are several. The two most common ones being “Deterministic Causation” and “Probabilistic Causation.”

      Deterministic Causation is one where there is a 100% likelihood that if A is present, then B is present. Deterministic Causation is when, for instance, a person who holds a US Passport is necessarily  a US Citizen. There are no  ifs and  no buts about it…

      Only US Citizens can have US Passports. 

      But for Probabilistic  Causation, that’s precisely the  type of causation that occurs when we deal with how the Parliamentary System is correlated  to economic success.

      At most steps of the “algorithm” as below:  

      1. Successful countries are countries who usually have high economic output.
      2. High economic output is often caused by higher economic  activity.  
      3. Higher economic activity has a  higher chance of occurring if the conditions conducive  to higher economic activity are set up.
      4. To set up those conditions, the right policies are  necessary.
      5. There is a higher chance of having the right policies if you have the right kinds of leaders in place in government.
      6. There’s a higher chance of having the right kind of leaders if the system in place allows the best/most competent members of their party  to emerge at  the top of their  own parties’ leadership.
      7. Parliamentary Systems are set up to cause the best members of the parties to emerge at the top of their own parties, and so regardless of which  party wins, the leader of the winning party is sure to  the best person within his own  party, ensuring that the emerging  Prime Minister is sure not to be someone who is considered to be incompetent within his own party. In case of a  ”mistake” where the leader on top turns out to be incompetent or makes a major mistake, that leader can be very easily replaced.

      At almost every given step, the causation is “probabilistic”, not “deterministic.”

      However, the fact that causation is merely probabilistic does not in fact diminish the causality of the cause and the effect.

      Now let’s go to this statement:  “making a choice between “applying this solution” and “doing nothing” 

      The fact is that we are not even at the point of applying a solution. What has been already done (thanks to those PhD’s) was the determine the fact that there is indeed a probabilistic causal relationship between using a parliamentary system and having a successful society.

      What I’ve been trying to do is to simply spread the word in order to make others aware. At least for me, the causal relationships were already clear and there was no longer a need to question it as I too had analyzed those relationships in detail. What has happened, however, was that the goal of spreading the word on something that has already been determined to be useful and necessary to the goal of increasing the Philippines’ chances of success (certainly not the only one, but  it is a major one). The slight “deviation” and “distraction” that the series of interrogations brought about has unfortunately taken away time from concentrating on other solutions (such as my RH/Population Management advocacy) and from actually spreading the word some more.

      You know, the end result here is that my having pointed out that there indeed exists a clear “probabilistic causal relationship” between better governance and the parliamentary system, and the only real net addition we’re getting is this concept:


      To me, it’s like we’re supposed to go on our way to Baguio, I zoomed  up to the North Expressway and somewhere past sampaguita, one of the companions in the journey calls everyone  because we need to stop at the curbside shoulder and  check out  something…

      So we’re at  the shoulder and  one of our guys goes “Hey Orion, I need to check out the exact serial number of your Windows 7.”  But you know, the  stuff’s under all the  other luggage, it’s such a hassle. But he insists anyway. So I unload my  stuff just to get  my  laptop bag which is underneath some other dufflebags, and then I get it. But I can’t  find the little license number thingy. So I go looking around for it in the little sidepockets, etc…  In  the meantime, we’ve already lost  40 minutes due to this stop. In the end, the guy says, thanks, I’ll copy it coz I needed to make up a new  password when we  log  in at the starbucks  at the gas station a few kms away from here.

      You know what I’m saying? It’s like we went into so much “trouble”  just to do  something that wasn’t really critical. I mean seriously. This was a trivial exercise.

      All this for  what? Just to be able to say  that “there is a probabilistic  causal relationship” between A and  B? I mean, we knew that there was a solid and obvious relationship going  on. My point here is that this kind of thing didn’t need me to find it out.  Benign0 could have actually gone on to research it HIMSELF – since he was really that interested into delving into the nitty-gritty logic of this. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve WASTED PRECIOUS TIME when –  as I was saying – the guy who was  really interested in getting at the bottom of all this could have done the research himself.

      Which then brings me to the question:  What was this all about? Was it a test? 

      Now that we have established the concept of Probabilistic Causality is Benign0 now going to edit this article and  incorporate that concept which after all proves that what I was saying was right all along  and negate the air of doubt  that this particular article was in fact somehow trying to push?

      Anyway, PROBABILISTIC CAUSATION or “probabilistic causality” is the concept of the day. 

      A bit sad that I had to waste time for this little tidbit of trivia to resolve this issue.

  4. eiram23 says:

    Just want to comment, I happened to read this article, bec. it was referred to me by my friend.

    Assuming, that the parliamentary form of government has a high probability of making a country progressive, it does not necessary follow that such system of governance is actually applicable or will be effective if we apply the same to the Philippines. In analogy, two persons who contracted dengue cannot received the same treatment, for there are other factors to be considered (aside from contracting the same disease) such as: the level of immunity of that person; medical history, i.e. if he’s a hemophiliac or if he has allergies to some medicines etc.. Whatever form of government we apply to the Philippines, the basis should not only include statistics of success of that form but it should also consider the history and cultural tendencies of the Filipinos. Because at the end of the day, even if we are under a parliamentary system, it will always be the majority of the Filipino people who will elect their leaders. If majority of our electorate choose to elect leaders based on popularity then a parliamentary system is not much different from a presidential one.  

    • Orion says:

      Indeed, probabilistic causation does not mean that just because we put in a parliamentary system in place, we will immediately and instantaneously enjoy the exact same benefits that other countries that succeed under the same system enjoy. 

      However, if you carefully check all the articles related to how exactly the Parliamentary System works and  you analyze those facts, you’ll find that indeed there will be some major changes that will occur. Before you  actually comment any further, I first  would like to invite you to read the following:


      I am, of course, assuming that you haven’t read those articles yet. Those articles explain the algorithm behind the way the parliamentary system  works so that you  determine for yourself – when you compare how  the current presidential system works (or doesn’t work properly) versus how the  parliamentary  system works, you will have a more informed opinion  on it.

      You say “natural tendencies” of  Filipinos? That was EXACTLY what this article  was all about! 

      And voila…  You’ll learn that  the Parliamentary System is PERFECT for the Philippines if you were to base it on historical and cultural tendencies of Pinoys!

      Happy reading. 🙂

    • Miriam Quiamco says:

      I agree parliamentary form of government is the solution to our economic doldrums.  We need to veer away from personality-centered politics.   The evidence presented by Orion for the need to shift to parliamentary form of government is simply irrefutable.  Go for charter change!!!

      • mario taporco says:

        In any form of government, whether it be in Democracy base institution, or Parliamentry for that matter, you will still have COLLUSION to detract the people from it basic needs of the society; Prosperity.

        People on top shall continue restraining its citizens from knowing the full functions of its meddling process.

        A good example of this:
        Filipino, killing Filipinos. If we can stop these notorious act, then our Country can move on.

  5. kusinero says:

    I have a very short answer to this: We won’t really know unless we try.

    Prosperity is an outcome, a product of a long and hard journey. It also belongs to the future, so there is always a 50/50 chance that we will either achieve it, or we don’t. Will a parliamentary system bring us prosperity? Who knows?

    The key to prosperity ultimately lies on us pinoys, but considering that we have time and again, tried to elect leaders who always fail, don’t you think it’s high time for us to change the system of how we put these leaders in place? That at least, is a very good start.

    There’s no point in sitting by a pool, thinking if you can swim to the other side, if you don’t actually jump in the water and start swimming. All the analysis and speculation are just noise and plain bullsh*t.

    • Orion says:

      Well, you know kusinero, Benign0 has actually been big on repeatedly mentioning the quotation that is often attributed to Albert Einstein (and some actually say Ben Franklin) about Insanity:

      “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”

      Since the Philippines has been doing  the same thing over and over again, using the faulty Presidential System based on the 1987 Constitution which consistently produces minority presidents, favors celebrities and people with name-recall (never mind that they’re likely to be incompetent), it is actually insane for us to continue using it and thus continue doing the same thing.

      Here we are, presented with the opportunity to shift over to a system that has statistics and a whole slew of paperwork and dissertations on its side, where a probabilistic causal correlation with economic success has been clearly established, and then now that we’re talking about trying it out (and this is not just a random shot in the dark to try something that hasn’t been tried elsewhere), there’s a sudden emphasis on trivial nitty-gritty “analysis paralysis.” Anyway, for me, the important part is that we all take on a solutions-based approach and that we try not to get derailed in the trivial stuff.

  6. Lorenz says:

    A change in government will not automatically make the nation prosper. As history has always told us, it is the change of heart and the change of thinking that nations will be able to prosper. These two results to change of governance.

    The reason why Iraq, Bangladesh, etc. are still poor despite the parliamentary systems is the absence of change of heart and thinking.

    Until you make the Filipino patriotic like Jose Rizal to actually care about the country, a change of governance by itself will not be very effective. It must be driven by genuine patriotism.

    This is why Japan and South Korea prospered. They truly wanted their country to prosper by doing hard work and adopting/making efficient systems in which it would greatly support the nation. After all, they are known to be nationalistic people.

    But Filipinos? Yeah they want the country to prosper, but they do not think much in their actions. Apathy and laziness abound in every class of the Filipino society. In actuality, they don’t care at all.

    The poor and ill-educated continue to be ignorant. The middle class want to go out of the country to make greater living and probably never come back depending on the profits and comfort to be have in the Philippines.

    Philippines, no one loves you. No one cares about you. Those who do are surely few. A change in spirit. A change in thinking. Bringing back the Philippine Revolution in the Spanish era. That’s all we need. The desire for knowledge and wisdom. The desire for prosperity and efficiency.

    • Aegis-Judex says:

      So how can we bring back the ethos of Jose Protacio Rizal?

      • Lorenz says:

        That i don’t know. Maybe it’s in the teaching of kids. I’ve heard that in Japan, kids are taught to revere and love their own country (including its scenery like Mt. Fuji) and their own culture.

        “Where are the youth who will consecrate their budding years, their idealism and enthusiasm to the welfare of their country? Where are the youth who will generously pour out their blood to wash away so much shame, so much crime, so much abomination?” – Jose Rizal

      • ChinoF says:

        Well, I don’t think Japanese are taught to love their “race,” just like I pointed out in my last article. Country is not race. And there’s no such thing as race. 

        That poster I snapped was even part of a “Rizal” program. I doubt Rizal would approve though of this current program. I agree, it’s in the teaching too. Parents these days are ill equipped to compete with Wowowee-type shows. 

      • Lorenz says:

        Did i say race? I said they are taught to love their country, Japan which means the whole of it. The people, the culture, and the wonderful places of their country. Who said country is race anyway? Whoever says it is stupid and ignorant. You seem to be putting words into my mouth Chino.

        It is made by an observation of a person. Also, in their graduation ceremonies, the country flag is always shown in the center of the stage and formality is followed unlike the graduation here in the Philippines.

        Why do you continue to deny the strong nationalism of the Japanese and South Koreans? Foreigners particularly the Americans always tell me (through forums) how nationalistic/xenophobic the Japanese are as they treat foreigners differently (many of them have traveled or worked there). Not in the sense that they are superior or with bad discrimination but that foreigners are an object of curiosity and are seen as totally different from the Japanese. They expect Westerners not able to know how to use chopsticks well or speak Nippongo fluently. The Japanese are very kind to foreigners but foreigners will never be truly accepted inside the Japanese society. They will be forever seen as foreigners no matter what. That’s what they say.

        Now compare it to the Filipino society. Not only do we have curiosity on the foreigners, most of the people admire them (especially Americans), thinking they’re more intelligent and richer than your average Pinoy. I heard a Filipino say to the Americans “You are now a pinoy” or something like that in a nat geo documentary about Philippine martial arts. Totally backwards.

        Now i’m not saying to dismiss foreigners (you seem to love foreigners so much thinking they are oppressed or discriminated strongly in the Phil) but this is my own and a lot of others’ observations.

        I took my Rizal subject seriously.

        Rizal’s most favorite foreign country was Japan. The only thing he hated there was how some people were used like horses, carrying carriages of people to travel.

        Also, no matter how great other foreign countries are, he always preferred his homeland, the Philippines. Not in the way that Philippines is superior over other bullshit. It’s just like when you love your home the best no matter how great other places are. This is why he went home despite all those opportunities of living abroad.

        It seems to me that AP is painting how fascists the Filipinos are (Filipinos superior over others? WTH) when most students don’t even bother to sing the national anthem. lolz

      • ChinoF says:

        Oh, pardon me if it seemed I was putting words in your mouth, but rest assured I wasn’t. I know you weren’t talking about race. I agree with your mentioning Japan in how they teach nationalism, I don’t deny their nationalism. They know how to teach it the right way. In comparison, we don’t seem to be doing it properly. I mentioned it because it is a contrast between us and them worth looking at. What could we learn from them?

        Yes, I am somewhat biased toward foreign culture and systems because, well, it’s obvious, they seem to be doing a lot better, while we’ve become used to doing a lot worse. But I find American culture troublesome as well, and there is a lot I don’t like about it too, which is the stuff that leads to talking about the bullying issue, the Ohio suicides, their mass media and a few other things. Yet in comparison, our country seems behind in choosing the “best practices” for its own nationalism. 

      • Lorenz says:

        Haha agreed. the things i love about foreign are their arts (orchestrated/orchestral music, video games, animes, movies, literature, etc.). I would say i am heavily influenced by the Japanese and Americans. I always admired the Japanese and want to go study and work in Japan. Despite their said xenophobia and shady history in WWII, they are professional, efficient, very artistic, and book-reading people. Not to mention i have a thing for Chinese/Japanese girls lolz.

        They say if you forget the past, it may happen again. It was Rizal’s two books that made all the difference. Is it possible to achieve it again? Perhaps not, as F. Sionil Jose and other great writers’ writings about our country don’t seem to have a great effect. sigh…

        It seems to me that our educational system is very flawed and doesn’t breed patriotic citizens ready to support their country like the Japanese. Apparently, you can hardly find any genuine patriotism in this country. That’s what i love about AP, because you make articles about how to lift our country.

  7. Hyden Toro says:

    People make the government. If the people leading the government are corrupt or incompetent; and there are no ways to remove them; prosecute them, jail them, etc…it is just an exercise in futility in debating the kinds of government, we ought to have. As U.S. Pres. Reagan had stated: “Government is the problem.” I add to this: People running the government are the problem…The government systems were placed by our colonizers, to protect their interests. We must find ways to formulate, to get out of this situation. I am still looking for good people to give alternatives; other than the presidential or parliamentary systems…constitutional lawyers…any good ideas?

    • Miriam Quiamco says:

      There are bad people everywhere in government, the same here in Japan, but it is the system that forces accountability in public service that is responsible in checking people’s bad tendencies.  Accountability in government service can be achieved in a parliamentary form of government because execution of policies is checked closely by the legislators, the bureaucrats and legislators work closely in making sure policies are implemented.  There is a focus in policies in parliamentary form of government, even though corruption still exists.  This is my observation in how the Japanese system works.  We need to shift to this form of government, as there will be more checks and balances within the legislature itself and the implementing agencies of policies.   The electoral system should be revisited, no more expensive TV campaigns, the government will regulate spending, so that politicians are not forced to engage in shady deals just to win.  A public service media organization will air all parties’ platform of governance during elections.  But, a parliamentary form of government is just a beginning, there will other reforms too that are needed to make sure we have a working government.  This way, there is more unity in government in pursuing goals that are good for the nation.  Vietnam is overtaking us economically because it is able to pursue national goals, no celebrity-centered media, public institutions are one in cooperating with the government in pursuing economic goals.  We can do it, but we need Orion’s suggestions of a shift to parliamentary form of government, which is also what Gibo advocated.  He is indeed an enlightened politician.  He did not only say what was convenient, he said what he thought was right for this country to move forward.  The masses are too ignorant, we need enlightened leaders to get elected in parliament, not only movie stars and other bozos!

      • Aegis-Judex says:

        “There are bad people everywhere in government, the same here in Japan, but it is the system that forces accountability in public service that is responsible in checking people’s bad tendencies.”

        Therefore, a change in system would bring out the best in a leader here, eh?

        “We can do it, but we need Orion’s suggestions of a shift to parliamentary form of government, which is also what Gibo advocated. He is indeed an enlightened politician. He did not only say what was convenient, he said what he thought was right for this country to move forward. The masses are too ignorant, we need enlightened leaders to get elected in parliament, not only movie stars and other bozos!”

        I concur, Miriam-senpai.

    • Orion says:

      Hello Hyden,

      The reason for why the Parliamentary System, so far, is the form of government (not to be confused with “system of geographical administration” which is Unitary versus Federalism) I’m pushing for is because this has resulted from more than a decade of looking for alternatives to what we’ve got – the current Philippine Presidential System, superficially patterned after the USA’s system, but not Federal, not using an Electoral College, not using Regionally-elected Senators, etc.

      Let me casually tell you how a discussion/deliberation on systems would work: Constitutional Lawyers are not necessarily the best-equipped with the systems-analysis background that would be necessary to determine what works best. IT Practitioners (like yours truly) as well as benign0, BongV, and several of us at Get Real Philippines are probably better-attuned to looking for system-weaknesses and analyzing algorithms.

      Of course, there is a caveat: Such IT Practitioners have to read up heavily on political systems and analyze the historical contexts first and apply the same “systems analysis” and algorithm-tracing discipline to the analysis of said political systems.

      That being said, you were mentioning that wanted a survey of other forms of government. Here’s a rough listing:

      1. Absolute Hereditary Monarchy 

      –  Most absolute monarchies are actually the result of a “military takeover” that occurred in ancient times, where a competent warrior-leader emerged victorious, and named hereditary successors

      – Some may have been the result of a consensus-based decision  to appoint a  Monarch who then passed on the position to hereditary successors.

      – Some Absolute Hereditary Monarchies have devolved some power so that while  the Monarchs  still reign supreme, there is a representative legislature that helps moderate his power.

      – Many modern monarchies in Europe evolved to gradually cede more and more power  to their legislatures,  and in the end, they have full parliamentary systems where the Monarch is totally ceremonial and powerless.

      2. One Party Dictatorship

      – Like China, this is a result of essentially a “rebellion” or “revolutionary military takeover” where the leaders of the rebellion take on positions of power and form a new government after they win and drive out the previous group. Requires force.

      – The people often do not democratically determine the composition of the party that takes power

      3. Military Junta

      – Also a  result of “rebellion”, Military Junta’s are the result of Coups d’etat. Also requires force
      – The people do not democratically determine the composition of the Junta  – you may have good leaders who make good policies, you may also have bad leaders whose  policies are disastrous.

      4. Constitutional Authoritarianism

      – This is Marcos’ system. Constitutional Authoritarianism often entails a duly-elected leader who then brings about a set of emergency powers so that he is granted a wide range of powers and no longer has to contend with the need  for re-election as his position was made “secure”  through legal maneuvers

      5. Presidential Systems

      a. Full Presidential System
      b. Semi-Presidential System

      – Both systems talk about electing a President from among several candidates, usually  based on name-recall and popularity.
      – Prone to GRIDLOCK
      – To get rid of a lousy president, it is very difficult because although impeachment is an option, there are many ways a president is able to prevent it from happening such as use of pork-barrel enticements. Normally the country should wait for the president’s term to expire. Or, according to Dr. Linz, some adventurists stage military coups or resort to political assassination of  the president.

      6. Parliamentary System

      – Read these:;; to find out…
      – In a parliamentary system, not only is it extremely difficult for incompetent people to become Prime Minister, it is also very easy to get rid of leaders who do not deliver or make major mistakes that are destructive to the country. Oftentimes, the majority party simply withdraws support from their own leader and transfer power to the second in command, forcing the leader to retire or resign or in case a leader does not  want to  resign, he is issued a vote of  no confidence and then immediately he is replaced.

      As you will notice, Hyden, only numbers 5 and 6 are actually democratic. Number 4 starts off as democratic but then there is the aspect  of dictatorship in it.

      We really only have 5a (Full Presidential), 5b (Semi-Presidential), and 6 (Parliamentary).

      Only those three choices are democratic. Both 5a and 5b are prone to gridlock. In the final analysis, Hyden, there really is no other optimal choice other than a Parliamentary System because only a parliamentary system is flexible enough so that it can be very liberal, or it can also allow for strong-political will among certain leaders to enable wide-reaching reforms or societal transformation such as in Malaysia and Singapore.

      Outside of presidential and parliamentary, all your choices are essentially NON-DEMOCRATIC and there is no way in such systems that the people can change/punish the leadership if and when the leaders make mistakes that are destructive to the country.

      So Hyden, are you open to those non-democratic forms over which there is absolutely no feedback mechanism for the people to reward performing leaders and punish non-performing ones?

      Besides, weren’t you gunning for a system that would make it easy to get rid of presidents who are lousy and make major mistakes at any time instead of waiting  for their terms to expire?  

      Voilà, Hyden, the Parliamentary System allows lousy presidents to be easily removed. Only the Parliamentary System allows easy removal of non-performing leaders. That’s  something you wanted, right? So now do you agree that the Parliamentary System has what you are looking for?

      (By the way, Hyden, I spent more than a decade researching these different systems as a hobby. Started when I was in college.)



      • Hyden Toro says:

        We need more choices, two choices are too small of a choice…any good Filipino lawyer well versed in governments and constitutions? We don’t care were you are….South or North Poles, or at the end of the Earth…This system must dismantle Patronage Politics, that produces political dynasties and warlords; remove our Wowoowee Politics; gives way to able and competent Filipinos to lead the nation for recovery. A challenge to the New Generation of Filipinos. It is an opportunity to make History…Any taker?

      • Orion says:

        Hello Hyden,

        There are unfortunately no other systems. You’ve already been given a survey of all the possible ones that exist, and all that there is now  are just slight deviations between one  or the other.

        You may want to do your own due-diligence of  the different systems by at checking out this map and the legends found below:

        Unfortunately for you, there are NO OTHER DEMOCRATIC FORMS AVAILABLE available outside of Presidential and Parliamentary and unfortunately, lawyers per se are not necessarily the best-equipped to help you out with your question.

        You would have a lot more luck if you asked Political Scientists, not lawyers, Hyden.

        While we’re at it, you should try ordering the book called “Presidential Bandwagon: Parties and Party Systems in the Philippines” which talks a lot about the flaws of the current presidential system. It also tackles the issue of patronage politics and why it is ultimately a result of  the pork barrel system and why the pork barrel system is the mainstay of the Presidential System. (hint: Pork Barrel aims to reduce gridlock by acting as an enticement to allow the President to gain allies for his legislative agenda).

        And if you’ve properly analyzed how the current Presidential System works, you’ll  find that the “Wowowee Politics”  that exists today is directly traceable to the personality-orientation of the Presidential System’s electoral system.

        I really hope this helps you… 


        PS.  My advice is for you to seriously do your own research and due diligence. The internet has all the information at your fingertips. No  need to keep asking the questions over and over again. The answers are easily accessible and those answers match what I’ve already told you. 😉

  8. The Judge says:

    Crisp, scholarly researched, passionately argued – well done, Orion! I have strong doubts though if that dream of yours will ever see the light of day. For one, those idiots in the congress won’t just fold and dispossess themselves of the power and luxury the status quo has afforded them.

    @Miriam: Hi gorgeous! Just wondering, how do you say, “I miss you like crazy” in Japanese? (; by the way, if you feel like chilling out, please drop by my site and read my short stories. here… (;

    • ulong pare says:

      @ da judge… nakupo, pumorpa pa kay profesora miriam… a trait of a loser… couldn’t hook a date ha?! … retarded ka ba?

  9. ulong pare says:

    … hoy mga flips, question: flips who ‘bakwet to ‘merka enjoy ‘merkan presidential form of gob’mint… flips who ‘bakwet to inglatera, japan etchastera, etc enjoy parliamentary form… flips who ‘bakwet to saudi, mideast, etchastera, etc, enjoy absolute monarchy… flips who ‘bakwet to tsina, russia, cuba, etchastera, etc. enjoy komunistas… NOW WHY IZ DAT FLIPS WHO ARE LEFT-BEHIND REMAIN GUNG GONGS???… kaya kayong mga flip HILOminatis, illiteratis, etchastera, etc… tama na ang puro diskusyon about changing the form of government… CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDES/HABITS… mga gung gongs!

    • ulong pare says:

      PS (Porgot Sumtin)… pahabol… flip komunistas – joma- ‘bakwet to IYUTRECH enjoy ‘sang tambaks na blondie while his flip gung gong followers are eating sheeeeet in the jungle… bwi hi hi hi… flips, puro kayo porma… wala namang mga sinabi… bwi hi hi hi pwi!

      • ulong pare says:

        daaaaaaang… last na pahabol… so in reality, flips adapt to an “established” form of government… conclusion: FLIPS NEED TO BE GOVERNED BY OTHER RACE TO BEHAVE LIKE HUMAN BEINGS… IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT FORM OF GOVERNMENT IS IN PLACE… bwa ha ha ha ha ha… mga gung gongs! ay sus ginoo….

  10. The Judge says:

    @ulong pare: dude, retarded ka ba? bat ganyan ka magsulat? wait…ah, you must be AP’s official mascot…pwedi na rin. JERK!!

    • EthanRei says:

      I actually cannot make sense of what ulong pare is saying. Nagpapaka-Pinoy -“gangsta”-pero-educated ba sya or something?

      • ChinoF says:

        Ulong Pare is what you get when Bisdak migrates to America… and sees the vast difference between a progressive society and a backward one. Ride on the style, will ya? 😉 

      • mario taporco says:


        I’m from California, and I don’t write like.
        I think you have the wrong impression of those educated Pilipinos, who migrated here in the greater USofA.

        Hindi kami gung gongs 😉

      • ulong pare says:

        daaang… fyi, chinof… ain’t a bisdak… i wish i was so i could talk shop with renato pacifico aka pobre nga alindahaw and settle in bisdakland… the only experience i have with bisdaks is when i’m with sexy gurlz who ‘bakwet to ‘tang inang imperial manila…

      • ulong pare says:

        @mario toporco… tumambay si ulong in cali for over a decade… from the north san fran to south insane diego… flipflams’ regionalism at its worst… up alumni at the top of the heap… numero unong flipland critics… after flipland spent ‘sang tambaks na pesos for their education… bunch of ingrates… mahiya naman kayo… in addition, practice public speaking… join the TOASTMASTERS’ for assistance’…. bwi hi hi hi…

      • ChinoF says:

        Nyehehe…. pasensya na Ulong… You’re good at singing My Weeee eh. hehe

      • ulong pare says:

        @ethanrie… unggoy! …”educated ba sya or something?”… a typical flip mentality… the first thing that comes to your puny mind is doubt the other people’s educational background… to satisfy your curiosity, i’ve been around to places you’d never dream of and wish you could…

    • ulong pare says:

      … gung gongs! i spent over half a century in your ‘merkan ‘hood and around the globe…. flipflams speak the same heavily accented inles no matter where y’all located… mahiya naman kayo… flips/flipflams, you are not “all that”… flips/flipflams are good in written composition, but when it comes in public speaking, ay sus ginoo… nakakahiya kayo… just look at the articles here in AP, ‘sang tambaks ang figures of speech… who are you trying to impress????? follow prez obama’s eloquence… full of wisdom in its simplicity… KISS, mga gung gongs!

  11. Wow says:

    Wow, This article only shows how Benign0 is really desperate on shooting down the arguments and proposals of Orion. But in the end, I still agree with Orion.

    Can’t wait for the next arguments from Benign0. Wonder how he’s going to top Orion’s logic.

    I’m imagining Benign0 now going “Hmmmm….” 🙂

    • BongV says:

      not really.. this is all in the spirit of free inquiry. to submit the proposition to the test of whether it is indeed the optimal solution. no harm in doing due diligence. it’s an enriching experience for everyone.

    • ilda says:

      Wow naman. Ang babaw mo. You are just not used to reading such a healthy exchange of ideas between two brilliant thinkers. Don’t be such a Pinoy with your negative mentality. Try not to read between the lines and see it for what it is, just a simple discussion to flesh out other possibilities.

      • The Judge says:

        C’mon Ilda it’s not being “babaw” if you take sides in an issue, what are you afraid of? Are you trying to prevent this little swashbuckler from blowing up into an all-out war between 2 AP stalwarts? You think that arrogant, self-absorbed, egotistical, know-it-all Benigno is just gonna surrender his stupid argument? Not happening. Like Wow I’m also waiting for the next stupid thing that he’s gonna say to save face. Benigno clearly just wanted to jump down Orion’s throat on this one. Why it has taken so long for Benigno to answer is anyone’s guess.

      • ChinoF says:

        Why you’re so fascinated with “all out war” rather than with the points that are being fleshed out in the discussion is perhaps one reason why our country is so backward. So excited with all-out war between personalities than focusing on the issues and seeing our country get fixed. Ala eh, pang-showbiz lang talaga ang Da Pinoy. Walang karapatan umasenso kung ganun. 😉 

      • ilda says:

        @The Judge

        Now you admit that it’s more entertaining here at AP than FV. Wala talagang kwenta duon 😉

        At least dito sa AP battle of the brains talaga. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Benign0. It’s obvious that he’s already said everything in the article itself. Just read it again 🙂

        When you said you are waiting for the next stupid thing he is going to say, what was the first by the way?

      • BongV says:

        B0 asks the question.
        Orion answers the question.

        and that’s war between stalwarts?

        looks more like a discussion between two scientists in the Manhattan Project

        ang wowowee mentality nga naman

      • ulong pare says:

        @da judge… ” AP stalwarts”???… retarded ka ba? … it’s all compilations of works by the world’s thinkers… i’m still waiting to read an original article…

      • mario taporco says:

        Hi ilda,

        It’s been awhile with my long absent. How are you?
        Not taking sides. But you are correct ilda. Two bright minded individuals clashing for some good apprehensions.

        But here’s my two cents in.

        Let’s say that Orion’s statement and his comments on this thread that, the ideological impregnation of his thought is so profound, that we Filipino(s) suddenly jump to his band-wagon, and also, start making our own assupmtion, not to discredit his thought, nor will I accept the fundamentals of our existing government. And, but to use critical thinking to determined the course of his(Orion’s) objectives.

        Whatever the author[benign0]  may think of the adequacy of the pragmatist definition of truth, it is obvious[or dubious; for that matter] that at least one of the characteristic marks of a true theory is that action based on it succeeds in attaining the expected result. In this sense truth works, while untruth does not work; base on our existing democracy.

        Precisely if we assume, in agreement with Orion’s thread here, that the end of theorizing is always success in action, the question must be raised why and how an ideological (that is, in the Oligarchy or Serfs  sense, a false) theory should be more advantageous to a class than conforming to a theory.

        This is where critical thinking starts…,!

      • ilda says:

        Hi Mario
        If there is one thing that this whole exercise should show everyone is that the AP writers actually use their own individual analysis in coming up with a conclusion. One’s point of view doesn’t necessarily speak for everyone else’s. Goes to show that our detractors cannot really lump us all in one pot.

        There are obviously people among the readers and writers who are sold on the idea of a parliamentary system. I think that even without a well-researched paper, they are willing to jump on the opportunity to switch to a new system because it does make perfect sense for us to adopt it. However, because of the convoluted situation the Philippines is in, there are those who, even after you’ve already given them a thorough presentation of your arguments, will still stick to what they think is more logical which is rehabilitating first the dysfunctional culture of the Filipinos. 

        There are also those who just refuse to engage in partisanship. For example, in the last election no matter how hard I tried not to show support for any candidate, I eventually showed my support for Richard Gordon in the end because I really, really didn’t want an incompetent person to win. Even though I do not regret showing my support for D ick (because he is more competent), I risked being labeled biased against P-Noy Aguino when I criticize him. So, in a way it would have been better if I remained non-partisan.

        It’s the same with the change in the system of government. Once you get involved in supporting a particular move, you will be at risked of being labeled “biased” or “pro-chacha” or “pro-parliamentary” and people who are narrow-minded will always think that you are biased against the Presidential system of government and the people who are for it. Unless you are ok to be labeled as such because you really believe in it and can defend it, then go for it.

        What I am trying to say is that, there are people who would rather sit on the fence on something because they think that is not an absolute solution and in fact, will only likely (or unlikely) start the process of transformation. Likewise, supporting such a move will go against their principle of remaining non-partisan.

        Reading all the comments, I don’t think that anyone is totally against the parliamentary system; some just don’t think it will automatically address the problem with our culture, which means that if you have to fight tooth and nail to convince people to change into a new system and then further down the track you realize that, “oh no, ang tigas pa din ng ulo ng mga Pinoy!” then it’s best that you deal with that now before you go through the process.

        This does look like a chicken and egg dilemma. I personally believe in fixing the Philippine media first before anything else because they are the ones responsible for dumbing down the electorate.

      • mario taporco says:

        Hi ilda,

        Isn’t it obvious that it is also impossible to demonstrate, or illustrate satisfactorily by ratiocination that the alter ego is a being that aims purposively at ends. But the same pragmatic proof that can be advanced in favor of the exclusive use of causal research of our existing democracy can be advanced in favor of Parliamentary system of methods in The Philippines. It works, while the idea of dealing with [wo]men as if they were stones or mice does not work. It works not only in the search for knowledge and theories but no less in day by day practices.

        Food for thought:
        Just look, and there’s no need to further study our democratic system. It is a failure, cause by inconsiderate person in our government and its administrations. OK,! “the whole institution for that matter”.

        My concern, will Parliamentary work…,?
        Of course! As you’ve mentioned, only if, the media bozo’s is out of the way. Otherwise it’s the same’ol party again; TRAPO’s. 

    • bp says:

      as i said on the other thread:

      hindi po ito face to face ni amy perez.

  12. kid dynamo says:

    ..i always have problems with them logics and causality… only take on this one is which form of Government would teach Pinoys a better sense of accountability on making critical decisions such as choosing their leader..

    ..”weak citizenry invites the worse of leadership”…

    …i’m lenient to a Parliamentarian/Federal type of government because i think this better teaches people to choose their leader wisely and become issue-oriented in doing so..

    Accountability i think is more “localised” since if a certain constituency is relatively poorer than other districts, they have no one to blame other than themselves for choosing bozo leaders not like now that everything is blamed in Malakanyang because the people are simply conditioned to do just that.

  13. UP nn grad says:

    To me, expending resources for “parliamentary” will be less effective than expending resources to push for a charter-change that addresses the percent-local-ownership requirements for media, other industries. 💡 A more enlightened approach to percent-foreign-ownership (to me) is a priority-need to create jobs-for-Pinoys-in-Pilipinas.

    • Orion says:

      Hi UP nn grad,

      As a matter of fact, you’ll find that the charter change initiative that I am pushing for is precisely one that puts economic liberalization, the removal of protectionist economic provisions & other barriers to full ownership of businesses by foreign investors at the very top.

      In my first Charter Change piece which focused on explaining what the parliamentary system was all about, I actually mentioned the fact that shifting over to the parliamentary system was just one out of three main initiatives, namely:

      1. Economic Liberalization & removal of protectionist provisions (100% foreign business ownership) in order to more easily allow foreign direct investment inflow and thus help create millions jobs and other economic opportunities for Filipinos.

      2. Shift from Unitarism to Federalism in order to create multiple economic centers to avoid over-concentrating economic development in Metro Manila, and develop the different regions, not just the capital.

      3. Shift from the Presidential System to the Parliamentary System in order to come up with a political system that is much more stable (less susceptible to coups/political assassinations of the top decision-maker), more efficient (less red tape), cheaper-to-operate, more accountable, and more conducive to the emergence of good quality leaders (as opposed to personality-focus and name-recall), thus attracting investors to come as political stability figures greatly among the considerations of investors.

      The only reason why I have had to focus so much on selling the advantages of the parliamentary system over the faulty current Philippine presidential system is that number 3 on the list of Charter Change proposals is the most misunderstood one.

      To get a good idea of the parliamentary system, please visit the following:


  14. benign0 says:

    Here is a simple example that brings further question to Statement A(2): Quality of elected leaders determines ability of a society to prosper — the Chinese Filipinos. In an article I wrote about them way back, I made this observation:

    Bad governance and lack of education are the top scapegoats, for example. They simply beg the question: the Chinese community was with us through countless corrupt and inept administrations, they had to register their businesses in the same public offices, and they paid taxes to the same government. Furthermore, they landed on our shores, speaking not a word of English or Tagalog. Now, their volunteer fire brigade is far more reliable (and honest) than the government-run force.

    Quality or lack of quality leaders has always been (1) a dandy accounting for success in a society and, unfortinately, (2) a convenient excuse for chronic failure as well. 😉

    Also in my 2006 article Fiesta Charter Change: Politicised Hope I cited how…

    No matter how much or how many instances of political change we have seen in the last 50 years, the condition of the average Filipino has not changed fundamentally. We therefore conclude that politics have failed us and that our society has failed to prosper because of politics.

    This is a truism that most Filipinos are quite comfy with.

    As we sit and watch the Fiesta Cha-Cha (charter change) train wreck unfold before our very eyes, one wonders how a society that fancies itself to be one that is utterly dis-illusioned with politics, once again, finds itself transfixed on this new drama which is grabbing prime media headlines and airtime. Could it be that the whole fundamental issue behind the failure of our society to move forward is our over-reliance on political solutions? We see Fiesta Cha-Cha or — for that matter, each and any political event, whether they be elections or more fiesta revolutions — as critical crossroads in the destiny of the nation. The whole society stops and waits to see what the next political upheaval will yield, and postpones any on-going effort to push on towards a tangible objective.

    [My boldface for emphasis.]

    Suffice to say, the TRUTH about Pinoys cannot be escaped. In that same article Charles Murray in his book Human Accomplishment showed how there seems to be no correlation between a society’s environment and an inherent inclination for achievement to be observed, from which I posit…

    It could imply that societies that have in them an inherent ability to overcome challenges will progress despite rather than because of its environment. It is the converse of the blame politics tenet around which Filipino cynicism towards poltics is built around.

    Thus, fundamental change at the grassroots level can be achieved regardless of the foolishness going on in a country’s politics.

    The achievements of the Filipino-Chinese community lends some credence to this counter-intuitive idea. The conditions and status of the Filipino-Chinese community have in fact changed fundamentally in the last 50 years. Once mere taho vendors and small shopkeepers, they are now captains of Philippine industry. From Third class citizens to First class citizens. And this change happened even as Philippine politics continued to stumble along from one rut to another. The same cannot be said of the larger Filipino people. The Philippines is not only still a Third World nation, it is amongst the least-promising of the lot — a far cry from the shining graduate of American colonialism that it was back in 1946.

    Perhaps there is an entire iceberg of cultural baggage that we do indeed have to come to terms with before the tip of said proverbial iceberg (that part of it that gets the most Media spotlights) is used as a basis for any further solutioneering. 😀

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    • BongV says:

      while it is true that culture is important – it is also important that there is an economically sound level playing field that allows the occasional outliers to have the full flexibility of investment structures instead of being economically restrictive structurally – the Philippine economy is a bonsai -a cripple.

      There’s roughly 10 million Filipinos out there – even if only 0.05% get into a joint venture with a VC – their options are tied due to the 60/40 restrictions – sure you play the cards you are dealt with – but dang you can use some leverage.

      It boils down to Maslow’s heirarchy of needs – address the basics – the higher cultural needs follow.

      Food, clothing, shelter, jobs. – money talks.

      • J_ag says:

        My My higher cultural needs? Needs are essential……one cannot survive without it.

        Money talks and bullshit walks. For a country with so few in charge of the states factor endowments what does that make the majority of the people? Subjects or citizens.

        The country is for all practical terms a neo-colonial /semi feudal society.

        The small formal economy dominated by outsiders and the mostly Indio informal economy…

        Revert back to a representative government only for those with economic power. The Indios must be stripped of their vote. Give the Indios their economic freedom but remove the so called political freedom.

        Forms of government is immaterial.. What counts are the institutions of the state. Governments come and go but the state remains. Pinoys fist should strive to establish their own state.

        In a world where globalization is crumbling because states refuse to give up any part of their sovereign power a country with a weak state is doomed.

      • ChinoF says:

        Wow, this guy likes to pave the way for dictatorial government. 

      • BongV says:

        My My higher cultural needs? Needs are essential……one cannot survive without it.

        Who said anything about needs not being essential? That’s a strawman – the statement is based on Maslow’s heirarchy of needs.

        Abraham Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

        According to Abraham Maslow humans have five needs that make up the levels or hierarchy called the most important of which are not essential to and from the easy to the difficult to achieve or obtain. Human motivation is strongly influenced by the fundamental needs that need to be fulfilled.

        Maslow must meet the needs of the most important needs first and then increased to a less important. To be able to feel the pleasure of a level of need should be satisfied first that needs to be on the lower level.

        Five (5) Maslow’s basic needs – is based on the most important needs that are not so crucial:

        Physiological Needs – Examples are: Clothing/apparel, food/food, shelter/home, and biological needs such as defecation, urination, breathing and so forth.
        Safety and Security Needs – Examples such as: Free from occupation, free from the threat, free from pain, free from terror and so forth.
        Social Needs – Example is: have friends, have a family, needs the love of the opposite sex, and others.
        Award Needs – Examples: praise, awards, decorations, gifts, and many others.
        Self Actualization Needs – Is the need and desire to act as they pleased according to their talents and interests.

        Money talks and bull**** walks. For a country with so few in charge of the states factor endowments what does that make the majority of the people? Subjects or citizens.

        That’s exactly the current state – the challenge is to move to a better future state

        The country is for all practical terms a neo-colonial /semi feudal society.

        Same same – – the challenge is to move to a better future state

        The small formal economy dominated by outsiders and the mostly Indio informal economy…

        Define “outsiders” 🙂

        Revert back to a representative government only for those with economic power.
        The Indios must be stripped of their vote. Give the Indios their economic freedom but remove the so called political freedom.

        Easier to strip Indios of their vote than to enable indios how to use their vote properly? 🙂

        Forms of government is immaterial.. What counts are the institutions of the state. Governments come and go but the state remains. Pinoys fist should strive to establish their own state.

        Government is itself a collection of institutions of state called.. “The Philippines” 🙂

        In a world where globalization is crumbling because states refuse to give up any part of their sovereign power a country with a weak state is doomed.

        keep it simple – shape up or ship out.

      • benign0 says:

        @ BongV: Agree to that. Just bear in mind though that 10m-odd Pinoys (at 10% of the population) can be considered to be an income-generating elite, and then that “0.05%” subset of that is an even tinier predisposed-to-investing elite within the elite (said elite defined by income for the purpose of this discussion). That kinda brings us back to square one — an entire society whose mediocre economic output is subsidised by the exceptional contribution of an infinitessimal minority elite.

        Add to that mounting evidence that the work ethic of many Pinoy expats (particularly those who settled in the U.S.) is not making it past the first generation of migrants and is getting lost in Tommy Hilfiger sporting Pinoy “homies” who could barely see over the dashboards of the pimped out SUV’s they drive all over Daly City. 😀

      • Miriam Quiamco says:

        BenigO, I don’t believe in cultural determinism, the Filipinos are not doomed due to their “cultural DNA”, a systemic change in policy-making could mold a different culture in the country.  When serious economic policies are put in place, I mean, when the legislators and executives in government are one in pursuing goals for the country, the Filipinos will work just as hard as the Japanese and the Koreans given the incentives of just rewards for their efforts.  Right now, it seems expedient to engage in criminal activities to ensure inflow of cash to family coffers than to earnestly employ individual initiative and hard work to get ahead in life.  We have not produced an entrepreneurial class because there have not been enough incentives to be creative in business.

         The Chinese in the Philippines belongs to what is called “overseas chinese class” whose ethos for leaving China has been historically to explore business opportunities with people in foreign lands.  It makes sense that Chinese Filipinos are just as driven as their ancestors in business.  Mahathir recognized the cultural deficiency of the Malay race against these overseas Chinese nationals, thus, his numerous incentives to inspire Malays to compete.  Needless to say, the Malays now are just as competitive in all sectors of society as the Chinese are.  All this was possible under a parliamentary form of government.    Orion is right, let’s go for Cha-cha, just like Teodoro, he sees clearly the advantages of a parliamentary form, where the executive branch does not have a confrontational relationship with the legislature, there is a single-minded pursuit of policies necessary for the country to take off economically.  If it is removing the constitutional restraint on foreign ownership of business, so be it, but we need to get serious with our economic  goals, just like Vietnam.  It is our system of government that is keeping us underdeveloped, along with our personality-centered media.  When policies are the center of debate in parliament and during elections, the media will bend its ways too.  It would help a great deal if we had a professional public broadcast media organization that could compete with the commercial ones.

          A right industrial policy could make loans at lower interests to our budding entrepreneurs, helping them with marketing and supporting them in strengthening their businesses.  In Japan, their industrial base was built by the government who later on sold these businesses to the oligarchs.  The oligarchs then are co-opted by the government to keep generating jobs for the people, and people are given access to consumer loans and other forms of assistance to be able to have purchasing power to support big businesses.

         Oligarchs need not be the enemies of the state, they could be harnessed to push an industrial policy that is beneficial to all.  What we need is a unified vision for progress and this can only be achieved with proper policies, borne out of a legislature that is not hostile to the executive branch.  Once the executive level of government goes against the program of government agreed upon by the ruling party which parliament has been persuaded to give nod to, then, a vote of no-confidence can easily bring in more competent leadership.  We tried a parliamentary/presidential under a dictatorship, it didn’t work, now we have a chance to install a democratic parliamentary form of government and all empirical evidence points to its high probability of success in governance, we should go for this. 

      • benign0 says:

        @ Ms Miriam Quiamco, you said that “A right industrial policy could make loans at lower interests to our budding entrepreneurs, helping them with marketing and supporting them in strengthening their businesses.”

        In other words you are saying that easier access to funds is one of the key measures that will open doors of opportunity for Pinoys. Following that argument, wouldn’t you say that OFW remittances can also considered to be a windfall of investible funds that ordinary Pinoys can access (considering that every other Pinoy schmoe and his askal has a relative working overseas and sending sweet dollahs to the islands?).

        So now I wonder: Where have all those funds gone? After decades and generations of Pinoy workers working overseas, I don’t see any big businesses funded by equity bought by OFW cash rising from the putrid esteros of Manila. Most OFW cash seems to be doomed for “investment” in those quintessential exemplars of Pinoy entrepeneurship: tricycles and jeepneys.

        If we are so unable to channel OFW dollars into expansion of our fixed capital base what makes us think that easy access to financing will be any different?

        And that is investment in business enterprise we are talking about. In the context of our dismal propensity to save compared to other East Asian societies, that makes it not a small stretch of the imagination to think that Pinoys will use readily-accessible funds wisely and productively.

      • Miriam Quiamco says:

        Quite simply BenignO, we haven’t had a coherent industrial policy that has focused on particular businesses to be the source of our economic growth.  Ours has been reliant mainly on consumption made brisk by OFW earnings.  An industrial policy will be more comprehensive, covering the encouragement of the creation of an entrepreneurial class through education and financial assistance from the government.  Big business enterprises too would be made to cooperate to help small businesses thrive in the country.  I see the lack of cooperation between government and the business sector in pursuing a coherent industrial policy as one source of our weakness.  If you so admire the South Korean success story, you ought to know that government policy in literally mandating big corporations to produce in sectors that the government wanted them to, at the risk of arrest and imprisonment under the Park dictatorship has been responsible for the take off of the Korean economy.  Korean society is severe, the government has a culture agency that promotes Korean culture based on Confucianism, it also is very protective of their movie industry.  Have you ever heard of the Ministry of Information and Culture, now, in Korea, this is akin to a Gestapo, all TV programming has to be censored by this government ministry lest it dilutes the Confucian values which encourage subservience.  Family values are so severe, many Koreans resort to committing suicide when expectations from society and family members are not met.  You wonder why they are flocking to our anarchic society?  Personal happiness is not a right every Korean feels he/she is entitled to.  Individual lives are subordinated to the overriding goals of the state and family, now that is some cultural dictatorship the Philippines is simply not capable of dealing with. 

      • benign0 says:

        Fair enough, Miriam. But it has to be a two way street. We always cite how Government is “not doing enough” but there is little attention put to whether the people for their part are also doing enough to help themselves.

      • UP nn grad says:

        There seem to be a near-consensus that Pinoys-in-Pinas are still not 😐 working as hard as they can work because they are waiting 😉 for government to make hard work an inviting proposition.

        The Chinese-in-Pilipinas, on the other, work hard expecting that their hard work will pay off (while being encouraged and supported by fellow Chinese).

        Mentoring works among Chinese; mentoring does not seem to work among Pinoys, is this true? 💡

      • benign0 says:

        Well, Pinoys seem to be more successful when we are apart rather than when we are together. While expatriate Pinoys embrace the structure of their host societies, island Pinoys squabble over the irrelevant issues, the wrong arguments and the trivial. 😀

  15. UP nn grad says:

    Which is better — this — I am working as hard as I can, if you (government) do these, then my enterprise’ productivity increases (more profits for me so I can hire more)?

    Or this : I have a good idea, but I need government to do this and to do that and to this one, too and then, I can implement my idea will I can then work on my enterprise so my enterprise will be of high productivity (which means more profits for me so I can hire more). In the meanwhile, hintay muna ako, Pilipinas industrial policies are insane, that is why I can’t be an entrepreneur. Five-six 😐 nga sana, pero baka lang nakawan ako, bakit nga ba ganoon? Sabi nga ng tatay, dito na lang tayo, sakit lang ng ulo ang mag-ambisyon.

    I’m not making light of industrial policy, because this happens:
    —- OH, NO!!! You gadz-awful idyots… Why did you government offiicials do that? Your policies will be the ruin 👿 of my enterprise.

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