Constitutional Reform: What it Looks Like from the Outside

In recent weeks, foreign observers of the Philippines both inside and outside the country have taken a genuine interest in the movement for ‘charter change’ that has developed under the first semester of the thoroughly unremarkable and disappointing Aquino government. The idea of ‘charter change’ is nothing new to outsiders, but being able to observe and discuss the movement as a serious idea rather than cynically dismissing it as the same old limited-focus canard that gets floated every year is a refreshing change of pace.

So what’s different about ‘charter change’ now, as opposed to every other time since the FVR era that the idea has been mentioned? Primarily, it’s the timing: not counting the Arroyo initiative at the beginning of the legislative session – something that was anticipated from the moment she announced her intention to run for Congress – the movement has gotten off the ground much sooner than anyone would have guessed. This is largely seen as an indictment of Aquino, and although opinion is still somewhat divided, the balance of the assessment tilts towards it being an appropriate indictment of his administration. From the external perspective, he was elected in a reasonably (for this country, anyway) non-controversial way, with relatively strong support on the back of a generally favorably-regarded pedigree and the promise – though an unspecific one – of cleaner government. In the intervening six months, he has accomplished nothing substantial, has not delineated any specific objectives, and his government appears as polluted by corruption and incompetence as any the Philippines has ever had. With calls for ‘charter change’ coming from a number of directions, the impression is that a significant proportion of the country – perhaps equal to the proportion that originally supported Aquino – is at this early date already fed up with the direction of things under his stewardship. The wide-ranging “mainstream” discussion of ‘charter change’ (in which, it should be noted, AntiPinoy has had a considerable part in spearheading) beyond the traditional sphere of the ineffectual opposition, Aquino’s own stubborn and logically-flawed resistance to even considering the idea, and the demagogical dissent aired by the Establishment-backed leftist rebellion and their self-appointed mouthpieces tend to reinforce this impression – the conventional regime is on the back foot, quickly losing popular support, and as a result, is being viewed with a degree of apprehension that would have seemed unjustified from the international perspective half a year ago.

Another factor that encourages more serious attention from the international community to ‘charter change’ this time is the context in which it is being presented by its advocates: rebranding, as it were, ‘charter change’ as ‘constitutional reform’, a concept which is not only a more accurate characterization of the effort, but which signals a more open mindset willing to examine changes in a more comprehensive and less prescriptive way. Previous ‘charter change’ efforts tended to focus on specific concerns, for example term limits under FVR and a shift to a parliamentary system under GMA, and as a consequence the term ‘charter change’ has become associated, correctly or not, solely with the idea of altering the system of national leadership, and has developed a negative connotation both inside and outside the country. ‘Constitutional reform’ signals a more sober approach and one that indicates a potentially less unstable transition when the transition finally happens; from either of the two important foreign perspectives, the political and the economic, anything that reduces the instability risk is appreciated.

The Road Ahead: What the International Community is Looking For

The energetic movement towards constitutional reform is a positive first step, but it is only the first; whether the momentum can be sustained and the actual work of comprehensive reform begun will be the next milepost to pass. Assuming that is accomplished, the outside observers with political and economic interests in the Philippines will be looking for three primary objectives to be met:

1. Serious action against corruption. Although some Filipino constitutional reform advocates bridle at placing “corruption” at the top of the list of problems that need to be solved, from the global point of view that is exactly what the Philippines needs to do. That is part of why Aquino initially gained favor with outside observers – his own personal record and acknowledgement of the issue hinted at potential progress. His performance, however, has not impressed; he is now either regarded as not having an understanding of – and as a result, no ability to develop a strategy for – the complex interrelation of systemic, economic, and social factors that cause corruption, or among his harsher critics, regarded as being a garden-variety Philippine trapo.

The “grand formula” for constitutional reform – economic liberalization, Federalization, and a Parliamentary system – is generally regarded as being one decent framework for approaching the problem of corruption, because it addresses, one way or another, many of the underlying causes of corruption except for the social ones. In that respect, there is cause for concern; Philippine society is considered undisciplined, and unless that is directly addressed – an area in which Lee Kuan Yew’s experience in transforming Singapore can serve as a useful guide – there is an apprehension that political and economic solutions will be significantly compromised.

2. A legislative agenda to back reforms. This primarily applies to economic liberalization, the current problems of which, as has been pointed out, do not entirely lie in the country’s flawed Constitution. Loosening protectionist restrictions in the Constitution is only one part of the solution; that will only provide opportunity for economic development and foreign investment, but not the competitive advantages that will attract investment and make development happen. Improving the business environment will require the same comprehensive focus on the systemic, economic, and social conditions in the country, and will be a long-term effort. The favorable optimism with which the rest of the world will look at constitutional reform will quickly evaporate if the necessary follow-through is not apparent.

3. Development of legitimate political parties. Regardless of what final shape the system of government takes, strong political parties that, ideally, represent a clear majority and relevant opposition at any given time are the political “system that transcends the system” and confer a strong measure of political stability on the country, even if (as is currently predicted) the Philippines endures a period of “growing pains” that may see a number of different governments in a relatively short period of time, particularly under a Parliamentary system. A Parliamentary system or even a much more formalized Presidential system will help to develop stable parties, provided that any system chosen is built in such a way as to prevent as much as possible the electoral opportunism that characterizes Philippine parties now.

And finally, it is worth mentioning that the point of view towards what they suppose are Western intentions towards the Philippines from otherwise well-meaning reform advocates is for the most part erroneous and more importantly, an unnecessary diversion of intellectual effort that needlessly confuses the issues. It is no secret that the US and its sphere of influence – and presumably, the Chinese sphere as well – sincerely desires constitutional reform in the Philippines and has a number of ideas of what would likely work best for the country and the corresponding international interests. From the Western perspective, at least, there is a simple reality that the Filipino people should consider: the ability of this country to affect what the US bloc does or thinks is pretty close to zero at this point. The US will, as it always has, react as the opportunity presents itself to whatever the circumstances on the ground in the Philippines are at any given time; for the Philippines to insist on a fair input into how that relationship is managed, it must do so from a position of its own strengths and value to the outside world. The best way to achieve that position is for the country to get its own act together, and to continue the momentum towards constitutional reform that has already begun.

About bkritz

I'm a writer, and I do things my own way. That might sound cool to you, unless you're one of the people who actually knows me, in which case you're probably shaking your head in exasperation at the depth of that understatement.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Constitutional Reform: What it Looks Like from the Outside

  1. Hi BenK,

    Thank you for your insights, which I’m sure will be helpful for the advocates. There are some points however where I would like to request for clarification, and still other points where I would like to comment.

    1. Please clarify if you view “corruption” and “lack of discipline” as necessarily intertwined, or that “lack of discipline” is a social cause of “corruption” (meaning there are other causes like economic causes), or both, or I missed your point altogether.

    Re experience of Singapore, and even China, in evolving from “undiscipline” to “discipline”, I believe this was largely due to the “zero tolerance policy” in law enforcement. First, the government forces the change in behavior through sanctions. Later, the change in behavior also changes the mindsets of the people themselves.

    I remember once during a short trip to progressive city in China, I saw traces of “lack of discipline” among its common folks, unmistakably similar to the behavior of people back home in the Phil. Nonetheless, their march to progress was unmistakable and to me unstoppable. Why? Because they had strong government enforcement of the laws.

    Even here in the Phil, there are areas where “discipline” is manifest, such as in Subic Bay, Marikina City and Davao City. How can that happen? The answer seems to be same — strong government enforcement of the laws.

    So will a shift from the presidential system to the parliamentary system necessarily lead to a more disciplined people? Many advocates, myself included, truly hope and believe that it will a crucial step in that direction. Why? Because by changing the selection process for national government officials, we hope to see an improvement in the quality of leaders generated by the new system. This is however another matter which I hope to explain in other articles down the road, although I’ve seen substantially the same explanations from other advocates here like Orion.

    • BenK says:

      Your impressions are very similar to mine. As far as corruption, I think it is impossible to separate social, economic, and structural causes, and there are no solely linear relationships among those. A better structure would lead to better, more consistent enforcement of laws, which would lead to better discipline, but on the other hand, if there is no apparent value in being a disciplined member of society, i.e. economic opportunity, the effort can be thwarted. By the same token, you improve the economic prospects without imparting the discipline needed to maintain their momentum, the gains are quickly lost. Look at Subic, Marikina, Davao — those are comprehensive solutions, are they not? Social consistency plus economic opportunity. So it’s a very holistic approach that’s needed — some can focus on one aspect or the other, as long as there are other people covering the other aspects.

      • Yes I believe we are on the same page, and same with most if not all other AP believers. A holistic approach needs to be taken.

        If I may share BongV’s experience in Davao, he was part of the government team that made great strides. Among other gains, the local mayor’s was able to enforce discipline in a place that used to be the “laboratory” of the communist movement in the 1980s. But then they could not actualize the full potential of bringing in more foreign investments into the City. And the main problem was the policy of protectionism in the constitution and the laws.

        I guess in Davao, we can say that the situation and the problem is different. They already have the discipline, but they will need constitutional reform to develop further.

      • Renato Pacifico says:

        Which comes first DISCIPLINE or CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM?  What goot is constitutional reform if 99.999% of Filipinos are inherently corrupt?  It is just another futile exercise of democratic mind.  

  2. 2. Yes I agree that mere constitutional reform will not be enough.

    In the case of economic restrictions for example, they are all over the legal system and not just in the constitution. The Foreign Investments Act lists the many other economic activities which can be liberalized by law or statute. In fact, and this is the sad part, we have identified some implementing rules and regulations which impose nationality restrictions without any statutory basis. And of course, there is this protectionist orientation among many government lawyers, not so much because they are corrupt but more because that’s how they were trained. Hopefull, radical constitutional reform lifting all restrictions will also lead to revolutionary reform in the mindsets of all concerned, specially those in government implementing the law.

    Other possible areas of a reform oriented legislative agenda may include less reliance or at least moderation of the “minimum wage system”, and departure from the mechanism of “compulsory acquisition of land” in the agricultural sector under agrarian reform. These however are highly sensitive issues, and again I’d rather not go into that right now.

    Still another area is the standardization of commercial laws, not only in the Phil but even extending to the Asean region, using as model your UCC (Uniform Commercial Code). This is very long shot and I’m not sure if this is even in the discussion stage.

    • BenK says:

      EXACTLY. Constitutional liberalization, first of all, should be done carefully; give the largest possible number of people the largest possible opportunity, but don’t sell the country out. But that’s the easy part, and just the start of the real work of making mere constitutional liberalization actual economic liberalization.

      • Yes, we are aware that lifting the restrictions will have to be with our eyes open.

        During the time of Erap, their solution to opening the ownership of land to non-Filipinos was to limit it first to the economic zones. If that is what will satisfy public apprehension, then I would personally agree. Opening can be gradual. However, the constitutional restrictions will have to be lifted first, so that the legislature can exercise its discretion in writing the mechanics. If the people are still apprehensive, we can go further and insert transitory provisions in the constitutional amendments to govern the transition period.

        Based on our experience, as well as feedback from fellow advocates, I would expect strongest opposition in opening up the ownership of land. Thus, the Erap solution (which may have come from Angara) appears to be prudent. Opening the other sectors may not be as contentious.

    • ChinoF says:

      I hope they remove any ruling on business or land ownership from the Constitution. I looked at the Japanese, American and Singaporean constitutions, and they mention nothing about business ownership. The Philippine Constitution seems unique for having it. But it is a kind of uniqueness that is in bad taste. Business ownership guidelines should be in legislation, not the Constitution.

  3. 3) Yes, organized and responsible political parties can evolve even in a presidential system. My own guess why it did not do so under our present system, is that we do not have a 2-party system (which would have forced candidates to go through the party’s selection process), and the national elections at large where hugely popular but practically party-less candidates can actually win.

    Personally though, I still prefer the parliamentary system because executive power is dispersed among the majority of the MPs rather than concentrated on one individual who wins the presidential race (and can then disregard all the other players), and the tenure is not fixed. However, I also share the apprension of some advocates regarding the possible instability of the system, so as compromise we can possibly omit the power to dissolve the entire parliament and instead provide for a system of recall for individual MPs.

  4. Regarding the impression of some advocates, myself included, that there is a foreign factor impeding constitutional reforms, this is actually born out of our personal experience.

    In 2006, I handled the people’s initiative on behalf of the Sigaw ng Bayan coalition. Because of this arrangement, I had the opportunity to actively engage the main proponents. As the Phil press later reported, then National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales secretly engaged a US public relations firm to lobby for US government support for the charter change movement in the Phil. Why did he have to do that? Apparently it was because of the realization that the US government does continue to exert strong influence over Phil affairs. To cut the story short, his attempt was leaked to media and eventually blocked. We do not think ordinary Phil politicians or parties could have known that by themselves. We believe the leak came from US sources.

    If we go back 75 years earlier, I read somewhere that the US government actually required the Phil officials to adopt the presidential system, instead of the parliamentary system. Otherwise, negotiations for independence would be stalled. I can’t recall at this time however the exact source of this assertion (maybe Chit Pedrosa?). The source (or writing) was supposedly one of the former government officials who took part in writing the 1935 Constitution.

    Anyway, before I get misunderstood, I would like to clarify that I am not anti-US. In fact, I am not aware if there is any member of AP who is so. I lived in NY for about a year taking post-graduate studies and have much respect and appreciation for its people. If some concerns are raised, it’s more on the policies of the US government and certainly not on the American people. In fact, there is some thinking among a few advocates that we bring our concerns directly to the American people and network with similar minded American NGOs for this purpose. 100 years ago this would have been physically impossible. Today, with the internet, that is not so impossible anymore. This thinking however has not yet ripened. Maybe in due time…

    Nonetheless, I agree with your observation that it is not only US government interest that is at play. Being in this part of the world, I’m sure China’s interest will also be at play. It is in this context that the local people of the Phil will have to take control of its own affairs, present and future. For now, I can only watch with envy on how other countries, smaller than the Phil (in population and area) but so much bigger (in terms of the economy), can hold their own in relation to the global powers. You are correct that the bottom line is for the Phil to grow strength from its inner self, so it can deal more equitably with others in the international community of nations.

    It is with this view in mind that advocates here carry constitutional reform. We believe that system change and policy reform will help us develop inner strength.

    And as we all agree, constitutional reform will have to form part of a larger holistic approach, in order that the gains will be sustained.

    • Renato Pacifico says:

      Wrong!  WRONG!  TOTALLY WRONG!  Philippines has no economic value to America.  Philippines has no strategic, militarily or economically, importance to America.  Norberto just wanted a validation to show to Filipinos that it is supported by AMerica.  Because Filipinos wanted validation.  And this validation will make Filipinos support the Cha-Cha.  Because Filipinos believe WHITE-IS-RIGHT.  Lookit, Filipinos measure beauty by the fairness and whiteness of the skin.  Filipinos measure IQ by the englsichtzes they speak.  No matter how low-IQ the logic as long as it is spoken in long-winded-perfect-englsichtzes-and-spelling IT MUST BE RIGHT!  Because when someone speaks goot englischtzes he must have come from a scion of white fair skinned tisoy who go to America to study in ivy-school whose tuition is funded by tax avoidance and corruption.
      LOOKIT, AGAIN.  Whenever Clinton or Hillary or Obama come to Asia they skip-a-doodle-Philippines.  Because they are afraid they might be asked by our stupid media “Sir, who will win?  Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao?”
      PHILIPPHINO STUPIDITY IS BOTTOMLESS, IMMENSE was is and forever will be.

    • Renato Pacifico says:

      Lookit again, this validation thingie.  Have you noticed that all idiot columnists quote some dead poet society members?  They do not nead to quote shakespear and Little Prince.  They do not need to quote Dickens and Pharaoh Tut-ank-amun !!!  LOOKIT, PHILIFPHINOS LOVE VALIDATION.  But to me if it is 1+x=2 Ans: 1 Therefore it is logical no matter how it is looked at different angle.
      This validation thingie quoting famous dead people is intimidating Filipinos that they have gone to college .  SO WHAT?  If it makes sense IT MAKES SENSE!!!!!!

  5. Renato Pacifico says:

    If a traffic enforcer can pull-over a wang-wanger (wang-wang are installed by scion of families, political families and other corrupt power officials that has connection that can send anyone to timbuk2 by just a whisper and gossip to the ear of another corrupt power official) without consequences, THEN THAT IS THE ONLY TIME WE CAN TALK CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM.  If a traffic enforcer can pull-over an idiot peryodistas without consequences that is the time WE TALK CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM.  If Filipinos weigh on content than englsichtzes and spelling IT IS TIME WE TALK CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM.  
    If all above fails, WE MIGHT AS WELL OUTSOURCE OUR GOVERNMENT OR OUTSOURCE FILIPINOS TO their ready-made-progressive-country-of-choice ASSUMING THE COUNTRIES ARE READY TO ACCEPT THESE PEOPLE who will not and cannot contribute meaningful life-altering ideas.

    • Renato Pacifico says:

      IF ALL above else still FAILS.  Let’s talk Constitutioanl Reform.  What the heck, we are already losers, let us lose some more 🙂 Very goot exercise.  

  6. Maki says:

    This is the type of article I’ve been wanting to see from anti-pinoy. It veers away from the usual “I’m smarter than you so your views are idiotic” articles I read here.

    We all know we need numbers to implement the change we have. And the best way to do that – short of using guns – is through effective propaganda. In this regard, the article works perfectly.

    It recognizes that the concerns people previously had with charter change were valid instead of calling them morons for not wanting it. That shows empathy — which I believe goes a long, long way in trying to convince Filipinos’ emotional minds. I honestly think this article is a step in the right direction. Good job, sir!

    • Renato Pacifico says:

      See Maki ?  We are smarter you and me and the rest of Antipinoys.  🙂 

      • Maki says:

        No, I’m not smarter than anyone. I just don’t think calling people stupid is the most effective way to impart your knowledge to them. 🙂

      • Renato Pacifico says:

        Maki, lookit, those who posts comments in AntiPinoy are smarter than those idiot peryodistas.

    • Sharafa says:

      Yet being politically correct and ignoring the fact that they are stupid is far worse a sin.

      • Maki says:

        I’m not questioning the political “correctness” of the articles. What I’m questioning is whether the tone in which they are written is effective.

  7. ulong pare says:

    … daaaang!… i’m outside of the outsiders looking in trying to make sense of this constitutional reform thingy… prime example of why i am for total constitutional abolition is that all major cases filed against high-end, high-visible magnanakaws/plunderers vs flip gov lost… LOST, ALL OF THEM!… plunder cases against my idol0-bigotilyo-iyutero prez erap… plunder cases against santa doktora ate glo phd… plunder cases against tabako – fvr… plunder cases against magnanakaw in unforms gen garcia, et al… plunder cases against supremo abugagos of sandigan, ombudsman, sc,… plunder cases against durugistas… murder cases against ampats, et at…. etchastera, etc… when will flip gov gonna win???… nuke flipland…

    • Renato Pacifico says:

      Dude, Pareng Ulo, why didn’t I think of that ?  WHY IS THE NEED OF CONSTITUTION ?  Constitution is the law of the land.  When leaders rape and plunder the economy, the INTELLIGENT FILIPINO ELECTORATE VOTED THEM BACK TO THE OFFICE.  That is a show that PHILIPPINES IS NOT IN NEED OF CONSTITUTION ..    It is a lawless country where CONSTITUTION is a semblance of anarchy in a country of organized chaos.

    • Renato Pacifico says:

      Or, maybe, Filipinos are just sadists .  They want to inflect pain on themselves that is why they elect the same serial plunderers back to the office.  Self-flagellation is the norm of religious people and Filipinos are highly fanatically religious people.  OR THEY ARE JUST INSANE AND DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT.

  8. Hyden Toro says:

    We don’t want our country to be like Cuba. We want to be part of the Globalization; a progressive member of the World Community. We have problems with the Presidential System form of government. We are looking for the best form; that is fitted to our: mindsets, cultures and ways of life.
    The Presidential System produced: family political dynasties; violent elections; bitter partisanship;politicians deluding voters to get elected; and the church-oligarchy controlling the country. Public Services or government positions became Employment Agencies of the Winning Candidates.Candidates cheat in election; their followers commit fraud and intimidation on voters. If they lost; its famine for them…if they win; it is feast…we want change and real development; whereby true and sincere leaders, will come out and be given opportunity to lead us to economic recovery…

    • Renato Pacifico says:

      Filipinos are already globalized.  They can be found in Tunisia, Nigeria, India, Middle-east, America, Europe wherever … Filipinos are worth $1,000/head  http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCATRE70D26T20110114  Very very cheap.  I don’t want $1,000 from Marcos.  I WANT A VISA TO AMERICA….PLEEEEZ …. I WANT A VISA TO AMERICA 

      • Hyden Toro says:

        Globalized OFW slaves….next, we wil see OFW slave Auctioning Blocks on the streets of Ayala Ave in Makati…Revival of the slave trade? The Filipino Oligarchs the prominent OFW slave traders? Put the Auctioning on the Makati Stock Exchange?

      • ulong pare says:

        daaang!… santa doktora ate glo phd roamed around the globe prostituting flip sexy gurlz/super maids as hugas pfwets… allah eh, di kumita ng ‘sang tambaks na million $$$ remittance… it’s a legit and legal slave trading… $100/mo +board&lodging

      • Renato Pacifico says:

        HA!HA!HA!  Goot observation !!!  OFW Slaves are already auctioned off in POEA trading floor nationwide.  HA!HA!HA!  

      • Weizz says:

        To quote what someone said before “There are so many Filipinos, even in Manila!”

  9. ulong pare says:

    daaaang!… yo flips, which constitution are u talking about? flipland has none…or will traposakals glue together the shreded constitution written on sheeet paper?… or re-write the shreded and reconstituted copy currently hidden in da aparador ni prez gung gong… in flipland, there’s a plunder case filed every month… against tambays, patadyaks, jeepney drivers, pulis kotongs, barangay tanod, governors, tonggressmen, senatongs, ombudsman, sc, x-prez, xxx-prez, afp henerales, ndf/cpp/npa, ampats, failon, wowowees, echastera, etc… ABSWELTO LAHAT! TALO ANG FLIP GOV… bekos, it unconstitutional daw…. bwa ha he hi ho hu hu hu hu prrrssssst singhot…. ubo ubo…

  10. ChinoF says:

    What I’ve thought of is that it seems so difficult to open up a Paypal or other such international account, or rather to encash that money here, simply because Paypal cannot just set up shop and disburse that money here. They’ll have to find a local partner to able to set up shop, and either partners are reluctant, or they may even be corrupt. Or if you have a payment coming from an international company you did freelance work for, you’d have to pay for wire service or do that “for collection” thing on a foreign currency check which can take a month. No wonder international payments are very difficult in the Philippines. I think the current constitutional provisions are really meant to block international commerce.

  11. anon says:

    as usual we have too many academics with verbal diarreoha pontificating on subjects on they have no practical experience.
    the issue is not simply about charter change especially when u have a mix of legal incompetents and self interested parties trying to make the change.
    it is about cultural change which is harder and more fundamental.
    1. politics is a route to easy and obscene amounts of money
    .this must change so you get genuinely committed people not just brain dead sons and failed actors and drug pushers.
    2. the voting public must be more aware and informed. freedom of information is an act that will never happen.

    the solutions are obvious but without political will nothing will happen.

    we have traitors and criminals in the senate and congress.

    slowly they are taking the country to the very bottom and consigning this and the next generation to pain and poverty whilst they get rich through scams and corruption.

    self respecting people would not accept it but if you have no cojones then you have no hope.

    the future is videoke, rice, and wailing willie. or hell on earth

  12. phil says:

    you labour under a misapprehension.
    the outside world does not care about a country with such low values and morals which only survives through aid from the first world.
    hustlers who simply take and contribute nothing except cheap housemaids and prostitutes are not really of interest in the world order.
    there are far more deserving countries.
    and as the philippines increasingly becomes a colony of china the west will pull the plug on aid and grants and business.
    and the chinese in power in the philippines will have achieved what they want.
    so simple stupid and subservient. u get what u deserve in life

    • Miriam Quiamco says:

      This is a rather malicious comment and lacking historical insight.  We are not the sole exporters of housemaids and prostitutes, where are your facts sir?  Even in Japan, there are prostitutes from China, Taiwan, South Korea and European countries, including Russia.  Prostitution is the oldest profession and the Philippines is not the main exporter of prostitutes.  But come to think of it, hypocrisy aside, in many European countries, prostitution is a legal profession and if the Philippines contributes to the industry, why is that despicable?  The slavery part of it is what is horrendous, and this needs to be addressed as a global issue, like how Romanian and Russian prostitutes are victims of human traficking, courtesy of the global network or organized crime syndicates.  We are not only exporting prostitutes, and as to our export of domestics, I beg to disagree that this contribution to global prosperity is worthy of your disparaging comment.  In addition, the domestic helpers in Thailand are from Myanmar and other neighboring countries.  

      The Filipina domestics all over the word are easing the burden of working women who are joining the rat race.  We are doing something good for the world, taking care of their elderly because they are too busy making money to do it themselves, looking after their children because working and harried mothers are unable to do its themselves, etc., etc., etc., being a domestic is not a crime and certainly is not worthy of you maligning words.  We have found our niche in this globalized and intensely competitive capitalistic world.  Why should we be ashamed of it?  I am not, and I am not a domestic helper myself.  I am proud of those domestics and those Filipinas who are doing a great job as domestic helpers.  This is not to say that we should stop at this in pursuing economic development, that we have taken advantaged of an economic niche for OFWs in a world market, at a time when we have not developed competitive industries and with a local economy without a buying power to propel us to economic growth, I say the OFW policy of the previous administration makes sense.

  13. phil says:

    miriam
    i apologise.
    my remark was extreme and inappropriate.
    and my intention was not to cast a slur on ofws who undergo great hardship to help their family.
    i have helped many in different countries i have lived.
    the issue is at a macro level where ofws are a key economic component and where quality and innovation is sadly lacking in business.
    visit singapore, s korea and now even vietnam and cambodia and you see energy, ideas and creativity abound.
    a top down approach never works as i have seen in cuba.
    you have to free up innovation bottom up to fuel widespread growth or any growth is simply retained by the top 5 percent.
    and this only happens in a true democracy with decent values and strong leadership.
    my real point is that filipinos are too accepting of wrong and resign their fate to god and others.
    if too many do this then it is a defeated nation with little strength of will and accepting of the status quo.

  14. An economy burdened by economic restrictions, prohibiting and criminalizing the entry of foreign competition to protect local business interests, is NOT an economic democracy. It stifles the freedom of economic choice. A political selection process that favors the rich and famous, because it adopts nationwide elections at large which only a handful out of the 90 million people can afford to conduct, is NOT a political democracy.

    We will need system change to complement any culture change or value change effort. With a more democractic environment in the economy and politics, we have a much better chance of releasing the energies of more people, specially those at the bottom who unfortunately have developed a mindset of hopelessness.

    Culture change, values change and system change must all come together as this article points out. It’s not a question of which comes first. It needs to be a holistic approach. Everyone must contribute in what they can, and in areas where they are strong. No one can realistically expect anyone else to be able to address and solve all these problems at once.

    • ChinoF says:

      I very much agree with this. It’s a holistic approach. The needed changes must be addressed all at once or the momentum for change will be weaker.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s