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Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

An Open Letter to Congress and the Next President:

SOLVE POVERTY AND FOOD SECURITY BY “NEUTRALIZING” HOMELESS BEGGARS AND STREET CHILDREN AMONG OTHERS

I have had enough of empty promises and fang-less laws. I was eating a while ago at a fast food restaurant and a beggar approached me… three beggars in fact. They were asking for alms and it took me some time to convince them to leave me alone. After that, they crossed the street without even looking at the traffic lights causing minimal traffic mess in that part of the road.

Don’t you just hate it? These people do not have any tangible or intangible contribution (perhaps with the exception of being a topic for academic discourse) in the society and they are even causing problems and discomfort to many of us. I am being taxed for almost a third of my salary and a hefty portion of this is dedicated to poverty alleviation. Hell, the government even provides for housing projects to illegal settlers! I HATE IT! I HATE IT! I HATE IT! For me to have a house, I needed to apply for a loan and save for the down payment. I will be paying my loan in decades. But for some lucky homeless illegal settlers, they can probably have their houses for free courtesy of public taxes… and I am a tax payer. Is that fair?

Even jailed criminals get some portion of our taxes. I really cannot understand why we have to spend on them. Reformation? BS. Statistics show that many had-core criminals are actually second-time offenders. Why allow them to make the second chance to commit a crime? Spending millions of pesos from our taxes (jails, personnel, maintenance, etc) just to make sure the convicted criminals are treated properly is just absurd.

So, what do I suggest to eradicate these problems? I can only think of two things: Either eradicate these parasites (by killing/gassing them or something) or simply making them slaves or government properties.

One — kill the parasites. My first question is: What have we got to lose? They don’t contribute to the society. If we are to lose anything at all, it’s probably criminality and ‘social burdens’. Don’t you just hate beggars walking in the busy streets of the metro knocking on your car’s window and asking for alms? or when you are eating in a restaurant and they are bugging you? What will be the loss of the society if we kill all these parasites?

Let’s include the convicted criminals. Are we losing anything socially significant if we just gas or burn the inmates in city jails? I mean, these people have violated the laws of the land and are even potentially capable of committing them again if we let them free (and that’s according to statistics). Imagine, we spend for their health care, food, electricity, and salaries of those managing the penal systems. And for what? So we can be “humane” to criminals?

Two — if #1 is too harsh, then, let’s make all these insignificant people government properties. Let’s make them government slaves. The government can use them to mine oil, natural gas, gold, etc for free. Hell we can even make an electric company powered by these government slaves.

My point is simple: zero-out these liabilities (option 1 above) or turn them into something productive or useful (option 2). In doing so, the government can even divert the budget allocation from poverty alleviation and related social services to something more significant (as far as the taxpayers are concerned) — more roads connecting farms to market or cities to other rural areas; efficient waste management procedures; environment friendly ways of generating cheaper electricity, etc.

(We can even address food security if we push option #1 a step further…)

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The wizards got it right the first time: Passion rules reason. This is a warning that we should always remember. As a blogger/journalist, when you hear an issue that you are so passionate about, the best course of action is to let the story be absorbed by your mind fully before reacting on it… before writing about it. Because if you cast your decision even before you were able to absorb it fully, chances are, you’ll be making an uninformed decision or view.

Last year, when I heard about the golf brawl between the members of the Pangandaman and Dela Paz families, I immediately wrote a short article and judged the Pangandamans guilty of–, well, guilty of something evil. Where did I base my opinion/conclusion? From the blog of the Dela Paz daughter. She narrated in her blog what happened, and “clearly,” the Pangandamans are at fault.

A week ago, four students from the Quezon City Science High School (QCSHS) were suspended by their principal because according to the news, the students blogged about how they hate the principal because of this-and-that stuff. The angst of these students was mostly on how the principal administers the school. And because this would ruin the principal’s reputation, and hence the school’s, the official suspended them for 10 days. Usurpation of the freedom of expression, right? So, again, I felt compelled to write about this.

Finally, over the weekend, I received an email spreading around from one inbox to another. This is the one about the retirement of a UP janitor (Meliton Zamora) and his less than 1 peso retirement benefit. In this email, the writer blames all the students who made Mang Meliton their guarantor. It was because of these student loans that the poor janitor received almost nothing when he retired. Allegedly, the University deducted these loans from Mang Meliton’s retirement pension or something. So, imagine the rage of students in the UP community when they read this. I, for one, have commented on so many articles and emails regarding this issue and said words like “sana maghirap yang mga walang utang na loob na mga estudyanteng yan.” I mean, how can a student, and a Iskolar ng Bayan at that, do that to a janitor?! Right? This is supposedly beyond mere legal and civil matters. This is immoral.

But wait, where am I driving at? No, it’s not about the injustices committed by those people surrounding me. This is not about the Pangandamans, the QCSHS principal, nor the UP students who failed to pay their student loans causing Mang Meliton to receive only ~P1 (92 cents!) after his retirement. This is about the injustices I have committed against those I have “judged” without doing due diligence on the matter. Why and how did this contemplation hit me? Yesterday, I saw Mang Meliton’s issue in the TV/news. In that segment, the reporter interviewed Mang Meliton and asked in detail what really happened. And you know what? The students who didn’t pay their student loans (guaranteed by Mang Meliton) has ALMOST NOTHING to do with the 97-cent payout he received (save for a 5000-peso loan in 2003). I was so embarrassed to myself for having misjudged my fellow scholars. The 97-cent payout has to be investigated given the diligence of Mang Meliton to his duties, but again this is not about it. This is about ME making conclusions without proper information, or at the very least, attempting to do a research or giving the benefit of the doubt to all parties involved.

It was the passion that made me make these abrupt and probably wrong conclusions (I was already proven wrong in the case of Mang Meliton). I hope this would be the last time that I’ll commit this stupidity.

The freedom of expression that blogging allowed us to exercise is a great power. And as the famous movie line goes,

…with great power comes great responsibility.

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TO GET THE PHILIPPINES OUT OF THE MESS IT IS IN THROUGH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, DISCIPLINE, GOOD GOVERNANCE, EDUCATION, AND NATIONAL UNITY.

It is said that we do not need to produce any more laws — we have enough of them already. The problem is simply on the implementation. I beg to disagree. We are lacking so many crucial laws and policies because what we have right now are laws with no fangs, no balls. We have a death penalty law, but as soon as some death convicts are to be executed, the law was abolished. We were able to oust Estrada, and even able to charge and convict him criminally, but when the Department of Justice was about to execute the penalty (imprisonment), he was pardoned. What the–!!!

We cannot move on to becoming a developed country with these kinds of people, law, and institutions. We need some drastic changes in our system. I am humbly proposing a five-point agenda on how to make Philippines a great country.

The Core Problems and the Solutions

This essay summarizes the steps that need to be taken for the Philippine nation to get out of the mess it is in right now. This will also propel the next generation to staggering heights that no one has ever dreamed of. The agenda are focused on poverty, crime and punishment, public service and corruption, education, and peace and harmony.

Agenda 1 — Forced Slavery is the Solution to Poverty

You got it right — forced slavery! One of the measures of a country’s poverty is its GDP/GNP per capita. I cannot believe why our economists failed to realize that this is simple math: To increase this variable, you need either to increase the GDP/GNP, OR decrease the value of the denominator, per capita. How do we do that? Forced slavery. Everyone falling below the poverty index should not be considered as a Filipino citizen, but rather, as slaves; this will significantly decrease the number of legitimate population, and increase the labor force. Latest estimate is that we have 30% of our population living below poverty line. With a population of 90 million, this will make the Philippines the only Asian country (other than Brunei) with no people leaving under poverty line (because they are now slaves, NOT citizens), effectively increasing our labor force, FREE labor force, by a maximum of 27 million bodies. Wouldn’t you be happy if you live in a country with 0% population living below poverty line? Those would-be slaves should be stripped off of their basic human rights, save for their right to live — which, would be determined by the state of course.

These 27 million people will be distributed to economic magnates — Sy, Ayala, Tan, etc. — and they will be utilized to serve the legitimate Filipino citizens. They can also be assigned to become mine workers, fishermen, farmers, etc. for free. This suggestion will not only eradicate the poverty line people but will help in increasing our GNP, at no additional cost.

Agenda 2 — Jaywalkers Must Be Shot; Survivors Should be Shot Again

Many studies provided proof that most “big-time” criminals started with something small or petty crimes. Murderers, kidnappers, drug pushers, etc. started committing a lesser crime before that heinous crime/s. To instill how serious the state is in addressing crimes, violations of ANY law should be penalized with the death sentence. Drug pushing, economic sabotage, treason? Death penalty. Guilty of jaywalking? Death penalty. Shoplifting, swerving, color-coding violation? Death penalty. If the state would want to instill the greatest deterrence, that would be death penalty. If it will not be a deterrence, at least we know that no violator will ever commit any crime for the second time… at least in this world of ours.

In this case, what will the jail system be for? It will be used for two purposes: One, temporary holding while a case is still being tried. Remember, a conviction will result to death penalty, regardless of the crime committed. And two, prisons will also be used to house the slaves while their “work assignment” is still being decided by, say, Department of Slavery Planning and Deployment.

Agenda 3 — Robots Should Lead Our Nation

A specialized School of Government will be established. Every year, a certain percentage of new-born babies will be randomly selected and the state through the government will take control and separate them from their biological parents. (This is an unimplemented ancient proposal by a very wise philosopher.) These children will be indoctrinated and trained to become the best public servants with no other accountability but the state. They will not be taught with the idea of a sister, brother, or parents. As far as they know, they are children of the state and their duty is to protect and uphold the interests of the state and state alone. They will undergo the same program of education as the rest of the legitimate citizens, but in a secluded setting so as to ensure effective and complete indoctrination.

As soon as they have completed their education which includes the indoctrination, they will be deployed to different government offices — legislative, executive, judiciary, as well as in the police and military.

All constitutional bodies (Human Rights, Audit, etc.) will be restructured such that they will form part of the School of Government. All their missions and visions will be incorporated in the indoctrination proper of the students of the School.

It is only in this way that the state can be assured of a clean and incorruptible public servants and protectors.

Agenda 4 — Education Is not a Right; It Is a Privilege

Education should absolutely be free for all levels, but this should not be considered as a right. Education would be a privilege for deserving individuals. Statistics show that less than 5% of the educated people (let’s call them the Core Professionals) make use of their education, i.e., not all engineering graduates end up becoming engineers (a number of them become call center agents), not all education graduates end up teaching in the academe or become educators in their own way (most of them ending up working abroad having another career), not all economics majors end up becoming, well, economists, and so on. The point is, why waste your resources on their education if they would not be using them at all? So, why not give all the government’s efforts and resources to ensuring the above-mentioned Core professionals get the best of the best of education that they need?

The question is how to select this 5%. First off, slaves will not be allowed to be educated. They are slaves (previously, people living below the poverty line) because they are either lazy to work their ass off, or they simply are not capable to learn. Either way, why waste resources on them? Exceptional slaves will surely be noticed by their masters, and then and only then, will they be considered to have educational privileges. Else, being a slave would be their role to the society and nothing more.

This leaves us with only the legitimate citizens to choose from. All qualified citizens by virtue of their social status will be required to enroll and take elementary education. Using regression analysis, a certain percentage of poor-performing students will be raked-off from the roll every year, until the exact number of Core Professional is reached as soon as they reach tertiary level. By that time, the state will be ensured of devoting its complete and best resources on the best qualified students. Legitimate citizens who did not make the cut for the Core Professionals have to prove themselves in any other way.

The bottom-line: Education is not a right. It is such a crucial and expensive resource that should only be given to the best qualified individuals.

Agenda 5 –Shut Up or Be Shot

No more freedom of expression. If this is not clear enough, no more freedom of speech, no more freedom of the press, and no more freedom of assembly. The Philippines has constant economic worries partly because of the unproductive political bickering happening everywhere, every time. And why do we always have political bickering?

Because of unnecessary and pointless freedom of expression accorded to them. People make unfounded accusations against the government, stage rallies here and there, and publish stories with based on secret informants. To ensure that political peace and harmony is achieved, and hence, economic development, the state should criminalize rallies, public appearances or speeches aiming to discredit the state, as well as anti-government publications. Any individual, group, or institution “expressing” their opinion on any matter without any concrete and convincing evidence should be considered criminals. In this way, we can make sure that the government can do its job and at the same time, maintain a positive reputation for other states and foreign investors.

Corollary — On religion: A state religion should be imposed.

The presence of different religion makes the state prone to conflicts. Would there be a problem in Mindanao had there been no Islamic religion and ways? All Filipinos should swear allegiance and faith to only one deity. Ideally, it doesn’t matter what religion as long as there should only be one denomination in the system. But because we are a democratic country, and a Catholic-dominated country at that, the state shall impose Catholicism, NOT just Christianity, as the state religion. Everyone opposing this mandate shall be considered enemies of the state and shall be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, i.e., military might.

Conclusion

The above-mentioned proposals/agenda may be a little bit revolutionary and uncustomary. The civil society, academe, and even existing government officials may disagree, citing human rights violation, discrimination, issue on feasibility, and many other concerns that may or may not be valid. But the point here is simple: We have had enough of the inefficiency of the current system.

We have tried everything. Education was offered to far-flung areas of the country. Did that improve the literacy of the Filipinos in the country-side? Political visionaries have tried to run for election. What happened? Estrada won over Roco (and it’s a landslide, if I may add!) and Jaworski and Revilla beat Pagdanganan and Yorac in the Senate! Public housing was offered to squatters (oh, darn the political in-correctness of the term!), and what happened after they receive their houses? They sold their rights to the house and went back to their previous place as squatters. We have tried our best, and nothing happened. It became worse if anything at all happened.

Unless there would be a strong political will to implement what would be necessary for the interest and good of the Filipinos; unless the present generation of public servants and protectors would set aside greed and personal interest and focus on the common good first; unless the common tao themselves are willing to help themselves and thus help the society; I believe there is no way but to disregard human rights and ensure effective and immediate implementation of these five-point agenda.

PS: A Commission on Eugenics should be established.

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*Inspired by an essay of Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Irish cleric, political pamphleteer, satirist, and writer.

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