PERHAPS referencing the wildfires in Australia, Prince Charles said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that the world needs a new economic model or we will all burn. This basically means we cannot continue exploiting the earth’s resources to our greed’s content and hope to reverse worsening climactic conditions that threaten earth’s very existence.
In much the same manner the Philippines needs a new political model or we will perish under the weight of an exclusive economic system. The current model keeps power firmly in the vise-grip of those who benefit exclusively from the current economic system. Understandably those in power cannot be expected to shift to an economic system that will be inclusive and equitable.
The original Philippine political house was built by the framers of the First Philippine Republic, most if not all of them upper class Filipinos. Before long, however, it was occupied and remodeled by the Americans to answer to their, in today’s language, national security interests. In 1946, they turned the house over for management by Philippine society’s privileged upper class that touched it up here and there to cater to their vested interests. Thus, not by accident but by design the house continues to this day to be managed by the oligarchic elite.
Since then, the foundations of our political and economic structures have remained unchanged. Only make-shift repairs were done (including by the 1976 constitution) to meet, often inadequately, the growing needs of Filipinos. If you’ve seen a big old house that has undergone make-shift repairs, the picture is one of an ungainly structure that is fixing to collapse under the weight of tacked-on repairs.
But an old house’s structural foundations can only take so much repair and jerry-rigging. Time comes when a new and heavier foundation has to be laid out to support a new and stronger structure that can carry present and future loads of people and their stuff.
That time for us is now. Judging from worsening corruption, criminality, and poverty of masses of Filipinos, we are beyond saving by an old structure which has become ungainly with all those make-shift repairs.
A federal system might be or might not be the answer. The point is the old house can no longer take on additional makeshift repairs and still hope to solve the modern day problems of its Filipino occupants. We have to build a new house before the old one collapses under the weight of crumbly repairs.
We could, of course, do nothing. In that case, we need not worry if the earth is saved by a new economic model Prince Charles prescribes. For, by that time we might already be long buried under our collapsed old house.