WE ARE governed by Filipinos not by foreigners. Thus, when we say Covid-19 has exposed “weaknesses” in current governance, we are really talking of “weaknesses” in our society. Officials in government were raised and educated in, hence products of, Philippine society.
The underlying assumption is a fallacy that these “weaknesses” can be eliminated by the right kind of leaders. Offhand that would be correct except that a morally bankrupt society such as ours cannot possibly produce responsible, competent and honest leaders.
Moral reform of society’s institutions (home, school, Church), therefore, comes first, but not before we start blaming ourselves and these institutions for producing leaders who we elect and allow to get away with murder, plunder, drug dealing, etc. “Weaknesses” in governance will not go away until we wake up to our moral bankruptcy and our lack of national identity as evidenced by our selfishness in thinking of and working only for the good of our family.
I don’t mind sounding like a broken record but we do need a rational and critical education to rid our subconscious of colonial leadership models. We need the kind of education that will make us recognize the bitter irony that we were taught Christian values of justice and equality by the very people who plundered our land and did not treat us as equals.
Unless we disabuse ourselves of this oppressive leadership model future leaders will lead us in exactly the same way foreigners before and their successors now lead us, by the nose. We have to take destiny in our hands and stop letting religious oligarchs talk us into accepting the harsh reality of our marginal lives as God’s will and something not to rage about but to suffer with equanimity.
The second fallacy is the assumption behind the opposition’s criticisms against the current administration that if Duterte is taken out and replaced by one of them the “weaknesses” in governance will disappear.
This is false on two counts. First, they were the previous administration; and judging from the problems inherited by the current administration it is safe to say the same “weaknesses” characterized all previous governances.
And second, Duterte is not the problem. Our problem is the oligarchy. They decide with their money (to buy votes, TV ads, guns and goons) who wins elections. Their winning candidates then become their proxies who cater to their whims and fancies and not to the needs of the majority.
We have to be rid of oligarchic rule if we are to have responsible, competent and honest governance. We have to wise up to the futility of exchanging leaders who know nothing more than the oppressive leadership model of our former colonial masters.