AS A symptom of the cancer that is eating way at our body politic, the hostage tragedy is not unlike previous tragedies such as the Maguindanao massacre. Yet, while the noise level of domestic anger is going through the roof, it’s all about symptom control, nothing on cancer removal.

The minority cuts President Noynoy Aquino’s fledgling administration to pieces obviously to downplay the tragedies they caused as the previous ruling majority and to gather “pogi” points for their next bid to reacquire power.

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The administration resorts to an investigative task force that is doomed to grind ever so slowly but surely to an inconclusive end. The amateurish Swat (Sorry Wala Akong Training?) has degraded evidence or even removed it and media is being gagged.

Many blame media for showcasing our bungling ways when media’s mistake, if mistake it was, should be waking us up to the reality that there is something terribly wrong with our society, the root of which we have to get at or the symptoms, of which the hostage crisis was only one, will recur.

Once again, as part of our wide-ranging incompetence, we are addressing the symptoms and not the illness that causes them.

Thus, we did not hear the Chinese government tell us what is at the bottom of our economic and moral poverty. In its very strongly worded note of condemnation, the Chinese government rather scornfully referred to us as a people with a “culture of colonization.”

Progressive countries in Asia that have cut the oppressive political, economic and cultural chains of their former colonizers treat their citizens as equals, developing them into a politically mature, economically secure and culturally sophisticated peoples. We, however, are a colony of the local ruling elite that has retained the world-view of our colonizers, a world-view that divides a nation into king and subjects. It is a world-view that stacks all privileges on the king and his royal entourage and idolizes ownership of power and wealth as the source of privilege.

The king is not accountable to the people but the people to the king who is God’s representative. We have set up democratic institutions but they are mere facades because the people’s “culture of colonization” makes them see only the privileges to exploit and not the responsibility to serve the people with competence and honesty.

This country needs to decolonize and cut deep into its politico-economic structures or the symptoms will not abate. Gagging the media is abuse of privilege (rooted in colonial times) and a step in the opposite direction. Compromise agreements in land reform are not deep enough cuts either and persisting in being a satellite economy of the US is not to cut at all.