Carvajal: Enemies within

Break Point

The Philippines needs to wage only two wars. These are not against external enemies that menace our borders but against enemies destroying us from within. China is a threat only to the sovereignty of political dynasties that practically own the Philippines but not to the majority of Filipinos who own nothing and are not sovereign in our faux democracy.

These are wars against poverty and corruption, hands down the country’s principal enemies. They feed on each other to cause great harm to Filipino lives. No administration has ever waged more than a token war against either. Instead, the ruling elite use both to perpetuate themselves in power. How? By buying their high offices from poverty-stricken voters with graft and corruption money.

It is a no-brainer why no administration has ever waged a consequential war against poverty and corruption. Government officials cannot wage war against the corruption that affords them lives of luxury even as the rest of the population struggles to survive and the nation becomes more powerless in stamping out this bane of public service.

Nor can political dynasties in government wage war against the mass poverty that is rooted in the inequitable economic system they protect and perpetuate. They cannot possibly wage war against a system that gives them the bigger slice of the economic pie but leaves trickles to the rest of the population. Thus, poverty’s footprint in this country is as big if not bigger than ever.

The inevitable conclusion is the first remarkable aspect of these wars. They are wars only the Filipino public, not the government, can wage. The second and more remarkable aspect is that they need to be fought in a legal and truly peaceful manner. Otherwise, the country gets inextricably caught in the vicious cycle of winners (of a violent revolution) becoming the new oppressors.

Violence solves nothing but only begets more violence. Like how many Filipinos have to die before the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) can win, if ever, their armed struggle against the government? How many peace-loving change agents have to suffer prison, torture and even death, as they are inevitably lumped (red-tagged?) by government together with violent extreme leftists? Besides, dictatorships of the extreme right or extreme left variety, like all dictatorships, are equally the anti-theses of liberty and freedom.

It has been done before. Filipinos won a peaceful revolution at Edsa but failed to get a grip on the reins of government as Edsa was a spontaneous eruption of pent-up animosity towards a dictator. It had no organization, no unifying ideology, and no charismatic leader, around all of which a farmer-worker-fisher folks-political party (yes, this is what I mean all along) must be organized to effect peaceful democratic changes in Philippine society.

Definitely a tall order. Yet something the Filipino nation must find the gumption to accomplish or inexorably slide down the chute to the dustbin of history.


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