Monday, March 12, 2007

Regression Of The Philippine Society

This new round of crackdown on the legal left shows how narrow-minded this government is. The Huks started it all and it seems that social reform has yet to see the light of day. With the way president after president failed to pull the poor up, one would wonder if indeed our politicians welcome social change.

I believe that our insurgency has evolved from an ideology-based to one which espouses genuine social reform. Our society has become to restrictive that the masses had lost their voice and their rights. With the increasing number of people driven into a life of desperation, they end up in the mountains to fight for their survival.

Now we see the upper classes of society view them as outcasts or as government would want us to believe, terrorists. They chose to create their own society because society has forgotten they exist. They built their own institutions and have their own brand of justice. With the feeling of alienation, they were forced to take a different path to change. Our institutions are filled with landlords and greedy officials.

These landlords can all be found in the halls of congress. Familiar names whose families own majority of the lands in their provinces and districts. Their serfs are expected to vote them into office or suffer more poverty. They use their land as a carrot for their laborers, The people are held hostage by a few. These are the true oligarchs, our representatives in congress. The real industrialists do not hold elective positions. Its our representatives who own haciendas and plantations. Their laborers slave under them deprived of basic rights.

The law has also deprived them of justice. The courts have been made inaccessible by the fees a complainant has to pay to file a case. We have to thank Chief Justice Davide for that. If only he did not think that our justices needed an expensive hall to hold court. If only he did not think the justices needed expensive luxury cars. If only he did not think the justices needed an expensive summer retreat in Baguio. While the Supreme Court justices lived in opulence and splendor, municipal and regional judges had to make do with whatever they had. The fees the courts impose now discriminates the poor. Its no wonder why many prefer to take the law into their own hands as the courts are no longer venues to seek redress.

This administration is pushing us back to feudalism. The people become so marginalized that they are no longer a functioning member of society. The insurgency is kept alive by people thrown out by a society that is so unequal and unjust. I cannot blame those who take up arms to fight a system who has not addressed their needs and plight. They are now members of an outcast society. They impose their own taxes and their have own courts. Its a society within a society.

Now we call them terrorists when they terrorize the rich. We accuse them as having kangaroo courts when our courts are selective as well. We pay taxes that never benefit us and most end up in the pockets of bandits masquerading as public servants. We must realize that we live in a society that will never accept change. A society which fears change, a change so drastic that it strikes fear than understanding. Many dismiss the insurgents as mere bandits yet we allow banditry in our institutions. Is this the progress our leaders boast of? Unless we understand what our brothers in the hills are fighting for, we will never have peace. Unless we accept that peace cannot be achieved through the barrel of a gun and persecution of those who believe in an equal society, progress will be an elusive dream.

As long as we have leaders who are greedy and insensitive, all kinds of reforms will never materialize. I have seen the despair in the eyes of the poor. I have seen them abused by those who have deep pockets. I have even heard comments like they have no right to complain because they never pay taxes. Every Filipino has rights and our constitution assures that right even to the poorest of the poor. We who have enough should be the last to put down the poor. We who are schooled should learn to understand. Only when we are humble enough to care, then and only then can we rein in those who have been alienated to believe in the society we envision.

Our country has never known freedom. Our politicians protect the rich and drive away the poor. They only remember the poor during elections. They feed on the desperation of the people to advance their personal interests. We have always been slaves to the rich. Sixty years of liberty amounted to nothing. Our society continue to regress, soon we will be back to a feudalistic society where we are all serfs and our leaders, our landlords.