Friday, June 17, 2005

Oh Sayang.

Quite a few Americans think it was a good thing Ferdinand Marcos was deposed. Quite a number of my Filipino friends think otherwise. I am coming around to their point of view with one exception. Marcos may have been corrupt but it seems there was a lot more faith in his government
being able to accomplish things.

Currently there is little faith in the Filipino Government. It matters little if the tapes with GMA supposedly rigging the election with the COMELEC chair are real or not, it matters little if her son really took money from illegal gambling interests (well, it does matter as far as right and wrong go, but it matters little in terms of confidence in the government). What matters is such accusations are not dismissed out of hand and are readily believable to large numbers. It shows exactly what that government has become.

The one exception in recent Filipino government history was the Ramos administration. Ramos seemed competent and sincere and while some think he too was on the take I don't believe it [that Ramos was on the take] for a second. Aquino was incompetent and way over her head, Ramos was
good, Estrada corrupt and if the evidence being presented is on the up and up then GMA is not any better than Estrada.

It seems everyone everywhere in the Filipines is on the take. A buddy of mine talks about receiving better treatment from airport guards in exchange for a bribe of chocolate bar or soap. An author of a book I recently read describes being shook down by a policeman for a bribe
(which he did not pay, the policeman did not bother with issuing a proper ticket or fine for the offense committed). Abu Sayyf brags about how its most reliable arms supplier is the Filipino Military (thereby making leftist conspiracy theories that Abu Sayyf is a Govt invention all the more believable). Top Generals skim the payroll and privates go without their salary. Wonder why they sell their weapons or police officers shake down criminals (of varying degrees) for money without bothering to punish the offense?

I am at a complete loss on how to fix the situation. In some places when the civilian government becomes corrupt the military steps in and takes over (e.g. Pakistan) but when both the Government and Military are corrupt a military takeover is not the answer.

One older Filipino I know thinks the Japanese with their beheading (this is WWII era stuff here) for even the slightest offense would be better than what they have now.

Oh Sayang.