It’s the lack of and resistance to discipline

​Conspiracy theories around human rights violations, Martial Law, and misuse of the death penalty if enacted belie a deeper issue among Filipinos which is the lack of self-discipline and true regard for neighbor (we’re losing these positive traditional values).

Just look at the rivers, especially in urban areas where you’d think people being more knowledgeable and cultured will have the cleanest water bodies, the waters have been choked to death with household and industrial waste (and then they cry in the movie house over some imagined fate of imaginary Avatars?). Pati ba naman kasi yung kaliit-liit na candy wrapper hindi pa maitapon sa tamang lalagyan? Must the State tell hands to not throw out garbage and dicks not to urinate in public places? Should we wait for the highest person in the land, the President, to tell us to store away for good that nuisance wang wang? It must’ve shocked the former President how his mere reiteration of a standard rule in vehicular use gained him massive yehey! from Filipinos. What did I say? Why am I suddenly a hit? What’s going on? A presidency buoyed up by an anti-wang wang policy! If for anything, that gave him an important insight into the psyche of Filipinos.

Look everywhere. It is the daily experience of the average Filipino. Here and there, the vandalization of common spaces by failure of local governments to implement their own strategies and codes such as zoning, and willful disobedience of basic dos and dont’s when occupying public places.

We can’t observe lines (in places outside of Makati City CBD). We stop PUVs in the middle of the road and are dropped off in the middle of the road. We talk at the top of our lungs in places where quiet is the rule. We dress like we were going for a swim inside sacred places. We drive through red lights and zebra lines (which is why despite technology we still have warm bodies on the road directing traffic even under strong sunlight). We spit phlegm everywhere. We park wherever we want to. We cut down trees planted in public grounds. And when we are caught and shown the NO SPITTING, NO URINATING, NO SPEEDING/REDUCE SPEED, CHILDREN CROSSING, NO PARALLEL/PARKING, NO CUTTING OF TREES, OBSERVE PROPER DRESS CODE signs and the like, we make a scene, we cry foul, we insist that we have been deprived of our human rights, that government is acting with impunity, we make joke of it. When that’s not enough, we flash IDs of relatives in government (which is nothing more than threatening the same authorities in government). And we haven’t mentioned our other duties yet, like filing and paying taxes. The funny part is, we transform into sheep when in foreign countries. There, we follow the laws to the last letter. What do governments have there that we haven’t got here?

Now, this State business of going after crooks and the proposed death penalty- they put the fear in people. Good. For the longest time, wala na tayong kinakatakutan, we turned up our noses at our most basic of laws, because anyway this government, ay, good for nothing so might as well do our own thing. We the people are that government in case we’ve forgotten. See this? We have no respect for self, others, or our public institutions. 

If we can’t be trusted to do the good or right thing even when no one is watching, as simple as not urinating in public places, we force the hand of the State to exert greater authority on us even down to our private parts. What if the State turns a blind eye to such bullheadedness? The whole place will stink. And nobody wants that to happen.

For every human right there is a corresponding responsibility on the part of the rights holder. One cannot claim it with impunity. When claiming the right to free speech and expression, there is the corresponding duty to not be a nuisance to others or impinge on the right of others to privacy. Karaoke singing on speakers that penetrate bedroom walls at bedtime, or partying on frontyards until partygoers are drunk which by that time howl more wolfishly than the actual animals- this is tyranny not freedom. In the same vein, when barangay, municipal, or city officials do not or will not do their duties to maintain peace and order on the ground, the national is forced to step in. But even when the national intervenes to save localities, we’re seeing a wrecked version of goverment. Where are the first responders and what are they doing?

So how does one tame and coax a bull? Shoving a lamb inside the ring does not do it for sure. Ask Pacquiao. And Martial Law? Has Davao ever been put under Martial Law in the years that the President was it’s mayor?

The people get the government that they not only actually but importantly feel themselves to deserve, one which simultaneously flatters and humiliates them, and in ways that allow them to hide and lose themselves in the process.


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