>Land of Breached Contracts

>The Philippines does it again. Let me rephrase for that statement is insufficient to tell its veracity, brevity, and clarity. The Philippines is (and probably will still be) doing it again. Most of the Filipinos are still living below the poverty line. The word “corrupt” is still etched within the political system and those thugs who run it. There is still a wide gap between the rich and the poor. There are still social unrest and armed struggles. We are bearing the title “third world country” (or the politically correct term, as they say, “developing country”) for ages and still, we cannot find a concrete manifestation on when can we be called second or first world country. We are a land with lots of “is still” and unfortunately, it always ends up with “will always be.”

Filipinos have been victorious in liberating our country against the colonizers but we cannot defeat our biggest enemies – ourselves. We have endured being called one of the most corrupt countries in the world, third world country, and a land where the rich exploit their poor fellow countrymen. We have been wearing those masks for many years. We have tried repeatedly to lay down “solutions” to change the form of the government and put an “end” to the century old problem of graft and corruption. There is the New People’s Army who believed that an armed revolution is needed to overthrow the present government and seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based upon common ownership of the means of production. We have experienced numerous coup d’ etats, standoffs and mutinies. There is this relatively immortal issue about charter change. We have had enough of the people power in EDSA. We have tried and failed for many times and still, the problem seems to be already immune. I do believe that the problem is not about the system but with those who will run and those who will be subjects of the system – the society.

Centuries ago, three great philosophers – Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau – coined in their Political Philosophy different ways to establish a just, humane and orderly society. Though different with each other, it all zeroes in the role of the society and they are all called “Social Contract.”

Thomas Hobbes suggested that the society must submit their freedom to an absolute power, in which he compared it to the “Leviathan” – a great sea monster o the book of Job – in order for them to gain protection. John Locke suggested that individuals should give up their natural right of life, liberty, and estate for a social group. The social group then will have a civil power to give welfare and protection and they will have a right to make laws with penalties. He believed that everyone has a duty towards the state and everyone benefits from such exercise of duty. Rosseau believed that by joining together into civil society through the social contract and abandoning their claims of natural right, individuals can both preserve themselves and remain free. This is because submission to authority, he said, of the general will of the people as a whole guarantees individuals against being subordinated to the wills of others.

The philosophers saw in their time the problem of society itself being the main problem for not attaining a just, humane and orderly society. We also see the problem now. That means, we have not learned. The critics (alright, I admit, that includes me) keep on attacking and criticizing the [form of] government and her officials without taking into consideration that they are also part of the structure – for the government will not exist without them, without us. It is very seldom to hear a protest against the brouhahas and stupidities of the society. We are always passing the blame to the system and those who are in the helm of power. The creator of the problem is also the solution. We just have to have a “Political Will” (Thanks Bayani Fernando. Your motivational / early campaign posters reached as far as our hometown).

The “contract” will be useless without the will of the society and the will of the society begins with oneself. Everybody wants to achieve change but no one wants to change himself. It is nothing but a breached contract. It is thoroughly lifeless.

 But I do have this thing in mind after I have learned the radical skepticism of David Hume. What if the administration is the one who is really saying the truth? What if the scandals that rocked Arroyo’s administration are just show offs by the oligarchs and the administration are innocent as lambs? What if what we all believed as true brought by the mass media is nothing but pure hoax?

There are still a lot of what ifs and doubts but there is this one thing which I cannot and will never doubt – that most of the Filipinos are suffering from poverty and economic crisis and that the promises by the administration remain as an empty promise. I know it. My family and I are one of the million victims.


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