Wednesday, July 27, 2016

COMPOUND COMPLEX AGENDA



The SONA – apparently so far the longest one delivered before the Legislative Branch of Government with the standard attendance of the Diplomatic Corps  and chosen individuals – unveiled a presidential agenda which is not only compound in content and reach but also complex in significance and implications.  From the contemplated and thus proposed integrated program of action, the President needs a good amount of dedicated assistance and wise advisories in order to bring to fulfilment his vision of a better Philippines – specially in terms of national socio-economic development which seems to be not really his expertise.  Among other things wherefore, this means that all the chosen members of his Cabinet cannot but be well-qualified and able to do their respective jobs – in addition to being vested not only with the proper authority but also the proven integrity.

From the pertinent sections of the SONA, the following seem to be a series of more urgently perceived agenda – among many other complementary ventures: Getting rid of drug lords, drug producers, drug pushers at all cost, through all means.  Cleansing the government from graft and corrupt practices.  Assuring employees and workers stable employments and higher salaries.  Serving and protecting the poor through less taxes and more public service.  Working for peace not only in terms of the Mindanao dilemma but also in offering the hand of friendship to ideological groups.  Proposing the option for a Federal Form of Government.  Asking for emergency power to wok out a better traffic scheme.  Attending to the rift between Philippines and China.

However, there seem to be certain truly necessary and wherefore duly demanded agenda for a better tomorrow of the Filipinos that were not clearly pointed out – such as:  There is the imperative of actualizing honest to goodness Land Reform basically for the emergence of more spirited farmers and consequent more productive farming – the coconut industry well-included.  There is the complementary requirement for honest-to-goodness irrigation systems usually assured by enough and strategically-located water dams – which ordinarily includes electricity production.  In particular, there is the standing, continuous and loud public outcry not simply more but also cheaper energy that is not contributory to climate change.

Before, during, and after the SONA, there is something that remains definite and defined:  The President neither appears worried not preoccupied with upholding the Right to Life which is the anchorage of all other basic Human Rights.  There seems to be a kind of fixation to getting rid of drugs vis-à-vis doing away with the lives of all those therein involved as producers, distributors, pushers.  The President seems to be nonchalant about the well-noted enormous and continuous big graft and corrupt practices engaged into by certain infamous individuals in the past administration who readily pocketed public funds and/or generously gave these to their political allies for personal purposes.

But all the immediately above said reservations notwithstanding, there are marked indications that compared to the previous administration, the present one by and large appears not only promising but also uncompromising in its avowed resolve to render better public service to the Filipinos, to bring about a better Philippines.

Monday, July 25, 2016

MORE AND MORE TAXES. LESS AND LESS SERVICES.



It is not a secret that the past governments – the one just gone by very well included – have become experts in graft and corrupt practices, in spending public funds for private interests, in demanding more and more  money from the people through their taxation from birth to death but at the same time giving them less and less in public service for the common good.  So it is that they have likewise become professionals in inventing different kinds of taxes with different names, in different legislating provisions with the same taxation intents and purposes.  But then, the standing key question remains:  Why is it that as more and more taxes are continuously and infallibly collected from Filipinos, there are less and less public service for the people of the Philippines?  Answer: Political authorities, political allies and favorites – the infamous KKK then very well included – were the standard beneficiaries of public funds.  The poor and miserable?  Hide them and keep them out of sight even but for some time!

More socio-economic progress.  More infrastructure development.  More health services.  More educational possibilities.  More progressive farming.  More commerce and industry possibilities.  More power generation at less cost.  More security and independence.  More justice and peace.  But all such positive and laudable intents and purposes are but one big nebulous dream if graft and corruption in practically all  branches of the then governments were not really quashed for certain and for keeps – and if the known grafters and corruptors remain immune to prosecution, remain free enjoying good life, having fun.

Certain realities should be mentioned – considering  that experience still remains the best teacher.  In the last analysis, it is the government that should be for the people – not the other way around.  It is ultimately for the common good of the people why government officials are vested with authority, impose taxes, in possession and command of public funds.  So it is that when government is worthy of trust, when public officials live with integrity and public offices thus work with honesty, that is when the citizenry would be blessed, when they could be proud of their government and Country as well.

It is worthy recalling that prior to his assumption of Office, the now incumbent President clearly, loudly, and repeatedly vowed to cleanse government of graft and corrupt practices – not merely to get rid of illegal drug manufacturers, pushers, and users.  So it is that an overwhelming number of votes were cast in his favor.  Reason:  Such avowal is clearly and directly contrary to the wallowing of the last administration in customary graft and habitual corruption on account of which so much taxes were demanded from the citizens while at the same time rendering them grand public disservice – to the extent that the Philippines eventually became not only an illegal drug exporter but also a garbage importer.

So it is that the delusional claim, the too well-known, loud and proud maxim of “Daang Matuid” in effect and in fact became a big liability for the yellow-ribbon political candidates in the last elections.  The mere mention of such a self-proclaimed righteousness made the voters protest and rebel.  So they gave their votes to someone who vowed to clean the government of graft and corruption.  This then remains a major and key agenda of the incumbent President.    

Friday, July 22, 2016

PRIORITY OF LABOR OVER CAPITAL/RIGHTS OF WORKERS OVER PROFITS



Labor has priority over capital – even but considering that in the process  production, it is labor which is its basic efficient cause, with capital simply remaining as the means precisely entrusted to labor to work on and enrich it.  The truth is that even a good number of capital holdings in the hands of different individuals or corporations, invested on different economic ventures, the ground reality remains that said capital investments are in fact primarily sustained and ultimately enhanced by labor – considering that no capital builds itself.  Without labor, capital remains the same in amount and value.  And when altogether untouched by labor, capital becomes even gradually less in value by reason of devaluation.  A stagnant capital – untouched and undeveloped by labor – eventually brings about a loss in value, a decrease in its purchasing power.

Capital being basically but an instrumental reality, the same may not serve  the common good when not enriched by labor – even but considering that capital is usually built  from the resources of nature through the intervention of labor itself.  It wherefore altogether untrue that capital is enriched by capital whereas it is precisely labor that makes it grow in amount and value.  Capital wherefore is in truth the heritage of those who put it up plus those who work on it precisely to continuously  not only preserve but also build it up.  This being the truth, the objective reality is that neither the “Lord of capital” nor the “Master of labor” may legitimately claim absolute command over capital and labor respectively – under penalty of bilateral loss.

It is not only contrary to sound reason but also a denial of objective reality to own and use the means of production precisely as an instrument of undermining the nature of labor and demeaning the dignity of labourers.  it is worth seriously thinking and deciding if the means of production are not after all meant to serve labor more than capital.  This is based on the universal destiny  of temporal goods in favour of both capitalists and labourers, in favour of both individuals and communities.

As to matter of profit, while this factor must be recognized, it is definitely not the chief nor exclusive motive of any economic enterprise – realistically thinking and truthfully speaking.  The genuine purpose of a business form is not simply to make profit but also to serve the needs of labor plus the interest of the community of persons concerned.  Such is contrary to egoistic capital self-service that diminishes if not altogether cancels the social relevance of business enterprise.

The matter of just wages according to the realistic possibilities of an economic enterprise, the question of safe and healthy working conditions, the issue of proper collective bargaining, the good too of the managers together with their administrative assistants – these are some of the serious issues that should be properly addressed and rightfully answered in the world of business.  More.  The matter of “Family Wage”, the practice of “Profit Sharing”, the question of periodic “Stock Distribution” – these are some of the noble and praiseworthy concessions of capital to labor that can be considered and acted upon.

There is the image of a humble worm – with a signal lesson to capital and labor:  When whole, the worm lives.  When divided, the worm dies.       

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

RATIONAL AND ETHICAL TRUTHS GUIDING POLITICS



Politics – being a human agenda, a human venture and a human activity – may not be over and above rational principles and ethical standards – not to say moral norms.  In other words, politics being by the people, about the people, and for the people, cannot but be reasonably ruled and legitimately moderated by objective truths precisely such as those forwarded by reason and ethics in accord not only with the principles of Natural Law but also the demands of Positive Law – otherwise, Philippine politics would be a profound misfortune if not a downright curse of the Filipino citizens.  Following are the three more salient fundamental truths guiding politics – with the good of man as their ultimate goal:

1.  Equality of Human Beings – the basic premise of Politics.

Equality of human beings has direct relevance and reference to the intrinsic value of their human lives, the same esteem of their human dignity plus the same recognition of and respect for their basic human rights.  The equality of human beings productive of human solidarity is readily undone by political unfair ventures, covetous designs, specially unjust plans and projects that favor but some individuals and/or families.  The rest, never mind.

2.  Human Dignity – the primary principle of politics.

Politics that attentively respects human dignity and consistently promotes human solidarity cannot but be duly appreciated and accordingly supported by the citizenry whereas said political reality is a great affirmation of the human community as a whole.  Human dignity is a fundamental reality that immediately emerges from the distinct truth that every human person – every man, woman, and child – is definitely not but a product of either evolution or devolution.  Candidly speaking, there is human evolution when man transits from good to better and there is human devolution when he turns from bad to worse.

3.  Common Good –the goal of political activity.

The pursuit and emergence of the common good – this is the cardinal rationale and objective of politics.  Such noble objective is intended for and geared towards the welfare of the community as a whole.  It is always a big disaster when political agenda are made to seek and promote the common good of politicians.  Needless to say, the honest-to-goodness over-all objective of any and all political activities  is to gradually but surely bring about the sum total of all those conditions of social living that enable individuals, families, their associations and/or  organizations to realize their legitimate aspirations, to achieve their human fulfillment – and thus ultimately make them live in unity and peace.

In conclusion, let it be clearly and emphatically said that when a people live in harmony and peace, when a nation stands firm and secure, the over-all cause of such a blessing and attribution is ultimately good politics based on the equality of human persons, on the dignity of human individuals, on the reality of the common good.  Conclusion:  Philippines politics still have much to do and to undo.  Filipino politicians still have much to learn and to unlearn.  

Monday, July 18, 2016

MIGHT IS RIGHT



All the needed documentations were made and/or presented.  All the interested representations were heard.  All the arguments have been given.  The Tribunal worked long and much.  The arbitration was eventually done.  The verdict was released.  But the tense status quo remains the same in essence.  The dispute continues unresolved.  No one won in the discord.  The tension is still existent.  The official and categorical conclusion of the illustrious Tribunal is plain and clear in substance.  The West Philippine Sea belongs to the Philippines!  What a profound verdict!  What a historical conclusion!  What an impressive finding!  This would be like saying that the Philippine Eagle is neither a Chinese bird nor an American chicken! Amazing conclusion.

The Philippines is interested in the Case for several reasons – like the sea business, the fuel search, the integrity of its area of coverage.  But North America is also markedly interested in the Case basically for one fundamental reason:  Its own national security.  It is not a secret that Uncle Sam wants to fight his wars far from his own territorial coverage.  This amply explains the existence and maintenance of American Bases in other Countries.  And this too is precisely the rationale of the recent EDCA phenomenon by virtue of which any Philippine Military Base may be now used by North American Forces to install in and operate their own weaponry – in the event that any Country in Asia like China would be in a warring mood someday, somehow.

The truth of the matter is that the issue about the West Philippine Sea brought to nothing less than the attention of the International Arbitrary Tribunal  or the International Tribunal of Arbitration, is not really but between two but three parties of interest:  NORTH AMERICA – Philippines – CHINA.(Difference in emphasis intended)  Powerful North America does not love China.  Powerful China does not love North America. The Philippines is in-between them.  This makes the Philippines a useful stepping stone  for North America to reach/dominate China and for China to reach/dominate North America – all in the light of the saying “Might is right.”    The problem is that when a mighty Country wants to have dominion over another mighty Country by virtue of the said maxim, the poor and thus weak Countries usually become their stepping stones.  Sad but true.

Back to the long-awaited supposedly monumental arbitration done by nothing less than an International Tribunal:  Whereas China from the very start did not really join the arbitration done and much less recognize the conclusion thereof, the ground reality remains that it is still between the Philippines and China that the resolution of the issue can be done.  And rightly so.  The issue is really between the   Philippines and China.  And the resolution of the problem then should be between them too.  This is when diplomatic talks come to order.  And this is when its acceptable resolution could be eventually reached – with both of them mutually winning and losing something.

If even war can be stopped by a give-and-take diplomacy, by a lose and gain agreement – with none of the parties therein involved as a total winner or an absolute loser – why can’t the Philippines and China themselves have their own compromise agreement which is another phrase for reconciliation, which is another term for peace.  Why not?