Without any malice or ill-will, it is neither improper nor irrelevant to take note of a phenomenon in the history of the People of the Philippines that is both lamentable and unique. This: The good father was killed and the wise unwillingly became the President whose genuine and lasting accomplishments, if any, are rather difficult to count with sincerity and to appreciate with candor. Then, the wife died and the son surprisingly became President whose words are far from ground realities, whose claims are distant from objective truths, whose thinking process is doubtful in premises and conclusions.
Quite recently, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines issued its first official Pastoral Exhortation for Year 2014. So it is that after some four long years of the present presidential reign – expected to right the wrong, to raise up the pitiful Filipinos from the quagmire of misery, to give them a salutary present and a promising future – the Exhortation instead noted with sorrow and pain the following more felt deplorable social factors now obtaining in the country, notwithstanding all wonderful surveys and loud claims to the contrary by the Palace and its ever faithful allies:
1. “Poverty”: A big and deep social problem, poverty accompanies and explains the miserable living standard of multi-million Filipinos. And while these wallow and suffer in blatant want, the truth is that there is big wealth in the country yet kept and enjoyed but by a few wise families.
2. “Politics”: Politics has become a big problem in the country. It is the biggest obstacle to economic development. Riddled with graft and corrupt practices, the government is now the distinct cause of unrest, injustice, and social disorder. Politics stands for wielding power backed by much money.
3. “Business”: Deregulation of the prices of necessary commodities, privatization of public utilities not to mention the government business of continuously rising and collecting direct and indirect taxes – without really promoting public welfare – such is business as usual in the country.
4. “Truth”: It is truth that suffers. To have money and to get into power, to keep power and to have more money – individuals with such self-serving aspirations usually aim at having and keeping elective public offices through lies and cheating, through deceptions and misinterpretations.
5. “Common Good”: The first and foremost casualty of the above said pervasive poverty and bad politics, notorious business and disservice to truth, is the common good. Egoistic agenda and selfish goals, consummate greed and covetousness – these are the enemies of the common good.
Is the Philippines a hopeless case? Are the Filipinos beyond redemption? No! No! No! But those who so believe, may not remain blind, deaf, and dumb.