Change At The Grassroots Level

There is a newly launched blog website called "Filipino Voices" powered by a collective voice of Filipino bloggers all over the world. Like most political blogs, among the many subjects they focus to discuss are about Philippine politics, news, and commentaries.

The concept of a community blog, which will become the center or hub of expressing collective ideas that could contribute to the finding of solutions to our nation's problems as well as sources of constructive criticism that will help correct the wrongs in our society and government, is an excellent and noble idea.

Experts say that blogging is a "labor of love." It can be a hobby or a sacrifice or both. Personal blogs driven by hobby usually do not last long because their bloggers often abandon them due to personal and resources constraints. But community-driven blogs have better chances of surviving longer so long as subjects and topics are timely and relevant and are discussed in a constructive manner -- not merely like a noisy cyberchatroom.

May the "Filipino Voices" thrive and last long and become one of the tools of the Pinoy cybercommunity that they could use to help reshape our nation and our people.

There is a discussion going on in the said blog. It was initiated by a blogger named Cocoy in reaction to Manolo Quezon's article “Resistance isn’t futile“.

Because We Can
Posted by Cocoy on April 17, 2008

...You want a country that works. We need to GET good people to run. How the HELL is that going to EVER happen? Well, we need real Political Parties. Real grass roots-based Political Parties that elect their own nominees, that would support their chosen Flag bearer, who ARE for the people. Not this SHAM every party in this country have that elects only members from the same old boys club.

We need new blood!

We need people from ALL walks of life running for public office BECAUSE they think it is about CIVIC DUTY. We need political parties that NOMINATE candidates from within their party— real people, not the same old for the boys club.

You can laugh that this all pure speculation, all pure idealism. I point you to the current Pampanga Governor, who was a priest. He had no party, no money, nothing. He won because of grassroots support. Because REAL people believed in him. Anybody who can duplicate the same but across the entire nation, in every town, in every city, in every province, in every region will have the greatest opportunity to change things.

Instead of wasting resources organizing street protests, I STRONGLY urge EVERY CIVIC group, every MEMBER of the Filipino Diaspora, if you truly believe in Change, to band together and PREPARE for 2010. IF YOU truly believe in CHANGE, let US be the instrument of that CHANGE. Set aside all this talk about special prosecutors and revenge towards the Arroyos. For as long as the status quo remains, for as long as the old boys club of Philippine politics is in effect, it doesn’t matter who lives in the Palace. We can not change laws. We can not remove those who do not deserve to be in power through impeachment. But we need the mechanism to do so, and we have it: through an election.

It may or may not be an Arroyo in 2010, but someone else can and will repeat the same mistakes, if we do not change how we choose our leaders. And this bloody country will never, ever change.

The answer is so simple. Empower people. really, really, empower them. Break the status quo. For all the talk Lozada, Estrada, Aquino, the Church have in the past few months about Truth, for all that your generation, and the generations before and my generation owe our people, and our children’s children for our hand in all this, for all the righteous anger, we all feel towards this mindless thing our politics has become, for all the disgust we have with the cycle of greed and apathy our people, so rightly, so justly feel, we must act...

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Because We Must
Posted by The Jester-in-Exile on April 18, 2008

...Cocoy focuses on the the fight of the people to wrest back the sovereignty we have granted to our elected officials as being on the grassroots, with Pampanga Governor
Ed Panlilio as his example. On this, I am in agreement.

What, then, can we do, with the 2010 campaign and elections just about two years hence?

Here’s what I propose:

1. Let’s harness the growing influence of cyberspace, on several fronts...
2. Let’s be involved. Personally...
3. Let’s take the fight from the streets to the halls...

There’s more concrete actions that can be done. Let’s think about what we can do — and LET’S GO DO IT.

However, I must disagree with Cocoy’s seeming tone of disagreement with Manolo with regard to the need for people to oppose the current administration, especially with what the administration’s been doing against civil and political rights with only their political survival in mind.

I do not believe in waiting for the 2010 elections to express my dissatisfaction and dissent with the current administration’s actions. With Saint Augustine’s maxim “an unjust law is no law”, I’d take that further and say that an unjust administration must be opposed until it reforms. If it does not, then I would definitely support its ouster.

Constitutionally, of course.

The constitutional processes being bastardized (with Cocoy’s straightforward take on Congress being quite persuasive), however, leaves us with few alternatives.

Except — as I have begun to be convinced by — this single, powerful alernative: the Constitutional provision (which to my mind is a guarantee that has yet to be exercised) that sovereignty emanates from the will of the people...

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Must We?
Posted by Rom on April 19, 2008

Seriously. The pettiness of those little acts of resistance(?) bowls me over. More than anything else, it just shows how immature we can be when piqued.

Of course this isn’t to say you shouldn’t, if the mood hits you, take a sharpie to a 200 peso bill. Heck, do it on a 1000 peso bill. Cross out GMA’s signature (because leaving it untouched means you concede she has the authority to sign the note) even. All I’m saying is, must we?

There are many other ways to express dissatisfaction with this government. Blogging is one. Plus, blogging has the added bonus of potentially being a very creative way to vent. Just ask jeni jen jen. But otherwise, must we go out of our way - and maybe even sour an otherwise fine day - just to fuel our hatred?

So, if I don’t think the elections will matter; and i don’t believe in a protracted, low-intensity protesting, what do I propose to do?

Well obviously, we need to go out and vote anyway. And we need to boost good candidates and actively campaign against the ones we want thrown out on their keisters.

But on a day to day basis, we need to work to improve what we can. Those of you who work in government for instance, you can try to influence your co-workers with your diligence and industriousness. And stop watching the clock!

Those of you who are in business for yourselves, do your bit by paying taxes on time, remitting SSS contributions for your employees promptly, and encourage other people to go into business as well. Help em out. Start mentoring programs to give budding entrepreneurs a hand up.

Those of you who work in the private sector, volunteer more. And not just for ‘cool’ things. Give back to your community by working with your barangays and SKs.

Those of you who work abroad (mabuhay kayo!) please relentlessly promote the Philippines. Not in the left-handed way I’ve seen alot of people do (it’s a good country with a rotten government). Talking like that turns potential tourists and investors off. If you must, consider this: don’t think of it as giving GMA more investments she can take credit for, think of it as bringing in investment money for our people.

There are many positive ways of working for the betterment of the country without venting our spleen at every chance we get. All I’m saying is maybe we should give those strategies a chance...

Click here to read full entry and community interactions.