Implementing change in the #Philippines requires brutal honesty #wef

"In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act" - George Orwell

Improving systems and changing cultures invariably starts with looking under the covers, and with brutal honesty sometimes. Self-delusion doesn't/shouldn't feature in corporate life, nor should it in national governance. Would you prefer your taxes were invested/given to somewhere managed like Microsoft, or, something more akin to a pyramid scheme. A 'bill gates', or a 'janet lim napoles' in charge. Oh, thats right, she already is!

Being politically correct means being politically gagged. My independent nature doesn't like that, and nor should any free thinking individual.

Progress can only happen after first understanding the situation and accepting the issues, otherwise people simply revert to being defensive – a natural filipino trait.

An external perspective, whilst different and difficult at times, can be useful, even if it only stimulates debate/thought/broadens the mind.

If people just say – 'negative', 'wrong', – without backing it up, then they are usually indirectly confirming that it is actually right, and that they are simply being resistant to change, and incapable of meaningful input/discussion.

Change is about self-discovery, ownership, and effort, and not unwrapping a bought in solution, and they don't exist anyway. Many here and elsewhere have offered numerous ideas/suggestions and are usually derided – 'not invented here syndrome', or 'they can't tell us what we should do'. 'Pnoy is our messiah'. 'It is god's will', 'what have you done' etc.

Backread articles and research what other countries are doing.
Debate takes maturity and knowledge.

Also, where are the brightest and best that Pnoy promised to have in the cabinet. Seems more like a cosy club of KKK, and shooting buddies.

"Nobody invests ahead of demand" – Mon Jiminez.

Really!! That outlines the national problem in one sentence. No planning, no investment, and incompent idiots in charge of tourism/infrastructure/energy etc.

No wonder brownouts , and whether 4 hours or 8 hours, that does not impress investors/tourists, and costs local small micro businesses loss of trade they can ill afford.

If the cabinet are the best assembly of brains that the Philippines can muster then the country really does need help! And the brain drain generally is becoming a serious issue/future obstacle.
Education, education, education!
Expert lecturers/centers of excellence
Technology, engineering, planners!
Innovation, competitive spirit, dynamism!

Of course i can write many positive things, and enjoyed many places/experienced great adventures, and met wonderful people, but within this context, isn't that akin to only wanting to hear 'good news', and isn't that part of the 'cultural' problem which pervades?
The focus was the systems, strategies, style of leadership, structure of politics, skills shortages, shared values (culture), not individual filipinos per se, or a PR piece.

So many problems exist in the Philippines precisely because the raw truth is hidden, and honesty is not paramount. 'Lie and deny', complicated webs of deceit, confuse, divert, intrigue, sugarcoat everything, endless spin/propaganda etc. Isn't the pork barrel scam/fiasco a case in point.

As another example I am sure Pnoy Aquino will be touting the Philippines as an economic miracle this week at WEF, and himself as the reincarnation of John Maynard Keynes. Such a snakeoil salesman approach will do him no favours nor win him any friends amongst hard nosed finance ministers/chiefs, who prefer honesty and facts, to propaganda and fancy. Motherhood statements may work with filipino electorate, but seemingly less so as time passes.

I invariably quote figures, and they speak for themselves. I dont always signpost humour, and often tongue in cheek! Apologies to basketball fans/players!

If filipinos ( beyond the top 5%) believes that Pnoy Aquino is right about his economic miracle and believes SWS that 70 +% of filipinos are happy, including 70% of those surveyed in tacloban area post yolanda by SWS ( ? or pulse asia), and that filipinos are reaping the economic benefits then all is wonderful, so no need for aid, or to beg money from tourists.

And honest criticism is a sign of caring, and wanting better for those who cannot always express themselves too well, or too readily. People should campaign for compatriots who are less fortunate, and undertake voluntary work ( which i have all my adult life – even in the philippines).
I did not see many passionate and articulate 'champions for change', a thriving chamber of debate in the senate/house, cutting edge think-tanks, politicians writing newspaper articles, the cut and thrust of political debates, or a hunger for progress within the administration, but i repeatedly heard from struggling filipinos who wanted food, education, healthcare, and more opportunity for their children. And workers who were experiencing rapid increases in commodity prices, but frozen wages, and the added stress of the contract system which releases them after 5/6 months in order that the company can avoid benefits. Tell me who in govt/politics is fighting to change such a crazy and short sighted policy, or that SM do not allow any union/workers co-operative. This list goes on and on.

Are senators/congressmen working 18 hours a day every day. Maybe some-one should conduct a 'time and motion' study on their activities/effectiveness, and check on the number of overseas trips on expenses. Oh, but no FoI. How fortuitous for some.

It is also relevant to ask what sort of country/culture filipinos actually want. That is for filipinos to answer.
Being in the big world and moving away from island isolation means being more open to, and welcoming of, diverse and divergent opinions and being somewhat more thick-skinned and self questioning, rather than instantly defensive. That in itself is a huge cultural change. Do filipinos want to be a truly open, honest, innovative, competitive, and liberal society? Mmmm

Everything ultimately depends on what type of country and culture filipinos really want, are prepared to be passionate about, and work hard to achieve.
Change is not easy, culture is very complex, but the status quo is not an option if real progress is to be achieved for the benefit of all.

The first step is to be honest and self-critical.

The second step is to stop living so much in the past.

My limited observations, but your country, your choices, your decisions, your responsibility, and your childrens future.

Over to you.


I know that criticising national food is like lighting the blue touch paper, and I don't want to enter the 'my baluts are better than yours' routine, and also accept that 'one man's meat is another mans poison', but bottom line, it is generally not a healthy diet in the philippines and that is the important point/bigger issue ( also hygiene can be questionable/improved – important to tourists) – check out the diabetes figures ( 9th highest cause of death in the philippines, 15th worst affected country worldwide, 5 million sufferers in philippines and rising) – rice, sugary drinks, processed food, oil, (all good for SM, Coca-cola, the sugar barons, and rice smugglers, but not necessarily for health, particularly when many cannot afford insurance/hospital costs), and there is scope for improvement/innovation/education, school meals, fusion cuisine etc. and more emphasis on higher value and healthier agricultural crops to also boost employment in that sector.


And i forgot to mention the endless game shows where people are made to beg for money – Mmmm, is that TV, or politicians on the campaign trail!

And talking of TV, i once tuned in to 'wowow willie' and thought i had been connected to a porn site!
Surely TV standards and content could/should improve, and the sheer amount of advertising decline, especially in-show marketing 'dressed up' as a programme.

This is a GRP Featured Comment. Source:


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