What have Filipinos achieved after 30 years of "freedom" under a "democracy"?

Truth to tell, back in 1986, I was yellow.

I was 17, so enamored with the idea of a Ninoy Aquino presidency that never was. And how I hate those damned Marcoses. I got my real stories on politics via the underground media back then, especially the reformatted Mr & Ms magazine, which became the Inquirer of today, and Veritas.

 Another source was my favorite teacher back in HS, Ms Isabelita Viray, wherein we will discuss the Aquino-Marcos rivalry in a Math class.

Kris Aquino was still a cute bespectacled teen, and one could only wish that she stayed that way all throughout. But then... oh never mind.

Jim Paredes was a cult hero, and his "Handog ng Pilipino" masterpiece was battling it out with "Magkaisa" (sung by Virna Lisa and composed by Tito Sotto) as the new national anthem. Like Kris, I just want to remember JP for what he was in 1986. When he turned his back on this country when Erap was elected, and decided to move his family to Australia, Jim should have also stayed there forever.  Right now, all I can think is revising his epic composition into "Hindot ng Pilipino" as a tribute to his immature rabble rousing.

There were others back then. June Keithley, Gringo Honasan, and the crying man Joey Rufino, whose raw emotion vividly captured on film, enabled him to land a post in government.

The flashpoint of people power was the enormous crowd that gathered and bade Ninoy goodbye as his lifeless and unmade up body was transported from Sto Domingo church to Manila Memorial. That was a remarkable event, which I believe, stirred the simmering passion and rage in most of us.

And the tipping point was the walk out of Comelec computer technicians at PICC during the 86 snap election counting. When that scene was played all over the news, it was then I felt that something has to give.

Then it happened. Enrile, Ramos and Cardinal Sin staged EDSA, and history was made. Cory was swept into power, and we all took it as our new beginning. We all bought the narrative.

30 years after, the narrative is now being rammed to us as if we owe it to the Aquino-Cojuangco oligarchy and their yellow army what we all did ourselves at EDSA.

30 years, and what have we really achieved? Think about this carefully and reflect -- what have we really achieved?

Freedom? From what, from a dictatorship? In hindsight, majority of the Pilipino people were actually free during the Martial Law regime. Of course it cannot be denied how Marcos destroyed the moral fiber of this country, and his atrocities are as horrific now as they were back then.

Mind you, we have to thank Juan Ponce Enrile and Fidel Valdez Ramos for that too. It's good that we have rewarded them by elevating their status as political icons just because one morning, they decided to tinker with a coup de etat, even as they are the actual ones behind the murders, tortures and persecution during ML.  Should we not stage a rally for their benefit, and as a reminder?

Democracy? Sure. So we have an american ideology that guarantee our rights as citizens, and enable us to engage in free speech and movement.

Question - is our brand of democracy antonymous with discipline? Are we so serious and so beholden to our democratic rights as individuals that we take discipline for granted? That for as long as we are a free country, its ok to trash it, to spit on it, pee on it, and allow and ignore scoundrels disguised as public servants to plunder it?

Is "people power" the essence of our cherished democracy that it is conveniently wielded and called for whenever it suits the political aspiration of these scoundrels? Since EDSA 86, how many times have we utilized this tactic, both nationally and locally, either to oust or keep a public servant from his position?

It's not as if these pocket revolutions are spontaneous outbursts and emotional. Most of the time, they are forced and imposed, and made to believe that it is our duty and responsibility to uphold our valued democracy.

So I ask again, what have we achieved?

30 years and still we are a mess, and still in the stage of maturity. We keep on giving power to pretentious and greedy leaders, not realizing that only their SALNs are the ones growing and progressing.

We constantly cry for democracy, but we continue to spite discipline. We have chaotic streets, public spaces and domains, and it does not help that our educators and thought leaders would rather tell and teach our children that rallying is more important than learning and engaging in discipline.

It does not help that freedom of speech is so abused and misused, that people like Maria Ressa and Richard Heydarian would have the temerity to absurdly claim ownership of social media.

At the end of it all, democracy is nothing if all it can show for and produce is hellish traffic, piles of garbage, and misguided millennials.

There is nothing democratic when public institutions overburden and underserve, at the same time driving its citizen away from the motherland because it cannot provide.

Democracy is nothing if blatantly used as a means to a selfish end rather than the end to tyranny and poverty.

It is nothing but obstruction of progress.

Mark Lopez as posted on Facebook.


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