The Philippine Daily Inquirer should be commended for reprinting Senator Benigno Aquino's essay "What's Wrong with the Philippines" for Ninoy Aquino's martyrdom anniversary today.
Aquino must be tossin an turnin' in his Manila Memorial Park tomb. For the Presidency of his wife, Corazon is also one answer to his question.
The barest summary of Ninoy's question is this. There is an acute need for redistribution and access to education is the major peaceful way this can happen. The Americans may have wanted to mold the Filipinos in their own image and thus their institution of public education which is now remotely being seen as a liberating force, having fallen for crass profiteering. This is also extremely true for the Roman Catholic Church and the schools it operates. Holy Mother Church cannot escape blame here. She must be put in the dock too for the ills of Philippine society and not hide forever from the separation of church and state curtain for which she has repeatedly torn. The Church can redeem herself if she follows the commands of her Master and sides with the poor at all costs while rendering gambling cash given by the Devil to Caesar.
In a society that denies education, the educated will always be subversive. Rizal, Luna, Lopez-Jaena, del Pilar, Lenin, Mao, Trotsky are prime examples.
Ninoy Aquino's analysis seems dated and relevant at the same time. The relevance is made more pointed since America herself is in need of redistribution. Aquino may have not foreseen the USA as a declining superpower, but Obama's America is a debt hell for the many. Should it not be easier to break free from America's fetters if Filipinos realize that America shares the problems of constraints to liberty and corporate corruption for which taxpayers have to foot the bill?
As my 86 year old uncle (50 years a doctor in the Midwest) wrote me that he is shocked that the poor in America have started to look like the poor in the Philippines. I agree. With the Episcopal Church's ministries, I have seen food insecurity in communities a stone's throw from my comfy Louisiana apartment. It was an important eye opener. I have seen America and for that I still search for her.
America's ideals that should serve as inspiration still.
Anyone who has really been to America (and not just to Disneyland) will see her defects. Just like the observant Dr Rizal did 125 years ago.
Of course we should not dwell on America's of even Spain's shortcomings in the Philippines. A more dispassionate sense of history teaches us that Spain was truly concerned about the colonies and desired their welfare. America too wanted to share her sense of liberty.
But it is what we made of the Catholicism of Spain and the progressive ideals of American liberty that made the difference. We allowed these to be the bars of our own prison.
Aquino did not realize that at all levels of society from the Armed services, police, Congress to the Judiciary, even in the so called Diliman Republic and its academic departments, there are now Marcos like characters. Some are hideous chimaeras in the corruption scale. This is also what is wrong with Philippine society. Can the Church with her moral authority destroy them? Can the 1986 so called "democratic restoration" send them to their just reward?
These are questions that the Americans have an answer for and should drive a knife into the Filipino apathy in these matters. The foundation of the American nation is built upon it. It is also the foundation of our Filipino nation. The US Supreme Court continues to recognize the right of the people to go on this path.
Can Noynoy Aquino now President realize that this option is so real? The ghosts of Luisita continues to haunt him. This is the icon of why there is a need for real redistribution.
What is then to be done?
See turning off the wang wang does not make a Revolution!