IN ancient up to Biblical times, even in non-Indo-European cultures like China’s, the folk believed that the sins of the rulers were visited upon their children—and their innocent peoples.
There is both some theological and temporal basis to this. A ruler—and his ministers– who behave toward God according to what they ought to do will continue to be blessed. Not necessarily with good weather, rich harvests and strong armies but often with the wisdom and prudence to save their realms from the worst natural calamities and wicked invaders. For they could mobilize their people effectively. The good rulers also had the wisdom and prudence to advance the well-being of the people and the kingdom in good times.
The bad rulers were those who neglected their religious duties –what was due from them to God. And these were ordinarily acts of piety and lives of virtue, most of all compassion, self-control and magnanimity to the people, specially the needy. For not only the Christian religion but also virtually all others, being respectful observers of natural law, say that the normal way to love and serve God is to care for God’s creatures, especially fellow human beings.
The good rulers—out of the desire never to offend God and to do His will—were truthful, humble, magnanimous, ascetic, just and wise. That is why their manner of governance made their subjects happy, and their decisions mainly led to their kingdoms’ prosperity, peacefulness and military invulnerability. When spoiled princes became young irreligious, self-indulgent, unwise kings, their kingdoms became weak and poor. Their people became restive and rebellious. And stronger kingdoms conquered them.
By and large, that fate has befallen the rich and powerful First World countries.
Why invite the tragic fate of others?
And it could become the fate also of our country, which has not even attained the level of prosperity that the better-off Third World countries are enjoying.
That is because our leaders—in government and the private sector—have almost all, individually, personally, and collectively, in their political, professional and business organizations, swallowed the Godless (in practice) anti-religion, anti-family, anti-solidarity culture of the rich and self-indulgent First World.
Our leaders are even worse than those of the First World. The latter somehow made sure that their countries’ laws and systems included means that, without necessarily falling into the trap of socialism, created safety nets—in a compassionate, Christian-influenced sense of justice—for the poor. These safety nets, in labor and wage laws, prevent the obscenely wide gap between the wealth and quality of life of the tiny minority of the rich and upper middle-class and the vast majority made of low-income and poor families. In our country, there are ever so few such safety nets. And the few that we have cannot be adequately implemented because the public officials steal the public funds—like the PDAF/pork barrel of senators and congressmen.
We are offering our readers these reflections in view of the gross domestic product (GDP) slowdown in January-February-March (the first quarter or Q1) and the likely similarly sluggish rate of growth of the GDP in the April-May-June quarter.
In ancient times the Aquino administration’s hubris, mendacity, incompetence, dishonesty and hypocrisy would have been thought of by the people as deserving nothing less than a rain of coals on the heads of its top officials. The President and his key people must undergo a conversion.
A wake-up call
Some economic analysts (see the story “GDP slowdown a ‘wake up call”) are calling on the Aquino officials to invest massively on agriculture and manufacturing—something we have been urging over and over again in this space—because that is how to create jobs, which in turn would lift up a lot of our poor families from their destitution.
The administration should also be more kind to the millions of oppressed workers in malls and supermarkets whose contracts with their agencies are for less than six months—so that the workers remain “casuals” forever and don’t have to be given the dignity of being permanent employees.
The Aquino officials should also stop the much-expanded smuggling of produce, oil and other products. For it impoverishes the Filipino farmers and manufacturers. Who the smugglers are, the officials know. But even those who are willing to fight and arrest them don’t dare make the necessary moves because they fear these smuggling lords who are connected with the highest officials of the land.
President Aquino’s mantra “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” can still come true. And if he pushes sincerely to make it happen, it will result in our economy growing at a faster rate, GDP-wise, and the growth will be inclusive and equitable.
But he must make good his campaign promise to get a Freeedom of Information (FOI) law passed and enacted.
Doing these, ands other acts of goodness and love for our poorest families, will bring back the “Mandate of Heaven” on the Aquino regime and allow us to continue being one of the stellar economic performers in Asia and the world.