We are ruled by Rizal’s ‘tyrants of tomorrow’

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IN the “Conclusion” chapter of El Filibusterismo (or The Reign of Greed, the second novel of Jose Rizal, whom we honor today), we read these words. In spirit and reality, the words Padre Florentino, the personification of Christian wisdom, moral outlook and authentic faith, addresses to the dying Simoun, the failed patriotic instigator of a revolution, directly apply to us all, Filipinos of today:

“Our ills we owe to ourselves alone, so let us blame no one. If Spain should see that we were less complaisant with tyranny and more disposed to struggle and suffer for our rights, Spain would be the first to grant us liberty, because when the fruit of the womb reaches maturity woe unto the mother who would stifle it! So, while the Filipino people has not sufficient energy to proclaim, with head erect and bosom bared, its rights to social life, and to guarantee it with its sacrifices, with its own blood; while we see our countrymen in private life ashamed within themselves, hear the voice of conscience roar in rebellion and protest, yet in public life keep silence or even echo the words of him who abuses them in order to mock the abused; while we see them wrap themselves up in their egotism and with a forced smile praise the most iniquitous actions, begging with their eyes a portion of the booty—why grant them liberty? With Spain or without Spain they would always be the same, and perhaps worse! Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow? And that they will be such is not to be doubted, for he who submits to tyranny loves it.”

We are victims of tyranny exercised by the elites and dynastic families, like the one to whom our current President belongs and also provincial and municipal dynasts.

Their tyranny no longer includes the personal and racist humiliation that colonizers often made the Filipinos under them suffer. But the tyranny is the same in terms of withholding good governance to the people. This tyranny through bad and corrupt governance robs the people of the minimum comforts that efficient, caring and responsible public officials could give to the citizenry–for instance in the form of good transport service.


No sense of responsibility
If President BS Aquino 3rd’s arrogant boasts could be taken seriously at all, right about now a mob of irritated commuters ought to be tying him and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to a set of train tracks, in preparation for the arrival of the train that the President bragged he and his hapless underling would be ready to be run over by if the LRT-1 extension to Cavite was not completed by the end of 2015.

On the incredible chance that there is anyone who is not aware of it, let us clarify that not only has the long-planned commuter rail expansion not been completed, not so much as a single shovelful of dirt has been moved for its construction in the more than two years since Aquino promised relief for Cavite commuters.

In China, unlike in the Philippines, some officials take a rather stern view of their duties. Over the weekend, two different officials paid the ultimate price for failing to meet their responsibilities. In Shandong Province, the owner of a collapsed gypsum mine, where at least one worker was killed and more than a dozen remain trapped, drowned himself in remorse for the accident. And in Shenzhen, where a huge landslide just over a week ago killed at least 7 people and left 75 others missing and presumed buried, a district chief for the City Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau, committed suicide by jumping from a tall building.

We are certainly not suggesting that President Aquino or Secretary Abaya actually commit suicide, whether by being run over by a train or through other means, for their failures to fulfill their duties and promises to the public. But we definitely believe there is a level of commitment more appropriate to their responsibilities than the flippant manner in which they approach them.

The extension of the light rail transit line to nearby areas of Cavite – home to several hundred thousand daily commuters – is not a laughing matter, it is a critical piece of infrastructure that is desperately needed and is long overdue. For it to be casually tossed off with a joke – and later, brushed aside by Presidential mouthpiece Sonny Coloma with a glib assurance that government “is still pursuing the project” – is not even close to an acceptable explanation.

The commuting public was promised a light rail line. There is no light rail line, nor any evidence that anyone is even working on it, and that requires a serious answer. Even though we have had five-and-a-half years to become accustomed to it, the lack of any sense of responsibility in President Aquino and most of his underlings still amazes us.

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10 Comments

  1. We the people –Seemingly allow people with horrendous past track records ..To again stand for office …It is like we as a nation stand up and say

    “Kick me again..This time harder” !

    We have gone from Pearl Of the Orient –To Sick man Of Asia –Largely because of Corrupt leadership..

    .Since the time of Marcos –A template of how to do it has been ; has been set ..

    Now others,-seem to jump at the chance to see if they can use this format…and get away with it too

    David M Meyer (PhD psych}

  2. “Our ills we owe to ourselves alone, so let us blame no one. If Spain should see that we were less complaisant with tyranny and more disposed to struggle and suffer for our rights, Spain would be the first to grant us liberty, because when the fruit of the womb reaches maturity woe unto the mother who would stifle it! So, while the Filipino people has not sufficient energy to proclaim, with head erect and bosom bared, its rights to social life, and to guarantee it with its sacrifices, with its own blood; while we see our countrymen in private life ashamed within themselves, hear the voice of conscience roar in rebellion and protest, yet in public life keep silence or even echo the words of him who abuses them in order to mock the abused; while we see them wrap themselves up in their egotism and with a forced smile praise the most iniquitous actions, begging with their eyes a portion of the booty—why grant them liberty? With Spain or without Spain they would always be the same, and perhaps worse! Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow? And that they will be such is not to be doubted, for he who submits to tyranny loves it.”

    If people would only read this beautiful prose line by line, and soak it in, one will be amazed how dead on it is. Reading carefully it give me an impression that the Philippines was born premature. Like a premature baby she needs to stay in the incubator (the American period), but got out of it with dystrophy to take care of her people.

  3. Tied on the train tracks, President Aquino and Secretary Abaya would be laughing, because the two trains they ordered are without engines.

  4. Venerando Desales on

    So we must heed Rizal’s prescription of a long and winding road which is education to everyone, together with the Church’s teaching of living a moral and modest life. How can we do that now that we are engulfed in immobility while our leaders are indulged in hedonism? Our people are likened to the ancient Israelites who preferred their comforts of slavery in Egypt than their moulding by God in the desert into nationhood. They wandered in the desert because they kept on violating their covenant with God as expressed in their Constitution which was the ten Commandments and which they ratified in Mount Sinai by affirming their obedience and allegiance to one and true God! Their wandering in the desert was not useless: they became united and became organized. They had an army led by Joshua and a government guided by the Levites. The irony, as we also experience, is that we are drawn to follow the long road instead of a short route; the wider road instead of the narrow one, and the creature instead of the Creator. To be extracted from this quicksand, we need a higher being, a divine intervention. Just what the Hebrews did, they unceasingly prayed for deliverance which happened when Moses was sent. Let us pray that these oligarchs, dynasts, and corrupt public officials be sent to hell along with their advisers, the demons!

  5. ? dec 31 na bukas. Magpatuka na lng sa ahas si pnoy… Kay sa madurog katawan nya sa coming train.

  6. Francisco Sevilla on

    Watch the movie “The Adventurers” and see for yourselves the situation in the Philippines.

  7. Because Rizal`s Triumph in Noli and Fili in dispelling the society found in his novels was undone and re-created via US Colonial education which reclaimed the NOLI Society, which our greatest generation of Filipinos dispelled. We lost our sense of self, self respect and dignity–to favor how big brother sees us.

    Until we undo what the USA did via public educational system, and begin from Rizal`s writings–the foundational texts of our war of independence and honor equally our heroes who fought the USA as well as those that fought Spain, we will fail to produce Filipinos in our own country–only Americanized little brown brothers.

  8. Filipinos are only good in talking but cannot deliver its empty promises. Were being fool by the one we trusted to elect. Ones in office easy to forget but burden and proof of illgotten goes overhead. Tyranny is more worst now that we have same blood or color.

  9. Pnoy aquino is still living in his grandiosity bubble.

    The MRT can sit alongside his other best jokes – FoI, 1st world status, “I will bring OFW’s home to good jobs”, and his classic “i will employ the best of the best”

    If abaya, honrados, puno, torres et al are the best of the best, then God help the philippines.

    Pnoy Aquino must set the bar at ‘limbo dancers’, when the country needs ‘pole vaulters’.

    He should stick to ribbon cutting and not keep showing that there is no end to his stupidity, and no beginning to his integrity.

    The problem is that aquino is not ‘funny ha ha’, just ‘funny peculiar’, and also a cure for insomnia. Zzzzz