Oca Orbos has the classic definition of the role of government – parens patriae. The government is both father and mother to its citizens. The state is responsible for their well-being, with the duty of caring more pronounced for the vulnerable. The English doctrine has worked well in most developed societies, just look at the Scandinavian and Nordic models that practice this lofty governing theory to the full.
These progressive, welfare states have built the best societies of the 21st century by simply fulfilling the requirements of parens patriae.
There are leaders that reject this doctrine. We see them in the leaders of the US Republican Party who have effectively divided its citizens between the “creators”—the wealthy—and the “moochers”—the vulnerable. John Galt on an overdose of steroids.
Failure, according to the orthodoxy of these leaders, is the result of weak people failing to take responsibility for their actions and their own lives – then demanding – like parasites – welfare support from government.
(Do these leaders eerily remind you of a certain presidential candidate, the marred one, always hammering on “personal responsibility?” He blames the senior citizens and OFWs for failing to “act responsibly” when they fell victim to tanim-bala [bullet planting]thugs at the airports. Is this candidate even human?)
In emergent economies, many of the colossus wannabes have rejected this doctrine in favor of the lazy and cynical “growth-at-all-cost” governing theme. The pursuit of growth, high or stable GDP growth, is the one and only preoccupation of the state. These leaders are agnostic on the parens patriae function of the state. If growth empowers the citizens, fine. If it does not, it’s fine by them too.
That our leader, colossus wannabe Mr. Aquino, is not at all bothered by the Dickensian sorrow in the tent cities of Eastern Samar, has its genesis Mr. Aquino’s total rejection of the grand and liberating concept of a welfare state. It is a personal belief thing and nothing – not even the most devastating typhoon of modern times, can budge him from that belief.
The slow pace of the Yolanda rehabilitation, the bungling, the indecisions, the cynicism of the rehab overlords, and the utter indifference to the dehumanized lives, are all rooted on Mr. Aquino’s profound belief that government should not be a functional and caring welfare state. Mr. Aquino’s apologists, claiming that they have been doing more than the expected, ask us to view the government webpage on the rehab work. But then the official report of the UN personnel asked to asses the rehab work confirmed our worst fears – that the Aquino people have dealt the Yolanda victims a second death in the tent cities.
The problem, we have to point it out a million times, is much more deeper than neglect. It is about a president who does not care about the Yolanda victims and the long list of Filipinos that have fallen prey to man-made and leadership-aggravated tragedies. It is about a president with a 30-second attention span on problems like Yolanda and the misery of vulnerable human lives.
If there is one optic that profoundly (or tragically) captures the priorities of Mr. Aquino, look back to the day the bodies of the fallen SAF 44 commandoes arrived in Manila. We all saw the president, instead of commiserating with the family members of the SAF families went elsewhere. We also know what was his grand preoccupation that day. He was guest of honor at the recycling of the ownership of a decades-old car manufacturing facility in Laguna.
It was not even a fresh investment and an entirely new facility that Mr. Aquino opted to honor. The BSA who opted to be the chief guest at that change of ownership rites of an old facility instead of being with the families of the slain SAF commandos who were massacred while on an impossible mission, is no different from the Mr. Aquino with almost zero attention to the hunger and misery in the Yolanda tent cities.
Try compiling the photo-ops of Mr. Aquino in his more than five years as president. He is happiest when hobnobbing with the “makers.” He is sleepwalking on the very few rare occasions he is interacting with victims of tragedies.
Mr. Aquino’s unapologetic pandering to the “makers” and the Social Darwinism that is the natural by-product of that governing philosophy, has created a country of “Two Philippines.” Nowhere has the very rich gotten much richer than during the more than five years that Aquino has been president. The merely billion-denominated wealth of the superrich in 2010 is now trillion-peso wealth and some of the real wealthy are now in the category of the “who-can-buy-a-small country-rich.”
That 60 percent of GDP goes to the Top 1 percent and the 40 percent crumbs is the little that the 99 percent would fight over, sometimes to the death, will perhaps be the most remembered factoid of the Aquino presidency.
In a global environment that has been seriously discussing the Great Divide, and with a Pope that has debunked Mr. Aquino’s free-market, supply-side orthodoxy, why is Mr. Aquino getting praise for his brutal Social Darwinism?
I really don’t know but I can always guess.
This is AlDub Nation – a dumbed-down nation.
It has uncritical mass media (with the exception of this paper).
It has a people that can’t even identify their own self-interest.
The have a phony civil society.
All of the above.
I am done. But you can add to the list.