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Let’s do what Korea, France and other countries do: Finally require our movie houses and radio stations to play Filipino works.

PEPE DON’T PREACH - Pepe Diokno (The Philippine Star) - July 29, 2016 - 12:00am

1. In my lifetime, I want to see the Philippines become a better place than it is today. We all share this dream, of course. But we seem to differ on the means toward this end. Some say we need bloodshed, an iron fist, or a revolution. On this list is what I think we need.

2. What we need is a culture change.

3-4. I want to see the end of tribalism. Filipinos Iike to group ourselves according to family, region, religion, school, fraternities, sororities, dialect — so that in this society, the most important thing is who you know. We devote ourselves to our tribes to the detriment of other tribes — this can range from apathy (“I don’t care as long as it doesn’t affect me or my family”) to discriminating against one another. If we stay this way, we will never progress. We have to picture ourselves as one people with one destiny.

5. Let’s start assuming the best of each other, and not the worst. Think of this the next time you see a dead body on your Facebook feed; how quick we are to say, “Guilty!”

6. Let’s start putting the greater good above our own personal interests.

7. Let’s start helping each other instead of tearing each other down.

8. Let’s learn to love and treasure own own.

9. Media and the arts have the power to spark a culture change. I wish that more Filipino artists would harness their talents for the greater good.

10. I hope to see more historical films that don’t flinch about calling villains villains.

11. More stories about martial law.

12. More stories that put poverty in the context of those with power.

13. I wish Filipinos would watch more Filipino films, and listen to more Filipino songs, and see more Filipino stage plays and concert and exhibitions. There is so much good stuff out there; all we have to do is look.

14. We should stop “Kapamilya versus Kapuso,” or “indie versus mainstream.” We should give all Filipino works a chance.

15. I want to see more Pinoy commercial films going international, and more Pinoy arthouse films doing well locally. We need a mix of both in our lives.

16-17. That said, one day, I wish to have a media industry as big as Korea’s. An industry that boosts our country’s economy, with films, TV shows and music that are seen worldwide and keep our culture alive.

18. In Korea, it took decades of government support for that to happen. So that’s another thing I want to see — a government that believes in the power of culture and invests in its artists.

19. And of course, to the Filipino government: Your taxes are killing the industry. Remove the amusement tax, please. (10 percent for local films and 30 percent for OPM — unbelievable.)

20. Let’s do what Korea, France and other countries do: finally require our movie houses and radio stations to play Filipino works.

21. In my lifetime, I want to see Manila come alive. By that, I mean I want it to be a city that’s so full of culture that it inspires dreams instead of nightmares.

22. On a tangent, but when I walk around Manila, I want to see sky. Somebody please get rid of the tangled messes of wires that choke our vision.

23. Let’s replace telephone poles and electrical poles with trees — fire trees, golden showers, trees that bloom. I once read that Luneta used to be full of them. We travel to Japan just to see their cherry blossoms, when we could have that right here at home.

24-25. This goes without saying: More parks, please, and more open spaces.

26. In Manila, I think this will only happen if we have a governor of Metro Manila. Right now, NCR is a collection of cities with competing interests. It should be one organism with one direction.

27. That said, I wish for federalism. Every single province should have the opportunity and means to be as lively and prosperous as Manila.

28. These days, Pinoys often think of change as apps; that to fix things, we just have to install a new app. Our solution to the poverty and corruption of the Marcos dictatorship was the Cory app. Our solution to the peace and order problem is the Duterte app. This mindset must stop. If we want lasting progress, we need to update our operating system — fix the institutions, not just change leaders.

29. We should start with the courts. (I have another metaphor here but bear with me.) Think of the wave of dissatisfaction that propelled Duterte into power; 16 million people who were so desperate for peace and order that they were willing to go to moral extremes to get it. The thing is, they hit a raw nerve. How can this country move forward when there is no justice? If we imagine government as a human body, then our courts are our digestive system, expelling the bad and keeping the good. Clogged-up courts where cases take years and culprits go free are like an intestine that is festering with crap. If we don’t fix the justice system in our lifetimes, then we will see our society explode in its own crap — if it isn’t already doing so.

Killing a few hundred or thousand people, as Duterte promises, however, doesn’t even come close to fixing the courts. Systems should outlive their creators. What happens when Digong is gone?

30. Finally, they say that the great Filipino dream is to make it abroad. In my lifetime, I want to see a generation whose great Filipino dream is to make the Philippines a better place. The median age of Filipinos is now about 23 years old. That means that most Filipinos were born after martial law, after the wars, after the Americans and the Japanese and the Spanish. We finally have a generation that was born into a country that is completely their own. We have to realize this: That nobody but us is going to steer our country in the right direction. So we better get to it.

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