Our biggest problem is the gap between rich and poor
FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2014 - 12:00am

With so many problems confronting Filipinos — the lack of jobs, port congestion, traffic mess, Smartmatic-PCOS elections etc., we can get lost on what we should prioritize. To my mind it can be reduced to a simple equation. What ails the country? It is about how to close the wide gap between rich and poor in the Philippines.

This is being discussed in Bayanko, the crowdsourcing page for a new constitution in Facebook.  Filipinos are once again at a crossroads as they were in Edsa. Will they take the easier path, believe others rather than their own consciences? Will they accept that changes in the structure of our society are necessary and work for it?

Admittedly, it would take heroic deeds only a few are brave enough to make. But take it we must while there is still time to reform our society or we face an armageddon of violence. At the time of writing Bayanko had more than 3,000 members and still growing. The present score offers hope that social media users can use their clout to gain support for societal and economic reform.

There are many things wrong with Filipino society but none is more destructive than the wide gap between the rich and poor. Any reference to the problem is ignored. Yet there are measurements from the National Statistical Coordination Board to show the income gap between the rich and poor of the Philippines is wider than countries with similar GNPs like Indonesia and Thailand.

Outsiders and concerned Filipinos note this inequality between the rich and the poor is endemic in our political and economic setup. For a total overhaul, a change in the political structure and governance is needed. Naturally, this upsets the power-holders in the system and they have the money and the power to keep the status quo.

The result is a vicious circle in which the system is held firmly in place through dubious elections. The latest development on this score is the machinated (excuse the pun) elections. It has become the battleground of the class war between the oligarchy and the masses. You may call it by whatever name you wish but let us be honest – it is a class war with government being used to promote the status quo through elections.

It is no longer about the old way of dagdag-bawas for cheating. It is now hidden cheating through programs nailed on the computers. We do not even know the source code that was required by law.  We were cheated in 2010 and 2013.

*  *  *

Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, wife of former Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, uncle of the President revealed that President Aquino knew about the cheating in the 2013 elections. He has been quoted he is not afraid of any candidate to challenge him or his candidates because he has the Smartmatic PCOS.

That is a daring accusation and Mrs. Cojuangco should be given the chance to prove her accusations. President Aquino was aware of the “digital” election fraud she said.

Furthermore, it was implemented by two officials who were given by the Palace P30 million to “clean up the (fraud) mess and cover up the crime.”

The digital rigging, she claims benefitted a senatorial candidate who was made to top the Senate elections and now cast as presidential material.

*  *  *

Tomorrow is Andres Bonifacio day. Also called the great Plebeian, Bonifacio exemplifies the poor in Philippine history. This column does not wish to get into the debate on the merits or demerits of Bonifacio’s role in history.

“When Rizal consecrated his doctrines with his precious blood, he was at once venerated by all. But unlike Rizal, Bonifacio was not immediately hailed as a national hero by the intellectual and well-to-do classes of our society.

 “The masses, possessing that unerring judgment by which they appraise true patriots, were the first ones who elevated Bonifacio to the pedestal of a hero of our people,” President Quezon said setting off a debate that has continued to this day.  

The observance which we will hold tomorrow is a solemn declaration by the entire country that Andres Bonifacio is deserving of the undying gratitude of his people, and that the memory of his life and deeds would keep the flame of inspiration ever burning in the hearts of generations yet unborn.

Quezon also said that Bonifacio had read the history of the French Revolution. “He understood and professed the new doctrine embodying the right of the people to appeal to force as a last resort in order to destroy governments which do not fulfill the objects for which they have been instituted. Therefore, when he saw that the peaceful means used by the La Solidaridad, by Marcelo H. del Pilar, Rizal and the Liga Filipina, of which he was a very active member, were not only fruitless but harmful because they increased and aggravated the outrage and injustices committed by the rulers, he decided with firm resolve to organize and lead the Revolution.”He founded the Katipunan, the first organization that really worked for the liberation of the country.

Nothing depicts and portrays the character of Andres Bonifacio, the man and the patriot, so well as his decalogue wherein he summarized what he considered to be “the duties of the sons of the country.”

The decalogue reads as follows:

1. Love God full-heartedly.

2. Bear always in mind that true love of God is love of country, love which is also true love of man.

3. Bear always in mind that the true measure of honor and of charity is to die in defense of your country.

4. Serenity, constancy, reason, and faith in whatever act or endeavor, crown with success every desire.

5. Guard, as you would your honor, the mandates and aims of the KKK.

6. It is incumbent on all that he who runs a serious risk in complying with his duties should be protected at the sacrifice of life and riches.

7. Let the achievement of each, either in self-control or in compliance with duty, be an example to his fellowman.

8. Help to the limit of your endurance, share with your wealth with the needy or unfortunate.

9. Diligence in your daily work to earn a living is the true expression of love and affection for yourself, for your wife, for your brother, and for your countryman.

10. Believe in the chastisement of the perverse and the treacherous and in the reward of all good work. Believe also that the aims of the KKK are the gifts of God; for the hopes of the country are also the hopes of God.”

“In honoring the memory of the Great Plebeian, we also honor the Philippine Revolution. Bonifacio was the embodiment of that Revolution.”

 

ANDRES BONIFACIO BAYANKO BONIFACIO COJUANGCO COUNTRY FRENCH REVOLUTION GREAT PLEBEIAN INDONESIA AND THAILAND PRESIDENT AQUINO
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