Exposing Filipino dysfunctional thinking
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-10-11
Two recent controversies demonstrated Filipino dysfunctional thinking — the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, or also known as Republic Act (RA) 10175, and the dynasties issues in Philippine politics. What may be obvious is dysfunctional thinking but that’s clearly rooted to a damaged culture, a culture that had preconditioned many Filipinos to think and react the wrong way.

Take the case of those bemoaning the spread of political dynasties. Don’t you think that it’s illogical to hope that a political system dominated by political dynasties will resist the dismantling of their source of power and wealth? So why are so many Filipinos demanding from the ruling elite to craft the enabling law that will stop political dynasties? It’s stupid.

The problem is nobody wants to invest time, resources and labor to uplift the bottom part of Philippine society — the poorly informed and poorly educated who are suckers for electing showbiz personalities and clan members of political dynasties. The only real solution is to elevate the level of political discourse so that even the poorly informed and poorly educated are empowered to appreciate real issues from illusions offered. Only when Filipinos reach that level of appreciation can we expect an irreversible rejection of the political dynasties.

Imagine that — even Manny Pacquiao is now out to establish his own political dynasty? His wife is running for vice governor in Sarangani while his brother is running for congressman in South Cotabato. What has Manny Pacquiao accomplished as a public official to justify having more Pacquiaos in public office? What are the qualifications, to begin with, of all three of them to deserve becoming congressmen and vice governor? In Cavite, there are two Revillas running and if they win, that will make three Revillas in this Cavite dynasty. Same question — what have Senators Ramon Revilla and Bong Revilla done to deserve a political dynasty?

When we succeed in transforming our voters into better-informed and more discerning bosses — that will be the time when we can enact all the legislations that will remove all the inequities in our system. Everything begins and ends with the voter. If the voters keep electing clansmen of political dynasties, then they deserve the downside that these dynasties bring.

The problem of evolving a better-informed and more discerning voters base cannot be accomplished by mere mass communications campaigns. The mindset can only be reformed when we go down to them and bring them up. Transforming our people’s mindset is a long-term and multi-faceted effort. This would entail community development because a community’s mindset will manage to re-infect a reformed member’s way of thinking.

A good model for this is the community and nation building efforts of the Gawad Kalinga (GK) that was the inspiration of Tony Meloto. GK is not so much of giving away homes but more of value formation. Give a damaged culture a house but with no reform of the self-defeating culture and nothing will be accomplished. The old bad habits will dominate the new stimulus.

In the case of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, what ruled was hysteria, not reason. As a whole, RA 10175 was guidance for cyberspace behavior that was long overdue. There may have been imperfections but these can easily be remedied when the implementing rules and regulations are crafted.

Instead of all that disgust, angst, aggravation, frustration and outrage that have been expressed on social media — how come nobody cared to get involved and make representations on the needed modifications. We the bosses failed to do our obligation as members of a democratic society — the obligation to get involved and voice our sentiments to our elected leaders. They need feedback if they’re to serve us better. Instead of raising your blood pressure, why don’t raise your voice in the proper forum? There are mechanisms for that. Use it.

It’s quite obvious that much of the negative reactions to the libel clause resulted from its association with Senator Tito Sotto. Sen. Sotto had earned public ridicule over a plagiarism issue that he aggravated with his reactions. If people looked at the issue with reason and with less passion, the simple premise for that clause is that nobody should be allowed to libel, slander, and defame another person without being meted corresponding penalties. The stiffer penalty for cyberspace libel is unjustified but libel on cyberspace should be meted penalties.

Some folks misconstrue owning a computer with owning cyberspace. You may own your computer but cyberspace is a public domain and therefore any libel, slander, defamation done therein is subject to existing laws and penalties. Once you post something libelous on cyberspace, be ready to account for it.

Many also failed to realize the national security aspect of RA 10175. This law was greatly necessitated by the cybercrimes being conducted here — precisely because we did not yet have the RA 10175. The Justice Department (DoJ) clause of RA 10175 was needed to be able to thwart these syndicates operating cybercrimes here.

Much of the opposition to RA 10175 can be classified as the results of MISTAKEN NOTIONS (tool for suppression) and IRRATIONAL HYSTERIA over what demonic acts the legislation will lead to. We’ll never progress thinking this way.

* * *

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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