Why it's values reform or bust for us Filipinos
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-05-19

All right minded Filipinos, save perhaps for the plunderers and the oligarchs, want a positive transformation of the country. All of us want a better, more equitable economy and society.

We’ve suffered enough humiliation already after our Asian neighbors have left us behind. We are now considered as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Once the proud showcase of democracy in Asia, what we have today we ourselves will admit is anything but democracy.

In the 2010 presidential elections, we hope to elect the right leader who will truly transform our country. But before we can do that, we must first determine our priorities. In other words, we must establish the first and foremost task of transformation — the strategic reform that will trigger the positive change.

Your Chair Wrecker has emphasized in many previous columns that other than knowing our real history — what really happened to us and who brought us to this sorry state — we must reform our values. Your Chair Wrecker has also posited that many of our biggest problems are rooted to counter productive values. Sans values reform we cannot hope to exit from these problems.

Some do not appreciate the need for values reform and are easily persuaded by false messiahs who profess to deliver transformation by other means which in reality can only address the peripheral problems.

You will hear from them that education is the key to achieving transformation. Some will say that if we jail the biggest crooks, the country will move forward with better governance and more money for education and social services (otherwise pocketed by plunderers). Then there is the belief that good management will raise education and social services and so forth. These are nice to hear but good analysis will tell you that sans values reform, these are doomed-to-fail solutions.

What good is education if what are taught in our schools are the very same values that got us into this rut in the first place? Many educated Filipinos do not know their real history which is why they do not know the real problems we must solve first.

What good is jailing plunderers if they are always replaced by greedier plunderers because we failed to address the culture of corruption that breeds them? What can brilliant executives like Sonny Belmonte and Manny V. Pangilinan do when the Filipino pwede na ‘yan (that is good enough) mentality persists?

Even our media believe that these offered solutions like education, zero tolerance for corruption, sound management and so forth will deliver us from the hell we’re in. Media, which are supposed to provide critical thinking and analysis in the development of public policy, generally fail to pinpoint the key solution - values reform.

China has been the envy of many countries seeking positive economic transformation. From the poor country that Mao Zedong left it, China became the big transformation story of the last 25 years of the 20th century. China had developed to such a level that even the US National Intelligence Council admitted that China is fast gaining supremacy over the US.

Many countries have been studying the China success story — hoping that they can adopt some of the measures that China utilized to jump-start and sustain their phenomenal economic growth. However, they fail to learn the crucial reform that China underwent in order to get to where it is now and this is a dramatic reform in values.

The enlightenment was provided by the late Deng Hsiao Ping, the Chinese leader that took over after the death of Mao. China changed many of its Communist values and adopted Capitalist values. China reformed its once ‘Communist-or-dead’ policy (during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, if you’re tagged a capitalist, you’ll likely end up dead), applied Capitalist principles (values) and harmonized these with Communist administration. The change from dogmatic Communism to practical Capitalism is essentially values reform. See what it did for China.

From the inspiration of Karl Marx, China borrowed from Ayn Rand’s “The virtue of selfishness” which is the core philosophy of Capitalism. After China reformed their values — allowed the pursuit of profit and the accumulation of wealth — they accomplished their great leap forward. The Chinese transformation has not yet been fully completed but one can see that the momentum is there. Here, we always fail to get going and that is because we fail to identify and address the core problem — the only way to arrive at the strategic solution.

Values reform can only be achieved after having an enlightened leadership. Filipinos must discern who the truly enlightened presidential wannabe is in 2010 if we are to achieve transformation after the 2010 elections.

History is rich with episodes of transformation sagas that were brought about by enlightened leaders who reformed their people’s values. The new Russia that is now also enjoying the fruits of Capitalism was led by Mikhail Gorbachev during the 1980s to change its ruthless authoritarian Communist policies. Gorbachev reformed Russian values with his introduction of Glasnost and Perestroika.

Of course, the greatest true story of transformation was made by Jesus Christ. Read and compare the Old Testament and the Gospel in the New Testament and you will see the values reform that changed the world. From the God in the Old Testament that is said to prescribe genocide, Christ preached the loving of enemies and unity.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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