Friday, November 4, 2016

SUSPECT INDEPENDENCES IN THE YEAR OF GEO-REALPOLITIK



photo from http://bmag.com.au/things-to-do-in-brisbane/latest/2015/05/06/experience-the-philippines-at-the-barrio-fiesta/

SHOULD every Filipino behave or think like a neocolonial lumpenbourgeois according to the preaching of his favorite real neocolonial lumpenbourgeois leaders? Sa ngayon kasi ay hinahati tayo sa dalawa ng lumpenbourgeois factions sa ating pulitika ng ganito:
    Kung mas marami kang pakinabang sa Amerika at galit ka sa Tsina, dapat ay anti-Duterte ka. At kung may galit ka naman sa Amerika, for reasons as small as having been served water instead of a lauriat (lao diat) merienda during a visit to an American office, or having been denied a tourist visa once, ay dapat pro-Duterte at pro-China ka na. Ito ang tanong ko: pag anti-America ka ba, ibig sabihin nationalist ka na? At ganun din pag anti-China ka? Baka kailangan nating lahat bumalik sa kolehiyo para mapag-aralan muli ang buong kahulugan ng mga salita, dahil may mga pangyayari sa mga nakalipas na buwan (kung di man sa nakalipas na mga taon) kung saan tila napakadali lang sa ating mga pulitiko (o aktibista man) ang mag-preach o mag-claim ng posisyon ng nationalism at independence, ipse dixitito’y habang may paghinala sa kanila (o sa mga grupo nila) bilang mga resipyente ng pondo galing sa kung anu-anong banyagang bangko, mga kompanya, o mga indibidwal na di-malayong may kani-kanyang interes na maaaring taliwas sa nasyonalismo o independensiya na isinusulong ng mga talumpati ng mga pulitiko o aktibistang ito.
    Here’s my next question: nationalism, according to what concept of nationhood? Or according to whose perspective on the idea of ideal nationhood? Now, I’ll grant that patriotism is what binds us together as citizens of our country, and that—as a friend of mine quipped—this patriotism can derive from different orientations, religious affiliations, political ideologies, ages, economic brackets, and so on. Indeed, we can always choose to focus on the power of the positive fact concerning this common ground’s goal instead of on the doldrums of a non-goal with our often-ready list of differences. For, after all, it's this love of country—albeit a country molded by our conquistadors, the Spaniards—that has retained our wholeness and coagulation as tribes or linguistic groups, and we’ve remained relatively undivided for decades since the fall of the Spaniards and our independence from the Commonwealth. True, also, anyone who has attempted to strike at our motherland in order to subtract from it, e.g. the long Islamist separatist insurrection in Mindanao or the battles in the North before the establishment of the Cordillera Autonomous Region, would always be countered by the center with the ample defense of unity against these many efforts at wedge-building.
    But here’s the problem: we've been ruled by neocolonial lumpenbourgeois interests since the beginning of our republic/s, and these interests have been imposing their neocolonial lumpenbourgeois formulas on the nation for the same length of time, all in the name of patriotism and nationalism! Yes, to the point that the connect between these impositions and the nationalist ideals these lumpenbourgeois factions claimed would be questioned many a time by many a cynic from both the academia and not. In short, it’s not the lack or absence of patriotism and/or nationalism that’s the issue but who the people are who have had a handle on these ideals and used the very same for intents many would regard as other than what nationalist ideals proclaim.
    And as for love, that great intangible almost guaranteeing the ultimate sacrifice for its service, it has been used in the same breath that some leaders of France bandied it for a rationale to side with Hitler. And it is in this sense of a problematic regarding the concept of love that I would here unabashedly assert that perhaps our current President, Rodrigo Duterte, may be allowing an emotional love for Freddie Aguilars country music to influence his pragmatic love of country, by which I mean mistaking self-centered love (controlling love from an emotional utopia) for selfless love (love of a democratic nation). The first kind of love (emotional and self-centered) may be sincere and real in a lumpenbourgeois leader, but is it the kind of love the majority really want (or need) or are truly empathetic towards from their democratic voice, post-election?

MY friend the banker and gallerist Boy David says: “Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago. The challenge is that it is harder to be subtle than strident.”
    And that’s the crux of our problem today as receivers of a media image, isn’t it? Consistency, as a requisite of the art of media image-making servicing the star system-leaning presidential form of politics that we have, would find the need to be subtle about the devil in the details (that would often require analysts to appear on talk shows) waylaid by our political culture as a whole in a manner that would not be done in a parliamentary system’s culture of constant debate. A shallow consistency of and for a media image becomes the science as well as the subject of political scientism, precisely what we see stretched to its utmost level of ludicrousness on Fox News and CNN regarding the US’s own stars in their presidential system. Was his smile the right kind of smile for the right kind of audience? What did his/her offensive statement achieve, poll-wise? Woe to the devil in the details as they continue to dress up as PR and marketing angels upon public ignorance.
    And what details are we talking about? Well, here’s a sample of the sort of Facebook discussion that I would prefer (not that this sample is as “deep” as an esoteric, academic thread, which we do not need to be):

WHILE on the issue of the division in our society/nation, our friend the Perth-based painter A- referred us to a 1970s root division in the study of Philippine history: “Kuyang, nahati sa dalawa ang mga Filipino noon—yung mga nagbasa ng aklat ni Teodoro Agoncillo, at yung mga nagbasa naman ng kay Gregorio Zaide. Tila ang problema ay mas marami ang nakabasa nung kay Zaide. :-p”
    “You zaid it well, kuyang Art. :),” I replied. “Ang problema, ang mga nagbasa kay Agoncillo ay nag-aala-pro-American-Zaide na rin pagdating sa China. Nagiging pro-China Zaides. :v”
    “Lol... :-p,” wrote Kuyang Art.
    “At pa’no naman ang mga nagsunog ng kilay kay Renato Constantino at sa mga namulat at namumulat pa sa patuloy na nagbabagong anyo ng kasaysayan ng Pilipinas, halimbawa sa pamamagitan ng mga akda o lektura nina Ambeth R. Ocampo, Ka Inggo (Domingo C. de Guzman), Xiao Chua, atbp.?” asked our friend R-. At maganda na nabanggit sila ng ating kaibigan, dahil interesado akong malaman kung ano nga ang masasabi ng mga historyador na ito tungkol sa tunggalian na nangyayari ngayon sa pagitan ng TeamAmerika of anti-‘Dutertards’ at ng all-but-TeamChina apologists ng Duterte-ismo.
    Totoo, marami tayong lalong mauunawaan tungkol sa ugat ng katiwalian dito sa ating bansa kung mababasa natin ang aklat na The Evil That Men Do (a Philippine history book) ni Ka Inggo. At malinaw din sa mga pahayag ni de Guzman na pro-Duterte siya, ayon sa ating kaibigan. Pero pro-Tsina rin nga ba? Marahil kaugnay lang sa tipong pang-malayang patakarang panlabas, sabi ni R-.
    Ngunit, kung usapang geo-realpolitik na, kalayaan how? By joining them when you can't beat them? Hmm. If so, I wonder why those who would be espousing this sort of logic towards China werent so enthusiastic in applying the same logic towards the statehood-for-the-Philippines-in-the-US-federal-union movement’s cause? Is it because China is socialist and worth “joining” our islands to, and the US is not?
    If so, for socialisms sake, it begs the corollary question regarding how socialist China is. Is one-party communist rule, with its own communist party elite of businessmen and new capitalists, socialist? How? How (plutocratically) not? Is the sort of socialism in some parts of the EU despicable or lame to Chinese communist partisan capitalism? Would the sort of socialism espoused by the left of the US Democratic Party be regarded by it as equally lame? What would be their comment on Trotskyist takes against the Communist bureaucracy? Or on anarchist communist takes against this same statist bureaucracy?
    Sana ay kalayaan talaga sa puntong walang pagdidikta o pagdodomina ng mas malakas, was the articulation of our friend R- of an oft-repeated expression of hopefulness among those sympathetic to or hopeful for the President’s veering the Philippines away from the West towards a closer-to-China foreign policy. But sana’ is a too-hopeful prayer-cum-gamble hovering above the current Duterte excitement over a hoped-for Philippine future, wouldnt you agree? Our friend Wilfredo Gallinero’s comment on another post of mine treats of concrete examples for this very topic, and it doesn’t beat around the bush. He wrote: “why don’t we ask some of the former satellites of Russia why they broke away from the USSR (and then aligned themselves with the rest of Europe away from Russia)? Or why Tibet, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Taiwan, do not like mainland China that much. Why not ask millions of Chinese émigrés scattered around the globe why they ran away from their homeland (and would still be wary of going back)? Why not ask millions of later Chinese and Russian immigrants to the United States the reason why they chose to live there instead of in China or Russia? Why not ask the Venezuelans what they got from switching sides? Why not ask the Cubans if they think they deserve a 2016 Ford Everest instead of a vintage Chevy Cadillac?”
    There you go. So, it’s not Duterte, Our Deliverer, then, is it, Mr. Gallinero? Appears more like Duterte, China’s Deliverer. Tama ba ako? And so, who, then, is fit, or should we trust, to deliver for us a truly independent foreign policy, if it is possible?asked our friend R-. This is definitely a question worth delving into in order to look the devil-in-the-details in the eye. Without beating around the bush, let me go straight to my abstract, which goes thus:
    An independent foreign policy is policy reached by choice of principle, not by the dictate of, say, one's campaign or regime foreign-bank donors, for example. And while the rumor that the AIIB donated a sum to Duterte’s campaign may be a wicked lie, it is also a fact that there was instant communication between the AIIB and the Duterte transition finance team after the President’s win. (Remember: while it was indeed the Aquino government that started mulling the possibility of the Philippines' joining the AIIB, President Aquino himself would later issue a caveat concerning being quick to bite the temptation, even though he would later announce in December 2015 that we shall be joining the Bank).
    We are not saying that Duterte is selling us to the Chinese quick, the way the Makapilis sold some of our grandfathers and grandmothers to the Japs during World War II. But remember that the bulk of the Makapilis, who were promised lands through land reform or peace or good times in Japan, did not become Makapilis by choice of sober principle, but either from duress or from sheer hatred of their neighbors or present landlords. Duterte has been expressing a personal anger towards Americans as a nation of loud people, which could be blamed for the impression that his anti-American friendliness towards China is not entirely derived from a sober principle.
    Pero, whatever sort of principle is behind the Duterte plan, ang problema natin, ultimately, is not whom to trust to deliver us to a zone with an independent foreign policy, but that we have a presidential system where the president is the dictator who decides for the destiny of 100,000,000+ individuals outside of his possibly neo-lumpenbourgeois present luxury. One should wonder why no one is yet calling for a referendum on at least one of Duterte's humongous decisions.
    Ser Boy re-entered this part of the conversation with this: “Right now, China succeeds in peeling the Philippines away from the United States; it is whipping a major win in Beijing’s long-term campaign to weaken U.S. alliances in the region. It will feed fears that the right mix of intimidation and inducements could influence other partners to distance themselves from Washington.”
    “The pre-election rumor that Duterte was a candidate funded by the AIIB turning out to be an earth-shattering reality?” I offered a wicked, gossipy conjecture.
    Here, our friend Don Miguel came in with a re-post of a status post by one named Randy Valiente, who wrote: “Mami-miss ko yung mga sigaw sa kalsada ng 'Tuta ng Kano'. Baka nga mas cute pakinggan yung 'Chihuahua ng China'. Chos. :P”
    Hahaha. :)

YES, our thread ended in laughter. But it was not just that ending that made the thread not the kind of exchange you’d read in comment boxes with Duterte loyalists (on one hand) and opposing politicians’ loyalists (on the other) in them. For, given that some of my friends are sympathetic to certain or all Duterte policies, with others not, I believe that they have all been demonstrating amply well the fact that the brain of each member of this Filipino nation of ours can behave or think beyond being a merely neocolonial lumpenbourgeois echo chamber for the preachings of its favorite neocolonial lumpenbourgeois leaders. I think an independent foreign policy can begin with each of our nation’s members’ exercise of its independence from the chains of politician- or party-directed blind loyalism. Otherwise one should have no business waving about the word “independence” when he cannot himself be independent enough to be able to examine or question his own idol-politician’s or idol-party’s suspect use of words. [S / -I]



Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What you consider as yours and what He considers as His are two different things: a comic report


A Philippine-American military exercise (photo from http://dailysignal.com/2013/04/19/americas-ally-the-philippines-requires-continued-support/)

DEAR lords and ladies of JoJolion’s Diet. Today I report to you this:
    I, Josuke of JoJolion, was there to personally hand to the King of the Philippines our Emperor’s invitation to visit the Empire of JoJolion immediately after that very period of His Lordship’s visit to the Empire of China. In all honesty, I was sent by our Emperor for the simple reason that I could speak English and some Tagalog and fully understand Tagalog and Bisaya; all of these three languages being what His Lordship the King has at His disposal. You also all know I know nothing much about Philippine ancient history, and I know that some of you have stated on Tokyo television that you would rather that the Emperor sent somebody else. Thankfully, my lords and ladies, you might like to know that while I know nothing much about Philippine ancient history, well, neither does much of the Filipino population! Anyway, my lords and ladies, that night in China when I watched and then sat with His Lordship the King of the Philippines, I was sipping tea and listening to him speak.
    "Today I announce my separation from the United States," said King Rodrigo I of the Kingdom of the Philippines that very night of October 20, there speaking at the court of the Empire of the Communist Partisans of China. Incidentally, my lords and ladies, the 71-year-old King said this between the 70-year old Philippine-US relations and the 72nd anniversary of General Douglas MacArthur’s Landing in the Barony of Palo on Leyte Island on October 20, 1944, whatever all those numbers might mean to you. I just came to learn about this from my Joestar family.
    Well, I am also happy to report that there is one thing you don’t know about this King, my lords and ladies. He actually likes the country music of Freddie Aguilar! As well as guns, of course. That makes Him a sort of cowboy in a Western film, doesn’t it? He even asked the Filipino country music singer to rewrite the lyrics to one of his songs so it can serve as a theme song for His reign, a fanfare of sorts to be sung by electronic minstrels wherever he goes. But here’s my question: Is superior love for Freddie Aguilar's country music enough to substantiate the King's claims of supreme love of country? For it seems he has a knack for claiming this. A knack, Anak, get it? [Pause here in case The Diet laughs]
    Anyway, my lords and ladies, after the King’s appearance at the court of the Empire of the Communist Partisans of China, we went to the balcony of the Imperial Communist Hotel to join a bevy of Filipino journalists on separate tables.
    “Naaalala ko ang lahat ng tinuro sa akin sa elementary tungkol sa mga pinaggagawa sa amin ng mga Amerikano at ako ay galit na galit hanggang ngayon,” whispered the King to me in a Tagalog with a Visayan accent that I could fully understand. We were seated at a merienda table full of what our Chinese chef called His Lordship’s Favorite Fried de-Lima Saba (all in all, five saba bananas on each plate, each banana halved right down the middle and fried and cinnamon-flavored).
    “Ang di ko maalala ay yung mga sinabi ng Nanay ko tungkol kay King Ferdinand of Marcos noong Queen Cory lady pa siya,” the King continued. “Di ko na nga rin maalala kung totoo nga bang si Queen Cory ang nag-appoint sa akin kaya naging Officer in Charge ako ng Duchy of Davao Siti (better known in all the Kingdom by the acronym DDS), wala na talaga akong maalala tungkol doon.”
    “Basta ang alam ko lang,” he continued, “salbahe talaga itong mga Amerikano. Bakit ba nila pinatay si General del Pilar, ang bata-bata pa noon at masunuring bata sa mga utos ni King Emilio del Aguinaldo, isa pang idol ko. Grabe talaga.”
    I attempted to ask the King details about the names he mentioned, but he was quick to follow up with:
    “Pero itong si King Ferdinand of Marcos, ha, di naman siguro totoo na salbahe ito kasi sa tingin ko kung naging salbahe man iyon, malamang dahil sa mga utos ng mga Amerikano, kasi salbahe talaga itong mga Amerikano, naalala kong turo ng mga titser ko sa elementary,” he said, looking at his plate of de-Lima Saba. I here again attempted to ask who---
    “Naalala ko rin yung sa collegium pa ako . . . iyan, mga classmates ko sa Ateneo de San Beda yang mga secretary ko na yan sa kabilang mesa, mga honor students yan silang lahat, gustong-gusto ng mga praile ng San Beda yang mga yan, sus ginoo. Ako 75 lang palagi,” he said, expecting laughter, which I promptly gave him and his joke.
    You laugh, my lords and ladies. But I expected that, that refrain of His Lordship’s overplayed song: “ako 75 lang palagi.”
    Anyway, after a pause I again attempted to ask about where Ateneo de---
    “Naalala ko, . . . ang daming rally noon dito sa Duchy of Maynila (better known throughout the kingdom as DOM). Kasi, siyempre, kaya siguro kami pinag-iinteresan ng mga Komunista noon kasi nandito kasi ang mga Amerikano, salbahe talaga, tsk,” he said, shaking his head.
    There was, again, a bit of pause here as the King rolled up a sleeve and reached out for a fried saba on my plate while side-glancing toward a female journalist. I felt like peeing from all the many cups of tea I had drunk and there stood up, and---
    “Kaya sabi ko, . . . para di na kami pag-interesan uli ng mga Komunista, pabalikin ko na lang si Joma, yung Robin Hood na titser ko, naalala ko, tapos makipagkaibigan kami with the Empire of China and KGB tsars-ruled Rusya, para wala nang gulo ba, o di ba? Mag-share na lang kami sa West Philippine Sea na yan. Tapos, laswik, pumunta ako ng Vietnam ni Bảo Đại, isa pang Komunista yan. O. di ok na ang Pilipinas, di ba? Sus ginoo, believe me.”
     At that moment I wanted to ask permission to go pee, but---
    “Kaya, sabi ko, itong 2016 Philippine-American military exercises, this will be the last, kasi mga salbahe talaga itong mga ito, naalala kong sabi sa akin ng mga titser ko sa elementary. Dito na lang ako sa Empire of China at sa KGB tsars ng Rasya---baka mababait pa itong mga ito, sabi ko, kasi biruin mo binigyan pa nga kami ng perang pangtayo ng drug rehab centers dito sa, saan ba yon? Basta meron dyan. Isipin mo yan! Saan ka ba---” I couldn’t understand the rest of the words he was munching on at that moment as he chewed on more saba. “On the other hand,” he continued, after wiping his mouth with toilet paper he got from one of his pockets, “wala talaga akong maalala na may ginawang salbahe sa amin itong Tsina at itong Rusya o Rasya. Wala talaga. . . . Well, wala akong maalala. . . . Ang parating naaalala ko ay itong Amerika. Sus, ginoo. Elementary pa lang ako, salbahe na talaga ‘to, putang ina!!!”
    I ran out to pee.

WHEN I got back I saw the King winking at a female journalist. I said to Him:
    “My Lord, can we get serious about this?”
    He looked at me as if to say he is always serious about anything and everything under the sun, even when he’s joking.
    “Let's say your Kingdom becomes more pro-China and -Russia than pro-Westeros from this moment forward,” I said, “okay, but what do you give away and what do you get?”
    A lady at a nearby table with her back turned to us almost half-turned at that moment, as if to listen harder to what might be the answer to the question I just threw at the King.
    “Let's do some real math and realpolitik here, my Lord,” I said. “Your subjects are warring with each other on abstractions like ‘sincere leadership’, ‘His caring presidency at the Presidium of Lackeys’, ‘nationalism’, and ‘independence’, which are---for now---still really nothing more to most than noisy, empty kettles of nice words they can't get water from for a jasmine tea of substance.”
    I didn’t notice Prince Wilfredo of Gallinero, son of the King’s estranged brother, sit at the table. He proudly swung the saba on his fork from left to right as he loudly, sarcastically said:
    “Instead, let us ask the former satellites of the KGB-Tsardom of Russia why they broke away from the USSR. Why the Tibetan Empire, The City Formerly Known as Her Royal Highness’ Hong Kong, Bảo Đại’s Vietnam and the Kingdom of Tungning (oh, Taiwan to you, ser Josuke of JoJolion) do not like mainland China. Why not ask millions of Chinese émigrés scattered around the globe why they ran away from their homeland? Why not ask millions of later Chinese and Russian immigrants to the United States of Northern America the reason why they chose to live there instead of in China or Russia? Why not ask Guaicaipuro’s Venezuelans what they got from switching sides? Why not ask Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar’s Cubans if they think they do deserve a 2016 Ford Everest instead of a vintage Chevy Cadillac?”
    Ser Dexter of Amoroso, son of a cousin of the King, was now also at the table. He said, joining the conversation, with the King not minding anyone as he busied himself with his saba, “If we are allied with the US of North America and the KGB Tsardom of Russia starts war, China as our ally would most likely be in charge of the Pacific front and use our islands for bases. And having the US of NA as our ally, well, they’d most likely request use of the burghs of Clark and Subic. That would make us a primary target, and same goes with the Empire of JoJolion and South Goguryeo.”
    We all stared at him, even the King.
    “Well,” ser Dexter continued, “if we are allied with China, same goes din. Either way, no choice. Two-edged sword ang pagiging strategic ng bansa natin. Di ba, My Lord?”
   
“A, ewan ko sa iyo; not my cup of tea,” said His Lordship, who quickly went back to winking at the female journalist while he sipped tea.
    “So, siding with China is safer with that Pacific front scenario?” I asked ser Dexter, in my English with a Nihonggo accent.
    But before ser Dexter could answer, ser Wilfredo there addressed the King, again sarcastically: “Just asking, my Lord, but why are we so hyper about changing our status quo? Our big problem before was Drugs and Corruption. Now we are so involved in geopolitics?”
    “I think they belong to the same category, ser Wilfredo,” I hastened to offer an explanation on the King’s behalf, who might find the good ser not his cup of tea of a conversation mate. “One seems eager to sacrifice all geopolitical complexities in exchange for rehab centers.”
    I couldn’t believe that that was what came out of my mouth. The King there turned to me, stared at me, but soon smiled and moved back his stare to another female journalist at whom he also winked tirelessly.
    “And as for the corruption of others,” I ventured to utter a joke, sensing that the King was up to receiving jokes at this hour of the night, “I dunno if theirs are bigger corruptions than the rumored one that says One actually got his prime campaign money from the AIIB.”
    Sers Dexter and Wilfredo looked at me, shocked, then giggled. The King turned to me again, stared at me, but after four seconds on a grandfather clock smiled at me for having the ambassadorial charm to crack such a joke, only to be frightened by the Kingly stare, haha. He threw his cooking oil-stained fork at my livery, over which act s
ers Dexter and Wilfredo LOLd.

SER Wilfredo was saying: “China will deal first with JoJolion, South Goguryeo, HRH Australia, Bảo Đại’s Vietnam, and most likely the rajas’ India and Indonesia. If we remain neutral it will be worse. Warring factions within our country will be armed by each’s opposing powers. We become like Syria, killing each other 'til the fight between the superpowers end.”
    I suddenly realized that Ser Hubert of Posadas, a freelancing knight of sorts, had been standing behind Ser Wilfredo, holding a cup of tea. He said then, “I do not think there is an exit from this. We have always been primed for proxy wars, so either end of the situation we will still be like Syria. We cannot escape playing the geopolitical game at this point in history. We have to at least take initiative, or be, as always, victim to the external manipulation by foreign powers. And how could we not, with our strategic location and weak military? The end goals, gentlemen, however you play it, are 1) industrialization while expanding our agricultural base, 2) equitable growth, 3) a strengthened local military’s technical capability, and 4) unified internal warring factions. The homework is more internal, regardless of the externalities, because once we achieve internal technology to a level of sustainability and equitably utilize our resources, we can then start to assert control of the strategic location that we have been blessed with by the Lord Bathala. Play them against each other is what I say. Eh, my Lord King?”
    But the King was suddenly not there. Ah, he was now standing in front of a bunch of seated and smiling journalists.
    “Why not concentrate on improving our economy to solve our poverty problem?” asked ser Wilfredo, turning to face the freelancing knight. “We are rich in everything. All we need to do is manage it well and share it fairly among us. That is how our leadership should show genuine love for its people.”
    “Yup,” said ser Hubert, “but as someone exposed to risk organizations and the intelligence community, that is the crux of the problem. If you try to do exactly that, foreign special interests and powers will neutralize you. This is well documented in our own Alexandrian libraries, and if you talk to any careerist in the NSC and NICA or even ISAFP, they will privately say so. It’s just that we are so enamored with our relationship with the US of NA and, as ser Josuke of JoJolion has been wont to point out, the internal colonizers are easily swayed by US of NA companies, Indonesian big money, China money, Malaysian money, that you will find that goal unattainable. Many have tried and literally died.”
    Everyone stared at ser Hubert, shocked at the reality bite he shared, their hands stopping short of bringing their sabas to their respective mouths.
    “The SOP,” ser Hubert continued as he strolled around the round table, “and I have worked with mining companies and contractors, is to start with AID while they steal the land, and many times stealing the health of the community as well. If the community is not compromised, brand their leaders as communists and place them in the OB! Then it will be easy to kill them.”
    Everyone slowly pushed their sabas to their mouths, still eager for ser Hubert to continue.
    And ser Hubert continued. “The AID, he said, is used to get baseline data and a social survey. Third parties then use bribery to buy the local dukes, extract resources. All standard playbook procedures.”
    Everyone slowly chewed on their sabas, looking down at the linen of realization on the table of globalization, as ser Hubert moved on to another table.

I DIDN’T know it was Lady Melanie of Victoriano at the nearby table. She swung around and asked: “So, ser Josuke of JoJolion, what items are on your ‘give away’ and ‘get’ list?”
    “Sa Those Chinese-American Companies In Manila That Cannot Be Named na lang ako manghihingi ng get list ko, ma’am Melanie,” I said, smiling, as I struggled to flaunt my Tagalog with an anime accent. “As for King Rodrigo I, I think rehab centers okey na sa kanya; yun lang yata hinihingi niya, simpleng probinsiyano lang naman daw siya. Tsaka isda promdi Iskaroboro?”
    She smiled and turned back to her table.
    Ser Wilfredo said: “We give away our natural resources and we get low-paying jobs as promoters of their products at the expense of our Overseas Filipino Workers.”
    I said, “Your country is so used to doing those, ser Wilfredo. What's to stop your lumpenbourgeoisie from giving away the same to a new colonial party? :)”
    He smiled and returned to his saba.
    Lady Melanie turned back again, saying: “We won the case at the inter-nations arbitration table, didn’t we? The King won't even get what is ours?”
    “Madame,” I said, “I think what you consider as yours and what He considers as His are two different things? And I think His definition of ‘bayan ko’ is not so different from the definition of it by seemingly China-funded Bayan Muna? A China-centric Asia Union would be their definition of a supreme bayan, different from your definition of the word, true?”
    “Hmm,” she said. “Do you think His ‘Bayan ko’ (pre- & during the election of Kings) is different now, now that he is the King?”
    “Rumor is creeping in, my lady,” I said, “that what we're witnessing now are the repercussions of that equally rumored pre-election Rodrigo-AIIB connection.”
    Ser Wilfredo looked up from his saba, saying, “Silk road, too, eh?”
    “Silk bridge,“ I said.
    “AIIB controlled by China,” ser Wilfredo continued, glancing with a tinge of bitterness towards his Uncle, “will finance that ambitious bridge project. All member states' banking and private sectors will put in their share. Most material and labor will be from China. It is business as usual for China. They have to think faster because their temporary prosperity is diminishing. In the long end, it will be faster to spread their products throughout the continent. Sounds good, but are we sure China will not use that leverage against the AIIB’s member states? As far as we are concerned, what do we need them for? We have more than enough wealth for every Filipino. All that this wealth needs is proper management!”
    He glanced bitterly towards his Uncle, there flirting with the media.
    Suddenly, Ser Raymond of the Red, the jester-puppeteer, passed by our table, saying to us as he danced to Freddie Aguilars music, “One for you, one for me. Two for you, one, two for me. Three for you, one, two, three for me . . .”, as he disappeared into the crowd of standing and talking journalists, among whom was the King, dancing with His cup of tea.
    And that is my report to you, my lords and ladies! Arigato! Heres hoping you will have use for it before His Lordship arrives for his visit! Just remember this, though, my lords, my ladies. To the King of the Philippines we are a friend. We are not the anime. Get it? Not an anime at all, hahaha. Kanpai!!! [S / -I]






Monday, October 24, 2016

On our continuing search for new solutions: a discussion with a security consultant




LET’S HAVE a break from all this debate about extrajudicial killings and about death squads and move to more positive stuff, like community development inputs. Or, perhaps we could move to such positive topics as community development that may actually offer alternative answers to these very problems at the top of the news, both directly and indirectly. Is that possible, please?
    Okay. So who do we talk to, then? Uhm, a politician or appointed government official with a plan perhaps? Hmm. Oh, I know, why don’t we talk to a humble security consultant working on solutions, like many others, from the sidelines of the debate?
    Oh, I know, I know. Security consultant, did I say? I realize, of course, that our impression of security consultants whenever we hear that phrase is either of 1) people behaving like loyal knight warriors to kings and princes corrupt or otherwise and deeply knowledgeable about things to do with security and not much else, or 2) a bunch subcontracted by military agencies to implement operations that cannot, must not, be attached to the name of the military force of the land, especially when it involves securing private corporate interests or assassination. But a few years back, during a meeting about an action-genre comic book project that has yet to see the light of day, I had the opportunity to meet Hubert Posadas, a humble security consultant who debunked either of these popular impressions. His concerns definitely went beyond the usual action-genre defense and offense concerns of security science and art and explored social empowerment dreams we usually associate with social entrepreneurs.
    Recently, Hubert and I crossed paths again on Facebook in the light of current anxieties about the goings-on in the administration of Rodrigo Duterte. Though somewhat sympathetic to the direction the government is currently taking, he is far from being uncritical of its overall management of its operations while critical also of mere criticality. It is in that last, in the criticism of mere criticality, that our conversation led to an interesting zone, a zone where, it turned out, he was presently involved in something that economically empowered besieged niches of society.
    As in our comic book project conversation with painter Marcel Antonio (who was supposed to be the prime artist of the comic book and the one who introduced Hubert to yours truly), Hubert was now, again, not just talking about defense and offense concerns in the security sense but also in the cultural sense and even the economic sense. He was now speaking as a co-stockholder of a community security and permaculture-advocating social enterprise called Dagyaw.


Hubert Posadas of the community security and permaculture social enterprise Dagyaw
(Photo by Vanjoe Clemente)

Hubert with UN consultants
    The concept of Dagyaw as both a community security and permaculture-advocating program formally started in 2015 with the challenge of securing a Mindoro tribe as a client besieged by threats of losing parts of its ancestral domain to certain interest groups. This was all happening in the wake of the killings of Lumad chiefs in Mindanao who lost tracts of their ancestral domain to mining interests. As a security consultant who has been everywhere, however, Hubert has learned that not everything about security involves the use of force by a hired group to counter the force of another (hired) group. Sometimes the concept of security is better served by allowing both sides of a conflict or near-conflict to surrender the concept altogether in order to arrive at a win-win situation for all, without each side giving up a claim to anything. Or perhaps security as a concept is best served by the ultimate medium that should be way, way better than any hired security force: the idea of community security.
    Community security is probably familiar to those who've heard of the OSCE-organized Community Security Initiative (CSI) of Kyrgysztan. Or of the Community Security Trust (CST) of the UK. The first, CSI, emphasized bridge-creation between the police and the community, while the last, CST, was focused on community organizing for self-defense. Corollarily, we might remember that in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, barangay governments and their tanods disintegrated into individuals looking after their own families, with other virtual leaders sprouting up to take the place of those original security organizations that momentarily disappeared (the Pareto principle at work); that would be an example of a natural organization of community personnel for community security.
    Now, talking about Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, earlier than his Mindoro project Hubert was party, along with several foreigners, to a permaculture training project in Antique—like we said, this was in the wake of the problems that arose from the Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan catastrophe. This was perhaps where Hubert’s idea of securing communities or institutions started to expand, to include food security and economic security, for a program that may fit other types of besieged clients, for instance informal settlements.
    And so, currently, in an Antipolo informal settlement site, you would see Hubert’s group focused on introducing a type of community security that 1) augments the government’s anti-drug dealers program and other policing action against exploiters of the inhabitants of the informal settlement, and 2) bridges the gap between informal settlers and owners of idle lands. In the #2 part of this plan, the informal settlers enter into training with Hubert’s group to be empowered to enter into contract with the owners of the idle lands to permaculture-farm those lands with either monetary or produce rent. What results from this is an economic liberation of a percentage of the community’s unemployed, the provision of self-sustenance to a part of the settlement’s food needs, and the liberation from idleness of the idle lands themselves. We must also take into account the fact that the concept of permaculture is itself a form of security from food source annihilation by catastrophes, if only because it is agriculture that emulates the ecological patterns of nature instead of limiting produce to one source, thus providing a community with surviving food sources after a catastrophe like a strong typhoon has hit it.
    Here are parts of our threads of conversation (adapted for this blog):

Me: . . . the Philippine problem with democracy is that "we the Filipino people" have a political culture of always wanting to fight not for our personal causes primarily but for politicians and such personalities, primarily. We would fight wars and die for these in the name of our politician or celebrity or sports team/athlete or favored TV channel. In that sense, "we the Filipino people" are still living in a monarchic system before the occurrence of the events that led to the French Revolution. . . . That is why I’m advocating for the urgent incorporation of direct democracy instruments into government as what could take us out of that state.

Hubert: Ah, but we are growing. All the institutions are being questioned, all crumbling, in the current government. Catharsis begins with these kinds of events, helped by the dawning of awareness given insight by (various people, like you). Frame the positive outcome and prescription and see that the change is already here with (such people as you). Know that it is hard to break old habits but easy to create new ones. That is why the revolution in psychology has been to steer away from talking about the past and more on reframing the positive outcome one wants to produce.
    Conditioned helplessness is the condition wherein one finds oneself constantly complaining without seeing a solution. The mind must work to find a proof of concept, not just to discuss logics.
    The ability to train the mind to see a problem as a situation is the first skill in training the mind to find the solution. That is why we keep changing our leaders without success, because we only know what we do not want without knowing what we need to do. Most Filipinos think that the rationale for a movement is in finding a fault and in asking others to join in agreeing to find fault or to a found fault and to rally behind that negative statement. They are actually talking about a reaction, not a revolution.
    A revolution is a dynamic of change from one state to another. Without a clear scalable proof of concept, it never really becomes a true movement. I think change begins with a small group with clearly defined action that proves a new reality. Often, everything else around is reaction.

Me: That’s true. But who make up that group and what kind of change they’re advocating is crucial. Historian Xiao Chua said, on a Net25 talk show, something like, "I don't blame the Americans for keeping to their interests. Ang problema is how well we fight for ours." Aside from the “how well,” mahalaga ro’n ang “fighting for our interests” part. And in relation to our common concern, sa tingin ko natumbok ni Xiao Chua rito sa sinabi niya ang anatomiya ng lumpenbourgeoisie-ness ng ating lumpenbourgeois politicians na hindi nawawala sa paghahanap ng ibang amo. Kung ang bagong mga amo ng pagka-lumpenbourgeois mo ay mga Chinese creditors and investors at hindi na American o European creditors and investors, yun lang ang nabago; lumpenbourgeois ka pa rin.

Hubert: Tama ka, bro. Ngayon, pa’no natin maooperationalize yung changes pregnant in the situation you exposed? Currently my group is starting a bottom-up approach with some communities, using an initial framework. Maybe you can help us with it. Kailangan ng proof of concept, pero kailangan din i-mekaniko yung conceptual framework derived from real conditions. Nag-umpisa kami sa baseline data gathering, papunta na kami sa community organizing.

Me: Pareho tayo ng paniniwala diyan sa necessity of proof of concept, to depart from the pure utopia level of such political concepts as left libertarianism. I was actually lobbying my mates in a group that was for a moment devoted to the concept of direct democracy, pero masyadong marami ang obsession ng grupo kaya naging kalat. I was lobbying for the formation of a direct democracy party of sorts, not necessarily with the aim of placing candidates in an election but perhaps of endorsing some. But, anyway, I was primarily lobbying for our group to start our rise at the bottom, by educating barangays on the availability of direct democracy options, starting with barangay officials who would want to cooperate or might even encourage their citizens to participate in this cultural thrust. I was thinking, one barangay people’s initiative alone succeeding would be worth covering, if I were a TV network, as it would be a first—as far as I know—and would have the potential of becoming a model for other barangays to emulate. A new culture of participatory democracy could be jumpstarted there, with the cooperation of the media.

Hubert: In our case naman, we have a good framework that is scalable. We introduce the concept of community security to address an immediate benefit and something to exercise direct democracy with. This framework enables what we call our clients to technically increase their property value and create sustainable food security, thereby creating place-based economics, integrate informal settlers into the mainstream economy, mobilize "tambays", and so on. (We even have an internet media program to cover and document their progress.)
    So, this setup enables what we call our clients to immediately address their basic human needs, prepare them to survive and thrive during disasters, and foster back old values and culture like bayanihan and pakikitungo, pakikiisa, etc. We are even incorporating gamifications in order to land social targets that the shareholders agree upon. The program was designed with a psychologist and an organization development consultant to maximize traction on the ground. We are interested in getting more experts on board in essentially a reality show to create a proof of concept.

Me: This is nice. But what I'm interested in is how this can expand to inhabit national space and national culture. The usual way for extending community-specific experiments into adoption by and for the national evolution is through a political ideological framework as vehicle, thus through empathies like those for social liberal structures, socialist structures, direct democracy or participatory democracy structures, even utopian anarchist structures. So, how a social experiment becomes part of a governmental ideological policy is what I’m interested in, to go beyond being a mere isolated project initiated by a social enterprise, to go beyond being the aid product of corporate social responsibility.
    Like, halimbawa, even in international relations between states, there's really no such thing as aid or donation na walang kapalit. And although corporate social responsibility projects may require no “payment” from its beneficiaries other than a sense of gratitude, it either sustains itself through government “recognition” of their actions or through profits from contributions coursed through foundations. So I’m looking for that kind of aid that doesn’t end as a charitable product that was also profitable for its donor, but an aid that evolves and becomes a part of the national culture.
    So, can a social enterprise-initiated culture at the bottom blossom into something that would not just end up being a CNN Hero thing that governments don’t absorb? Can it become part of national policy, in short a part of government culture?




    Now, I know that you have an answer to that query of mine. Pero, before you answer that, let’s talk first about this obsession ng government ngayon, the illegal drug trade, which some are happy to see finally addressed as a priority even while some are not happy to see it take the limelight of sole focus. :)

Hubert: Ah, meron ding magandang nangyayari dyan. Yung exposure ng malalim na sitwasyong-panlipunan na ito, kasama na ang iba pang sitwasyong-panlipunan na pinag-uusapan na ngayon, ay di dapat maliitin, kahit na medyo di pino ang nangyayaring pag-address sa mga ito.

Me: Yun. Yun din naman ang magandang kontribusyon ng pamahalaang Duterte. Kahit pa ito ay mapatumba, kung sakali, mananatili na sa ating memorya ang reyalidad na inungkat ng Pangulo para ito’y makita ng ating matagal nang tulog na mga mata. Kaya if, kung sakali, biglang may mangyari at kakailanganing pumalit ni Leni Robredo sa trono, it would be interesting to see kung ano ang gagawin nito sa war on drugs, along with the war on other manifestations of elitism by the ruling class which Duterte brought out into the forefront of the conversation (never mind if his was still partisan and personal in reality instead of truly ideological).
    Afer all, for as long as we are managed by this ruling class, we are never going to be united, simply because the elements in this niche (the lumpenbourgeoisie) are working for themselves and their factions and not for the nation, thus necessarily dividing us who are easily duped into siding with the factions the way TV viewers have been duped into joining either a kapamilya or kapuso or kapatid kind of brand loyalism.

Hubert: Tama. Tumbok at tumpak.
    Duterte is a reaction to the historical inadequacy of our ruling class. Now, he may not have the right solution, but his reaction should bring about a coherent response from the citizenry. It is about time we disengage from being purely pro or against in our respective stance with regards to this leader, but sift through the destruction of sacred cows and old boxes to propose and act on the changes we want. That is why I for one do not complain but act.
    Extrajudicial killings, for instance, are a reaction to a corrupt judicial system, so in order to correct it I started to promote and train communities on the concept of community security to both address the drug problem and negate extrajudicial killings. Also, I do not cry over dead drug dealers but advocate engaging the PLEB to strengthen the cases against cops killing the innocent. One of my groups has adopted two community test sites and will start training other village security forces to adopt a framework that uses involving all community shareholders to address the problem in cooperation with traditional service providers. This is a highly technical program that is mission-driven to address the problem. We do not complain. We act on the ground.

Me: Right. So, mabalik tayo do’n sa tanong ko in relation to your other social enterprise that combines community security and permaculture training: again, what I'm interested in is how this can expand to inhabit national space and national culture. Like I said, and to repeat it here, the usual vehicle for expanding community-specific experiments into adoption by and for the national evolution is a political ideological framework, thus through empathies like those for social liberal structures, socialist structures, direct democracy or participatory democracy structures, even utopian anarchist structures, and so on.

Hubert: Mas maganda magtagpo, dahil—on the one hand—kadalasan yung political parties and their programs ay nauunsyame sa IRR. Puro theory, walang binti sa lupa. Most current social changes happen on the outlying, grassroots level; kaya nga lumabas yung community security framework, permaculture aid, at iba pa, dahil nauna yung grappling ng proof of concept, tapos napauso pa. Pati sa libro ni Maxwell Gladwell napatunayan na change comes in the form of a virus. The initial cell is important, mapa-Arab Spring man, Orange Movement man, o internet revolution. Proven na rin yun sa experience ko sa community work. Di mo kailangan i-convince ang lahat. Magsisimula ka lang with a small tribe, tapos kunin mo yung parehong group mo. Pano magpakilos ng isang toneladang kalabaw? Kunin mo yung ilong. :-) Anyway, lahat naman ng pagbabago nagsisimula sa maliit, hindi ito putok sa malaki.
    On the other hand naman, yung experience naman ng community security and permaculture aid ay bottom-up, eventually leading to a national level. Three-tier milestone. From one local proof of concept, the cell expands to the municipal/regional level, then national.
    Sa second tier, meron din kasing opening sa local government level. Polity at the bottom is allowed to create policy. Wala lang naggawa ng technical framework to do it. Yung direct democracy din kasi merong inherent weakness in that it is inefficient without an educated and informed electorate, it could lead to the destruction of national resources at an increased rate unless a universal framework is first established based on a national resource management goal, with a proviso that you lock the policy on a sustainable asset management framework for the greatest good of all.

Me: Well, I would like to see how direct democratic votation on initiatives may have a weakness leading to the kind of risks you mention, Hubert, considering that votes on initiatives usually go through six months to three years of debates among all sectors of society affected by the initiatives. An initiative therefore that allows a provincial government to sell public black sand and corals to foreign governments would be debated on by fishermen and their leaders, and I don't see how such an initiative can win among such a directly affected people. In contrast, a representative democracy legislature can easily pass such a bill without the people knowing anything about it.
    Tsaka it is a chicken and egg thing. The people can never be educated about issues unless you involve them in those issues. The alternative is to stick to status quo, where the few representatives of the people decide for the millions.
Hubert: I guess tama ka. Chicken and egg. Kailangan lang i-mechaniko. Let’s keep in touch as we start documenting our pilot program and share it on the Net.
    Pwede ka ba namin mainterview?
    Or guest host kaya sa show?

Me: May show kayo? :) Saan?

Hubert: Yes. Here's a glimpse of "Dagyaw" on YouTube. :)




Me: Baka naman makasira lang ako sa videos ninyo pag may masabi akong parang devil's advocate ang labas. :D

Hubert: Hindi naman. . . . Yung attitude namin accepts that. Asset-based thinking and De Bono's Six Thinking Hats accept that attitude and incorporate it. Maganda rin para ma-juxtapose sa pag-ba-Bagani na prinopromote naming [no relation to the “baganis” accused of killing Lumad chiefs in 2015]. It is important because you have to start with hard facts, then you turn the problem on its head to see the solution. We just pass it through the process, which is to 1) get the "Problem", 2) turn it into a "Situation", then 3) pass it into a gap analysis, milestones and measurable results. Ang dagdag lang namin dito sa lahat ng ito ay yung pag-apply ng ilang theraputic tools and use of normative culture and practice.
    After the introductory episodes, we set into the laboratory site and use gamification to land social targets, like I said. Yung paggamit naman ng mga science ng mass marketing and propaganda ay gagamitin din naman, as in using the tools used against us to redirect them for social change.
    Mas enjoy kasi sa amin ang operators at hands-on ang approach, e. :-) Pati yung problema masarap!

Me: Pero di mo pa ako nasasagot. How could this evolve into a political system that creates its own laws instead of just adapting into the existing system of laws that could in the end swallow it (you know, property laws, for instance, that would conflict with an attitude towards the commons).

Hubert: Hahahaha! Our goals are closer than you think!
    The difference is in the method, something we would rather show in the series than discuss, to create the correct brand and psychological magic that we intend to create. The key words are: the commons, place-based economics, community well-being, etc. Show and tell and approach.
    This includes, on my part as Security Consultant, taking the bull by the horn and signing a contract of service to former rebels, their communities, as well as indigenous peoples with ancestral domain. Sila ang kliyente ng mga consultants, yung marketing vehicle yung show.




    The resultant political system will follow from the organized network of stakeholders in the place-based economics.
    Ngayon pa lang, yung mga exclusive villages are de-facto states and are a polity themselves. I researched legally if I may treat client communities, informal and marginalized, as well as IP (indigenous peoples) communities as . . . if legal ba to serve them itong mga usual service providers. Sabi ng mga lawyers, NICA, and the Left, pwede raw. Wala pa lang nag-isip gawin yun.

Me: It's good that you mentioned the word legal. Kasi, from what I'm reading, everything you're talking about and describing looks good. That's well and good, for as long as we're aware that there are existing political setups that can intervene and contradict your progress. The movie Avatar is a good example. :) But, seriously and realistically, the laws of the land can creep in anytime and stop you.

Hubert: Yup. Pero ang advantage kasi natin as consultants, e galing tayo dun sa dating system na yan. ika nga, na naging enlightened Intelligentsia doing social enterprise. Galing ako sa isang military contractor kaya alam ko lahat ng ins and outs. Mga kasama naman natin, mga galing corporations; pero yung mga dati nilang methodologies e mamimitigate. In fact, when they see the rationale, ma-aaikido mo pa sila. Biro mo, low start-up, high production and increase in property value that benefit all? Using their language, ika nga, pero addressing social needs, empowering the masses as Clients, and not perpetuating a mendicant's mind. (Yes, hindi mendicants or mere recipients of aid, kasi, siyempre), as Client, kasama dun sa package para sa kanila ang education, training, certification, marketing, etc. All kinds of services that will create a place-based economy and professional citizenry.
    Ang dami ng sundalo at rebelde na sawa na sa gera, farming na ang gusto.
    Yung gamit ng “law of the land”, likewise, pwede rin natin gamitin. Tayo rin naman ay pwedeng gumamit ng lawyer at gumapang. Lahat ng skills ng corporations kaya natin, yung internal wealth distribution lang natin ang iba sa kanila.

Me: Ang primary concern ko ay yung property laws, especially those governing land titles. Pero okay yan kung sa ancestral domain na collective na kaagad ang ownership. Pero paano pag lumabas na roon at ibang kliyente na?

Hubert: Several models ang nakikita namin. Yung sa PPP ang pasok natin, to be recognized by DENR. Yung sa normal community naman ay kukunin natin sa "Community Development Plan" na nakapasok sa Development Plan na pinapasa ng isang developer. Meron na tayong partner diyan. Pag nakita ng mga may-ari ng nakatiwangwang na lupa, nung mga informal settlers, at maging ng mga developers na 1) tataas ang property value at the lowest possible cost, 2) meron silang tax break in terms of environmental incentives under the Environmental Act, 3) pwede pala sila immediately kumita with the informal settlers as Clients and Partners at the production base, e di gagawa ka na ng trend. Yung mga middle-income din makakabili ng Farm Lifestyle plots and/or partner with the community.
    So, Communal Corporation? Socialist Corporation? Kahit ano pa itawag mo, yung operation achieves the stated goals.




Me: Interested din ako dun sa variants ng internal wealth distribution.

Hubert: Merit-based, to address the weakness of Communism, with its own privatized health care, housing, education, etc., to address the weakness of the Capitalist System.

Me: Saan kayo nagsisimula, sa public lands or private?

Hubert: Private na merong informal settlers. Napapayag ko yung developer, yung association at yung mga informal settlers na mag-partner imbes na mag-away.
    Pagtakbo nung model, larga ako sa communities on the edges at sa mga IP. Kailangan ipakita na nagwowork. Percentage ng increase in value ang usapan. Yung mga gap sa framework from the baseline data, i-sinub-contract ko sa mga proven organizations, community development experts, at research and academic orgs, para merong template that will be scaleable. Education naman is community-based, para walang perang maipit sa buildings and stockholders—mas magmura sa mga magulang, experiential, and based sa work for the community and the environment, tapos may kita yung mga teacher at module developers.
    Ang kailangan kasi, e . . . engineering stage pa kasi tayo. Yung general principles ay gagawing policy na pasok sa agreed vision, pero without proof of concept and an entrepreneurial spirit, hanggang vision lang yan. Ika nga, Pinoy tayo e. Kung sa kanila hindi pwede pagsamahin ang Socialism and Capitalism, sa atin pwede. Ism lang naman yan e.

Me: Ang old -isms naman ay nag-eevolve. Ang communism ng China ay ibang-iba na ang mukha ngayon, just as the American Dream is in need of a reengineering to keep it from turning into a nightmare.

Hubert: Good. Now, we can look at what is good about both experiences and come up with our own, based on our own ground conditions. That is pure lateral thinking!
    Ang point kasi nito, parang tubig ang kilos natin. Dun tayo sa merong objective conditions to succeed. Pag umabot sa point na uso na, e di labanan sa market of ideas; pero at least meron nang produktong madaling bilhin, which is yung samahan. Yung economic engine at yung political party iisa.
    Meron pang sweat equity na pang-bayad ng community shares, so ang labas ng tao hindi mendicant. Binayaran niya yung services ng training, certification, benefits. Hinde siya lalabas na kawawang tupa.

Me: One additional question, pre. How do you avoid conflicts between your chosen community leaders and the barangay leaders as well as between your community security force and the barangay tanod? Or is the barangay always involved in the organization of the community security forces? Tsaka what's your concept of community security outside of besieged client communities---is it to build rapport between the police/tanod and the community, thus lessening police abuse, as with the OSCE’s Community Security Initiative in Kyrgysztan?

Hubert: Excellent question.
    The first priority is to establish rapport and gather information about who the community leaders are, to include the informal leaders, NGO heads, and/or, in some instances, the gated community Association Board members, etc. Of course it is easier to work with a gated community or with a subdivision Association, because they already are an organized polity given recognition by the HULRB/Magna Carta for Homeowners' Associations.
    Following the prescribed formula of Saferworld, the community development approach, and from practical experience, the survey proper and needs analysis come first. This part includes interviewing members of the community and stakeholder representatives what "insecurities" they have. Now, the common opening is usually on addressing common pains such as disaster preparation, water, sanitation or even crime issues.
    The dialogue then leads to a workshop to empower these communities. I have yet to come across a community or barangay that did not appreciate and accept the initial workshop, as it constitutes free technology for them to effectively address issues. Usually, bringing a third party technical expert is enough to open the door. The approach is critical in that one has to establish what the relationship is and what it is not. This is also critical in that it is the first reframe.
    Back in Barbaza, Antique, after the Yolanda disaster hit the municipality, I assisted a permaculture aid specialist team that did not bring any relief supply. In fact, the mayor told us the first time he met us to "Please do not give any more relief goods to my constituents as they are becoming like mendicant rats," to which we replied, "Good, we did not come here to give relief goods, but to give knowledge." So we immediately went to Sitio Cadiao and had a dialogue with the Kapitan and the Elders. This was Day 1. After assessing from them their situation, we made a deal to stay and help them if they would meet us as a community early in the morning to do "dagyaw," which is Visayan for bayanihan. In the beginning the men hemmed and hawed, saying they had to work on their respective houses; but Steve Cran, the head of the team, convinced them by asking them how much work they can accomplish as individuals in one day. We then asked them to try us out for one day. By day two, within only 4 hours of work, we were able to clean the mountainside of debris, sort and segregate usable materials, teach them permaculture principles, and, more importantly, taught them with their participation how to plan and execute a structured and prioritized plan of action in an achievable timeframe. We were able to organize them according to their skill sets and turned what was once a feeling of hopelessness into an excited and focused energy that started them on to address their situation. By day 3, two more sitios asked for our help. By the end of the 5th day, we had a project going with the barangay and the school in the area. So, the above example leads us to three crucial principles, 1) the community knows what it needs, 2) the assets are already in place, and, more importantly, 3) the approach: authority by demonstration. This goes both ways, in gaining trust, and then in pinpointing your Pareto principle concerning people on the ground. The immediate hands-on work will bring these out.
    Going further on this, the important initial group to work with is your basic community, along with the Association head if it is a gated community, the Kapitan if it is a sitio, or the Barangay Captain if it is a barangay without a gated community. Get the basic unit of community first. From there, once an agreement is made and signed after a workshop, strengthen this basic unit by experiential education, meaning to say help them by giving them best practices, a workshop, and consultation on what their vision for the community is, how it is related to policy, how policy is related to rules and regulations, and how plans are related to the whole. Basic knowledge on how to conduct a meeting, how to document a meeting and a project, how to form committees, etc. are given.
    Now, here is an important point: walang libre. I learned this from Steve Cran who has proven, as one who has worked on UN-sponsored programs in conflict zones, that it’s better to work with the basic unit of a community as partners, or, better, as clients. Kahit seedlings or sweat equity for workshops ang pambayad, dapat meron silang bayad—because you want to cultivate a mindset of both ownership and non-mendicancy. They take the meetings seriously because they "paid" for it.
    Now, this process, one that organizes them according to their skills set (from a capacity inventory survey), immediately seeing them turn out a group who has the skills and a group that has the planning capability, etc., both working for the low hanging fruit that will give the maximum impact, creates the community esprit de corps, so to speak. You make them aware that, 90% of the time, most communities will argue about the 10% of the things they do not agree on. So the trick is to immediately make them realize that it is better to work for the 100% immediately, on the things they agree on, whatever the percentage, and to empower them further by documentation and recognition of accomplishments as a community and as individuals qua community champions. After the basic community is thus empowered, then and only then do we teach them how to liaison with the next tier of the wider community and what is called the "Traditional Security Providers," the barangay government and the PNP.

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Hubert: Now, as for your other last question, . . . the community, agreeing to adopt a community security policy, is thus empowered legally, as by law any community may do this provided they do proper coordination in matters of apprehension, crime reporting, etc. Also, a community may also want to enter into a valid contract with a third-party service provider to be thus empowered, especially if the service provider and community know the law relating to this.
    To tell you a story, nung executive director ako sa FORA SECNET, I handled the security problems that ordinary security agencies could not handle for 40 exclusive villages. Dahil naka-lock kami sa valid policy, rules, regulations and contract, hindi basta makapasok ang PNP, dahil empowered by awareness yung mga communities and backed up by documentation process. Yung mga Security Commanders, Security Committeee Chairmen, maski ako, parang mga hepe inside the community. Hinde basta makapasok yung PNP! But because we pro-actively worked with the PNP, we were able to select and work with the police personnel assigned to our area and they became part of the community and looked after the community’s interest. They became friends with the community and dared not do anything to destroy their good name, and the community took care of them.
    When I realized that the principle may apply to the communities of the less fortunate, I asked around first if the principle applies, and I found out that it does but has not been fully explored. That moment of realization was when I set out developing the technical skills to do it, providing this kind of service to the communities of the masses. There is a provision in the Magna Carta for Communities to federate. And once I get a number of gated communities to adopt communities peripheral to their area, to include informal settlers, then we may expand to gated farming communities. Our ultimate goal? IP communities.
    Now, conversely, the setup also aids the PNP and the barangay government. We "help" the PNP and the barangay government by making them do their job efficiently and effectively with the community, by reminding them that the Community ultimately is the Client. We give them recognition of accomplishment, and address their problems, professionally or personally, as part of the Community, which they are also a part of, after all. This acts like a magnet on iron filings!
    So, you see, positive conditioning is the key! [S /-I]




Sunday, October 23, 2016

THE PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM AND KARL POPPER'S OPEN SOCIETY


photo from http://bandera.inquirer.net/109920/mocha-uson-tinawag-na-cheap-ni-jim-paredes-be-honest-girl

IF YOU'RE anti-Marcos, you should thank the campaign culture of Bongbong Marcos' camp in the last vice-presidential contest for instigating anger in the people, towards those who ousted Bongbong's father's regime, through the spreading of shady "facts". Anger births insults, hostility, which birthing left the new Marcos camp with nothing much to work with outside of same anger, rendering it unable to convince people with sympathies for the other camps to consider the logic of its camp and thus join what would have been its open force.
    
That is not surprising, of course, since a presidential system based on cult personalities for its maintenance, as against a parliamentary system based on a culture of constant debate, is a ready landscape for anger and hostility by all the camps towards the other camps. Besides, a Marcos position can really do nothing much else, unless it distanced itself from the policies of the father and promised to open its offshore accounts to public access.
    Bu
t, just for the sake of argument, imagine a Marcos campaign that did expand its culture of hostility to the area of amiable persuasion, even aggressive persuasion sans the option to lie. It just might have surprised the Leni Robredo camp with a convincing win.
    
But, as I said, it's not surprising that followers of camps in our nation, any camp at all, would carry this culture of cult personality-based hostility towards the other. Like we said, the presidential system insists on this culture for the maintenance of its star system. It would even, as is often the case, insist on every individual's being either of one camp or another. It might even insist on loyalism.
    
So it was not surprising that every opposition to a Noynoy Aquino decision was met by the Aquino regime with the notion that it was Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo camp-deriving, just as it is not surprising now that Rodrigo Duterte's regime and loyalists paint every opposition to the government's many decisions as an opinion of the "dilawans".
    
Is it possible to remain a citizen within a presidential system while absorbing parliamentary systems' culture of constant amiable debate (or hostile debate, but real debate, as against the non-debate of mere exchanges of expressions of hostility between the colored camps)? I don't know.
    
But if an opposition to the current Duterte government is to grow, it must first learn the Bongbong Marcos campaign shortcoming. Shielding itself from the other's anger through its own anger at those who voted for Duterte would make the presidential system mistake all over again, a mistake of taking another cult-persona's position of distrust towards the other.
    
For instance, if millions of Duterte supporters are to withdraw their support for the president they voted for today, an occurrence that would not be surprising in countries with recall elections for presidents, then credit it to people's having gone beyond the mere culture of hostility between cult personality camps and having learned to imbibe the more democratic, perhaps wiser, or smarter, virtues of openness and persuasion. [S / -I]