The Philippines — a Perspective of a Random Foreigner I Met at the Jeepney

12:30 pm. I decided to ride a jeepney on the way to the office.

Going there, I rode a 13C jeepney. and across me was a foreigner (can’t tell if he was Caucasian, Australian or American) who I think was in his 60s discussing with the Filipino passenger beside me about the Philippines. He says, he pities the Philippines for its current state. As an example, he mentions that we have the slowest internet connection, and the most expensive one. The Filipino beside me attributed our problems to corrupt politicians in the government (as usual for the typical Pinoy), and this foreigner says NO. It’s not the corrupt politicians, but rather, he says, it’s the system itself. We, Filipinos, are being deluded that this country is a democratic one, but sadly, it isn’t. It’s a patriarchy. We’re being deluded that we’re having a democracy, that we get a say on things, but sadly we don’t. Democracy (democraaacy, as he pronounced it with the stress on the ‘cra’) is different and he elaborates a democratic system and how different it is from our current “democratic” system which he insists is a patriarchal system. He says in a true democracy, we could only elect representatives who would then elect the big leaders. Our kind of democracy doesn’t work that well because in election time, most of our votes go to the popular ones who are being paraded by the media, and endorsed by celebrities.

He says Filipinos aren’t idiots. We’re humans, and we have brains. Product of that is that we had a revolution to oust the corrupt officials, a people power revolution. The problem with that though was that we couldn’t even catch up on the aftermath. Somehow, we got lost in the shuffle after our revolutions.  He also says, our politicians proclaim that they have done this, that they have done that, and we’re so amazed by it, that we forget to ask them, “what are you going to do” supposing if they won. We attribute our hardships to things in the past, and we like to point fingers, play the blame game, which even the President plays as pointed out in the SAF 44 case, and he was even disgusted when he opted to go to the factory opening than the arrival of the SAF 44 bodies. He brings up the facts that there are a lot of scandals like the SAF, the Maguindanao massacre, yet none of them have been resolved, and we just suddenly forget them as if nothing happened. It was no wonder why the Philippines was labeled in an Australian paper as a “Gangster’s Paradise” for numerous unresolved cases. Regarding the past, we like to live in the past. Talk about how Americans colonized us and all, and it seems that we’ve never actually gotten over it. We talk as if we’ve experienced it,and we even talk how we would prefer to be colonized again which shouldn’t be the case.

He then talked to me, and the other person beside the Filipino beside me, and discussed about how faulty our patriarchal system is. Filipinos voted for this man, yet blame him at the end of it all. Filipinos aren’t taking responsibility for their actions. Our patriarchal system had us have PNoy as our President instead of Gilbert Teodoro who had plans that could’ve benefited us in the long term. Hence another problem for us, Filipinos. We keep on thinking of how to rid ourselves of the current hardships as soon as possible, that we neglect thinking of things that could benefit us in the long-term. He talked about the provincial train way in Cebu that never came into fruition which he believes was Gibo’s idea. We could have had provincial farmers deliver their fruits to the big city, and these farmers would’ve been earning much already after 10-20 years. Further, this traffic congestion we’ve been suffering would’ve eased up (even a bit) by then. He understands that bus and jeepney drivers would be losing their jobs, but there will be other jobs waiting for them. He also says the establishment of trains would help eradicate unruly drivers who most commonly are bus and jeepney drivers.

For the upcoming elections, he wants Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to win because Duterte understands how shitty the system is. Federalism is what we need. It’s about time we change the system. This system has been fooling Filipinos for years. Good luck to the Philippines if Binay wins. We’d be stumped hard once again. He says he can’t vote because of certain restrictions, but he’s trying his best to urge every Filipino he meets (like in this jeepney) to vote for Duterte, encourage them to vote wisely. He wants to help the Philippines, and the only way he’s helping is sending foreign money inside the country.

Interesting perspective, I must say. 😉