If there’s one thing I remember from studying in the US and Australia, it’s BLUF – the bottom line from the get-go.
I have to bring this up in this article because I think I missed the opportunity to pique our readers’ interest in my column last week titled “Prepare for Change”. Such a boring headline that readers may have missed the message I was trying to articulate by skipping it. So, the result of this article? Stay informed so that our informed judgment can finally help us decide not to continue electing the oligarchy and their cronies in power in May 2022.
This is what I wanted to emphasize with the acronym PREPARE FOR CHANGE.
CHANGE here is everything. It may be a change in the Charter, a move from presidential form to parliamentary form, or towards federalism. This change can be “revolutionary” in many ways and may require a total change of mindset. These changes are not for the weak or the “teka-teka” type. He must be bold and daring, but he must not be violent. In the military, we call it Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA).
This change could move towards a two-party system with distinct political lines, rather than the current multiparty system with all political butterflies cohabiting in one house for profit or in order to stay close to political largesse. It should be between the main parties with common goals, opposing each other with different ends and means. It should not be a party between the haves and have-nots, the latter to which the PDK, my party, belongs.
Either way, it cannot continue as usual.
But to make this CHANGE, preparation is most important.
Information and knowledge are the most important ingredients for us to have a better awareness and understanding of the situation. The integration and synthesis of all these elements of knowledge allow everyone to make sound judgments.
This is called the “cognitive hierarchy”, and you can easily search for what that means on Google. When you do, you will also understand that it cannot be developed overnight.
It is a habit that you develop if you have this constant desire to understand things in your surroundings. The political environment is no different. If you have this desire to improve the well-being of a nation, then you have to prepare early. However, no amount of further study or study will make you better prepared or aware of the nation’s woes if it is not on your agenda.
We have seen many of our leaders, educated in prestigious schools, holding masters and doctorates here and there. But what do they know? They are oblivious to the real suffering of our people because all that matters to them is popularity, status or wealth. Lutang sa alapaap, that’s what you get.
Incidentally, as soldiers we are exposed to these realities day in and day out, starting as second lieutenants. As you sip your coffee in your greatest detachment, you are endlessly processing all of this information and knowledge that you have. Why am I fighting these peasants? Who radicalized them and why? Why are they so poor and illiterate? What is the effect of a 50 centavo per liter increase in diesel on their tariff, the price of salt, vinegar, rice, and other staples like coffee that I currently drink?
Soldiers are bombarded with these questions every day they are immersed with people. Then boom, it hits you. Why is the government not doing enough?
Fifty-three years of conflict with the secessionists and the Communists surely made me understand the diplomacy which is attached to it, the informational aspect, its military dimension, and yes, the economy of this one. In my masters thesis at Fort Leavenworth, USA, in 2006, I was convinced that DImE, with a small m for military, was the antithesis of this Maoist-inspired violence.
The National Working Group to End Local Communist Armed Conflicts (NTF-Elcac) is today the embodiment of this DImE principle, except that the military pillar is truly eclipsed by the other 11 pillars or information-dominated clusters. (StratCom, situational awareness and management knowledge, etc.), economic (e-CLIP, poverty reduction and livelihoods, infrastructure and resource management, etc.) and diplomatic / political (international engagement, sectoral unification, amnesty , empowerment of local communities, legal cooperation, etc.).
This new venture, driven by the Barangay Development Program (BDP) of 16 billion pesos last year, has in fact crushed the “cause” with which many of these influenced communities were radicalized by the CPP-NPA-NDF. , in particular the party list Communist bloc (Bayan Muna, ACT, Gabriela, Anakbayan and Kabataan).
With this model of good governance and this non-military approach, is it any wonder that more than 20,000 rebels and support elements have withdrawn from their violent means?
Unfortunately, the Senate canceled the NTF-Elcac budget of 24 billion pesos for BDF and reduced it to a paltry 4 billion pesos for 2022.
Apparently some stupid senators wanted to prolong this insurgency. They would rather the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) continue to spend or waste more or less 12 billion pesos on its counterinsurgency operations.
What if this insurgency ends now and we don’t have to maintain a huge ground force?
How much of the AFP personnel services fund of 120 billion pesos and MOOE of 46 billion pesos could we save? Perhaps some 90 billion pesos, according to previous estimates.
It follows that these senators wanted to keep our people poorer or uneducated, depriving them of nearly 90 billion pesos per year of funds that we could channel to the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Agriculture, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources or research, if we end this insurgency now.
Five decades and we still cannot end this insurgency because of these politicians who continue to hold us back.
The PRRD government, along with the NTF-Elcac, accomplished in three years what five previous administrations failed to accomplish in 34 years after we supposedly reclaimed our democracy in 1986. We are at the tipping point and these senators would like to withdraw the carrot, in exchange for the more expensive stick.
Why? Because we continue to elect them.
This analogy is found in Ambassador Tiglao’s Colossal Deception, which I promised to discuss in more detail in my last column. The book kept hammering this question: what kind of country have we become?
Again, we need to educate our people on what we have become and why. What if we allow foreign ownership of our utilities industry, especially if the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that these corporate layering schemes are unconstitutional?
We need to study what is wrong with these oligopolies. Ambassador Tiglao has already determined that foreign ownership of our electricity production and distribution allows the decapitalization of the industry that stimulates a large part of our economy. This capital, once siphoned outside the country, will not be reinvested to improve these utilities in order to lower its cost to an affordable level. If our electricity, water, and telecommunications are so expensive, doesn’t that discourage investors from doing business here in the Philippines?
How then to generate more jobs? How do you attract the automobile industry or shipbuilding, for example, if the cost of electricity here is quadruple? How can we bring back our abused and exploited OFWs early if we have nothing to offer them?
Debentures, are you interested?
Our estimated 2.2 million OFWs (PSA 2020) were able to remit $ 33.5 billion in 2019 alone (BSP, February 2020). These rebates can be converted into debentures, where the government can offer a matching fund to match each dollar donated. These funds are then invested in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that 10 to 15 OFW parents of a barangay can manage together, with the help and support of CDA, Tesda, DTI, DoT, DoLE, DoF or even the NTF-Elcac. .
These SMEs could take the form of botika sa barangay, boat or small vessel construction, fishing fleet, restaurant, resort, small inn, private school or shuttle company, fish cannery, coconut sugar factory and many more. others. They will generate additional work and jobs for those close to OFWs, instead of just waiting for their padala or pasalubong, which often ends in SM or lost in a scam, online game or to support vices.
Again, will the cost of electricity make them profitable?
With the very recent launch of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the ASEAN member states (minus the Philippines whose Senate did not ratify it on January 2, 2022) plus the economic power of China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, how can we compete in the biggest free trade deal ever, which equates to 30% of world economic output, 28% of trade global, or more than the US-Mexico-Canada agreement or the European bloc (Asia-Pacific Resource Network)?
This brings me to the next acronym PREPARE, which I will write about in next week’s column.
Now it’s gravitas.