“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn't matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.”
Barbara Hall, Northern Exposure, Rosebud, 1993
From our simple to big mistakes, we learned it that we are leading into improvement if not perfection because not all in our mind can be possible in a minute. The recent administration has coined this Daang Matuwid to strengthen its aspiration for better government. It seems that we are in the dark ages in the past administration that the country is in the status quo. With this, we always evaluate administrative output based on its major accomplishment to the lives of the people. Furthermore, it is not easy to implement single programs or reforms in just a quick turn. It needs proper strategies to operationalized the said plan. Thus, through the years, our government and our country was ripen and shaped in term of its administrative system.
Our beloved country, the Philippines had been colonized and ruled in by Spain, United States and Japan. This conquest in our country by different countries had been marked a history that tested the faith and spirit of our ancestors and our being a Filipino. The history teaches us how precious to be free and sustained democratic government. With over seven thousands islands, and about eighty millions Filipinos around the world, varieties of languages and tribes, we all united as one to make our country proud for any endeavors. We are the country that conscious with our ambitions for socio-economic and political development. With the numerous challenges, our government strived to meet the both ends to answer this call for economic development for every Filipino citizen.
Historically, many evidences can proved that our country was been one of the older civilizations in the Austronesia region. Elementary history books told us that the first established government was known as Barangay from the boat called ”balangay”. Historical accounts also narrated about the Sultanate government which this administration organized their own economic and political system. Furthermore, our ancestors also have its international and economic relation with other regions and countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, India, and China and among others in the past. This becomes us more civilized who is in contrast to Spaniards that we are ignorant and uncivilized.
Lessons from the Colonial Regimes
The Spanish colonial regime which lasted for over 300 years, left a mark on the history of Filipino people. Religion was used as an effective tactics for the whole colonization period. Moreover, the church gained superior rule in the lives of every Filipino. Alfiler(1999:6) cited Constantino,1974 that:
“One sees up to this day the enduring structure of the town plaza, usually located at the center, with the following buildings conveniently located around it: the municipal hall, the church, and the local parish school. This physical structure facilitated psychological control as the friars could easily attend to church activities even as they also presided over functions at the municipal hall and supervised religious education provided in the nearby parish school. These they did even as they made sure that anyone who would go against the commands of God would be the object not only of physical punishment but also of retribution from a supernatural power. With God on his side, the priest could do no wrong.”
Indeed, Constantino, 1974 viewed that religions was one of the primary strategies that Spaniards spearheaded in the country to gained power and respect. Due to this situation, it is deemed that what the Spaniards have do in our country is the will of God. Up to this present time, even noted for its separation from government, the church play an important rule in our government decision like in the recent controversial Reproductive Health Bill,and among others.Who could forget the EDSA People Power revolution which also mainly participated by the church lead by Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin. On the other hand, the Spanish oppression to our ancestors brought into several revolution and struggle for independence that in return the Spanish regimes also fight their interest to be in the position. They accused the three Filipino priests (GOMBURZA) that intensify the Filipino quest for independence. And because the Filipino were not contented with the development they do in the country, many of our great Filipinos open their mind and embrace liberal ideas in the western world. This scenario could be comparable in the recent times likes the attempts for coup d’etat, rallies and protest shouting for reforms that sometimes ends to bloody dispersal. On the other hand, historical accounts on the awakening of sense of unity in national identity and consciousness can be credited to the reformist, the Katipunan that proceeded to 1896 revolution. These events preceded the opening of Manila to World trade in 1834 and the liberalism in the Philippines under the administration of Governor General Carlos Maria dela Torre.
Constantino as cited by Alfiler (1999:9) saw the Filipino masses and the elite being politicized by their interaction with each other and the actions and decisions of masses negating the reformist aspiration of the elites. Furthermore, Alfiler (1999) concluded that both masses and the elites saw in their consciousness the need to end Spanish rule in the whole nation. To elucidate my ideas of consciousness, our views and perception unite as repression or oppression continue dominated in the system. To date, socio-political and ideological movement and organization sprouted in our society to address such sentiments to the government. Until the repression and gap exist in the society, our country would not be move on for economic development and progress. By consolidating our common goals, we give birth to the new Filipino nation.
To contemporary times
The public education system was one of the legacies of the American occupation in the country. The curriculum patterned to American education which discussed about the life of the American people and as a nation. Their language, way of life, its heroes and institutions were rapidly accustomed to the Filipino mind. According to Constantino ,1974 as cited by Alfiler (1999:9)he described Filipinos this time as “united and animated by a strong sense of purpose, their aspirations for freedom had been crystallized, their military success against the Spanish colonizer had given them confidence”. Thus, this counter-consciousness by the Filipino was considered by the Americans as a predicament to their colonial rule in the Philippines.
Pertaining to these views, many believe that our country and our government have been controlled by the Americans. It is evident to giving favors to Americans on doing military exercises, military bases in the past, and even asking help to American government in the recent territorial disputes.
Historically, the Americans established the civil government and the commonwealth. These give a chance for Filipino to participate in the government. On the other hand, Constantino characterizes contemporary consciousness such as a people trained to accept American values and concepts, a vague loyalty to the mother land, a tendency to corruption in activities due to lack of economic opportunities; institutionalization of culture and consumerist attitude (Alfiler, 1999:p.10-11).Moreover, after their occupation in the country, they left marked in our Philippine history, we adopted the feature of democracy.
Challenges to the Filipino: where are we?
Many decades passed since we finally get our independence, we are the nation that continues to strive for its development. The past history tell us how hard to be in the regimes with a full of social repression. We don’t want to have it. The 1972 declaration of Martial Law marked the dark period in contemporary Philippine history. It gives us the idea that Philippines is for democracy. People power revolution symbolizes the essence of our unity and our nationalism.
We learned that our government was too centralized amidst its geographical location. I deemed that it was an strategy to maintained the political power of the president to our local government.Moreover, the bureaucracy in our national and local government portray the negative image of our government. We have a numbers of lessons from past history and were still continue learning from it. For instance, the present administration makes changes on housekeeping and policies in our government to reduce or eradicate graft and corruption and promote transparency among all national and local government units. At present, we are improving at least in our economic outlook and in rule of law implementation, delivery of social services like education, health and among others. Furthermore, in the development of our administrative system, the present administration must adhered to just and fair law, listens to the people, speak them in their local language, with integrity and accountability, and accessible to all( Alfiler;1999;p.81). To the end, we still need to strengthen the quality delivery of services of the government to its people to address this many societal dilemma which arises for a decades. A problem which start in our administrative system.
Alfiler, Ma.Concepcion P.(1999). Philippine Administrative System. Quezon City :UP Open University