Saturday, March 31, 2007

On living life to the fulllest

I am in the mood for some introspection today.

As I look back to my experiences, I just realized that Im caught in the perennial struggle of doing things a little bit better, and always wanting to do a little bit more. I dreamt of living my life to the fullest.

At first I thought that doing a lot of things lead to meanignful existence. Later on, I was thinking that doing things a little bit faster will make my existence better. So there I go, enmeshed and mesmerized by the multitude of tasks, trying to accomplish a lot at the soonest posssible time.

I ended up exhausted. And until now I feel drained.

So I ask myself, is this the way of living life to the fullest?!

At the moment , another fascinating thought is nagging at me. What will make me happy? So now, I embark on another journey. A quest for personal joy and satisfaction! And oh boy, did I go looking!

But still, I feel a persistent tiredness bordering on numbness.

I dont know for sure but it suddenly dawned on me that perhaps the challenge is not about doin a lot of things or being perenially happy. Maybe its about learning how to cope with the challlenges of life. Perhaps its about asking the right questions in life. Or maybe its about looking inside oneself..

At this point of my life, only one thing is sure..i am not sure. Maybe.

Friday, March 30, 2007

On Parties and Personalities

It is amazing how one can easily adapt inton the existing political culture! In the case of Philippine elections, for example, we are not surpised anymore about vote buying, personality-centered campaigns, and media hypes during election period!

Unfortunately, this electoral culture is devoid of the essential elements for a mature and meaningful electoral exercises! As you probably know by now, aside from being the venue for recruitment of new governmental leaders, elections are supposed to be a forum for programs and alternatives which the country may take. And the main vehicles for the articulaltion of these programs and visions are political parties. Blessed is the political system characterized by well-developed and mature political parties drawing their strength and unity from a well-developed program and vision for the country!

In the Philippine settings, elections are opportunities for the rich to show off and for the popular to become powerful. Riches and popularity are attributes that can get you elected to public office. Thus, qualifications and programs are not the primary considerations. Even your party affiliation wouldnt matter.

And when riches and popularity are insufficient to get you elected, you have electoral fraud and manipulation as an option. After all, the Philippine electoral system is one of the few remaining primitive and vulnerable electoral scheme in the world!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What is at stake in the 2007 elections!

Candidates are after each others' throats! The COMELEC personnel are caught in a never-ending stream of deadlines to be met, reports to be filed, and election rules to be enforced! Citizens groups are also trying to get into the fray by organizing election-related movements such as NAMFREL, PPCRV, Bantay-Bayan, etc.

B ut amidst all these, what is really at stake in the 2007 elections? To my mind, there are three major issues whose predicament will be dependent on the outcome of the elections. The charter change issues, electoral reforms, and regime survival of PGMA.

The charter change issue may have taken a backseat at the moment, but it will continue to be a contentious issue after the 2007 elections. The move towards a unicameral parliament, federal state, and economic liberalism will be at the core of the agenda for the the next legislature. It is not surprising if the division among legislators of the upper and lower houses of Congress will be along this line.

Electoral reforms will also be a major challenge for after the 2007 elections. The recently enacted modernization law will have to be implemented.
And depending on the results of the 2007 elections, the anti-dynasty provision of the Philippine Constitution may or may not be taken seriously.

Most important however, is the fact that PGMA regime is at stake in this elections. The number of opposition congressmen and sentators winning in the election will not only be an indirect rejection of her leadership, but might as well herald her impeachment from the presidency. Thus, the administration would not take any chances in ensuring a victory of its allies.

The voters therefore would be better equipped if they approach the decision-making process with these things in mind. Instead of focusing on the propaganda materials of the candidates, they may want to raise substantial questions on the issues that matter in this election: charter change, electoral reforms, and PGMA legitimacy!

The Philippine Predicament

As the 2007 national elections draw nearer, the dilemma that has always haunted me every election emerges again. Do I actively campaign for the candidates of my choice, or do I simply ensure that the electoral process will be accurate and fair?

But at this point, I just realized that I may have been deluding myself into thinking that there is a clear dichotomy between the two options! They are not on the opposite poles of my choices for electoral involvement, as my previous dilemmas seem to show. Instead they are both, and complementary, elements of a struggle for electoral reforms in the Philippines. Indeed both the people involved and the electoral system itself must be the target of sustained advocacy!

I have long agonized over our predicament wherein electorates are supposedly made to choose between the lesser evil. Since when have we given up looking for the good as the opposite of evil? Why have we displaced the good in our choice? This situation is reflective of a shift in our socio-cultural characteristic.

Filipinos nowadays are more cynical, more pragmatic, and more confused! We distrust norms and moral values imposed on us. We even distrust the political institutions exerting power over us! Thus, we have clamped up into our own myopic shells. If it doesnt concern me, why bother?
Along the line however, we lost the moral grounding and ended up seizing every opportunity for self-enhancement. Consequently, we expected the same from others including politicians.

But the situation is also inluenced by social structures and systems. Our electoral system continues to be vulnearable to cheating and manipulation. We have instituted an electoral system that is vulnerable to the influence of money, guns, and personalities. Thus, our elections are characterized by the presence of the rich people, tv and movie personalities, as well as that of armed groups including the military and the rebels!

At this point then, the predicament of those working for a better electoral system in the country is a double burden. As we clamor for better candidates, we also struggle for a better electoral system that will weed out the evil candidates and inspire the good among stakeholders in Philippine elections.

This is fascinating!

This is my first time to get into this thing called blog. Ive been hearing about it but havent got the time to try it out till now. Anyway, its always exciting to get into something new, and the blog seems to be a fascinating vehicle for self-expression!