CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/03 Jan.) — Ours is supposed to be a Democracy. It means we are equal as to rights and opportunities; that we believe in the Rule of Law.
It means we must strive to be law-abiding, standing by our Constitution, respecting its provisions.
It is important to keep this in mind because the Constitution embodies the Social Contract that binds us as citizens of a republic.
Moreover, our citizenry is predominantly Christian, the faith which professes to be founded on love. This means we are compassionate, God-fearing, and strive to live by the truth, which makes us free.
It also means we should be thoughtful, caring, fair, and charitable in our relationships. These are the underpinnings of our culture.
Our culture also binds us to acknowledge that as we journey in faith through life we also cherish, enjoy and respect the companionship of believers of other religions, notably Islam which is proclaimed as the religion of peace.
A Proud, Honorable Republic
We are a young nation but it is a great source of pride that we were the first in all of Asia to proclaim ourselves a republic, even fought that great colonial power, America, to assert ourselves.
Like other heroic nations, we went through the throes of colonial domination, exploitation, and control.
For three centuries and more, we withstood the test of colonialism and emerged with honor intact and tradition upheld. Thus are we known the world over as people with an open society, caring, generous, hospitable.
In all, we are 98 Million strong, a society second to none in talent, education, and renown for our hardworking and generous ethic, with an amiable disposition.
Our women are among the world’s most liberated and best respected, who enjoy parity with the men socially, politically, and in the professions.
Our achievements are emblematic of our multi-faceted capability in a host of human endeavors including politics, governance, and public service.
But given such large human resources to draw from, anchored on 20 million forbearing families with a diverse talent pool, it is perplexing that we allow a few opportunistic families or clans to determine who gets to be our political leader at any level of government.
It does not occur to us that in letting political dynasties dominate governance, we reward greed, selfishness, or nepotism with public office. We sully what should be an open, free, and fair electoral regime, giving rise to a corrupt culture that even now is preventing us from truly democratizing our political system.
Dynastic politics are antithetical to the idea of a proud, people-powered republic.
For let’s face it: it is a travesty and a shameful display to the world that leadership at any level of our society must alternate between patriarchs, matriarchs, and scions of only about 100 entrenched political dynasties.
The members of these political dynasties are also Filipinos except that they managed early on to gain entry into politics, kept a hammerlock on positions they gained, and sought by hook or by crook to hang on to their power and privilege at all costs.
That they also managed to win the patronage of business and other economic players has entrenched them more firmly in power. Shame upon them and woe unto us for allowing them to plague government and politics! (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Manny Valdehuesa writes from Cagayan de Oro and is the president and national convenor of Gising Barangay Movement Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)