WORM’S EYEVIEW: Wishing the MILF Well in Their Party-Building

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/14 June)One wonders how the MILF will go about the task of organizing and capacitating their Bangsamoro electoral vehicle or political party. They’re not exactly famous for engaging in an open, free, democratic, and gun-less exercise such as elections.

One can only hope that they will engage in party politics in an edifying way, in a way that will open the eyes of Mindanaons and the rest of the country that there is hope for democracy.

Our society thus far has been hard put to distinguish between one party and another. The so-called parties don’t even care about being accurately identified, preferring innocuous acronyms (e.g. UNA) that serve as umbrellas to their hodge-podge lineup of wannabes.

Apart from sloganeering, they’re not concerned about party platforms, principles, or programs. In other words, they are not authentic parties, just vehicles of convenience for election purposes. Most are groupings or syndicates of mostly moneyed individuals with misplaced ambition. Lured together by the prospect of grabbing power and privilege, you can’t even expect them to be loyal to one another and will freely shift “party” labels for convenience.

The funny thing is, these ersatz parties don’t even have members apart from the candidates and their paid personal entourage; no dues-paying members and no party discipline either. Fake parties!

The failure of traditional politicians—trapos!—to establish parties that engage in honest-to-goodness political organization and education, as is proper for a party to do, has been the greatest shortfall in Philippine democracy, thanks to their dominance despite being clueless about the role of a proper party in politics.

Generally, it’s beyond them to understand or accept that a political party is to a state what a religious order is to a Church. Just as a Church relies upon seminaries to produce priests, pastors, and acolytes to man its pulpits and administer its parishes, a State draws from political parties the leaders and functionaries needed to outfit the government and its bureaucracy.

That’s how it’s supposed to be in a democracy. But the trapos have turned it into a travesty.

Filipino seminaries and madaris do train workers and scholars who propagate and defend the doctrines of their faith; but Filipino political parties do not train leaders who uphold the democratic way of life or promote progressive platforms of government.

Quite the contrary, these fake parties pick candidates indiscriminately, including the ignoramus, the empty-headed, and the immoral, and field them even if they’re noted for bastardizing democracy or elections. In mature democracies, a party even maintains an institute or academy for its members, but not in our system.

If politics were an educational system, our parties would be the equivalent of diploma mills disguised as institutes that go through the motions of accrediting enrollees, then pass undertrained or under-achieving students who pay or cheat their way to graduation.

One can liken our party candidates to dropouts and laggard scions of wealthy alumni who purchase their diploma from the enterprising sidewalk artists of Quiapo and Raon. That’s what they do when they rely on vote-buying, patronage, and dole-out in order to win elections. It explains why for so long now we have had no worthy political role models or statesmen.

The wonder of it all is that the alleged party leaders, self-proclaimed or anointed by other dubious leaders, act out the pretense of being statesmen without the slightest self-consciousness, shame, or embarrassment!

Changing this ugly landscape of our politics is a challenge for us all. For the Bangsamoro, it is an opportunity to engage their best talents and visionaries in crafting a proper political order and a model polity for our society and for the rest of ASEAN.

Such a regime had been the dream early on of a generation of Mindanaons—contemporaries of Nur Misuari—and their allies in Manila and elsewhere. Among them was a band of young Moro professionals who called themselves United Muslim Democrats of the Philippines and who were allied with the Christian Social Movement which later became the National Union of Christian Democrats.

That dream was shared by statesmen like Raul Manglapus, Manuel Manahan, Jose Feria, Pacifico Ortiz S.J. and lesser mortals. It was rudely interrupted by Marcos when he declared Martial Law, scattering the movement and the alliance to the four winds!

Unless and until we have political parties worth their salt, our junketing trapos cannot stand alongside their foreign counterparts without calling attention to their hypocrisy and pretentiousness and the utter bankruptcy of the system they continue to manipulate.

Neither can they escape the blame for trashing our society, just as they cannot avoid the stigma of having dumped countless Filipinos onto Smokey Mountain and the garbage piles of Payatas by their elitism, incompetence, and corruption.

As a result of the trapo stranglehold on power politics, their failure to alleviate the plight of the disadvantaged and dispossessed, and their obsession to perpetuate dynastic succession millions of trusting Filipinos have been condemned to squatter status in their own land.

Let’s hope and pray for statesmanship and good sense to fire the zeal of the Bangamoro entity!

(Manny is former UNESCO regional director for Asia-Pacific; secretary-general, Southeast Asian Publishers Association; director, Development Academy of the Philippines; member, Permanent Mission to the United Nations; vice chair, Local Government Academy; member, Cory Gov’t’s Peace Panel; and PPI-UNICEF awardee for outstanding columnist. valdehuesa@gmail.com)

 

 

 

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/mindaviews/2014/06/14/worms-eyeview-wishing-the-milf-well-in-their-party-building/

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