COTANGENT – By Daphne Cardillo
We are undergoing a transformation, not of government but of the governed. People around the country for a time now are engaged in participatory democracy; in towns and villages, and more so in the cities. We are evolving from a culture of dependency and submission as a result of centuries of colonization into a culture of self-determination.
Yet the problem with our development efforts is our tendency to employ foreign models and implant them on our native shores, dream of first world images for third world realities. So there is always this difficulty in engagement. Or an unduly stretched-out national psyche; one part of us living in the 21st century information age and the other part still rooted in 16th century Philippines.
You move around the country and the image you see is like a scene from the movie ‘Lost Horizon.’ You get into a small niche, a resort perhaps, and it’s Shangri-La, a place of advanced structures and modern amenities. And when you move a little farther away from the area, you meet a fisherman using pre-Hispanic method of fishing and living in a hut.
Scattered in between are images of development at different stages; infrastructures, people’s organizations, citizen’s movements, changing lifestyles, among others. But still we should keep in mind that we are human beings and not machines and should pace our advancement according to our capacity and without compromising our latent humanity. I mean, not build structures but turn our people into corruption.
The transformation of the governed is the hope for a society whose government refuses to change. It is an act of self-determination. Through the citizens’ movements and people’s organizations, we see a new breed of Filipinos who are defining themselves in their respective milieu, knowing their strengths and weaknesses, setting goals and limits in their own ways, and gradually changing our national destiny.
Now that we have democracy in our hand, we have to be vigilant in its practice and application. We may sometimes slip back into the old ways of stagnation but as a people and an emerging nation, we must always place in our hearts its principles of freedom and equality. Edsa taught us power; power over our lives, power for transformation, and the struggle continues….