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On Philippine Politics and the Importance of a Strong Leader

If you are the type who believes that the Philippines is on an "auto-heal" mode where as
long as you can inspire collective action from the people, everything will be better then, you
are wrong. I hate to burst your bubble but the truth is Filipinos are apathetic towards their
country. Please spare me the lectures of examples of people who went beyond and outside
their ways to do something for the Philippines because their numbers are statistically
insignificant compared to the vast majority who just don't care.

The economic stratification of the Filipino people has 5 classifications according to income
and social status: Class A, B, C, D, E. These classes have their fair or unfair share of personal
problems that they, pretty much, cannot afford to step back and think about the world
beyond theirs.

The class D and E people are those who belong to the poor, poorest, and marginalized
sectors of the society. These are the people who have no interest, no business, and no time
for political and social advocacies. These are the people whose biggest worries are putting
food on the table, finding a stable source of income, or just surviving each day. They have no
time for politics. They, simply, are outside the circle of those who can afford to worry. The
hungry knows not the law of man but the law of nature: survival of the fittest.

The class C people are those who are largely part of the working class: either blue collar or
white collar. These are the people whose worries go beyond putting food on the table.
These are the people whose worries would be paying the bills, settling debts, managing
meager incomes, or finding better sources of living. They can't spare us the pleasure of
picking on their brains about politics or issues which do not directly concern them because
for them, what's more important is to solve their most immediate problems. Why would
they worry about how the government spends its budget when a more immediate concern
is how are they going to meet their obligations?

The class B people would be those who belong to the top of their professions or maybe local
business and industry leaders. These are the people who may be financially independent but
have other things to think about. Their concerns may be maintaining their businesses,
earning more money to buy bigger houses or better cars, reaching a higher economic
ground, or acquiring more material wealth. They are actually the people who have the
luxury to spare us some of their time to talk about politics and issues.

The class A people would be those who belong to the "alta sociedad" sector of the society.
These are the people who, by all means and definitions, are immune to any socio-political
change that may happen in the country. No matter what happens, nothing will shake them
from their ivory towers. These are the people who can play in the political field depending
on their mood swings and whims. These are the people who can afford to not care about
politics.

The long and short of this is that if you are living in dreamland where you think that the
people around you care about this country as much as you do then, you are delusional and
naive. While I am not discounting the number of people who are more than aware of our
current socio-political landscape, I cannot ignore these truths: that apathy is our worst
enemy, that apathy is present in all sectors of the society, and that even among
intellectuals, apathy exists.

You may be right in saying that regardless of how good our leader is, without the people and
their support, nothing will happen and no change will take place. True. This idea is beyond
my contestation. However, pinning your hopes on the people alone will just increase your
levels of frustration. What we need is a leader with balls. A leader with conviction, political
will, and determination to solve the ills of this country regardless of how people would
perceive him and his actions.

If you think that who our leader is not as important as how we care for this country, then
you are wrong. Whether you admit this or not, the people are utterly powerless. The only
time that these politicians are at the mercy of the people is during elections. I don't need to
include a lengthy discussion on how these leaders change characters before and after
elections, do I?

So be wise, be critical, and be realistic. Refrain from depending the future of this country on
the small chance that people will wake up one day and decide to collectively act towards
changing this country on their own. Whether we like it or not, everything is political. The
power of the people only manifests during elections. After that, every other attempt to
exercise power is relatively insignificant. You can't blame the ordinary Filipino if he is not as
passionate as you when it comes to politics. To him, there are better things to worry about.
You can lecture him about how much all these things affect him but I doubt if he will take
your lecture by heart. Talk to his language and listen to his thoughts and you might find
yourself caring less about politics and worrying more about your own life. Listen to their
philosophies and you might find yourself doubting on whether your efforts really matter or
not.

Stop living in a fantasy world where you think that the ordinary man can be persuaded and
convinced to think like you do. Stop living in dreamland where you think that the ordinary
man can afford to worry about things which are bigger than him. Stop convincing yourself
that if you reach out hard enough, the people around you will sincerely care. Because, the
truth of the matter is, only you and a few like-minded people will be left to see the end of
your advocacies. They may stick around for a while, but eventually, they will realize that
their efforts to help you help change this country are futile. Thus, they will go back to what
they normally do: worry about their lives.

My point is, do not tell me that collective action on the part of the people is more important
than selecting who will be our next leaders because whoever becomes president will
provide us the direction which we will all have to take.

What I want is a president who will require me to sacrifice and think about other things
other than myself. What I want is a president who will make people act regardless of
whether they can rationalize their actions or not. What I want is a president who will instill
in me a more patriotic kind of thinking. What I want is a president who, by will or by force,
will make me change how I set my priorities. What I want is a president who will lead me
either by talking to me or by threatening me to act towards collective good. What I want is a
president who can act against the biggest of all evil: apathy.

That is man is President Duterte.