Monday, February 11, 2008

The New People Power, the Next Evolution




My gut feel is telling me that something is afoot with the powers that be. I feel that they are gearing up for Parliament then a Dictatorship perhaps of a chosen Clique (I call this kind of government an Oligarchial Syndicracy, a government ruled by the rich and criminal syndicates. Actually one way or another this is the fact right now, but not yet in full force.)

Manolo seem curious on the new people power scheme I suggested and I obliged him. It was lengthy, but the long explanation was necessary. Whether some Civil Society organization takes interest in my proposal remains to be seen, below is my response to Manolo Quezon (put in one long blog thread):

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mlq3 wrote:

“kabayan, could you flesh out that scheme a bit more? it’s interesting.”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Hi mlq3, the details of my proposal can be quite long so I’ll attempt to stick to the basic structure without compromising much of the principle and would divide this in several parts.

The Watchdog (Part 1)

The premise of my suggestion basically is that under the current social system, anyone who enters governance in the Philippines will be immediately swallowed by the existing structure of corruption. The rank and file just newly employed in government is obliged to follow their bosses. This is more pronounced in the PNP and the AFP where command and control structure (An established system wherein those in the lower ranks are obliged to follow their superiors, no questions asked) is an intrinsic part of their institution.

Newly appointed high ranking officials such as Department Secretaries and other members of Cabinet, even if not corrupt, would still encounter a host of resistance even if they have their newly granted power. Those in the middle management of the department can still get away with corrupt practices as oftentimes the new appointee does not know the nitty-gritty aspect of what in the world is happening within their departments. A department whose system is united in creating corruption can actually intentionally muddle their work if the Secretary is unable to give them the privilege of “extra curricular earnings (i.e. lagay).” The Secretary will then compromise his principle just to “get things done.” This is also present in other branches and agencies to such an extent that the “I scratch your back you scratch my back” practice also applies to dividing the spoils of corruption and compromising one’s principle. This practice (or malpractice) is none more evident as the relationship between the Executive (who controls the release of Pork Barrel funds) and the Lower House (who would sell their souls just to get these funds.)

Where am I getting at so far? The basic premise is that, A. You can’t trust government when it comes to radically uplifting moral standards in governance, and B. Even if a new set of people (even good people) are put in government, the corruption structure, standards, and belief (i.e. like the 20% moderate corruption rule) are so strong and well entrenched they will likely be swallowed or persecuted by the existing system.

So what then would be our hope if time and again, we are continually stuck in the mire of corruption and base human desires which fuels the greed of those in government? Create a strong third party, a non-government organization whose aim is to be a watch and record the corruption, connections, comings and goings, in government; even in local government - a Watchdog. It’s members must be principled (This is may sound cliché but; must be willing to sacrifice and even die for a good cause), independent (would never be dependent for funding or even be part of any government institution except perhaps as a free volunteer consultant), financially independently (no dependencies here, must be willing to push their work through even with limited funding), non political (okay, some might want to run for office but they must resign immediately from the organization.), must always vibrantly expand (non static, always seek to recruit their member base), and a severe check and balance within the members (i.e. no trapos allowed, ferret out infiltrators, good counter-intelligence etc.)

Given a strong organization, the next step is Get Organized. The corrupt powers that be are well funded and organized but their god is greed; a Watchdog’s power is the people, properly using brains, their heart, their conviction and their fervent belief that what they do is good and one way or another will be rewarded in the end. Members with the belief that God helps those who help themselves with an unshakable faith in what they do would more than offset the strength of conviction of those who moves only because their faces and pockets were stuffed with money.

I may have dallied in the basic premise, but these are important, just as foundations of buildings are important. (End of part 1)

The Watchdog (Part 2)

Next premise is that the Filipino people generally lack the sense of keeping records, a log of history and a list of what happened, what is happening, and records of analysis of what may happen (projections). Our history, even as recent as the past hundred or so years, is convoluted, lacking proper records and even our people have a penchant of discarding historical artifacts (which to sons of previous owners just thought of it as so much junk). It is so bad that only a decade ago our history was largely based on the point of view of our conquerors and colonizers. Much of our researchers even have to go abroad just to have a look at our artifacts in foreign museums. Many of us disdain to keep records, stories and analysis of what is currently happening so that the next generation is ignorant of the mistakes and lessons of the past. What does this have to do with the duties of a Watchdog? The Watchdog must make a historical database (related to corruption and good governance) of what is generally happening in society and governance; make a list of the people involved; the critical event unfolding; who are the “balimbings”; who are the Congressmen who pushed a self-serving bill and who blocked good ones; who are involved in cover-ups; who among the lawmakers voted to cover-up crimes; who are principled stalwarts and statesmen; the criminals involved; their modus operandi … in short, the list would actually look similar to the basics of an Interpol database but only this time what we monitor are people in government, the untouchable syndicates, and the opportunistic vultures in society. Consequently those who are reliable people, allies, and principled and useful non-government organizations will also be listed as potential groups to be tapped in bringing about good governance.

Files of the profiles, conditions and status of these people and organization will be kept in different databases all over the country (A good personal computer per database would do) and should not be connected to the internet to prevent hacking (yes, even flashdrives may have to be screened or even banned if compromised). DVD disks of the database would be renewed or added every month and copies are sent to secret stashes among trusted people and members all over the country. I would leave the security techniques and measures to the imagination and skill of the Watchdog organizations.

The Watchdog does not solely research and create the data files themselves. Files of illegal activities especially from people protected by government, police, soldiers, syndicates and other powers that be, may also come (or requested) from cause-oriented people in the different provinces and localities (this does not necessarily mean that the term “cause-oriented people” are leftist; cause-oriented people may refer to members of the middle and even upper class who is sick and tired of this evil system.) These people will be screened and a system must be made so that they remain anonymous and protected from vendettas from powerful criminals. No contributors know other contributors in the area so as to compartmentalize knowledge and limit the dangers of infiltration and being compromised. As an example, Watchdogs and members in far-flung areas may even use forums and blogsites for passing down information with a previous one-time meeting arrangement that they use a particular name and embedded verbal code for identification (be careful of hacking though. This government is pretty adept in that). They may even use the traditional pasa-mensahe system. There are other more effective means but I would not delve on that, again I leave the security mechanism measures and system for the Watchdog to formulate.

In essence, the masses of Filipino people will be the sea in which the Watchdog groups will swim. The information and support will be from them and they are given support in return. (End of part 2)

The Watchdog (Part 3)

In this wired world, a person with a computer, a cellphone, a digital camera, a landline phone or even a pen, paper and a good memory can easily track down and monitor the evil that moves around them. For evil is dependent on darkness, on the fact that they remain anonymous and hidden while they do their dirty deeds, crime has become so organized that they can easily infiltrate government and be PART of government. In the past years, how many local officials are actually gambling lords? How many are illegal loggers? Fabricators of dynamite for fishing? Shabu and prostitution operators? Robbery masterminds? Somewhere out there a good person knows what is happening and would like to divulge them, unfortunately he or she does not know whom to turn to. They do not trust the police, they do not trust the soldier, they do not trust the government official, they do not trust their governor, mayor, congressmen, and President. Thus, as such, evil prevails and expands while the individual willing to do good cowers in the corner, forcing himself to believe that he should be concerned only for his family, not society. Some however still want to help, but the question is how and who.

The Watchdog could provide that need, the need that people who may not yet wish to expose themselves but willing to provide intelligence and information of the wicked powers that be. They could be a conduit, a repository of information, and a record of the hidden histories in one’s community. With this, evil will cease to be hidden in darkness. Involved people will be known and if properly exposed, when the right time comes, will hopefully be brought to justice.

To conclude, The Power of the People comes from individuals from each community, monitoring, seeking, observing, and passing the information to different organized Watchdog groups. They are organized yet formless, they can strike out individually or band as a group. They can divide and re-form at the time and place of choosing. They can opt not to face the wicked until the time is ripe, or conversely they may strike when they are strong. The combinations are endless. For now we must first start out the basic of all principles when fighting evil, that is to Know thy Enemy. This is the next evolution of People Power. (End of part 3)

There are other mechanics and details not described, both for the sake of practicality and security. We cannot telegraph the moves to these wicked jerks in power. I am sure however once the principle is understood, the watchdog movements could get creative and start establishing the basic structure themselves. As a good spin-off, this would also help in making people realize the value of history, even recent history, so that we would not go through EDSA 4, 5, 6, 7 etc. and make the same mistakes of installing crooked men and women in power over and over and over again.

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