Philippines – not for sale

Doing the right thing for the wrong reason is doing the wrong thing.

Doing the wrong thing for the right reason is hell paved with good intentions.

It is not wrong to have Constitutional change but you need the right reason and the right way. And so far, there is nothing right with all the reasons given, nor the manner by which the attempt is being made.

And, by the way, ChaCha is a dance. It demeans Constitutional change with its frivolous name.

Do not sell the motherland. The Philippines is not for sale. If other countries are willing to sell their land to foreigners, migrate to that country. Do not bring that attitude here because our own national situation is different from ours. It is easier for those who want to sell the motherland, in pieces or wholesale, to simply leave their identity as Filipinos behind and go in peace wherever.

The economic provisions that are being pointed to as requiring a change, if these include selling Philippine soil to foreigners, are not economic in nature. They are essentially political, they are about amending patriotism and nationalism, because they are selling the only thing left for all Filipinos – their identity.

Our Filipino identity is rooted in the land and the waters within which we were born and raised. We are Filipinos because we are children of the motherland called the Philippines. We are first identified as children of the land before we are brothers and sisters by blood. If it is only by blood that we are brothers and sisters, we could be Malaysians if we were born and situated in Malaysia, or Indonesians if we were born and situated in Indonesia; in other words, we would still be brothers and sisters but not Filipinos.

Our land and waters identify us first before blood and citizenship, because our land and waters give us our family name. There can be Filipinos of mixed or other blood, and there are. We can be related by blood or not, but we are still Filipinos if we are from our land and waters. Even our citizenship can be shared with those not even born here, with people of different blood, if they choose to be with us in our land and waters and if our leaders and authorities approve of their wish to be Filipino.

But our land and waters must stay totally as integral and whole just like us, rich or poor, but not for sale. Not when landlessness and homelessness litter the motherland.

That some Filipinos are for sale is also a fact. It does not make the Filipino people for sale, nor the motherland for sale. History has shown that traitors are an anomaly in all countries. Money and corruption have created more traitors than we know – under the guise of business.

Should we amend our Constitution in any way? Yes, definitely yes. But how, I am not yet sure. Because we need to have a national conversation to discuss what ails us the most, or what inspires us the most. Because Constitutions are there to protect what will hurt the people, and to set visions to inspire the people.

We have to begin with what pains, weakens, and destroys the Filipino – especially the most perennial ones. I believe there is little question that the worst curses we live through day to day, year in and year out, decade after decade, are poverty and corruption. We cannot talk about them singly because they can prosper and perpetuate themselves only by existing as twin monsters. Nothing had brought more suffering to Filipinos more than poverty and corruption.

When we discuss our Constitution, we should first consider how it has fared in curbing poverty and corruption. That should be its priority, the dismantling of poverty and corruption as the primary measure of how effective the Constitution is. Foreigners not owning land have not made us poor and corrupt, greedy politicians and only-for-profit businessmen have.

No Constitution can do well in this regard. I do not mean just the 1987 Constitution but even the one before it. After all, contrary to what the disgraceful and untruthful EDSA-pwera ad says, EDSA only happened because there was no freedom – and no money. EDSA happened because the Marcos dictatorship had bankrupted the national treasury. The Central Bank (CB) became the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) because its bankruptcy triggered its rebirth.

The 1987 Constitution did not fail the Filipino people in suppressing or eradicating poverty and corruption. The Constitution is implemented and enforced by public officials and employees. The Constitution is lived out by law-abiding citizens. Who failed the intent and vision of the Constitution? Because a national conversation that focuses on the daily wrongs that make Filipinos suffer the most may yet become the foundation of understanding what a Constitution is.

A real People’s Initiative can look good in concept. How can it happen, though, when most Filipinos, about 80%, never understood the 1987 Constitution? As of April 2023, 44% of Filipinos said they know LITTLE of the Constitution, 34% said they knew NOTHING about the Constitution. That is why there is a need to know the Constitution before any thought of changing it.

Filipinos, however, know the honest from the corrupt, because they have received money or favors from the corrupt in exchange for their cooperation, or their votes. Filipinos know it is not the Constitution that makes and keeps them poor, that it is not the Constitution that is corrupt, but those who are responsible for making the Constitution work for us.

Life is not easy anymore, and it will become even more confusing, more dangerous, more unstable. Meanwhile, millions of Filipinos have not had their inheritance from the motherland in their control for five centuries. Until then, keep our land and waters ours if we have to fight and die. The motherland will always be our safe harbor, and she is not for sale.