Thursday, February 11, 2010

Philippine Political Theories, linkage, politics and Facebook

3:32 AM

Political ideologies in the Philippines are dominated by two words, leftist or rightist. Depending on how a person was educated, trained and by personal experience, his ideology on how society, community and government differs from one another although at some issues a common ground is established.

In the Philippines, we classify leftists and rightists according to how they will react on a certain issue. Let me give an example, I have been posting articles online for a couple of years now and the reactions I get depend on how the person is affected. If I write something against the construction of a Mall in a province, some will say “keep it up! We do not need too much commercialization” or “construction of a big mall is against the rights of the small businessmen” etc. But some will also say “we welcome development in the province” or “let us not be left  behind, having a mall will encourage business growth” etc. Simply put, ideas and opinions of every person vary and there could be an unending debate on who has the better thought.

Opinions are everybody’s right whether it is pro or anti-government. Taking away the right of one person to express his opinion is tantamount to over all chaos. If a person expresses his opinion on a certain issue, reactions should be based on the issue presented and NOT on the person who presented his opinion. However, in the Philippines, this is not the case. If you present your opinion in an issue, you will receive comments that are personal in nature such as “grow up” , “immature”, or “poor you”. Worst cases would be threats to you and your family.

Rightists control business, economy and government. People in the right wing will do everything to remain in power and control and that means even using the military and police to achieve his interests. On the other hand, Leftists provide alternative suggestions against the control of the Rightists and addresses the issues and concerns involved in the control and implementation of rightist programs. Leftists are considered as pressure groups, branded as anti-government but seriously speaking, without them, there will be no balance at all.

Leftists are oftentimes associated with the communist party of the Philippines and its branches. People see them rallying in the streets shouting their issues and concerns. They may look like the “contrabidas” in a an action movie but their sentiments and voices provide the much needed balance against a totalitarian rule. They have the balls to speak out when others prefer to keep quiet.

But there is another form of ideology, much bigger and wider than what was presented above, and that is “CENTRIST”. This is the common people’s rational thinking. An independent analysis different from left or right thinking.
As defined:
 “CENTRISTS espouse a "middle ground" regarding government control of the economy and personal behavior. Depending on the issue, they sometimes favor government intervention and sometimes support individual freedom of choice. Centrists pride themselves on keeping an open mind, tend to oppose "political extremes," and emphasize what they describe as "practical" solutions to problems.”
–    an example would be: A centrist may say something such as the following: Abortion should be legal, but only in certain situations such as the woman having conceived during rape or not having the financial ability to pay for the baby, as well as others.

In certain aspects, many individuals are considered a centrist. Open minded to all issues and concerns but do not judge according to a political theory. They try to resolve issues and concerns according to what they believe is right and practical and if needed participate in government control or attend/organize street protests and rallies. It is an action involving the individuals free will and not dictated upon. This evolving theory is fast rising in the Philippines and it is considered as a threat in the bi-theory control in this country.

Again, I consider the “Baguio City case” as a landmark case of “centrists” thinking. The strong opposition for the construction of a Korean project at the Athletic Bowl was started and supported by common people. With the help of technology, open information, participation and awareness, the common people of Baguio city showed support against the City Government’s MOA by participating in an online protest. A group was created at Facebook denouncing the said MOA and in a few weeks the number of members rose to  more than 9,000. These supporters – oppositionists are the “silent voters”. They supported this opposition by free will, expressing their thoughts without fear and looking at no leaders but themselves so that their concerted efforts will bring forward a righteous concern to those who are in control.

As I have been expressing years ago, technology will change the control of information and with such technology comes the fear of losing control especially on the part of  politicians and their organizations because today their slightest moves are now in the publics’ scrutiny. Traditional politics is changing and the new battle ground is done online. Most of the voters in this generation are internet savvy. Information about a politician is traveling faster than the speed of light and even if politicians will use their money to buy votes, I believe the new generation of intelligent voters will decide according to what they think and how they feel and not because of any affiliation or influence.

TRI Media is a thing of the past. Today, the fourth medium is bigger, faster and more people oriented because the internet provides a venue for people participation from all ages around the world. This new medium provides a free for all discussion. Recently, I came across a video clip in Facebook, it was discussing the CPP-NPA-NDF entering into the mainstream of Philippine politics by legal means. I knew at the first instance that it was a bad publicity campaign against those who are running in the party list system. I wanted to see how people will react on the video so I used the “share” button, after which I copied in toto the message of the original poster also emphasizing that it is a re-post. I was amazed when a good friend who is a lawyer instantly belittled me for posting the “anti-leftist” video telling me to grow up and calling me as immature. His reaction didn’t surprise me at all. However, a new comment was added praising the video as informative and should be shared. There was a clear difference in opinion but I decided to click on the “remove” post button to avoid an unending debate just like what happened months ago when I posted a Youtube video with the title “muslim demographics”. At first, there was a good discussion of opinions but later on turned into a bad personal debate between two persons. I had to delete the post. 

Clash of ideologies is now in the internet and unlike before, you can now say whatever you like online without the fear of being punched in the face or lambasted in a proceeding. This new found freedom is somewhat absolute since there is no government agency that can control the internet and the rich exchange of information found within. This freedom is now available to the employees working 8hours inside the office, students, laborers, teachers, ofws, etc who can now  participate anytime in issues and concerns. This was the clear case in the “protect the Burnham park movement”.

Today, I remain to be a centrist. I react against the lapses of government and its leaders if needed and I will not hesitate to voice out concerns against those who are claiming to be progressive. At the end of the day, my opinion remains to be my opinion and I am entitled to it without fear or favor.

With the upcoming elections, social networking sites like Facebook will be flooded with political groups and organizations. Instead of shrugging them off, why not participate, learn and comment? You are free to say anything you want as long as you maintain a certain level of “professionalism”. You have no right to go personal only because the issue presented is against your thinking. Just avoid the “fan pages” since you cannot interact directly. Better join the “groups”, it is interactive.

Pahabol: I read a very long article about the new and unfamiliar trend of Facebook. It is now the largest social organization around the world and it is changing technology faster than we can cope up. According to the article, Google is leading in the world of online advertisements but this will soon be a thing of the past since more and more advertisers prefer Facebook advertising because of their direct target approach. This is why you keep seeing those unending political ads of candidates in your Facebook account and I’m sure those ads will double or triple in the coming months nearing the election date. Facebook will become a venue for Philippine political circus.

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