Several years from now, our sons and daughters (grandsons and granddaughters for others) would ask: if the GMA government is corrupt and a cheat, how come the Filipino people failed to replace the Arroyo government with a better one?

We will probably look for scapegoats.

Eventually, however, we will run out of scapegoats and we will have no one to blame but ourselves. Our children or grandchildren will realize that we did not do our best or that our best had not been good enough for that required given the sign of the times today.

Official statistics place Philippine poverty at roughly 30% of the population. Progressives croon that the data are massaged figures but I think the main point really is that Philippine poverty has persisted when there should be no poverty in the 21st century given the world’s wealth. Poverty rates in neighboring countries are as low as 5%. Further, the pace of poverty reduction in the Philippines has been one of the slowest in the world.

While neighboring countries with similar situations have been able to reduce poverty by as much as 2% annually, the Philippines have only managed to do so at only 0.7% per annum. South Korea, for instance, is commonly believed to be poorer than the Philippines in the 1950s, but today poverty rate in South Korea is only 5% versus the Philippines’ 30%.

Worse, the top 20% of the Philippine population continues to control at least 50% of national income.

Infectious diseases continue to be among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, confirming the impact of poverty to health figures.

Our country continues to be dominated by foreign interests and this dominance is facilitated and perpetuated by the World Trade Organization. Production basically responds to foreign or world demand. Economic direction does not exist except that dictated by the world market. In contrast, nations that are developed today have crafted their economic direction independent of the demands of the international market.

Our social system continues to be semi-feudal. As reported by this column earlier, 26% of the farmer-beneficiaries under the government’s land reform program were reported by the press to have sold their land. Three out of four farmer- beneficiaries under the program do not receive government support and are forced to borrow with interest rates as high as 24%.

Around 40% of the farmer-beneficiaries were even reported to have abandoned farming because of feudal and semi-feudal difficulties.

Our democracy continues to be a farce. Even if people power is able to change the leadership of the government now, the elite and their agents continually sabotage the government’s full transformation into a state of the people.

This is what had happened to the Corazon Aquino government. The same thing happened when we replaced the Estrada government with the Arroyo government.

The lesson of history: never trust an individual, trust only the collective. People power is never handed on a silver platter or by a few days of struggle, it is something continuously created and maintained. The people’s continuing militance and organization are among the most important for people power to be sustained.

Will our country belong to the richest nations of the world at some time in the future as GMA says? Is this true? No. What GMA is saying is simply a sham. Hogwash.

At the current rates, we will not belong to the richest nations of the world because our neighbors are growing faster than us. Besides, several social indicators have remained steady for the last several decades and Philippine society continues to be a social volcano. This volcano is very small at the top but very big at the base.

Few can make ends meet and the larger base have no food for the current or the next meal.

The social volcano is bound to explode soon and we must offer our people a fresh start, a viable program of action, and a forward-looking future. We must be patient and prepare ourselves for that day. We must continue to organize and consolidate our strength now.

We must continue to build our nation’s future today. #

(The writer maintains a blog at Comments can be coursed through, and +63927-536-8431)