Kim’s Dream Orlan Ravanera
Advance Collectivist Counter Culture Thru People Awakening
Poverty dehumanizes. It strips a person of his/her humanity or whatever qualities inherent to one who has been created in the image and likeness of God. It further alienates a person from his/her nature as a holistic being, reducing work not as a means of developing potentials but to eke out a living, just to survive. It Is as if the world has become a jungle, where the name of the game is the survival of the fittest. In the frenzied pace to extricate themselves from the bondage of poverty, a great number of the population has sort of jumped-off from what has been described as a “sinking-ship” willing to accept whatever job there is in other countries, leaving their love ones behind. To those who cannot qualify abroad, they must contend with the meager income. Always hopeful to change their dismal fate, an increasing number resorts in squeezing some amount to indulge in lotteries. For those who have the stamina for long queuing, they would opt to try their luck at noon time shows. For the desperate? Well, the answer is in the increasing crime against properties.
This pitiful scenario should not be allowed to continue any longer for the simple reason that poverty has no place in an ecologically abundant country, especially in resource-rich Mindanao. We must now focus on how to solve the root cause of poverty which is, the disempowerment and the social exclusion of the people. To debunk the culture of poverty, the people must now harness their collective spirit and their inherent capabilities. If the people’s disempowerment is the culprit that has consigned the Filipinos to live in poverty, then empowerment is the solution. But people empowerment is easier said than done. It behooves upon the raising of social consciousness on the prevailing socio-economic-political realities and the workings of oppressive systems and structures that have made a few elites having much too much and the many who are poor with much too little. Indeed, no way that such horrible societal wrongs continue as we may find our country in a situation horrible even to contemplate.
It has indeed become imperative to advance a collectivist counter culture that awakens the people to be conscienticized on why poverty, gross social inequities and social injustices are going-on without let-up in cohort with mainstream media and religious fundamentalists, burying the people in the fallacies of life and religions. It has become imperative for the people to be enlightened to defeat the lethal combination of apathy and greed. Let us follow the biblical statement, VERITAS LIBERABIT VOS (The Truth Shall Set Free) because for so long, the Filipinos have been buried by the mainstream media and religions to the fallacies of life. To begin the social awakening, three questions should first be asked: Of the country’s resources, WHO CONTROLS? WHO DECIDES? WHO BENEFITS? Only 200 families in cohort with the media, the politicians and religious leaders. Of the endless harassments and oppressions the Indigenous Peoples have been subjected to all these years that subject the IPs’ commons into massive enclosures and inclusions to be transformed into massive plantations to earn millions of dollars, for example, no one seems to care. Even a Mayor has declared the 7 Tribes of Bukidnon as Persona-Non-Grata, allowing a rich religious leader to buck-hoe the hundreds of homes and farms of the IPs, now living in extreme poverty. Many chieftains are not just declared persona-non-grata; many have been “RED-TAGGED” for standing for their land right. That kind of oppression goes on in several municipalities in Mindanao as indeed, the powerlessness of the people means the enrichment of the few powerful oligarchs.
That collectivist counter culture is the answer to counter corporate globalization to stop the massive takings of the people’s commons, especially the thousands, if not millions of hectares of choicest of agricultural lands in Mindanao which are now massively transformed into massive plantations of high value fruits to satisfy the consumerist needs of the people in advanced countries while we cannot even produce enough basic staples for our starving people where 85% of the children are malnourished. It has become imperative to break monopolies and cartels of the oligarchs who are controlling our economy. The oligarchs have exemplified the truism that economic power begets political power as the rule of law seems to bow down to the interest of these oligarchs. Be it in the massive exploitation of our natural resources through massive illegal logging and mining which has totally violated environmental laws; be it on the existence of political dynasties which is constitutionally prohibited but until now has never been checked; be it on the massive operations of the corporate globalization that is even using agencies of government and men in uniform to convert the IPs’ ancestral domain into massive plantations; be it on the existence of so-called Electric Cooperatives which are cooperatives in name only and the non-recognition of the capital contributions of the 13 million member-consumer-owners (MCOs) which have already reached more than one trillion pesos in the last seven decades; be it in the continuing treatment of our country as “dumping ground” of finished products from other countries following at least five marketing layers to the detriment of the Filipino consumers. Don’t you know that a bag of fertilizer bought in Ukraine at only P50 is being sold in Mindanao at P2,000 per bag? And that a Lipitor pill bought in India at P.035 per pill is being sold in our Pharmacies at P50 per pill. Please be mindful that a country that is consuming what it is not producing will always be poor. These are just some of the painful realities that our country has been subjected to through corporate globalization but are not even being disseminated by the mainstream media and no religious leader is standing to fight for what is right, what is true and what is just. Indeed, so much veneration to the profit motive has already captured the mindset of all governments, all institutions, all universities and even of religious groups, amidst continuing denigration of spirituality.
His Excellency. PresBBM must not fail. His failure will mean that a few elites will continue their massive raking at the expense of the people and corruption and ineptness of the bureaucracy will not be put in the “dustbin of history.” His failure will mean that the culture of powerlessness will continue to breed despair and hopelessness. His failure will mean that the culture of violence that has put our country in shame as it was only in the Philippines where the Maguindanao massacre was possible and where we have the most number of journalists killed in the world for telling the truth cannot be stopped. As the acting Secretary of Agriculture, His Excellency must now debunk Conventional Agriculture and shift to Sustainable Agriculture. Being an agricultural country, any short or long term development can be won or lost through agriculture and so far we are losing. Based on the data of the UN-FAO, “agriculture in the Philippines has just contributed .02% to the Gross Domestic Products (GNP) in the last decade; that the peasantry has now become the poorest of the poor.” While other Asian countries have already lowered their production cost of rice to just P5 per kilo as they have shifted to Sustainable Agriculture, the Filipino rice farmers are still producing rice at P15 to P20 per kilo, having been tied-up all these years to the use of massive chemicals through Conventional Agriculture. In fact, of 4 young farmers, 3 have already left farming, going to the urban centers to work as janitors, drivers or waiters. Poverty is now worsening in the rural areas, especially to our ecological people as we already have lost our ecological integrity and many farmers, fisherfolk and Indigenous Peoples are now living in extreme poverty. If such be the case, God forbids, we will surely face the consequences of a civil war. To avoid violent extremism, let us now advance a collectivist counter culture to awaken the people for PEOPLE, PLANET, PROSPOERITY AND PEACE, All, for God’s greater glory!