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20, 2012 GREATWK C39
Solving Poverty by Nationalism What I have learned from Dr. Antonio C. Hila is a new perspective in the Philippine History particularly regarding the government and the government officials. I grew up thinking that former President Marcos is a corrupt leader who only thinks of himself though he was very smart. I also thought that the Philippines is a poor country because of corruption and other matters are only consequential. I did not expect anything in the course, but through the different readings, it gave me something to really think and be concerned about as a Filipino citizen. Being a Filipino, I should try to remove my colonial mentality and teach or tell others to do the same since having this kind of mentality does not help in any way for the Philippines to have real independence since our country is still a neo-colony. National patrimony should be protected from imperialist plunder. In order for foreigners to think highly of the Filipinos, we should think highly of ourselves first. Not high as of being boastful, but high as how we should be treated as human beings. The first thing I have learned in the course is the term “nationalism”. The meaning that came into mind was love for one’s country, which is true but not completely true since we can love our own country without
being nationalists. Being a nationalist has a much deeper meaning, which is according to Alejandro Lichauco, both the “power and a philosophy of power”. It is a power that caused movement of people to forge nations and roused great achievements and a philosophy of power that is concerned with different strategies, steps and methods concerning the creation and development of a state as an organic entity. Development is necessarily internal based on the independence of a state and the growing participation of its people (Constantino, 1995 p.104). Anyone, or rather from the words of Alejandro Lichauco, even a fool can love one’s country. The idea now is not about the love for one’s country but for the nationalists, the real concern is the strength of the state and the will to fight of its citizens for independence. The world, in the view of nationalists, is a “community of nation-states who must live as well as compete constantly with each other” (Lichauco, 1988 p.3). There is struggle and competition wherever and whenever that is why they are considered as a fact and law of international life, which is just exactly as Darwin’s Theory of “Survival of the fittest”. However we think that another state can help us, well, we should think again because there are no permanent friends in international relations but rather, there are permanent national or self-interest and transient allies who can turn into adversaries overnight. Since the Philippines is a neo-colony, it is acceptable to think that she is weak and powerless considering that we are highly dependent on
America and she is unable to provide even the basic needs of the citizens including employment, security and livelihood. Alejandro Lichauco even sees the Philippines as the only state that “seeks the abolition of our nationhood and works for our incorporation into the federal structure of the very state, which had colonized us” (Lichauco, 1988 p.4). The Philippines need to have real independence first before being considered as a strong and powerful state since independence is necessary to power and vice versa. It is not realistic to think that a country is strong when there are others ruling the country. We, Filipinos, should assert our independence so that we would not have to be dependent on any other country and we would not need answer to anyone not just on how the government rules the land but also on how our country would use the resources that is beneficial for the Filipinos. According to Renato Constantino in The Nationalist Alternative, “All forms of neocolonial domination and all the self-serving demands of transnational corporations should be regarded as instances of national oppression… oppression of an entire people whose resources, labor and life itself have been commandeered in the service of foreign
corporations and foreign governments” (p.91). With this said, there is a struggle for the need of restoration and enhancement of individual Filipino rights. In knowing what nationalism is, it is clear what the Filipinos should do and what the state should have, which is strength and power. Now
that I am more aware, it is now time to know what we can do in order for us to have the real independence that we deserve. Nationalism should not be the sole goal of our country but also industrialization. The reason is because no country is strong and powerful without being
industrialized. As written by Renato Constantino from the speech of Claro M. Recto, “Nationalism cannot be realized and brought to full flowering without a thorough-going industrialization of our economy by the Filipinos themselves. And you cannot have an industrialized Philippine economy controlled and managed by Filipinos without the propulsive force of a deep and abiding spirit of nationalism.” This is not what we are usually taught in school since the basis of what we studied are mostly from American books, which made me realize how I was looking at the world thinking that I already know both sides, which I now know that I do not. I saw foreign investments as the way to solve the poverty, but little did I know that they just hurt the Philippine economy even more. Because of the readings, my mind and eyes are opened, which made me to believe that there is really a need for an economic independence. According to Renato Constantino, the Philippines is free politically but still far from being free economically for the reason of having past administrations clinging to the old system wherein we are under the control of foreigners. “Nationalism in the economic field is the control of the resources of a country by its own people to insure its utilization
primarily for their own interest and enjoyment” (Constantino, 1965 p.31). It is apparent that our resources are not only utilized primarily in the interest of the Filipinos because we are an agricultural nation that exports raw-materials cheaply since they have no use yet until the industrialized nations make our raw materials into finished products that we import at high prices, which we tolerate since the products are needed for our daily living. With this said, it is clear that Filipinos are not in control of our own resources for our best interest. This kind of relationship has a gainer and a loser, and unfortunately, as an agricultural nation, we are the loser. An industrial nation is prosperous, strong and dominant while an agricultural nation is poor, weak and dependent. If we want to turn the table and be in control, we need to industrialize so that we are not dependent on the imports since we can produce our daily needs ourselves. We should have the “dominant and ever-present will to achieve the enhanced well-being of the large community, rather than merely one’s own selfish interest” (Constantino, 1965 p.34). If all Filipinos set aside our differences with the dialects, social status or whatsoever, I know that we may be able to achieve whatever we want to achieve. Being an agricultural country does not only make us dependent on other countries but it is also one of the reasons or factors of why the Philippines is a poor country. Another reason is because of foreigners dominating the Philippine economy. These factors are from our former
statesmen who are Claro M. Recto and former President Ferdinand Marcos. They saw what really was and still is happening to the Philippines, which was not a hit to the masses since they have seen their arguments negatively. This is visible in the Marcos regime wherein most Filipinos thought that he was corrupt, while in fact in his time, we are rich as a country then. I also believed that I would not ever want to experience the Marcos regime since all there was violence and corruption, which I now understand that it is not true. At this point, I admire the leadership of former President Marcos, and I even hope to have someone just like him in position because I know that with the hands of nationalists, there is a great room for change and improvement for the betterment of the country. I used to think that corruption is the cause of poverty, but from what I have learned in class of Dr. Hila and from the readings, it is just the effect of poverty. Having a poor country where our social structure is “marked by an extreme disparity in income distribution, with wealth concentrated in the hands of a thin elite” (Laurel, 1969 p.4), causes a lot of people to do crimes including theft, robbery, kidnapping and even killing for the sake of having money. But those are not the only effects of poverty, as I have mentioned, corruption is also an effect. I have always heard from my professors in DLSU that anywhere in the planet, there are corrupt government officials or a corrupt government but our country is severely affected not because our government is worse but
because our country is poor to begin with. With having an agricultural economy, as stated by the UN, “for the greatest efforts gives the least returns to the workers” (Constantino, 1965 p.43), which means that we give more and we receive less and that we are allowing subsidizing foreign labor at the expense of local labor. There is really no agricultural nation that is rich because industrialization is where there are high returns. We are only the agricultural adjuncts of the industrial economies, which is much beneficial for them than for us because even if we export numerous goods or raw materials, the amount that we pay for our imports of their finished products are much greater. In solving the problems of underproduction, poverty and unemployment, we should have economic nationalism or a systematic and organized pursuit of industrialization because it would help to increase opportunities for employment, give us higher per capita income and increased demand for diversified agricultural by-products and products that our local industries would need (Constantino, 1965). Industrialism is “a state of culture and manner of producing and consuming goods of a national society wherein industries and industrial processes predominate” (Constantino, 1965 p.52). The industrialization that we should have is not just industrialization but nationalist industrialization, which is industrialization of the Filipino economy. With having this in every part of the country, not only do we solve poverty, but we also help Filipino citizens to stay in their own rural areas because
they would not need to look for a job in the urban areas. But this does not mean that we have to do away with being an agricultural economy because we need both. As stated in the Joint Resolution No. 2, “The government shall actively plan and promote the development of the agricultural sector in harmony with the industrial sector.” In having rich resources, we can industrialize and be agricultural at the same time so that we would not need to get any raw materials from other countries and we would produce the needs of the citizens on our own that would emanate progress in all directions with the type of industrialization that Claro M. Recto advocates, which is heavy industrialization. Aside from nationalist industrialization to solve the problem of poverty, we should also have nationalist entrepreneurship wherein we assert our independence removing the foreigners to dominate the Philippine economy. Currently, alien or foreign-owned industries are dominating our land and because of this, much of the wealth created would have to leave the country. It is not their fault that what they are doing causes our country poverty because Filipinos allowed it to happen. It is rational to think that foreigners have their own economic welfare to think and protect and considering that national interest is supreme, we should not expect that they are thinking of our benefits or we are their primary concern because it is not in the nature of things. It is important to keep in mind that, aliens or foreigners who go to any country for conquest or business do not do so to serve the interest of their host-
nation, but rather, they go because they see that they can gain resources or any advantage from their host-nation. That is why our “common patrimony must always be defended and safeguarded with all the care, awareness, dedication and vigilance” (Constantino, 1965 p.36), which I do not think that we have done well. Most Filipinos grew up thinking that we need foreigners for our country’s success as what our presidents always do, which is ask other countries to invest in our country. Even what we are taught in school only pertains of having our people’s desire for political liberty and not inculcating ideas of economic independence on America. Filipinos are conditioned to become avid and insatiable consumers of Western finished products that is why local producers or entrepreneurs are discouraged to create quality products that is equally or even better than of the foreigners because of our colonial mentality and also because the government does not protect the Filipino entrepreneurs and local products well. There is also a need for economic planning, which should be the government’s special concern, because if we let things to continue drifting, it is possible that we will soon fall prey to communism. Communism shall be fought not on legal and parliamentary stage but economically. We need government initiative and intervention in the form of aids and incentives that would provide employment and bring economic security and welfare for all the people. But as a democratic country, we do not want any government intervention since we only see
the negative extreme of it. We should see how systematized and better it would be when the government plans and intervenes for our economy, which is the term of socialism for others. Its philosophy is what to do with the economy not for the government leaders’ sake but for all the citizens. We are blinded by laissez faire capitalism because there is no government control and intervention and there is free economy. But the people do not see that without government planning, there would be scarce resources since capitalists only assume that there is no resource exhaustion because the only thing in mind is to produce more for more profit. An essential ingredient of effective planning is the controlled and purposeful use of scarce resources, and we may be able to do this by protection through tariff, import and exchange restrictions as
instruments of savings and development. Surtax should also be imposed on foreign brands. With the protection against foreign imports, the Filipino entrepreneurs are assured to have control over the domestic market. The government may also give incentives to Filipino
entrepreneurs through extension of financial support. The aid of the government for the success of the Filipinos are really important because there is no one else to help them but their own citizens. But this is easier said than done because many nationalists have tried to reform the government but failed to do so. The help and support of all the people are needed and in the process of industrialization, there should be a joint responsibility between the government and the private enterprise.
An economic policy must respond to basic economic problems such as the kind of economy that we must have and the proper approach to foreign investments and financing (Constantino, 1965). From the speech of Jose B. Laurel, Jr. on the floor of the House of Representatives on May 15, 1969, to have social justice and economic freedom, they created the Joint Resolution No. 2 that declares that the paramount objectives of the economic policy should be “basic and integrated industrialization, maximum employment, the promotion of technology and the growth of per capita real income”. The Resolution also proposes an effective government development institution that will vigorously push through a program of industrial pioneering. As said by Manuel L. Quezon, "I would rather have a country run like hell by Filipinos than a country run like heaven by the Americans, because however bad a Filipino government might be, we can always change it." This is a good quote to live by, but the only problem is that, there are other leaders who do not even bother to look at how we are being manipulated for the benefit of the Americans. One good example is the creation and implementation of the “Parity Rights” clause under the leadership Manuel Roxas. It is “the first instance in history where an independent nation has granted to citizens of another rights equal to those who enjoyed by its own citizens” (Constantino, 1965 p.54). However we look at it, Filipinos are the ones who are disadvantaged because it only opens the door to foreign investments that only causes
more harm than good. There is no nation in their right minds to give equal rights to people who are not citizens of their country, but because of our fear of untying ourselves from Mother America’s economic apronstrings, we submit to it. We also do not see that America prevents the Filipinos from developing more profitable trade relations with other countries where we can have greater opportunities. What we can do now to prevent more foreign industries to come and take over is prefer foreign loans rather than foreign investments because when we borrow money from abroad, the Filipinos become the capitalists and the profits that will be gained would be well above the interests that will have to be paid. If we favor foreign investments, surely there would be jobs for Filipinos, but the income of the alien company would not be within and for the Philippines. We need to live by the slogan of every true Filipino, which is “Filipino First” where we can enjoy political and economic independence and get away with foreign pressure. The “Filipino First policy, by Carlos P. Garcia, is not aimed at discriminating among aliens, but solely at safeguarding Filipino
interests” (Constantino, 1965 p.62). We should not allow the slogan to be “Philippines First” because it would only grant concessions and privileges to alien residents since they have rights equal to us. We should look at the livelihood of the Filipinos and not just focus on being rich on paper. We should stand against any form of dominance to have real independence, which can solve poverty of the Philippines.
The last proposal or solution to solve poverty in the country is to have democratization of wealth or social justice where the undue concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, which among the few are aliens, will be eliminated. Social justice, according to Jose Laurel, Sr., is “the humanization of the laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may at least be approximated” (Laurel, 1969 p.11). It is promotion of the welfare of all the citizens. We should strive at a consensus where there is a win-win situation causing the Filipinos to have an equitable distribution of wealth and income. The key for this to be successful is the development of a large middle class to prevent the domination of the economy by big businesses creating undue accumulation of landed wealth. “Nationalist austerity should become a status symbol” (Constantino, 1995 p.105). It means that we should have a strict economy. The country needs nationalist leaders who can make all these happen with having all the Filipinos to back them up, especially the masses. We should always keep in mind that “foreign capital is necessary to assist in the country’s development, but it should never be permitted to dominate the economy” and we should also have “Filipino control over financial institutions as well as the distributive trade and strategic industries” (Laurel, 1969 p.15). The strategic and lucrative sectors should be in the hands of the nationals because when the firms
of the non-residents remit substantial portions of their earnings and avail themselves of local funds, they deprive Filipino entrepreneurs of credit opportunities and create a leak in the savings mechanism. We should also have a foreign policy since it is a fundamental instrument of economic development. Credit and banking must be Filipinized and foreign trade must be paced in the hands of the Filipinos. This does not mean that we would not anymore collaborate with other countries because globalization is everywhere and if we want to be part of the healthy competition between nations, we should start collaborating with our fellow Asians so that we can “maximize our trading options, avail ourselves of the cheapest sources of imports, and stimulate external demand for our exports” to increase the income and improve the living standards especially for the Filipino masses (Laurel, 1969 p.17). The masses are the “biggest gainers in any struggle to liquidate the country’s neocolonial status” (Constantino, 1995 p.90). What we need are people-oriented policies where leaders do not serve own narrow personal ends but respond to pressure and think of the well being of the citizens. The support of everyone is needed and we can be able to do this if there is unity in diversity, which can be achieved only through constant dialogue. It is a new type of democracy where people will have effective participation. We should be Filipinos who are united and aware of the dire consequences of foreign economic domination. Every Filipinos should also have a concrete vision of real
independence and we should remove our subservient attitude to the imperialist power. We need “a strong mass nationalist movement determined to end the dominance of imperialism that will make possible the conscious selection of an alternative path of development” (Constantino, 1995 p.102). If Filipino businessmen become an
impediment to social change, they would be regarded as enemies of the people. “Patriotic Filipino capitalists cannot assert themselves against international big business without the support of a strong and dynamic anti-imperialist movement built on real mass participation”
(Constantino, 1995 p.95). Just like economic independence, where Filipinos control the economy, it is also the general objective of the nationalist alternative, which we should support. According to Alejandro Lichauco, in “Hunger, Corruption and Betrayal”, the Philippines has already ceased to be an agricultural economy but what we are now are low-tech, low-wage service economy, which is far worse than being an agricultural economy. There is indeed a great need for change and we may be able to do this by following the proposals of the nationalists, which are discussed in this paper. These proposals are: industrialize, nationalist entrepreneurship, planned
economy and democratization of wealth. Just like Marcos and Recto, we should remove Free Trade and we should get rid of our colonial mentality and the dependence on foreigners. With regards to the way Filipino thinks of imported products, I know that it will not be easy to
remove that kind of thinking immediately but little by little, we can do it by supporting our local products. There is a need for mercantilism or protectionism so that Filipino entrepreneurs will be encouraged to put up businesses that would help the country and themselves. Resources should be given back to the Philippines for the benefit of the Filipinos. I believe that nationalism is really what we need to not only solve poverty but also uplift our economic situation from being a 3rd world country into hopefully and probably a 1st world country. As of now, what I can do as a Filipino citizen is to vote, in the next year’s election, a nationalist leader who would hopefully help change the situation that we are in now. I know that my single vote would be a great part of what could happen in the years to come and I would not just stop there, I would try to share what I know to everyone I know and ask them to share them to. Even little things can make big things happen and with the information and knowledge that we had because of the course, I know that being informed would create a big change like it did for me.
Reference: Constantino, R. (1995). The nationalist alternative. Quezon City: Foundation for Nationalist Studies. Constantino, R. (1965). Recto Reader: Excerpts from the Speeches of Claro M. Recto. ISBN B0006E72Z6.
Laurel, J.B. (1969). Magna carta of social justice and economic freedom. House of Congress. Lichauco, A. (1988). Nationalist Economics: History, Theory, and Practice. Quezon City: Institute for Rural Industrialization. Lichauco, A. (2005). Hunger, poverty and betrayal. Citizen’s Committee on the National Crisis (CNCC).
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