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Gia S.

Evangelista NSTP CWTS 1 – SW (B)

201820555 Prof. Karleen May Reodique

The Reality of Philippine Society

I was born in October 20, 2000 and in the year of my birth, one of the major societal issues
that the Philippines was facing base on various newspaper articles that year, was Joseph Ejercito
Estrada’s numerous corruption allegations. He allegedly received 10 million Php monthly from
November 1998 to August 2000 from jueteng lords as protection money. Further, he was also
accused of having 130 million Php kickback from the budget for tobacco farmers. He was also
suspected of receiving 100 million Php as “donation” from government funds. And it did not stop
there, he also reportedly ordered 52 impounded luxury vehicles from the Bureau of Customs
commissioner to give to his Cabinet members and other government officials. After all of this has
been expose to the public, the year of 2000 was the year of the growing unrest of the public that
eventually led to Edsa II in January 16-20, 2001 (Gonzales and Pobre, 2017).

Unfortunately, cases of government officials being involve in corruption is not just a thing
that happened in the year 2000, almost two decades later, this phenomenon is still very much
common in the realm of Philippine politics and government. The President who came after
Estrada was Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and even she was charged of plunder. In Benigno Aquino’s
administration, the infamous Pork Barrel Scam happened. And now, allegations of corruption in
Duterte administration is still very much present. From possible corruption incidents with the
Philippines close ties with China and their business undertakings to Duterte’s “Build, build, build”
program. Such sorry state of the country is heart wrenching because the Filipino people are the
one’s that suffers its repercussions.

Aside from the various corruption incidents taking place in the government, the living
condition of the Filipino people are being exacerbated by numerous neoliberal policies in the
country. Neoliberalism is an economic system that works on eliminating government regulations,
trade barriers and tariffs along with privatizing as many aspects of society as possible. It’s three
pillars are liberalization, privatization and deregulation. Liberalization is when the country do away
with tariffs and their economy becomes a borderless economy. Privatization is when the operation
of social and public services is being turn over to private corporations. Deregulation is when the
regulatory function of the government is removed (Espenido, 2019).

The neoliberal phenomenon continues to worsens the life of many Filipinos. One example
of this that was discussed in class is the impact of the Rice Tariffication Law to our local farmers.
Because of it, our rice importation is at its peak and the local palay now only costs 7.00 Php per
kilo which makes the life of the farmers much more difficult than it already is. It has also caused
for thousands upon thousands of farmers to stop farming altogether. Rice Tariffication Law is the
height of absurdity to this nation. We are an agricultural country but we are importing rice. And
that is just one of the many facets of hardships that neoliberalism produces. This issue on rice
importation has drastically impacted the lives of our local farmers here in the Philippines. It has
caused many of them to stop farming, to have debts, and perhaps sooner or later, give up their
lands. It is not only their livelihoods that were taken away from them, but also their lives. It is
saddening that our farmers who feed us, does not have anything to feed themselves.

In the midst of all of these problems fully present even before we are born, what we can
do to help Philippine communities tor respond to the issue that we are all facing is to help raise
their consciousness or conscientization. Let us all educate each other in various issues in the
society, because from that awareness comes a stronger resistance and only in being together
can we win the fight for true equality in our nation. As a student and as an active citizen, I will
continue to support the plight of the marginalize through educating my peers regarding the issues
that they face and joining in mobilizations that forwards their advocacies.

References

Gonzales, C., & Addie, P. (2017, January 17). Looking back at EDSA II: The political paths of
Estrada and Arroyo. Retrieved from Rappler:
https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/flashback/158523-look-back-edsa-ii-joseph-estrada-
gloria-arroyo
Philippine Headline News Online. (n.d.). Headline News Philippines. Retrieved from Philippine
Headline News Online: http://www.newsflash.org/2000/10/hlframe.htm