Saturday, March 15, 2008

Political Winter

THE Sumilao farmers are back—and vowed to stay in Manila until the promise committed to them by Malacañang last Christmas gets more real than the pledges politicians make during elections. The Yulo farmers, petitioning that 3,811 hectares of the 8,000-hectares Hacienda Yulo be covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), are now on the march, too.

Seemingly awakened by the obnoxious reek of the botched ZTE-NBN mess and the equally stinking Spratley island deals in the offing, student organizations and the urban youth are back on their feet. They were mere fence-sitters and guilty bystanders, like most of us, in the first wave of anomalies surrounding the Macapagal Highway, the Fertilizer scam, the “Hello, Garci” tapes, and the Northrail project, not to mention extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances, which are beyond the ambit of a regularly condoned anomaly. After martial law, they preferred to be computer geeks rather than street parliamentarians. But this time they look geared up for a quarter-storm.

For the first time in Philippine history, cabinet members and high-ranking government officials of past and present administrations have banded together, crossing political lines, and joined the fray in search for the “truth”—or better still, in search for a political solution to the present hitch.

The biblical division among households in Mathew 10:35 is, of course, exegetically different. But divisions within highly-placed institutions in the face of the current socio-political crises are crises, too, that snapped revered traditions and professional courtesy. During martial law, institutional divisions and differences in political persuasions were dignified in the sense that they were ideological. This can be worse, if differences of the day are motivated by hefty financial favors and political comfort because such are devoid of ethics and conviction.

The country is in a political winter. It looks a little short of frightening if one would give a free reign to a scenario where power blocks are trailblazing uncharted schemes to set or unset the central power that slugs on an uneasy chair. The past EDSAs proved the Filipino to be non-violent. But it was otherwise in the battery of revolts during the Spanish regime and the Philippine-American war.

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