October 12, 2004 (BALITANG BETERANO Culled by Col. (Ret) Frank B. Quesada, Former Senate Committee Secretary Associate, PMA Class ‘ 44)  Fil-Am veterans, who fought for democracy and peace in WW-II and who have as much stake in the future of the Philippines, are just as concerned as any other of our kababayans back home about the prevailing poverty, violence, corruption, etc., and the basic elements of the nation’s malaise.

Of course, such malaise are the direct residue of over 400 hundred years of mal-colonialism that have developed into today’s society and institutions, as well as ingrained attitudes which have adversely obstructed the real road towards national security and progress that must withstand 'changes in government' - an obstacle among the main obstacles. Foremost in achieving peace, self-sufficiency and orderly government is reorganizing the government that can deliver the basic needs sufficient enough to meet the basic needs of the growing population. Ins-so-doing, the social structure presently marked by extreme disparity of distribution of income and wealth - it is government that has the clout and authority to lead and make the change capable of responding to the present, much less the future.

Economic Freedom

Current obstacles can be reversed by the government and NGO - to be able to persuade the elites to share in bridging the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots, the needy and the greedy. Politics of poverty and eternal foreign borrowing making the nation forever in debt should be the primary objective of change.

Political Buck Passing

The past debilitating tradition of each administration passing the buck [ the huge national deficit ] to the next incoming administration is down-right reckless and truculent. For it is the people that suffers the most. Presidents come and go - but the malaise does not have to be a bequest of political vengeance, or recklessness. A practical term under viable economic program should not be altered by any incoming administration that only suits the elected head and party at the expense of the masses.

There is no longer a conspicuous debate about the surging population, unemployment, disparity in income distribution, wealth concentrated in the hands of a handful of rapacious elites, graft perpetrated by glutinous political proteges and cronies, lack of meaningful growth of per capita real income, etc. Everyone acting as if there is a prosperous era when if fact, poverty is ever present which the elites pretend not to see.

Neglected Areas of Development

Veterans are very much aware that only by planned industrialization, and by improvement of agriculture can the nation utilize indigenous raw materials, assist unemployment, and improve today’s marginal income that secures the lives of the Filipinos. It is not true that only industrial nations are primarily self-sufficient. The developing nation like the Philippines - still has to make agriculture a source of food for the people. The Philippine does not necessarily have to be successful in industry development at the expense of agriculture. And should not be a slave to the global concept by advanced nations dumping excesses to third world nations.

Both Industry and Agriculture Are Needed

Both sectors above must play a major role in terms of productivity and self-sufficiency. It is a selfish colonialist propaganda saying that “Even if the Philippines were to increase its production of its farms, it would never hope to absorb the unemployed.” That is debatable. Industrialization alone can not systematically raise the malaise of the nation, and feed the hungry. Usurious foreign lenders, of course, favor lending to industries than to agriculture. The Philippines is inherently blessed as an agricultural country, which can not abandon agricultural development.

The Nation’s Rich Resources

The Philippines has vast natural resources with which to afford development of both industries and agriculture. However, the country has to produce a graft-free, sound and viable economic policy and determination to pursue such policy of self-sufficiency, regardless of what the greedy foreign lenders say. Less political grandstanding of each administration can result to concrete success towards national security and self-sufficiency. What is basically needed is dispersal of industries in the regions - to provide provincial employment and income to the people - in order to de-congest the cities and Metro-Manila. So that citizens could return to reside to the provinces to engage in local jobs.

Planned National Economy

We have yet to have a viable national economic development authority with powers to judiciously plan and coordinate overall national economic activities, free from loquacious political decamp that derails the planned socio-eco-program. It is in order to have political elections where different parties can pursue just one definite workable economic plan, which should not deviate from the direction of the nationally ill-conceived program. Destructive political party alterations, illegal legislative budget insertions, pork barrel abuse and official’s cash advances, etc., have derailed the planned economic program - therefore have been retrogressive. With an array of many errant deviation from the planned economic program - the sum total is undue huge loss spelled WASTE AND LOSS of national wealth.

Economic Democracy

Foremost, is the lack of economic equitableness which has hindered progress. Undue concentration of wealth in the hands of a mindless few - have compounded that among these - are aliens with undue influence, or even control of the economy. ( i. e., financing, oil and foreign debt)] Such situation results in a brutal monopoly of economic and social opportunities for tax-burdened citizens. This is the biggest challenge to any aspiring head of State, and to the different political parties that has the obligation rectifying today’s poverty and unequal distribution of pubic services for Filipinos. Elected officials and the NGOs do not have the monopoly of power and wealth. It is divisive at this stage - for any party or aspiring president to retard growth which has to be achieved, however, it is the time to compel adoption of a policy, which would in appropriate for instance, place a limit. For if not restrained - financial and economic cartel and pool, pose a serious threat to national security, if not real democracy. Politics of poverty and wastes have ruined the nation. The damaged done by past administrations produced a seething volcano ready to epode when the masses n longer can afford to survive under marginal subsistence.

Durable Constitution

A durable Constitution simply must provide and promote social justice, law and order to insure peace, economic tranquility, and opportunities for citizens.. Law enforcement is the key and not too many laws which could not be enforced which has been a burden. If a new Constitution should be necessary - the top most consideration should be for social equitableness. It must be with humanization of laws and equalization of both social and economic forces by the State. There should be rational objectivity. It must promote overall welfare of the citizens, a government adopted to insure economic stability of all segments of society, albeit must promote safeguard of human rights of elements of society, constitutionally - legally justifiable or even extra-constitutionally measures. The exercise of powers under a just and compassionate government.

Direct Attack Against Poverty

While there seems to be artificial progress in the construction industry, tall buildings and structures - does not mean anything to the ordinary man in the street that does not know where the next meal would come from. A hungry man knows no law thus, is susceptible to crime and to mindless wasteful demonstrations – against peaceful society. Foreign ideologies have corrupted bona-fide struggle for socio-economic stability. The heavy burden of whom they have to lean on is the government for immediate assistance - while jobless. It is the main responsibility of the State to provide relief. As shown in today’s people’s public demonstrations owing to the States inability to attack poverty. The truth must be told. Education of the citizens on national security has been absent It is a nation in almost complete backsliding process unarrested. 

State’s Clear Line of Communication

The Administration’s immediate job is to patiently educate the people about the State’s difficulty to distribute public resources to segments of society. Government is broke and must be stabilized under disciplined measures. To further tax the masses this stage is criminal. People must know how to help alleviate the crisis instead of being left in the dark. Citizens will understand better if propitious public relations is employed to show how the State is carefully allocating the meager fund resources to everyone, without sparing favorites. It is no excuse - that any administration that has unfairly inherited the huge government deficit from ex-Presidents who have passed on the deficits to the next administration at the expense of the citizens must be allowed to prevail. Everyone must simply have to reckon and obey the great law of change – which is the most powerful law of nature. Politicians fear most such change for they stand to lose the bounties of status quo. Government lawlessness has to go or created mass disorder. At this point and time, the societal situation is a boiling cauldron ready to burst violently. The center must hold over the left and right for there is nothing permanent. All things must change to something new and to something strange to something practical and realistic. Procrastination of the leadership has been the notorious thief of our time, as the minister of ruin. Indolence of the people has never been subject of change. “So long as all increased wealth that modern progress bring to increase luxury for only the elites, and build up great fortunes – must go or suffer the awaited violent upheaval. Lastly, the surging over- population problem must be clearly addressed making the religious sector understand the threat of hunger and bloody upheaval owing to their stubborn dogmatism. God helps those who help themselves, so to speak. The religious sector is complacent on this respect. They will have to share the burden of population control through effective means. All these problems are heading toward a boiling point – like a seething volcano. There’s no where to turn when that time comes. # # #

About the author: He completed doctoral studies of “ Comparative Structures of World Governments and Complex National Security of Socio-Economic Systems.” A grantee at the Swenska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden,on Socialist Societies, and in Torino at the U.N. Executive and Professional Center (ILO), Geneve, Switzerland; won Gold Medal for Excellence, conferred by U.N. Director Gen. Robert Lonati. Holds a U.S.; Congressional Citation presented by Rep. Donald. Clausen.(R-CA); completed studies at the Defense and Political War College (ROC); a decorated officer who reached the apex of this career, after participating in noted exploits: such as: (a) the rescue of 2000 Americans and allied POWs in Los Banos (Luzon) in 1945, (b) the emergency evacuation of Gen. Chiang Kai Shek and his Koumintang Army from Lunghua, China to safety in Taiwan in 1949; (c) “Operations Airlift” re-supplying U.N. troops during the Korean War; (d) the “reverse exodus” repatriation of the Jews and Palestinians from different parts of the globe to Lydda and Jerusalem; (e) the relocation of stateless international refugees (Estonians, White Russians, Europeans, etc.,) from different parts of Asia to Guiuan Islands and then to the U.S and Europe; (f) as counter-intel and psy-war observer in Laos during the Vietnam War that helped produced thepsy-war film “The Bamboo Cross.”; a retired. Colonel in the U.S. Armed Services served as (G-3 and then Division Deputy Chief of Staff, California State Defense Force, ( of four BDEs) U.S. Army National Guard Reserves in Sacramento, California, and Logistics Advisor, at Fort Funston (2nd Inf. BDE). Later was a member of the ad hoc U.S. Defense Committee, chaired by Lt. Gen. Daniel.O. Graham, at the White House, during the R. Reagan Administration; a ranking delegate to the XIVth International Conference on Human Rights and Social Welfare in Helsinki, Finland and member of the Social Welfare delegation to the USSR (Moscow and Leningrad). East Berlin, Germany; was senior consultant to U.S. Senator D.K. Inouye on the “U.S Senate Inquiry on the Unsettled Claims of Fil-Am WW-II Veterans.” He retired from the U.S. Armed Services, and later from the Circuit Executive Office of the U.S Federal Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Settled down in the U.S. with his wife, Lou, a retired executive of the San Francisco State University, School of Nursing. He now devotes time in writing columns for popular Fil-Am newspapers and advices Fil-Am World War II veterans’ organizations on the full equity settlement campaign of the huge U.S. accumulated (unpaid compensation and benefits) obligation of (US$3.2 Billion) to former Fil-Am World War –II U.S. servicemen. He authored books and Internet versions: Mechanics and Economics of Tourism, Freedom At Dawn, Ordeal In War’s Hell, Classic Escape from Captivity, and many other stories. Assisted in the book, “ The Los Banos Raid,” by Lt. Gen. Fly Flannagan, USA Ret., assisted Ryan Hurst in the production of the video by Greystone Holywood Pictures, “ entitled “Rescue At Dawn.” Contributed to the publication of the book, “With No Regrets” (The martyrdom of Fr. Francis Douglas Vernon in WW-II) and the supporting video by Patricia Brooks of New Zealand. # #

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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