CALL TO ACTION
CREATING A VISIONARY PHILIPPINES
Tindog means to "stand up" physically and also for one's principles. It means to be inwardly upright as a basis for standing up against abuses in society and a moral foundation for a better Philippines. Tindog Pilipinas! is the name of this national movement which seeks to transform Philippine society. The word "Tindog" is used widely in the Visayas, Mindanao, and parts of Luzon.
This "Call to Action" is the Founding Document of Tindog Pilipinas!.
PILIPINAS: A BANANA, KENGKOY REPUBLIC
Not so long ago, we were one of the most promising nations in the world. But today, despite two globally admired People Power uprisings, we have earned the dubious distinction of being both a laughing stock and a leper in the world stage. We have become a banana republic. Our kengkoy nation is leaving a bleak future of decay and despair. We are robbing our youth and our children of a better tomorrow.
Tingnan natin ang sarili natin. We have reached the point where there is little we can be proud of, precious little we can hope for.
We are mired in poverty, huge budget deficits, a ballooning foreign debt, a devaluating peso and a declining economy. Millions have no job and go to bed hungry each night. National policies are increasingly dictated by foreign interests and promising laws are stagnating due to lack of political will and budgetary support. There is lawlessness and war in our land. Our high literacy rates mean nothing when we can no longer feed ourselves as a nation. At the same time, our soil is blowing away, our forests destroyed, our rivers run dry, lakes and air polluted, and our seas over-fished. Meanwhile, some Filipinos, pushed by local and foreign criminal elements, drug our young. Filipinos murder other Filipinos and exploit each other. We are near the ultimate nightmare of a dog-eat-dog world. Uncaring. Violent. Meaningless.
The trail of corruption in all spheres of society is permanently etched in the potholes that riddle our national highways and roads as well as in the public works that are now prematurely dilapidated. Worse. It is embedded in the very structure of our psyche, sa ating kaluluwa. Because our rotten justice system does not punish evil, and our goodness is not appreciated and promoted, the good among us are starting to succumb to the evil around them. Dahil sa marami ang nakakalusot at nagpapalusot. Corruption knows no bounds, infecting both the rich and the poor, the highest national officials and the grassroots. We have now gained the dubious distinction of being the 11th most corrupt country in the world. Truly disgusting! Mga walang hiya! Walay ulaw!
The behavior of key institutions in Philippine society contributes greatly to this crisis. Corporations continue with business as usual, focusing solely on their own gain and ignoring their dependence on the vitality of society at large. Trapos are multiplying like pests, rapaciously feeding on and fueling the national chaos. The Presidency and the Executive Branch behave mostly like landlords and beauty contestants, concerned pre-eminently with their own narrow interests, their popularity, and political expediency. Congress has become a stage where the chief objective is not to govern wisely and prudently, but rather to determine who wields greater political power. Elections have become a showcase of political opportunism. Significant segments of civil society including NGOs and even some Church groups, increasingly become irrelevant to the crying needs of the country, distracted by ambitions, power, moral corruption, and their own narrow instincts for institutional survival. Meanwhile, like vultures, our media feast on controversies, the dead bodies and broken dreams of the nation.
The national chaos, not surprisingly, is encouraging millions to leave the Philippines and seek their future in strange lands. There they would rather brave loneliness and soul deprivation than face the certainty of hunger, crime, drugs, hopelessness, and frustration.
WE ARE OUR OWN WORST ENEMIES
We think the problem is only out there. But, in truth, the problem is also inside us. There is corruption and decline outside, because inside us we have died to our ideals, to our sense of freedom, bayanihan, justice, our conscience and sense of fair play. We have found the enemy and the enemy is us.
There is a universal truth which we ignore at our peril. The most powerful governments and institutions exist only as long as citizens allow their existence. Rizal said it more simply and directly. "There are no tyrants if there are no slaves."
Yet, for so long, we seem to prefer the status of apathetic slaves, quietly enduring the many sufferings inflicted upon us by corrupt, deceitful, unprincipled and egotistic leaders and their equally corrupt followers. Instead of doing something about the decline of the Philippines, we hope that, someday, maybe the sufferings of our country would quietly go away. Our favorite habit is to complain about how bad the country is. Yet we do not lift one finger to make the Philippines a better place!
We have thus reaped the bitter fruits of our own passivity and indifference. We now face the horror of a vastly more aggressive and arrogant army of corrupt leaders, professionals and followers in many businesses, government and congressional offices, media, schools, and even a growing number of NGOs and some religious institutions.
Our apathy and indifference is reinforced by our doubts and our fears. Inside us, we tell ourselves: The problems are too many and too complex. We are too few to make a difference. We are too ordinary to galvanize mass action. On top of these, we are a divided people. We are no match against the trapos and the corrupt elite. They are too powerful to resist. They may arrest and even kill us.
Our doubts and our fears become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we doubt whether we can overcome our regional and linguistic divisions and be united against corruption and the trapos, then we empower trapos and elites to ruthlessly exploit this division for their own benefit. Our external prisons start with the prisons we have constructed in our minds and in our hearts.
Pinagtaksilan natin ang Inang Pilipinas sa ating pagbabalewala, kaduwagan, at pag-aagam-agam o pag-aalinlagan. Our apathy, cowardice, and doubt betray the Philippine Spirit.
MAY PAG-ASA PA! ANG LIWANAG NG KAGALINGAN NG PILIPINO
Ngunit sa ngitngit ng dilim, may liwanag na nag-aanyaya sa atin na gumising at lumaban. In the darkness of night, there is hope.
Filipinos, if they want, can succeed and rank with the best in the world. It is highly significant that, while the media concentrated on the disgusting and sickening developments in the Philippines, a number of Filipinos quietly gave honor to the Philippines by winning prestigious global awards in many areas of life. Recently Filipinos were awarded for global excellence in journalism, urban architecture, science education, governance, business and financial management, environmental protection, solar energy, children's choir, globalization analysis and critique, social innovations and the theory and practice of social movements for a better world.
But this is only a small part of the story. Many Filipinos, from all walks of life, all over the country, are quietly engaged in exciting efforts to create a better Philippines. We do not know about them only because most of our mainstream media prefer masochism and trivia to celebration. They want Filipinos wallow in the melodrama of their own dirt because they think that that is the news that sells. They resist bringing recognition to the thousands of decent and honest efforts done by ordinary Filipinos across the archipelago.
The question therefore is not whether we have excellence as individuals and as a people. Rather the question is how to mobilize this excellence that is in each one of us and then unite it to renew the Philippines.
SALI AKO! STANDING UP TO BE COUNTED
There is hope! Increasingly, more and more Filipinos now realize that they have been utterly selfish and short-sighted. We now know that our narrow sense of security, peace, freedom and prosperity is one giant illusion. We are pained to realize that we are rapidly deteriorating as a people. And we grieve over the dim future of our country.
We are heart-broken that our country is dying because the vast majority of good people have passively watched the increasing sickness-unto-death of Pilipinas. We can no longer endure these sufferings. We are joining together to break the chains of our own apathy, doubts, cowardice and inaction. We are mobilizing to arrest the tide of hopelessness and on-going destruction. We are standing together to undertake the urgent task of transforming and renewing the Philippines.
We no longer want to be perennially part of the uninvolved. We want to reclaim Pilipino dignity by using our expertise, resources and talents for social responsibility, nation-building, and the advancement of humanity.
We believe that the silent majority is a myth. In their hearts, vast numbers of Filipinos want to be socially-responsible. They long for a venue to contribute their share in building a better Philippines and a better world.
The moment for action is now. It is time to break the chains of our self-imposed cultural prison of hopelessness.
CREATING A VISIONARY PHILIPPINES. TINDOG PILIPINAS! AND PEACEFUL SOCIETAL REVOLUTION
Radical problems require radical solutions. However, we do not advocate violence and totalitarianism of any kind. Our radical solution is peaceful and democratic. It will advance true freedom, prosperity and sustainability. It will thrive on the basis of excellence. We can only transform societal structures to the extent we transform ourselves.
As a people, we have relied too much on government to give us peace, prosperity and happiness. In the process we have disempowered ourselves. When we complain about government, we are actually giving too much importance to government and too little to what we can do in our work, in our culture, in our everyday life. We will mobilize all key institutions of society and all citizens, not only progressive individuals in government, to create a visionary Philippines.
Concretely, here is Tindog Pilipinas!'s framework for societal revolution.
Inner and Local Change As Foundation. We will start the process of transforming the Philippines where we are--in ourselves, our families, and our communities, and our work, whether in business, government, or the diverse areas of civil society. From this starting point, we will reach out to like-minded individuals--young and old, male and female, rich and poor, of whatever religion--all over the country and in the different parts of the world. Eventually we will unite our efforts with others who have a similar vision and passion for creating a different Philippines with a meaningful presence in world affairs. We will also reach out to others whom we perceive to be part of the problem, hoping to establish a common ground for lasting social change through authentic dialogue.
Local change has the advantage of empowering those who will take social action for the first time in their lives. Trying to start with national problems can paralyze the will, because of its scale, complexity and difficulty. However, if we start with local problems, then the solutions are nearer at hand and within our reach. Later, we will unite our efforts with other similar groups to solve more challenging national and global problems.
Radical social change can only begin with our self. We can only inspire and encourage others to the extent that we embody in ourselves the change we want to see in society. Institutional or structural change can only be progressive and long-lasting when these new institutional and social arrangements are activated by individuals with skill, knowledge, passion, integrity, initiative and honesty. We need to take control of our individual lives and our fate before we can help chart the destiny of our country.
Small, Independent But Networked Groups. Many have avoided action because they think that the task is too big for one or a few persons. But history has shown, time and time again, that we cannot underestimate the massive impact of a few individuals who are determined to achieve profound change. All great movements started with a few committed and dynamic individuals whom hundreds, thousands, and eventually millions joined in concerted action. For example, the mass movement that ousted former President Estrada started with less than two dozen deeply committed and extensively connected people.
We also have the unique historical advantage that, for the first time, the dynamics of peaceful societal revolution through networking are now better understood than ever before. There is a convergence of a wide range of scientific disciplines which can now be harnessed to advance positive and comprehensive social change. They reveal how a small group of individuals can achieve lasting and profound societal change.
Humanity, for example, has learned from the limits and disastrous results of bloody revolutions of the past two hundred years. Social scientists now understand how social movements emerge, develop, and succeed. The new science of networks details how social movements can further enhance their positive impact. What took decades to achieve can now be done in a few years, especially with the help of advanced telecommunications systems including the Internet and the sophisticated cell phone. It is very difficult for dictatorships of all kinds, including trapo politics, to survive the realities of the Information Age and its smart social movements.
Society-Centered Threefolding Approach Instead of a Narrow Focus on the Government. Society is complex. It has three dimensions. It is more than just politics even though we, as a people, have an almost incurable addiction to confusing political change with societal transformation. Societies also have an economy that provides for the physical and social needs of its citizens. Therefore, the economy, not just politics, has to be transformed to make it more prosperous, efficient, equitable and caring. Society also has a cultural dimension. We are all embedded in a cultural reality that deeply affects what we think and how we feel. We also need to change backward aspects of our culture to enable us to birth innovative approaches for saving a dying Pilipinas.
The battle for hearts and minds is the mother of all battles, and will deeply affect what happens in the economic and political arenas. This is also why the societal revolution of Tindog Pilipinas! requires an inner revolution in order to succeed in transforming Philippine society. Ask the U.S. troops in Iraq how it feels to win military battles and lose the war of hearts and minds. Cultural power is the major power in any society and it is organized citizens and cultural institutions that wield it for good or for bad. This is the reason why Tindog Pilipinas! will start first as a cultural revolution, and from this vantage point, it will influence the direction of politics and economics in the Philippines.
Lasting change thus will come only when we mobilize concerned Filipinos in ALL realms of society--economic, political, and cultural (especially civil society organizations). We need to build strategic alliances with Filipinos in all realms of society to successfully undertake the kind of radical societal change we want for Pilipinas.
Our call for transformation is therefore society-centered, and not state-focused as has usually been the case. We call this a threefolding societal revolution, referring to the peaceful radical transformation of all three spheres of society. This does not mean shying away from political advocacy. Rather it means broadening the arena of struggle to include not only the political arena, but also the economic and cultural ones as well.
Rules of Engaging the Different Spheres of Society. Our potent resource for nation-building is precisely our commitment as Filipinos and our passion for a better Philippines and our adherence to moral standards that we apply to ourselves. We condemn acts of violence and manipulation. We praise acts of courage and creativity. But we will not only stay on the sidelines, just criticizing or praising. We will also initiate innovative programs and projects, no matter how small, that will contribute to the betterment of the Philippines. We will cooperate with individuals, groups, networks, and movements that seek a similar transformation of Philippine society.
Promising Examples. As we advocate universally-accepted benchmarks for public, institutional and individual performance, we will not shy away from affirming performing public servants and institutional leaders just as we will uncompromisingly censure the underachievers, specifically those involved in anomalous transactions. We will encourage the emergence of new leaders and doers who exemplify innovative, dynamic and promising approaches and solutions to burning social questions.
Framework for Systemic Change. We summarize our framework for radical systemic change in the chart below.
Change starts within each of us. We transform ourselves but within the context of the social problems we want to solve. Without this social compass, inner change will be empty and self-serving. We then join with others seeking change. With them we form the different autonomous local but nationally networked groups of Tindog Pilipinas! All the different movement groups undertake actions they think appropriate to their situation. These can be political, economic, or cultural actions. The Tindog Pilipinas! movement will unite its actions with other networks and movements, as appropriate, thereby creating a powerful force for societal revolution.
Taken as a whole, we expect to have thousands of groups and initiatives all over the country and in the different parts of the world. While each action may seem limited to only a small aspect of social transformation, collectively, these hundreds of initiatives will start the necessary and radical transformation of Philippine society. This approach allows for the greatest creativity and local involvement to flourish while collectively impacting the future of the Philippines at the national level.
WHO STAND BEHIND TINDOG PILIPINAS!?
For a number of years, a group of leaders from civil society, business, and the professional sector of government have worked hard to create a better Philippines. Initially, as head of their institutions or programs, they worked on their own in the areas of banking, microfinance, trading, sustainable agriculture, local government education, cultural policy, provincial development, sustainable development education and initiatives, environmental conservation, health, philanthropy, social movements, development consultancy, information technologies and other areas.
These professionals then decided to come together, in their individual capacities, to create PARTNERS, the Philippine Advancement and Renewal through Threefolding Networking, Education, Research and Service. As PARTNERS, they also became part of the Global Network on Social Threefolding. GlobeNet3 is a network existing in 11 countries that seeks to achieve goals similar to PARTNERS in their own countries and on the world stage. Taken together as a whole, PARTNERS directly influences over 50,000 people, including the youth and the urban and rural poor. They have this positive influence through the various projects that their individual members have started in different parts of the country.
Recently the founders of PARTNERS, deeply concerned with the massive loss of hope in the country, discussed the importance of launching a national movement to create a better Philippines. This was the birth of TINDOG PILIPINAS!, a national movement to create a visionary Philippines.
PRINCIPLES FOR SOCIETAL REVOLUTION
We, at Tindog Pilipinas!, adhere to the following principles as we, individually and collectively, seek change in our country.
Full Human Development. Transforming a country will require the best in all of us. We therefore commit to continually develop our individual competence even as we purify ourselves, overcoming residues of jealousy, pride, un-transparency, power-seeking, untruthfulness, hidden motives, and other fallen aspects of our human nature. We will advance our cause with courage and commitment and be ready to make the necessary sacrifices to create a new world. We will support initiatives that provide opportunities for citizens to undergo a self-directed process of awakening to their full human potential.
Socially Engaged Spirituality. Our task requires access to the deepest sources of meaning and identity that we can tap so that we can continue to have strength and do not burn out. We will therefore seek and nurture our own paths to a sense of the Divine in all that exists. As we deepen our own spiritual work, we respect the different spiritual paths that others may take. Our search is for a socially engaged spirituality, not one that will take us away from this world. This is especially so because the 21st century will be an age of elite globalization and extreme materialism, governed by one or a few superpowers seeking their own narrow advantage. In addition, technological developments will increasingly seek to mechanize human beings and societies. Only a spiritually grounded worldview will survive the violent challenges of the future. We will need a spiritual beacon to navigate these treacherous waters of hyper-consumerism, technological imperialism, military adventurism, and meaninglessness as we are hurled with accelerating force into an uncertain future.
Vibrant, Relevant and Free Culture. The path of inner transformation enables us to build a culture powerful enough to withstand our testing as a people and the trials of humanity. When individuals, who have experienced profound change, come together to create a new world, then we will have the beginnings of a culture so powerful that even the most cunning state dictator or powerful empire in the world will not be able to suppress. It will be a vibrant and free culture, transforming everything that it touches, including but not limited to the very institutions of culture itself. Because all forms of education are critical to shaping a culture, we will support or advance formal and informal educational approaches that effectively draw out the full human potential that resides in each and every one of us.
Holistic Science and Technology. We live in an age where rapid advances in science and technology are fundamentally restructuring the foundations of societies and shaping the destinies of billions of human beings and the planet. Unfortunately, science and technology are not inherently benign and neutral. They often come in forms that harm nature, human beings, and societies. We need only think of widespread scientific materialism, massive pesticide poisoning, global climate change, genetic engineering and cloning, and the advent of half-human and half-robots to sense the pervasive role of science and technology in our lives. We will ensure that, in our search for a better Philippines, we will promote healthy, more holistic and appropriate kinds of science and technologies, the kinds that nurture natural processes and life in all its forms and diversity and aid the spiritual advancement of humanity.
Economy of Association. The battle cry of "global competitiveness" has created an economic wasteland and has driven millions into joblessness and poverty. One of the first tasks of a transformational culture is to gradually shift this neo-liberal economy of competition to one of solidarity or association. Entrepreneurship and business will be conducted with a greater emphasis on strategic and mutually beneficial relationships among the different elements of the economy and on social, human and ecological responsibility of the enterprise and not for pure profit alone.
True Democracy and Good Governance. State institutions are a special challenge because they are the most feudal and backward of all institutions in Philippine society. Yet in the State also clearly resides the potential for truly advancing Philippine society. Tindog Pilipinas! therefore envisions the birth of a new kind of direct democracy where key governance decision-making does not reside solely among politicians. Rather it involves the meaningful participation of engaged citizens, even if these citizens may not necessarily be involved directly as politicians and public "servants".
Poverty Eradication. We cannot continue to achieve progress at the expense of others. We will launch new initiatives or continue existing efforts to improve the quality of life of the poor, including but not limited to economic sustainability. A vibrant culture, an associative economy and a responsible governance are all essential ingredients in helping the poor help themselves out of poverty.
Love of Country. True citizenship transcends the boundaries of our ethnic and linguistic origins. We will search for solutions that benefit the country as a whole while at the same time respecting the positive contributions that our various indigenous and local cultures can contribute. We will strengthen the principle of subsidiarity, where national solutions will only be sought if local initiatives fail to address a serious problem.
Appropriate Global Cooperation. Our love for our country does not mean we embrace knee-jerk nationalism or blind patriotism. We seek to meaningfully engage all nations of the world in creating global arrangements that will benefit humanity as a whole. We envision a world order where each country can contribute its own form of excellence for the benefit of the whole. For we can only reach our full humanity to the extent that we benefit from the unique qualities the different cultures of the world can give us. We abhor unilateralism in world affairs and we will resist the imposition of a global order based on the exercise of raw economic, political, or military power.
Ecological Harmony. As we pursue our human and societal aspirations, we will be mindful and respectful of the tremendous contributions of Nature to our own survival. We also acknowledge that Nature has an order of meaning independent of and transcending any utilitarian desires we may have of Her. We seek to create a partnership appropriate to the Divine order that pervades the planet. We will restore Nature where we have damaged Her and we will constrain and design our human activities to live in harmony with the rhythms and processes of Nature.
Integral Sustainable Development. Each of the above principles are valuable in themselves. However, with an eye for integrating all the possible diverse initiatives that can be undertaken under each principle, we seek to achieve a critical mass of effects sufficient to transform Philippine society. We will therefore integrate all the various principles into a unifying approach we call comprehensive or integral sustainable development. In this approach there are 7 dimensions of development: the human, spiritual, cultural, economic, political, social (the principles on poverty, love of nation and global cooperation) and the ecological. The various principles will be our entry points to the long but worthy journey towards integral sustainable development.
OUR CALL TO ALL FILIPINOS AND FRIENDS1: JOIN US IN THE URGENT TASK OF SAVING OUR COUNTRY!!!
The worst time in the life of a country is the best time to organize. Because then the case for radical change will become self-evident in the destruction that the present rotten system is imposing on people's lives. For a crisis can also be a blessing, giving us the impetus to rethink our lives and the opportunity to cleanse ourselves from everything that enslaves and prevents us from becoming who we truly are and creating a country of our dreams.
We know that many Filipinos have reached their threshold of tolerance. They will no longer sit still and be passive spectators to the rape of their nation. They are ready to bolt the invisible prisons they have built for themselves. They are ready for deep, profound change. They are prepared to undertake this great task of building a visionary Philippines.
Like them, we know that, if we start now, we will succeed in building a national movement for peaceful societal revolution in 5 years, even less. Tindog Pilipinas! will become such a strong national presence that even the most powerful in Philippine society will listen to it. They will take notice of its many initiatives and heed the lessons Tindog Pilipinas! brings. As the presence of Tindog Pilipinas! becomes more and more pervasive, there will be less and less doom and gloom in the land. The Philippines will turn a new leaf and seek a better future with hope and enthusiasm.
We are called to do our share in the collective effort to transform our country into a visionary Pilipinas--the kind of place we dream of for our children, for ourselves, our communities, our nation, and humanity as a whole.
Let us not despair. Let us organize. Together we will succeed. Together we will create a better country, a new world.
JOIN US. CONTACT:
TINDOG PILIPINAS! Metro Manila
Nicanor Perlas: [email protected]
Dr. Brenda Fajardo:
TINDOG PILIPINAS! CEBU
TINDOG PILIPINAS! BOHOL
Boni Quirog: [email protected]