Carvajal: Newer and closer to normal

Orlando P. Carvajal
·2 min read

“NORMAL” describes a state that is within standard specifications. Like an adult’s normal body temperature ranges from 36.1 to 37.5 degrees Centigrade. Lower or higher is abnormal.

Similarly, the normal output of any government is a universally prosperous and progressive citizenry. It is, therefore, highly abnormal that out of 106 million Filipinos 30 million (more if you take out the window dressing) live below the poverty line, 4.5 million of them homeless and 7.9 jobless. (These late 2019 figures are considerably higher now because of the pandemic.)

This arguably can be blamed on our oxymoron of an elitist democracy where decisions on the distribution of our country’s wealth and power are in the hands of a rich and powerful few. To make matters worse, the rest of society meekly allows their leaders to get away with high crimes that further increase the number, and worsen the plight, of the country’s poor.

Our pre-pandemic state was, is, highly abnormal. Without core systemic changes we might just go from old abnormal to new but worse abnormal. What Covid-19 has highlighted are the abnormalities of Philippine society and their causes, hence the need to shift from an abnormal to a normal or at least closer-to-normal state.

We need a new constitution or at the very least a thorough overhaul of our electoral system which allows only factions of the elite to take turns running the country and advancing their own interests. For that reason, the ruling elite cannot be expected to initiate an overhaul. A woke people must demand for it.

That brings up the necessity of re-orienting our religious and educational institutions towards waking people up to the abnormality of their social condition. We blame government without realizing that our graft-ridden government agencies are peopled with graduates of our religious and secular educational institutions... dishonest civil servants that a socially unconscious citizenry keeps putting in office.

Educational institutions, now forced to deliver education online or in modules, should, more importantly, take the opportunity to revise educational content with a view to producing self-respecting honest leaders, side by side with self-respecting and equally honest followers.

Religious institutions likewise should realize that gathering people in Churches for devotional rituals has so far produced the glaring scandal of a fanatically religious yet singularly unjust country. They need to re-examine both evangelization content and method.

By glossing over the systemic abnormalities of life in this country we can go merely from the old abnormal to a new abnormal. We need to start building a newer and closer-to-normal Philippines.