How many of us are familiar with the stories of the Ifugao, the Tausug, the Talaandig, the Mangyan; of the history of Pampanga, Iloilo, Cotabato; of agriculture in the country and the rituals observed with fishing, or with the planting and harvest seasons? There are many provinces in the Philippines; there are many ways of life; indigenous peoples are Filipino and part of the nation-state. But apart from an awareness of some of these places as tourist sites; apart from remembering indigenous peoples through street names and even class sections in elementary or high school, we know little about them.
Modernity is ultimately about human agency and reason. Such allowed people to accomplish and to fight for so many things. The values and practices that we espouse now – freedom of expression, human rights, free markets, mobility, innovation – are legacies of changes that took place in Europe from the 1600s onwards. They are contemporary expressions of modernity.
While historical causes, political conditions, and entrenched patron-client relationships cannot be discounted in the examination of rural poverty, a rethinking of spatial organization may be in order to avoid the pitfalls of locational biases.
She was hailed as the “most prepared” of all the presidential candidates during the debate. An irony in view of a campaign constantly hounded by accusations of her inexperience, something that did not escape the scrutiny of the audience and the other presidential aspirants.
The protest that ensued from such a plain design tells us of the determination of some groups to impose their beliefs and interpretations on others and the stubbornness in thinking that one way of life holds true over other ways of life. While the Starbucks cup non-issue might appear trivial amidst the troubles of the world, we can see it as an invitation to reflect on the reasons for why we celebrate, or think we should celebrate, certain events.
While we can say that the EDSA revolution per se was also an imposition of popular meanings on the landscape, given that revolutions are constitutional violations, the particular space appropriated by INC members is one that has been intentionally and officially carved out to memorialize a significant national event. And as the space includes both a Catholic church and the statue of Mary, use of the space by any other religious group becomes first, a deliberate proclamation of the notion that such religion deserves to be mainstreamed.
In denying that a culture of poverty exists or in saying that we should just respect the values of the poor and not impose our own middle or upper class ones, we might be inadvertently supporting structures too.
While I am not a fan of Tony Meloto’s ideas about social entrepreneurship – a business will never be “social” unless the poor are made partners and equals in management and decision-making – one cannot argue with 1.25 million people housed with his (and Gawad Kalinga’s) goal of instilling discipline and putting an end to a culture of poverty in GK communities.
What the papal visit has shown us is that collective effervescence – the upsurge of emotion that people have had in the past few days – can be harnessed on many levels. (Image from Say Anything)
SocioGram: How do we, as a people who inhabit what has been delineated as a geographic region, see our similarities and identify with one another?