An attempt to frame the Napoles Conjuncture from the lens of Nation-Building – Eero Brillantes
All of us are anticipating the senate appearance of Janette Napoles. For us in the industry of opinion making, this episode in our history will be a litmus test for the over-arching narrative of the Benigno Aquino presidency, that of Tuwid na Daan. It also provides an opportunity for those with eyes on 2016 to introduce their own strategic narratives, hopeful that their inception into the national debate would somehow move forward how they would want to be defined as presidential material.
But let us not also discount other narratives with no specific electoral agenda yet are in themselves parallel compelling stories but are at present still at the margins.
Questions are begging to be asked outside the Napoles frame.
Who benefits from weak Philippine democratic institutions, from a weak Philippine democratic State? Whose interests would benefit if we fail to address bigger picture issues such as ASEAN integration in the very near future? Are there attempts to make us weak so that other countries, other economies can become strong or stronger?
Do our present political intramurals feed into a series of scenarios already being triggered to benefit a desired future for others in the Asian region? Asia Pacific? The world stage?
At the very least, are flames being fanned so as to accelerate desired alternative futures of others but at our expense as a nation?
At least two countries, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have embarked on illegal immigration campaigns to send back hundreds of thousands of Filipinos since last year. Was it of our doing as what is being made to appear or are we somehow being played? Despite false bravado and fighting words to paint the opposite, we simply at this point in time do not have the absorptive capacity and safety nets to reintegrate them into our local economy. We can’t even have decent relocation for millions of informal settlers already in our urban centers. Make no mistake, there are those who will exploit this weakness to the hilt.
We are a young democracy, a very young republic. Presidents will come and go, but to ignore and even negate that nation building necessitates a strong, vibrant, and prosperous democratic state while realistically fending off predatory attempts by outside forces, and yes, countries to make us stay weak will be a complete remiss of our being citizens. We must not lose sight that statecraft is indeed the art and science of nation building. Hang the guilty no matter how high the totem pole goes, but don’t weaken the State. Despite the lofty sign that says Republic of the Philippines, to others we may still be just individual ethno-linguistic tribes incidentally and accidentally residing together in 7,100 islands because the world, especially our past and present colonizers and pseudo colonizers said so. A vast herd of sheep to fight over for generations.
All of a sudden, I am now reminded of the closing storyline of “A Game of Thrones” season three. The world of men implodes while the white walkers are getting ready to scale the walls.