A national vision (Part 2) PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 20 October 2014 11:42

Remedios F. Marmoleno


Singapore shares some common elements as a country with our own Philippines: we were once colonies of foreign powers, Singapore under the British and the Philippines under the Americans; our two countries became independent  but not as a result of a shooting war which we respectively won against the colonizers; our two countries are both Asians; the  two countries’ populations  are ethnically diverse.

With these elements in  common, why has Singapore moved on way ahead of the Philippines in terms of economic development?  I am not in a position to offer a sophisticated treatise to answer the question. I offer instead an opinion from my simple perspective as a non-economist and an ordinary citizen of the Philippines. We are not where Singapore is in 2014 because unlike Singapore the Philippines as a country has not defined its national vision.

I have said this before in previous pieces: we have forged a state which we call the Philippines but as of this time we have not yet forged a nation called the Philippines. Is this just academic babble?  Not from my perspective.

The Bangsamoro is a good example for me. If indeed the Badjaos, the Maguindanaos, the Maranaos, the Tausugs and the Yakans ( no offense meant if a groups has been left out) have a shared bond as a people, let us say their Islamic religion, then we can say that the term “Bangsamoro” correctly applies to them – they all share a common bond which they all value. If the Bangsamoro with all the other ethnic groups in the Philippines can identify a shared common bond which every group values and wishes to preserve and promote, and if there is a pool of such bonds which we all strive to promote, protect and preserve, then I might say we have forged a nation, the Phlippine nation.

This valued common bond leads us to dream together, a dream that outlines  what we hope our country will become.  This is our vision.  And if it is to mean anything the vision must be inclusive, otherwise those who feel left out in the dream will not join in the pursuit of the vision.

Of course it is accepted that there will be local ( as opposed to national) vision but the local vision must be a meaningful part of the national vision, is in  sync with the national vision.

Let us take a second look at the traffic mess in Metro Manila. A mass transit system for the majority of the general population living in MM is as important, if not even more so, as providing ease of movement for people who own their own cars.  Is this part of the national  vision?

I once had the opportunity of a 3-month fellowship  in England. Although  I was assigned to Reading, about an hour away by bus from London, I found it easier to get to London than it was to go from San Juan to Pasay by jeepney. How I wish then that each of the departments in the country could implement programs and services in line with the articulated national vision that result in a better life for all Filipinos.