President Duterte – An Extra-Ordinary History Professor

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Did you know that President Duterte is moonlighting for an extra job he’s not getting paid a single cent?

Among the remarkable achievements that should be included in the President’s first 100 days is his extraordinary ability to teach history very effectively to the overly indifferent Filipinos, who have been too unwilling to use their brains much more their critical eyes, in just a few months without overdoing it just like others who tried before him.

One lamented that during the Pacquiao-Marquez bout, Mexicans chanted ‘Mexico!, Mexico!’ and too proud of their heritage represented by their ring gladiator. In contrast, Filipinos shouted ‘Manny!, Manny!’ as if either they were virtually clueless of their sense of patriotism or just being too ashamed of their nationality.

What went wrong there? One writer describes that the problem with Filipinos is the obvious lack of ‘sense of country’. Day in and day out schoolchildren recite the national pledge and sing that national anthem and yet nothing much happening on their sense of patriotic duty.

rodrigo-duterte-a1To address the seeming lack of nationhood among Filipinos, several suggestions have been put forward. Few among them are the use of national language in teaching non-Filipino subjects and the labeling of Makabayan on social studies. Are these effective? We haven’t had any in-depth report or sensible indicator so far that we can sense the Filipinos are now becoming more attune to their national patrimony after those initiatives.

So the hope of developing a sense of nationhood seemed like a dream for those who wished it would ever happen. There’s so much indifference that it’s perfectly understandable that a lot of people abandoned all chance of redemption from the prevailing Filipino apathy towards their own history.

Not anymore! All changes suddenly, unexpectedly and mind-blowingly when the new guy on the block came to the fore!

1. Hinting the break-up of US-Philippine military and economic ties – nobody really cared much about the nitty-gritty details of Philippines trade volume with other countries until Duterte visited China and alluded the change of policy direction. The social media and the mainstream news channel were abuzz with the news with no small thanks for the scoops of his political pronouncement severing ties with the United States.

Both sides of supporters suddenly became awaken from their long slumbers and begin digging the disparity and the implication of the trade. Not to be outdone, CNN Philippines even created a video on the details of the possible loss of the country if it totally breaks up with the US while reporting also the possible $60 billion trade gain in the next 5 years if all goes well with the China agreements.

2. The alleged expletive towards President Obama – very few Filipinos would respond to the mesmerizing speeches of Lean Alejandro or Jovito Salonga or Ninoy Aquino and dig deep into their historical roots and rouse them to patriotism. But Duterte only needs few words and a single picture of Bud Dajo massacre to change all this lack of historical interest.

The national artists toiled day and night to write a masterpieces of inspiring novels and books; the street parliamentarians are even courting disaster with their protestations while aligning the people in the hinterlands just to push for nationalistic drive; opinion and veteran writers scooping the entire books of history and western ideas just to keep teaching the new generation of their historical heritage. Yet, all their efforts seem to fall on deep ears. But the president changed all that: one curse and one picture are his teaching material and it seems to work.rodrigo-duterte-2

3. The slighted curse on the Pope – no one among the present generation cared so much about how deeply the dominant religion of the country influence their perceptions to be as it may in a political and social arena. But that all could have changed if Duterte’s henchmen did not stifle the president to continue inconvenient truths against the Roman Catholic church.

What could have been an invigorating historical discovery of beliefs from all interested parties died down without even taking off. If winning the election was not really an issue to be concerned about, any inquisitive effort about the church could have been fruitful to anyone to learn deeply their religious history. It could have explained why the likes of Cynthia Patag, Vicky Gatchitorena or Jim Paredes are still lingering in their fantastic worlds and believe that everything in Duterte is bad even without the slightest of proofs.

After the early Christians reversed the process in the selection of church leaders, a separation of two classes emerged and shifted the original purpose of ministerium into magisterium, to their ruin, and the latter don’t need even verifiable facts of history to prove their ascendancy. If you had already existing two classes of people — the teachers in their magisterial rule and the churchgoers as listeners — and intermixes that with the Buddhist caste system brought by the Chinese to the Philippines, you get a super-deadly mixture of political and social apathy.

That partly explains why the Filipino elites since time immemorial, no matter the degree of ministerial service Duterte is bringing down to the poorest of the poor, they still prefer to linger in their magisterial dimension, unable to connect with facts and true sensibility to the downtrodden. Worse, the bishops, marinated in post-modernism, are too militant against the proposed death penalty – too ironic for the fact that political institution was first built to institute the retributive justice.

President Duterte moonlighting as Professor of History seems very effective in channeling information to his Filipino students who are now acting taking a Masters’ class and doing all their thesis without the professor wasting much time looking over their shoulder but just dishing out few of his out-of-the-box historical wand!

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