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Unfinished revolutions

Ours is a history of unfinished revolutions. Countless Filipinos, including the flower of each generation, have sacrificed themselves in historic struggles for kalayaan, karapatang pantao, lubos na kasarinlan, katarungan, and kaginhawahang pangkalahatan. Each generation has in turn been defeated, diverted, betrayed, corrupted or dissipated.

After innumerable victims, martyrs, heroes and heroines, four foreign colonizers, several constitutions, thirteen presidents including one dictator, ongoing insurgencies and conspiracies, we now confront a nation in despair at the meager results we have secured thus far for so terrible a sacrifice by our forbears and peers.

Social inequity is entrenched and widening. Economic development is anemic and erratic. Injustice, oppression and violation of human rights occur with unacceptable frequency. Illegal drugs and violence are widespread. Our rich cultural heritage has not found any meaningful role in the central concerns of the nation. Our political life lurches from crisis to crisis as we seek salvation from personality to personality only to be caught up in ceaseless churn without achieving social progress. Our natural resources are dissipating rapidly and the environmental prospects for our fragile archipelago are frightening. And many Filipinos are in the depths of despair. The country is ill-prepared for the challenges and opportunities that globalization brings with increasing force.

Key institutions are under-performing. Our school system is not preparing our children for a world making new intellectual and technical demands. Most of our churches are failing to build the moral foundations of our shared collective life. The media focus on the sensational and the bizarre prevents the citizenry from understanding the complexities of issues and actions. There is failure on the part of all to facilitate unified constructive action prior to crisis. The three branches of government govern without wisdom and officials are prone to corruption. Failing to protect the powerless, the uniformed services do not earn trust. Business is not working fast enough to incorporate ecological and social concerns in their operations.

The key levers of social change are in a gridlock produced by hardened mindsets, accumulated grievances and irresolvable conflicts. The Filipinos whose interests and welfare are most at risk - the young, newly formed families, those starting out in a business or career, working folks and others who want to work, those not dependent on patronage or corruption, those capable of seeing something better beyond the daily morass - are not connected to viable channels for action. The discredited ways are in place at the top; the energies for positive change on the ground are imprisoned by despair and powerlessness.

Migration is not an answer. The Filipino can take himself or herself out of the Philippines but the Philippines will always be in the Filipino. Nor is passivity the answer. Resignation only contributes to the destruction and violence around us. Doing our best as individuals in society is only a partial answer. The failures of the whole society can obliterate the successes of individuals. Acting collectively only in the face of crisis is not satisfactory as we note with alarm how little we have done to prevent the next crisis from emerging.

We must confront the inevitable coming of the next crisis. Compromises today will breed corruption tomorrow. Unresolved conflicts today will lead to bitter strife tomorrow. Popular despair today will turn into mass anger tomorrow and to chaos thereafter.

Commitment to Complete the Revolution

We commit to a new revolution waged not with arms but with ideas, values and principles, backed by individual and collective action; with the power of an awakened, organized and vigilant citizenry in all our homes, schools, communities, workplaces and professions; through all levels of power and responsibility, by Filipinos of all ages, genders and status in life.

We commit to begin this revolution with a radical change in our minds, hearts and behavior. We commit to apply all our energies, creativity, and drive to this process of radical inner and social transformation.

We take the long-term view, approaching current issues according to durable principles guiding the change we seek. We commit also to an attitudinal renewal: to an optimism about our possibilities as a people and a better destiny for all; to a tolerant attitude towards honest differences; and to a focus on the common good.

We launch a virtuous cycle to replace the prevailing vicious cycles rampant in our country. Our renewal starts with ourselves, which will enable us to renew our social relations; which will work towards the renewal of our key institutions; which shall in turn become the instruments for renewing our economy, polity, and culture and ultimately our society; which shall then reaffirm, reinforce and reward the initial self-renewal.

This commitment involves our substantive, willful, conscious, active, sustained and creative participation in the process of renewal at various levels. This commitment is a voluntarily accepted obligation to engage as an individual and as part of a larger movement of other similarly committed individuals.

Principles for Change

In this historic struggle, we bind ourselves to a set of core principles by which we define ourselves, our movement, our aspirations, and our actions.

Love of country. We will work not just to raise awareness about our strengths and weaknesses as a nation and as a people. But more important, we will improve the country on the basis of our excellence and our weaknesses that we have transformed. We will place the national interest and the welfare of the majority above our individual, familial, institutional, or regional interests.

Poverty Eradication. Love of country will not allow us to be indifferent to the half of the Philippines living in poverty and misery. We commit to finding solutions, not just economic, for reducing and eradicating poverty.

Global cooperation. We recognize human and societal diversity, and seek to draw out the excellence in the Filipino, to make this the basis for our relationship with the world, and our contribution to that global diversity. Our own internal diversity will prepare us to live in a cosmopolitan world, and give us the power to confront aggressive globalization. We will find the appropriate balance between love of country and global cooperation.

Economy of solidarity. We will seek to activate our economy creatively as it is linked to the world economy. Solidarity with our fellow human beings means finding channels for cooperation to achieve higher productivity and efficiencies to meet real human needs. We will work for a vigorous and globally significant economy that sustains and harnesses the full energy and initiative of all Filipinos, creates opportunities for them and provides ample rewards for their efforts. We will encourage individual initiative and enterprise that is pursued within the bounds of a humane society and the solidarity of the Filipino community in a globalized world.

Good Democratic Governance. Good governance requires equitable empowerment, commitment to promote equal access to opportunities and resources for all Filipinos, giving the power of choice to those who previously had none. Good governance also means transparency and accountability in the exercise of official duties and responsibilities of both elected and appointed officials, as well as in the exercise of all the rights and duties of citizenship of ordinary citizens. One fundamental non-negotiable principle is that public office is a public trust. We will work for an electorate that has the power to weigh the capacity of candidates to be true to the public trust and to insist on a reckoning of such capacity. This electorate will also form a community of citizens continuously concerned with the performance of public officials after the elections.

Cultural freedom, creativity and vibrancy. The new revolution will require a radically new culture of freedom, creativity and vibrancy. We commit ourselves to free all cultural institutions -- of civil society including the media, the educational system, religious organizations, non-government and non-profit organizations, new social movements, and others -- from all kinds of social domination, and to mobilize the appropriate support for institutions.

Ecological soundness. Human progress that ignores the balance of nature is untenable. Only when human needs are met in the context of a living nature will progress be sustainable. We will work towards policies and the implementation of laws that protect the environment and promote responsible stewardship of resources. We will also promote in Philippine society an ethic of ecological restoration, conservation, and/or enlightened use. In our personal behavior, we commit to a lifestyle of simplicity and moderation, buying and consuming no more than we need, and taking personal responsibility for the impact our buying and consuming patterns have on the environment and on the common good.

Human development and servant leadership. Wisdom, compassion, inner strength and courage will be essential to advance this vision and these goals. Authentic leaders are a key to radical social transformation. Despite the history of betrayal by our leaders, we believe the success of our revolution demands that we create the kind of leaders we deserve, in business, government, and civil society. We expect them to exhibit high standards of personal integrity, honesty and excellence in the same way that we commit ourselves to adhere to these same high standards. We also regard leadership as primarily an act of surrender, rather than an exercise of power. We will work towards a leadership that exercises the discernment when to surrender to the well informed will of the majority, or to the dictates of individual conscience, or to practical considerations. They should be the faithful instruments for their and our own liberation from shackling illusions, baseless fears, unjustified hopes, undeserved expectations and unproductive habits of thought or behavior.

Spirituality. A revolution that does not embody spirituality ignores powerful well-springs that move many to embrace positive change. We commit ourselves to nurture the realization of the spiritual in ourselves and respect the differing spiritual paths of others. It will also help Philippine society to creatively respond to the challenge of hyper-consumerism and materialism that is engulfing the planet. While we undertake our decisions and actions scientifically, we shall rely on our sense of the divine -- trusting that individual conscience is an expression of divine will.

Comprehensive sustainable development. Comprehensive sustainable development means sustainability and integration of the various principles and realms discussed above: social (love of country poverty eradication, and global cooperation), economic (economy of solidarity), political (good democratic governance), cultural (culture of freedom, creativity and vibrancy), ecological (ecological soundness), human (human development and servant leadership) and spiritual. We will undertake the complex but necessary task of harmonizing all these dimensions of development to create a new Philippines responsive to the needs of its citizens and the earth.

Modes of Transformative Action

Social Threefolding. Acknowledging the complexity of the problems we seek to solve, it is clear that no single social institution can carry out the task of comprehensive sustainable development. Therefore the new revolution will encourage, where appropriate, the debate, dialogue and/or partnership between government, business, and civil society, the three key institutions of social life active in politics, economics and culture, respectively. Together, these three, and all the diverse sub-sectors within them, bring with them a wealth of different perspectives, resources, and experiences essential in making comprehensive sustainable development a reality.

Creation of Autonomous Cultural, Political and Economic Movements. Government's power to direct and compel, business's power to produce and create, and civil society's power to conscienticize and mobilize for causes, are indispensable instruments for social transformation. Each one influences the substantive directions of the two others. To shift the on-going, often conflicted process of dialogue towards a healthier direction, our movement will undertake the parallel development and operation of organized, autonomous but interactive streams of cultural, political and economic action - with all sharing the concerns, commitment and principles of our new revolution.

Best Practices. We will identify, support, and mainstream best practices that exemplify our principles. We know that there are hundreds of good practices and successful stories out there ready to be recognized and mobilized to achieve the best that we can for our country.

Drive for outcomes tempered by respect for process. In our struggle for personal and social change, outcomes in terms of material advancement and social-spiritual consciousness matter. We seek to secure for ourselves tangible results in terms of better infrastructure, sustained investments, more well-paying secure jobs, higher production of better quality goods at lower prices, lower crime, among other practical needs and legitimate wants. We also seek to secure intangible but no less real benefits like self-respect, dignity, sense of purpose, hope and optimism in the future, among other human yearnings. But, however valuable the ends, they never justify the means. We believe that lying, cheating, defrauding, extorting, bribing, torturing, salvaging, stealing, among other means, are unacceptable regardless of the outcomes they might secure. We believe that fairness, transparency, communication, persuasion, negotiation, legal action, and open peaceful disagreement or conflict, among other acceptable methods, should be the only means used to pursue our ends.

Cooperation whenever possible, conflict when necessary. Peace, unity, harmony and cooperation are natural states we seek as these make material advancement and social-spiritual consciousness more easily attainable. In all spheres of our struggle for change, we will seek first the sources of unity and cooperation, rather than the causes of disagreement and conflict. We will always be open to all sources of information, ideas, influence, support or inspiration, including other countries, economies, cultures and political systems.

Yet we also realize that change is rarely possible without resistance or opposition. National sovereignty for the common good may in certain respects be incompatible with global cooperation. Equitable growth may sometimes clash with vested interests. And there will be people who resort to means that we regard as unacceptable. So conflict is a necessary handmaiden of healthy change. We will engage in conflicts only with deliberation, calculation, with the fullest information possible, and with continued respect for the humanity and dignity of the other side. In most cases, we will remind ourselves that the people on the other side of a conflict are likely to be our fellow citizens and kindred Filipinos who could also be part of the society we are building.

Communications. We shall transform ourselves, our social relations with each other and our key institutions by communicating ideas and images capable of moving the electorate to choose better leaders and support enlightened policies; by communicating knowledge and information that will mobilize the productive sectors towards greater productivity and social solidarity; by communicating attitudes and perspectives that can open minds, change beliefs, alter perceptions and influence behavior as part of living culture.

Renewing the Philippines

We are the Pagbabago Movement. Our name says who we are. Pagbabago - renewal, rebirth, regeneration.

Ours is an activist path of inner transformation and sacrifice, placing our talents and capacities in the service of the Divine, our fellow human beings, society and nature, to finally realize the Philippines of our dreams.

We will succeed despite all obstacles for our spirit cannot be broken. We will succeed because we have prepared well for this moment. We will succeed because we know there are millions of other Filipinos who share our frustrations at the festering social decay of our country. We will succeed because we know that these millions believe with us that there are ways out of the darkness of decline towards the bright light, the liwanag, of a new and better Philippines.

These millions were out with us in the streets all over the country, risking their lives during many recent mass manifestations of our nation's unquenched desire to obtain the outstanding promise of our revolutions. These millions realize that the current circus and gross superficiality and violence of Philippine politics and the bankruptcy of many of the social institutions of the country will never embody the broadness of spirit and the social ideals that they bring. These millions yearn for a new all-encompassing social movement that would create new inner and social arrangements that truly embody the spirit that they bring and the ideals they hold for a new Philippines.

They will therefore arise in great numbers the moment they sense that a new wind is blowing and that a new social order is about to be born. And, then, they will come and they will participate with commitment and passion to join the new revolution that is destined to radically transform the old, decaying social order. Then they will end the long litany of failures that have plagued the history of our nation for they will bring to a successful completion the unfinished revolution that our country deserves.

Matauhan na tayo!



The Pagbabago Movement
Gabriel III, Room 402
San Miguel Avenue, Pasig
Metro Manila
Telephone: 633-6436 loc. 104

Last updated March 21, 2003 08:09 AM
Copyright 2001 All rights reserved.