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Señor Moments | The oligarchs

In my column today is the reaction of Gerard Dacudao to the widely-circulated essay of F. Sionil Jose who at 95 still writes lucidly. Mr. Sionil Jose’s main point is that PH oligarchs (like the Lopez clan of ABS-CBN) are the main oppressors of Filipinos through all these years – stifling our growth as a nation. I shall do one better than Mr. Sionil-Jose: the PH oligarchs include not only the Business Elite, the Political Dynasties but also the RELIGIOUS OLIGARCHS (the Catholic Church, Iglesia ni Cristo, Villanueva, Quiboloy, El Shaddai and the other religious lay organizations).

Gerard Dacudao is the only son of Gus (my grade & high school classmate) and Fe Munda – del Rosario (my first cousin). Gerard lives in Valencia – pronounced Valen-THIYA – with his Spanish wife and their 5 children. We visited Valencia last year – what a beautiful small city, the birthplace of the renowned painter SOROS and the famous architect CALATRAVA. It is the city where the world-famed LLADRO factory is based and where one can eat the best PAELLA.

Here is Gerard’s reaction to F. Siomil – Jose’s essay:

THE ABS-CBN OLIGARCHY

ABS-CBN has warped into lunacy. Sionil’s article in the Philippine Star newspaper hit it in the eyes. We can survive without entertainment. What we can’t survive without is a society that forgot to protect the little man. What we can’t survive without is a society that forgets to strive in doing the right thing.

However….

Not all rich people are bad. My grandfather for example gave it all away. His own driver, Antonio Lagumbay, gave him a house before my lolo died in 1980. He also gave his faith to him. He told me his most important gift from lolo and lola was that he showed him to go to mass daily. The real enemy aint the rich, but the structural wall for small entrepreneurs to enter the market where the rich trade their goods. In the 1920’s, the Dacudao brothers Santiago and Elias (my lolo) did not have a penny except a good structural backdrop called the “Land of Promise” campaign by the Americans where they made it easy to invest in Mindanao. That allowed them to apply for thousands of hectares of concessions of Abaca land in Tugbok to Calinan and planted there all the Abaca they could. They worked their asses off so to speak. But they were simple sons of a rice farmer only from Dingle Iloilo. A story of rags to riches.

The challenge before us as a nation is to break those walls of structural oppression DEEPLY coded in our communist 1987 constitution where government is used as a tool to redistribute wealth. That is not the role of government. The role of government is to build the infrastructure that only a government can build such as freeway systems, healthcare systems, port systems, energy production systems, water and sewage treatment systems – all these under a backdrop of exclusive power to coin its own currency and an army and police force/justice system to protect the gains of these vital infra assets for national survival. Only a government can do these things. Once built, you let the People, rich or poor fight it out in an open market. In all sectors, like food production, heavy industry, high tech industry, services industry, etc. May the best product win in all sectors.

It’s that simple.

But as Sionil implies, the Oligarchs of today aint the type of Santiago and Elias. They are the Judas Iscariot types. And are hell bent on keeping the barrier of entry high so they keep the POWER. What we really need therefore is a restart and let the 1987 constitution fall and put in place a better one. If Singapore who was poorer than us in 1965 can rewrite a new social contract, why can’t we? We should do it now while Duterte is alive. It is now or never. We won’t have another chance in the next 100 years. Digong has the ability to grab the hearts of the People at the palm of his hands. If he wants it, he can rely on the People to make it through the finish line and begin again under a new constitution that has the People’s interest first, not an oligarchic few.

All men start small. But they can be big, given the right environment. All societies start poor. But they can be rich, given the right public policies.

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