“IN THE pattern of problems facing the world today a more decisive and important role is played by the global political polarization of mankind which is divided into so-called First World (conventionally called the Western world), the Second (socialist), and the Third (the developing countries).” (Andrei Sakhanov. “Peace, Progress, Human Rights,” 1975)
Clearly, the Philippines, which is one of the developing nations in the world belongs to the Third World. Per Sakhanov, due to rapid technological advancement, “change in traditional forms of life have resulted in an unchecked demographic explosion which is particularly noticeable in the developing countries of the Third World. The growth in population has already created exceptionally complicated economic, social, and psychological problems and will in the future inevitably pose still more serious problems.”
In many of the developing nations in Latin America, Africa and Asia, “the lack of food will be an overriding factor in the lives of many hundreds of millions of people, who from the moment of birth are condemned to a wretched existence on the starvation level… despite of the `green revolution`”. Malnutrition and food insecurity beset all Third World countries.
Of course, the First and Second World countries also have their own peculiar problems. The Second World nations such as Russian and China progressed and are still progressing under countries in this category that have tremendously prospered even overtaking the US of A economically. It was prophesied that the East, led by China, will be the “center of the universe” in the first 500 years of this Millennium.
The First World, popularly known as the West, progressed and is still progressing through liberalism although Germany, which is the richest country now in Europe, has a unique social-market economy. The Protection and promotion of human rights are relatively good in these countries.
Back to Shakhanov. He said: “Peace, progress, human-rights-these three goals are indissolubly linked: it is impossible to achieve one of them if the others are ignored”. I fully agree that sustainable progress and lasting peace can only be attained by respecting human dignity and rights. These should be our various institutions` shared responsibility.
“But Russia and China, despite the absence of human rights, prospered and are peaceful, “one may counter. My humble answer: Their prosperity will not be sustainable while their seemingly peaceful status will not be lasting.” Furthermore, I think they are sad people.
In Third World countries, the protection and promotion of human rights are still wanting. This is one of the reasons, I think, that holds the Third World nations in moving forward.
Let’s now focus on the Philippines situation. There are several questions which we Filipinos especially leaders of our various institutions must answer: The ten (10) questions below cover the period from 1960 to the present:
- The Philippines used to be next to Japan in economic development in Asia. Now it is third or fourth from the bottom. What really happened to our people and nation?
- How come that we have the longest insurgency in the whole world which remains unresolved?
- In 1987 James Farrow called our attention to our seemingly “Damaged Culture”. How come that this was not properly addressed but allowed to worsen each passing year?
- How come that we continue to have extractive/exclusive political and economic systems and refuse to correct them?
- Irresponsible logging almost completely destroyed our watersheds in our country. Now we have irresponsible mining that ravages our countryside. Why do we allow these “development aggressions”?
- Ever since, we have a triangular-shaped inhumane and unjust society. Why is there no attempt to transform this to a Diamond-Shaped humane, and just society?
- Why does our predominantly Christian terribly sick society continuously remain unattended?
- How come that our very religious people utterly lack spirituality?
- Our national inefficient bureaucracy continues to bloat. Why do our political leaders allow this?
- We badly need to renew our people and later renew our nation. Yet there`s no public debate or conversation going on anent this very crucial matter. Why?
We pray and hope that the new administration or specifically our new President in 2022, will properly respond to our ten (10) queries above.
When Manuel Quezon, our second President (President Aguinaldo is considered as our First President) when fighting for our independence from USA, loudly cried: “I rather have a government run like hell by Filipinos than a government run like heaven by Americans” His prophesy came true!
But as a saying goes, “Hope springs eternal.” However, this must be accompanied by willingness to act accordingly, with strong determination to persists despite tremendous obstacles along the way, fearlessly, resisting pains and constantly praying.
For Filipino Christians, we must be true Christ-like meaning, “revolutionaries in grace”, per Pope Francis. This goes also to Christian churches to be, pro-active not merely vigilant, and abhorring the comfort of status quo that stagnates. All these connotes faith in action!
Back to Sakhanov wise words:
“I support the cosmological hypothesis which states that the development of the universe is repeated in its basic characteristics an infinite number of times. Further, other civilizations, including more `successful` ones, should exist an infinite number of times on the `preceding` and the `following pages of the Book of the Universe. Yet we should not minimize our sacred endeavors in this world where, like faint glimmers in the dark we have emerged for a moment from the nothingness of dark unconsciousness into material existence. We must make good the demands of reason and create a life worthy of ourselves and the goals we only dimly perceive.”
Let`s all remember what former First Lady and US delegate to the United Nations General Assembly and Chairman of the UN’s Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) Elenor Roosevelt then said: “We wanted as many nations as possible to accept the best that men, for one reason or another, where born free and equal in dignity and rights that they were endowed with reason and conscience, and should act toward one another in the spirit of brotherhood.”
Hence, we must place human dignity and rights in the center of all our development efforts. Sustainable prosperity and lasting peace can only be achieved by respecting human dignity and rights. As I’ve said in one of my previous articles that “in the ultimate analysis of our problems, formulation of responses and implementation of our solutions, due diligence, particularly in the protection and promotion of human dignity and rights must be observed. This is the responsibility of all – our shared duty”. This is the essence of God’s Commandment`s “Love of Neighbor” and Pope Francis` “Politics of Love.”
Fully aware of our imperfections, we bring to fruition our efforts of implanting the seeds of peace, with the hope that these fall on fertile grounds grow, bear fruits, and ultimately transform our Third World country to a higher level.
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