Burning issues and bold actions

Dr. Conchita L. Manabat“There are no magic answers, no miraculous methods to overcome the problems we face, just the familiar ones: honest search for understanding, education, organization, action that raises the cost of state violence for its perpetrators or that lays the basis for institutional change—and the kind of commitment that will persist despite the temptations of disillusionment, despite many failures and only limited successes, inspired by the hope of a brighter future.” —Noam Chomsky

It has often been said, everything changes except the law on change.

This year’s unprecedented national elections that concluded with the landslide victory of the next president and the fastest official count marked a milestone in the country’s history.

From the slogan of “continuing the straight path,” there is an evident shift to  stop unbecoming/bad practices/ills of the society, punish the offenders and restore discipline. Kill (literally or maybe, otherwise) has become a familiar word.

The “ills” of society are now summarized and prioritized with the aim of stopping/eliminating them, punishing those responsible  and rewarding those who will stop them. A new form of government is being floated. There are strong speculations that changes are likely to be effected in unorthodox mode within a definitive timeline. If true, the country will experience radical shifts in governance.

To the ordinary Filipino who suffers:

  • the traffic daily;
  • long lines for everything without assurance of getting the desired services;
  • the abusive law enforcers;
  • the power-wielding government officers/staff who do not know public service;
  • the endless promises/lies of politicians;
  • the many challenges of making a clean living and raising a family;
  • painstaking handling of family members who are drug users;
  • and a lot more, the likelihood of change and a better future are always welcome.

Even before the new president’s assumption of office, some local government units’ executives and law enforcers have already started to adopt “drastic measures in enforcing ordinances and laws” to address the  ills of society.

One can liken the emerging changes from that of a shift from a dolphin’s behavior to that of a shark’s. Dolphins are marine mammals that squeak/whistle to call each other. They are often called dogs of the sea, usually playful and friendly, highly intelligent, and some say, they know how to help depressed people.

Sharks belong to a family of fish and they have a very acute sense of smell that allows them to detect blood in the water from miles away. While dolphins are social animals, sharks are not. Sharks are strictly loners that are used to hunting alone. Sharks make their presence felt by thrashing. Dolphins hunt following techniques that depend on cooperation and highly coordinated efforts. Sharks would never work cooperatively to attack a dolphin but dolphins work as a team in attacking a shark, if threatened. Dolphins are far more intelligent than sharks. Sharks are killers.

May the emerging behavior of the country’s leadership be that of a cross between dolphin’s and shark’s, to read—more of a blend of the good attributes of both.


Dr. Conchita L. Manabat is the president of the Development Center for Finance and a trustee of the Finex Development and  Research Foundation. A past chairman  of the International Association of Financial Executives Institutes (IAFEI), she now serves as the chairman of the Advisory Council of the said organization. She can be reached at clm@clmanabat.com



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