Beer-inspired solutions to our national problems

Beer-inspired solutions to national problems
Sunday, April 13, 2008

A  musician friend who also happens to dabble in philosophy and politics likes to point out that the two arenas of concern that have killed more people in the history of the world are politics and religion. Which is why he steers clear of such topics.  Many would say he is a truly wise man.

Unfortunately, I am not so wise. I almost always have strong feelings about these two topics and catch myself often drawn into an argument. But while admitting my lack of wisdom, I give credit to myself that I can be quite irreverent about this dynamic duo of topics. In fact, in this article I would like to tackle both of these contentious issues with glee and wicked abandon.

But since I am aware that many of my readers do take these two topics quite seriously (some may even be willing to kill, die, lie, pillage and burn for them), I am announcing here and now that my take on politics and religion is meant to be light, (as in light beer, no hard-hitting lambanogs or Jack Daniels to bring anyone to the brink of insanity and hot-headedness).

My favorite Jesuit told me once when we were talking about religion that, ‘Religion is like salt. You have to take it in moderation.’ So take that as a caveat and apply it also to politics as you continue reading.

If you are not of any religious persuasion or bent, then take a modified advice from No-talk-Neri and simply ‘moderate your reactions’ to my humble suggestions on how to solve our national problems with the least pain and effort.

1. On the Spratly issue.

OK, here’s the situation. There’s China, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines all claiming rights to the sprinkle of islets called the Spratlys. GMA’s solution of ‘sharing’ them with China and commercially exploiting them is such a no-balls solution. Besides, China could easily eat us up.  Considering that the Spratlys are a stone’s throw from Palawan, I can’t imagine how all these other countries can have a claim to them and we just stand idly by.

My suggestion is, we can ‘annex’ the Spratlys by reclaiming the sea that separates Palawan from it. What I mean is, turn  the whole ocean into reclaimed land! We could get Henry Sy who successfully built the Mall of Asia on what was once water, or better yet, Imelda Marcos, to head the project of frenziedly and hurriedly covering all that water with soil in record time like she did on Manila Bay to build the Cultural Center, Folk Arts Theater and the Film Center decades ago. Better yet, throw in the Ayalas, FF Cruz and all the big builders and make it a national project to insure its speedy execution.

If we are successful, before our neighbor-claimants know it, there will be no more Spratlys to be seen or fight over! They can look at the satellite map, turn it upside down and inside out and find nothing.

The Chinese should be particularly happy because now they can gaze at Taiwan and pretend it was the Spratlys all along.

2. ON GMA and 2010.

With GMA repeatedly giving the assurance that she will step down in 2010, many people I know are beginning to get the nagging feeling that, going by how she has changed her mind about running in the past, she may indeed have plans to stay beyond 2010.

But, pray tell, how can she do so knowing fully well that a) the Constitution won’t allow her to, and b) charter change seems impossible given the mood of the people. Of course, she could do what the Dick Marcos did and proclaim martial law. But that would open up for her a host of other problems that will put her economic legacy in jeopardy.

If I were her adviser, I would suggest something so brazen and diabolical that her critics won’t know how to react for days, weeks, months, or even centuries after. I would suggest she issue an Executive Order putting an end to the use of the Roman Calendar and simply switch to the Muslim calendar. In a snap, we would be living not in the month of April 2008, but in the month of Rabu-ul-Awal and year 1429 (as I am writing this now!). Immediately, Gloria would have another 649 years before 2010!! She would be the longest reigning leader perhaps even in world history. Remember that gnomes and dwarfs are known to live for eons.

Almost immediately, the Philippines will see oil money coming in as a goodwill gesture from oil-rich Muslim countries, thus ensuring her economic legacy.

3. On complying with the Church’s stand while controlling population growth

The very high population growth we are experiencing is a problem for every economist whose dream is for the Philippines to be able to progress enough to get our people out of poverty. How can productivity catch up with runaway population growth?

We all know that the Church is totally intractable when it comes to the suggestions about the use of any method of family planning save for the rhythm method. In effect, the Church’s stand is definitely no sex before marriage, and no artificial control of fertility after. Only the natural method is allowed and only in marriage, and that, in all practicality, simply means abstaining from sex as much as possible so as not to get pregnant.

Here’s the good news: the Government can still have its population growth targets even if it fully supports the Church’s stand. In fact, supporting the Church is the issue. They can do this by taxing people every time they have sex. How? Simple. There’s the ‘honeymoon tax’, the pre-marital coitus levy, the marriage tax, the condom tax, the vehicle sex tax, etc. I am sure that Government will not run out of creative ideas in making new taxes to curb this natural urge. Or they can simplify it by legislating that anyone caught having sex without a marriage license can be fined 20,000 pesos. Victoria Court, Anito Lodge and other motels can be designated as collection point for this rich source of revenues. Talk about  ‘sin taxes!’

In other words, let the government and the Church come to an agreement that sex should be joyless and must be avoided as much as possible, if one wants to save money. For sure, whatever is Caesar’s will be rendered to him, and the faithful will be happy in their suffering.

4. On how we can become a progressive country overnight!

We have all heard about and seen how a vast majority of our countrymen not only survive but thrive in foreign lands. I have met many of our kababayans who left dead-end lives in the Philippines and awakened to opportunity and new-found self-respect and personal esteem living in  another country. They have shown how the Filipino can become a well-behaved, functional and productive citizen abroad.

Haven’t you wondered why this is so? How is it that we become model citizens when we leave the Philippines and move to a foreign country?

Our leaders should take their cue from that and immediately look into the possibility of a law that will declare the Philippines a foreign country! If we all woke up one day and saw the flag of, say, Sweden, suddenly waving above us, wouldn’t it follow that we begin to behave like we do when we are abroad?

We could become a first world country in two months, with everyone following the rules and paying the correct taxes.

5. On why our next President and Vice President will be men.

Loren Legarda, or any other Filipina who may have aspirations for the highest offices in the land can forget about it! As my brother Jesse, who is perhaps the best punster the Filipino race has ever produced, tells everyone who will listen, it is written that no woman shall occupy the most and second most powerful position in the land in two years. Why? Because the next election will be in 2010, which when read cryptically predicts   ‘two u-ten!’

OK. I’m done. I promise to write a more serious article next week!

* * *

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12 years ago

i agree with declaring our country “foreign”…and i’d like to wake up one day with a singapore or any middle eastern flag right outside my doorstep. these are the places where discipline is highly encouraged and the motivation? lashing (other than high fines/penalties even for petty crimes)…i really hope that someday spitting in public and jaywalking will be a thing of the past in the philippines.

12 years ago

hi jim,

funny column here!

just wanted to tell you too that the Catholic Church and all natural family planning advocates are now espousing the Billings Ovulation Method and not the rhythm method.

check it out! it’s interesting and an eyeopener… 🙂

12 years ago

You made me laugh. I guess its my outlet out of all the frustrations that is happening in our country and being powerless to do anything about it.

12 years ago

“5. On why our next President and Vice President will be men.

Loren Legarda, or any other Filipina who may have aspirations for the highest offices in the land can forget about it! As my brother Jesse, who is perhaps the best punster the Filipino race has ever produced, tells everyone who will listen, it is written that no woman shall occupy the most and second most powerful position in the land in two years. Why? Because the next election will be in 2010, which when read cryptically predicts ‘two u-ten!’”

Im sorry but this one made me go “WHat?!”. I seriously think that having male presidents could go as bad (or even worse) as having female presidents. Think of Marcos and Erap. It’s not the gender, it’s the capability to lead.

10 years ago

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Cythia Garroutte
9 years ago

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