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PIA Press Release

Commentary: Manila is not the Philippines?

By Behn Fer. Hortaleza, Jr.

Dagupan City (29 February) -- IT is probably correct to say, as it has often been said in these people-powered times in the country, that Manila is not the Philippines and vice versa.

This, in light of the brewing ferment in the nation's capital where oppositionists are again marching to force the sitting President to resign in the wake of charges of massive and unbridled corruption while the provinces are largely unaffected and on wait-and-see mode.

What is behind this marked and contrasting attitudes of burning involvement in Manila and quiet indifference in the countryside?

Maybe, resignation to the fate or fatalism on the part of the rural masses? Perhaps contentment among people in the provinces?

One could not say lack of politicization of the provincial folk, for if that were true, elections and electoral campaigns wouldn't be as lively and spirited – even deadly –as they usually are in the communities outside Manila. Truth to tell, the fact that most of us in the provinces stay glued to our TV sets for the unraveling events in Manila ought to dispel any such notion of inadequate politicization.

In a sense, our political maturity in the province only comes slower. Provincial folk are not noted for spontaneous combustion over big city issues – even those involving corruption and big-time anomalies. We take time. We digest slow. We are not quick to anger.

It is a testament to our huge reservoir of common patience and willingness to give anyone a fair shake before actually condemning that in terms of "EDSA uprisings", we have not been as volatile as our Manila counterparts are. Too, our own personal "poverty and hopelessness perceptions" may not be as acute as those felt by the Metro masses who, everyday, stare deep into their quagmire of desperation and readily attribute their sense of helplessness and failure to move up the ladder to an uncaring government, whatever political color the ruling administration may happen to be.

Bringing down governments, to the typical Metro character, is only in keeping with character. It helps bring on some hope, albeit uncertain, that some change would follow. (PIA-Pangasinan) [top]

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