Arguing for change only assures
you'll get arguments and no change.
The last paragraph in the previous post "Oh God!" generated a comment which I feel compelled to give some space of its own.
"But, then again, I realize, that's just like saying people will change when you change the system of government -- because this assumes a culture where people follow the rules."
Now, the thought behind this is simple: I know how most of my fellow Filipinos behave and one type of behavior I witness everyday is the inability or unwillingness to follow rules. This behavior is displayed whether you are talking about simple rules or a complex system of rules like laws.
And the more ingenious Filipinos will find either find a loophole or place themselves in a position to create loopholes.
In fact, there are people who've actually made a career out of making laws (systems of rules) with loopholes that they can exploit for the benefit of their clients.
It is this understanding of Filipino behavior that I believe will thwart any attempt to manage or cultivate more productive and constructive human behavior.
As an example, let us look at the automation of the 2010 elections.
Automated Elections is part of a "political reform agenda" which I think may have been first talked about during the latter years of the Ramos Administration.
The nationwide automation of the 2010 elections was actually the fruit of a succession of efforts that resulted in the first automated election law, which was later amended by RA 9369 and the amended law eventually paved the way for the 2010 automated elections.
In tandem with the Comelec's biometric Voter ID system, the Automated Election System would have done away with most of the flaws of the manual election system that we had been so accustomed to.
On one hand, the Automated Election System would do away with whole sale cheating (dagdag bawas) and on the other hand, the Biometric System (coupled with major rectification of its voter databases) would prevent flying votes (assuming that the Automated Election system would prevent multiple use of a single ID or that an individual wouldn't be able to use more than one ID). Such a system would also perhaps prevent or make it very hard for people to just manually shade all the ballots and feed them into the machines.
Such a system would still perhaps leave other means of controlling the vote such as intimidation, coercion, bribery, and out right disruption of the elections.
Along with reforms in the electoral system, other areas for political reform identified:
--- Political party reforms. This includes proposals to prevent party switching, provide state funds to develop and maintain political parties, and other measures.
--- Re-organization or rationalization of various elective posts. This includes proposals to create more seats in the Senate (one for every district), the abolition of multiple legislative legislative positions at the local level, and other measures.
Now, going back to the automated elections of 2010.
The particular automated election system looked great in the show room, but its implementation was encumbered with a number of problems -- some crucial and some less critical but had the effect of eroding whatever confidence had been built up.
Even as implementation issues surfaced and were dealt with, there were those who sought to 'game' the system to increase their chances of winning. One national candidate changed their name, various groups offered various candidates ways of stuffing ballots or keeping the machines from transmitting the right results, etcetera.
Now, the idea behind automated elections was simple: If the election process could be made fast and accurate (resistant to any attempts at wholesale manipulation), then perhaps the election would enable our people to more accurately express who they thought would be the right leader for them.
Vox populi, vox dei. Or so, it has been claimed.
|"GOD has SPOKEN!"|
Okay, so, we changed the system? Where's the change in culture?
The easiest answer is: Culture change doesn't come about immediately, but only through continuous reinforcement of the desired behavior. (And while we're waiting for culture change to happen, we'll also see those disenfranchised by the change find ways to keep the next election from being automated or find loopholes in the automated election system.)
The more difficult answer is this: Culture change, if it can actually be done, might be a more complex process that would involve multiple approaches.
The thing is, before you even open your mouth and say that cultural change will happen with a change in the system, you have to actually try doing it first.
AND THEN YOU'D REALIZE, PARE, THAT IT'S NOT SO SIMPLE.
(To be continued...)