The Pen or The Sword?

The perennial question involving  pen and sword: Which is mightier? Well, you have read atty. benji’s exposition about this matter in his article “badil vs. tabil“. As of now I’m inclined to say that both of them could be  useless or mighty, depending on ( or relative to ) time, place and circumstances and above all to the person  holding the pen or the sword. Let’s try first to put things in proper perspective. Let’s start with the last one- the person. The person is the most important element in this equation for he is the one that puts either the pen or sword in action. Without him both pen and sword are useless or neutral. The person defines the usage of both, i.e, depending on his motives so the usage. Either for defense or attack, to protect or to insult (pen), cut or kill (sword). Next, the person determines the quality of results, i.e., intelligence and training (background) influence the quality of the result. A genius can produce out of a cheap pen an immortal poem or create a complex mathematical equation, an excellently trained samurai defeats ten swordsmen of inferior training. Not to insult, but a pen is useless in the hands of an idiot ( mentally retarded) so as the sword in the “hands” of a totally crippled man (physically disabled). Now the two in relation to time. In times of peace, the pen is mightier than the sword, or better, the pen is used more than the sword, whereas in times of actual war or combat or immediate danger, the sword is mightier than the pen in the sense that it is the right tool for the moment. But the way the events of war or whatever social turmoil during or  thereafter are recorded by the pen could make a whole world of difference.

 A history that is manipulated can mislead generations, affect their perception, thus, their collective identity positively or negatively. In our time, the meaning of both is relative to the place. In the Philippines or Zimbabwe, for instance, or in other places where democracy is flawed or no democracy at all, the sword is the actual tool that’s employed. By contrast, in  Switzerland or Sweden for instance, or in other places where democracy lives to the fullest, the pen is the actual tool used the most. In such places, whoever resorts to the sword is an outcast and primitive and is immediately removed from the society, i.e. tried and imprisoned, no exception or special treatment, president or janitor. The sword in such places is therefore  primarily  used to protect democracy, to reinforce law and order or to protect internal security from terrorism and the national borders from outward invasions, but never to influence another by force ( intimidation ) or to attack another country. In other words reason rules as opposed to brute force. In Zimbabwe or the Philippines (especially during elections), the sword, not the pen rules. In other words, brute force ( power, money, ) rules as opposed to reason.

This is really the only small difference yet this is what separates light years away the first world from the third world countries, a categorization we dislike but has its justification for it’s a matter of conscious choice, of being able to learn lessons from the past (some countries have difficulty drawing lessons from the past; they keep on repeating the same mistakes, thus, they hardly move forward ) , that the first world countries are now harvesting the fruits of their hard work and good decision ( and not just a matter of fortune or favorable historical events. Switzerland had also suffered from wars and internal strifes and just over a hundred years ago, it is one of the poorest nations in Europe)- that of laying down the sword but instead use more the pen to deal with one another. This is the birth of democracy and of teamwork and progress. The sword cuts and divides, whereas the pen allows exchange of ideas. In the Philippines, swords are there not primarily to reinforce the written law and the first three pillars of justice-  Investigation (Police), Prosecution, Courts, but to violate them or render them ineffective ( we all know those election-related violence, for instance, where the police are reduced to lame ducks or how our presidents are using the armed forces of the Philippines to reinforce their unlawful, vested self-interests like the martial law by Marcos or Arroyo’s declaration of state of emergency in February 2006 ). Hence, the sword ( power, connection, money ) is the law, not the pen ( justice, truth,  democracy), in our country. There, as in Zimbabwe, one can rightly say that the sword is mightier than the pen. In Switzerland or Sweden, the pen is mightier than the sword.

 Now we have seen that this famous saying “the pen is mightier than the sword”, noble as it is, nor its inversion, “The sword is mightier than the pen”, self-evident as it is, cannot be generalized for it is relative to the setting of time, place and circumstance and the person (society). It was 1839, in Act II of his play Richelieu where Edward Bulwer-lytton used this saying thru his play character Cardinal Richelieu when he challenged  the monk Joseph who contrived a plot against him by saying “Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword”, for as a priest he couldn’t challenge him to physical fight.

This brings us now to Jose Rizal who was an adept sword athlete  himself yet was known for his statement “My Pen, The Only Tool I Had”. It was his pen, not his sword, that catalyzed the revolution at that time, it was his pen that moved the sword, it was his pen that put another hero into the limelight- Andres Bonifacio, the warrior armed with the sword! Indeed, the pen mightier than the sword? Or Rizal over Bonifacio? Now, we have entered the most debated issue in our nation: Who deserves to be our national hero, Rizal or Bonifacio? Well, as I have observed then and lately ( see Bik-Lish ) scholars and laymen alike have practically exhausted their minds in trying to answer this question. For me the reason for all these headaches is simple: The question is wrong and so was the answer. Put into proper perspective, history needed both Rizal and Bonifacio for the revolution to be initiated and culminated. Thus, seen against the background of revolution, both Rizal and Bonifacio were justified to be called our national heroes,  which means that both of them deserve to symbolize those men and women who took part in the revolution -the Rizal or Bonifacio way, or, the pen or the sword method, thus catalysing the end of Spanish regime. In short, the revolution made use of both tools, the pen and the sword fighting side by side, all the way till victory. ( Revolution must not be confused with immediate danger to life and limb as they occur in daily life, thus necessitates the sword as the right tool only. Revolution is a social unrest over an extended period of time where pen and swords find their moments of use ). Rizal ( the pen, the idea ) alone would not have realized the revolution, and so Bonifacio (the sword, the action), which tells us clearly that both principles were needed for the complete reality of revolution to assume shape.

 Rizal and Bonifacio, the two sides of the revolution. This is the way I see it. A revolution cannot be one-sided, as any reality. This myopic, one-sided thinking was a mistake for it has misled us. It divided us, the strategy , I suppose,  used by the American colonizers intelligently by sponsoring (favoring) Rizal as the national hero, thereby relegating Bonifacio, Mabini, and all the rests into the background and forcing and limiting our mind for decades to think only in one direction, one sided, as opposed to a holistic perception of our Filipino reality. The effect was devastating for it produced doubts in us. There are many among us Filipinos of today who still are victims of this “colonial mentality”, who still harbor doubts within themselves and who are still either “in favor ” of or “not in favor ” of , pro or contra Rizal or Bonifacio. This is sad for they debate on the wrong question suggested in  their subconscious by the subsequent colonizers. Psychologically we remain with  respect to this issue a divided nation of Rizalists and Bonifacians, which means colonization still has us in its grips.

We must free ourselves from this mental bondage by redefining what a hero is in our modern Filipino understanding in relation to our present goal of achieving a progressive nation, our fight against poverty and corruption, in our attempt to treat our sick nation. In truth, today we need both Rizal and Bonifacio to guide us, the idea (pen) and the action (the sword), to revolutionize our moral make up for our nation to progress. Simply put, let’s broaden our horizon and avoid playing Rizal and Bonifacio against each other for it is a waste of time, mental energy and above all an insult to these two great historical figures. For sure Rizal, if alive today, would not agree with the idea of being the national hero himself, he would refuse it, and would have a totally different answer. And Bonifacio? Although he disdained his personal hero Rizal towards the end, I still believe that he would refuse to be the national hero were he alive today and offered this honor.  We only invented this debate to repress our own doubts about ourselves.

Both Rizal and Bonifacio were true to their own personal methods of approaching a problem- and of expressing their patriotism-  till the very end. Opposing methods as they appeared to be in surface ( Rizal at that moment in time being against the revolution and Bonifacio being in favor of the revolution ), in reality, i.e., seen in totality, history needed both of them to provide us a story and a reality distinctly Filipino. And it functioned! Only that we were taught to interpret our history the wrong way- and we failed to examine what had been taught to us. That’s the effect of the mighty pen used against us- it has misled us for decades even until now.

This is the way I see it. You may disagree which means you have your own way of seeing it. And that’s good like that. This is reality. Never one-sided.

jun asuncion

Bulan Observer

5 Comments

Filed under History, Over a Cup of Coffee, Politics, Views and Concern

5 responses to “The Pen or The Sword?

  1. I agree with your propositions. And if I may add: the pen is mightier if many will be able to read and understand what has been written.

    Digging deeper, however, it appears for me that in illiterate and poverty-stricken communities, the pen is useless (unless one attaches a gun or a blade into it, literally). Look at Africa. After 14 years of liberation from apartheid, the people are still in almost barbaric state. They kill each other, use guns and blades and this is primarily because of poverty and illiteracy.

    Relating this to Bulan (I have heard somebody just got murdered in the municipality recently), it can be said that the pen is of lesser importance in the area because only a few can read. The result — only a few are aware on what is happening at the local government, what are the new laws concerning them, what are the new rights and benefits, etc. Though many can feel injustice or may feel aggrieved, only a few will go to courts, or complain to the concerned authorities. Why? Because only those who read are aware of the “civilized” way to do things.

    And this leads me to another realization: Governments who really want to prolong themselves in power will always want their constituents to be poor both economically and intellectually. Why? It’s easy to govern a bunch of ignorant people compared with those who are not. That is why we have Burma. The generals rule by the guns because the Burmese people do not know how to write and inform the world what is their current plight. Besides, even though the world knows the present situation, the UN and others cannot just intervene because nobody had written them and requested their help. If the UN and the rest will just plunge into Burma and meddle in the internal affairs, that would constitute a breach of sovereignty.

    But then again, we go to the local: What is the local government doing? Is it addressing poverty and illiteracy? And seriously? If not, then we can say that the local government officials share the orientation of the Burmese generals. But if yes, then congratulations…

  2. Tiger of Serengeti

    Now I got you guys talking. The Pen is mightier than the Sword or the Sword is mightier than the Pen. Hmmmmm. It is a big dilemma depends on how you look at it. Actually, the history and origins behind the famous saying “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword ” was said by Edward Bulwer-Lyton ‘s play Rechelieu in 1839 “Beneath the rule of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the sword” The Greek poet Euripides, 406 B.C. said, “The tongue is mightier than the blade” In 1621 Robert Burton wrote in the “Anatomy of Melancholy” in which he stated “From this it is clear how much cruel the pen may be than the sword.” And Thomas Jefferson said to Thomas Paine during the early stage of revolution in America “Go on doing with your pen what in other times was done with the sword.” Now I am throwing you back the ball. Pen or the Sword? We can all agree to disagree. Fair? The heat is firing up with the debate. hehehe. I love it!

  3. junasun

    To Mr. Carizo,
    This is true. To resort to sword ( or brute force) is a sign of primitivity brought about by illiteracy and poverty. When Rizal said that education is the light of the people, he surely was telling us about improving the literacy rate in our country, quality-and quantity-wise.

    For educators in Bulan, the pen is not of lesser importance assuming that only a few can read for to them that means there is still a lot of work with the pen to be done. But in Bulan, with a population of 82,688 (Year 2000), I think it’s the reverse: only a few cannot read, for the majority who can read, however, there is nothing much they can read from their local government that informs them-thru leaflets distributed freely to all corners of Bulan, a website that informs updated informations, free newspapers, etc. But with the office of the mayor now using Bulan Observer to publish reports and other informations of public interest, this is an additional source where people can get their informations. Also through audio source like Radio Patrol Bulan, they are now weekly informed about the actual news and developments concerning Bulan. On the other hand, let us not forget that poverty leads to apathy and ignorance, though an ignorant person is not necessarily an illiterate, perhaps only not informed (and simply disillusioned and apathetic)

    It seems to me now, that it is rather poverty that hinders the children from finishing successfully the 6 years of free basic education and it is poverty that curtails the secondary school graduates’ desire for higher education.

    Some facts:

    Philippine Literacy rate (2000 census ; source Wikipedia)

    Literacy: Definitions
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 95%
    male: 92.5%
    female: 92.7%
    Literacy rate is defined, for census purposes, as the percentage of the population which can, with understanding, both read and write a simple message about everyday life. Thus a person who can read but not write or vice versa is not considered literate. (??)
    Education: Years compulsory–6 (note: 6 years of primary education free and compulsory; 4 years of secondary education free but not compulsory). Attendance (2007)–84% in elementary grades, 58% in secondary grades. Literacy–93.4%.
    The Philippines has one of the highest literacy rates in the developing world. About 93% of the population 10 years of age and older are literate. (source: US Department Of State)
    In Bulan, how may percent of the total population of 82,688 are of age 10 and and over ? From this Department of State data, we can infer that practically in each town in the Philippines, with the exception perhaps of the southernmost regions of Mindanao, the average literacy rate is high enough that we can say for example with almost certainty that there are more tagaBulans that can read in write than tagaBulans who cannot read and write.

    See also men + women literacy rate comparative data

    Comparing functional and simple literacy rates of women and men
    aged 10-64 years old in the region, the rates were usually highest
    between the ages of 15-24 years
    Among the men, functional literacy and simple literacy rates were both
    highest in the 20-24 years age-group at 79.00 percent and 91.40
    percent respectively.
    Among the women, functional literacy was highest in the 20-24 years
    age-group at 90.80 percent while simple literacy rate was highest in the
    15-19 years age-group at 97.6 percent
    In 2001, 95 percent of the population was literate. There were no significant differences in the literacy rates of females and males. Urban females’ literacy rate was eight percent higher than the rural females’ literacy rate. However, the gender gap in functional literacy between women and men in rural areas was 4.9 percent, with women having the higher rate. Female literacy rates across regions vary; it is lowest in the Administrative Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), at 59 percent (ADB, 2004).
    Now, to our local situation:

    Education in Bulan: an overview (source: Wikipedia)
    Primary Education
    The Primary Education in Bulan are divided into two Districts, The Bulan North District comprising all the Barangays towards the North coastal Barangays, to the interior land locked northern Barangays. The Bulan South District comprises the southern Coastal Barangay

    Secondary Education
    Bulan has many secondary educational institutions. The Largest public high school is Bulan National High School. Formerly, it was the Bulan High School/Bulan Vocational High School, before the former was converted in to Sorsogon State College Bulan Campus. BNHS has a satellite Campus at Barangays Otavi, Beguin, J.P. Laurel, San Juan Bag-o.

    Tertiary Education

    Sorsogon State College
    R.G. De Castro Colleges
    SLI-KRAMS
    Solis Institute of Technology
    A.G. Villaroya
    Sun Yat Sen Memorial College (before Dr. Sun Yat Sen Memorial School)

    Going back to Mr. Carizo’s comment, I further say that the same thing was true with our past colonial rulers; they introduced to us their system of education but not in order for us to be intellectually free but to control us from within. We learned things foreign to us, which at first sight looks good- but in the long run at the expense of our soul. For we lost the connection to our deep cultural roots which were supposed to provide us the solid ground to our genuine identity and socio-political structure. Consider for example how the catholic church perverted our psychic make-up. All in all, these control mechanisms installed by our oppressors are not yet fully deconstructed, hence this never ending search for the true Filipino identity, reflected for one in our chaotic political behavior and less-defined concept of nationalism. On the contrary these control mechanisms still have us in its grips. Rizal studied under the spanish school system the greater part of his student years ( except his years in Germany) yet Spain was not proud of his exceptional performance, for them he was too rebellios ( too good and so free!) so he was executed. The same way that the americans liquidated Claro M. Recto; his patriotism was a pain in the neck for the Americans. He was poisoned in Italy. Marcos was said to have learned from chairman Mao that for a leader to have total control of his people he should ” keep them poor!” ( which for me also means “keep them illiterate!”), Mao whispered this to Marcos, whispered, yet loud and clear. Yet I could imagine how divided was Marcos within himself. For on the right side of him were the Americans who were interested also in keeping him controlled, thus for him also a pain in his neck, on his left side the Filipino people with whom he could rightfully identify himself yet the very same people or “countrymen” he wanted himself to control. A schizophrenic situation. Indeed, in reality, it was a political schizophrenia, that Marcos regime, for symptoms like delusion of grandeur, megalomania, paranoia , obsession and compusion (kleptomaniac was he, had stolen power and money), split thinking and violence were manifested over decades. In short, a chronic detachment from reality, typical of dictators the world has known.

    The problem in our country in general or in Bicol region in particular is the other way around: a bunch of ignorant people are the ones governing the majority of intelligent ( yet poor and lacking that bonifacian temperament and that rizalian civil courage ) Filipino people. So things are slowed down tremendously in our socio-political development, thus giving ample time for these ignorant yet disastrous bunch of politicians to systematically plunder the nation.

    Again to qoute Mr. Carizo, “But then again, we go to the local: What is the local government doing? Is it addressing poverty and illiteracy? And seriously? If not, then we can say that the local government officials share the orientation of the Burmese generals. But if yes, then congratulations…”

    To answer Mr. Carizo’s questions and concerns for Bulan, I let Mayor Helen De Castro provides him the answer by reproducing here a part of her 2007 report to the people of Bulan under Edukasyon:

    “EDUKASYON:
    An ikaduwa na angkla san HELEN Program mao tabi an programa sa Edukasyon. Aram nato an kahalagahan sini na serbisyo sosyal para sa ato komunidad.
    Sayo sa pinakadako na ayuda na inhihimo nato, lalo na sa mga pobre pero karapatdapat na mga estudyante mao na mga inhahatag nato na educational assistance o pang-ayuda pinansyal sa kanira pag-escuela. Siempre, bag-o ini inhahatag naagi mun-a sa sayo na evalwasyon o assessment tungkol sa estudyante na nag-aayo sin danon sa municipio. Inrereparo ta man siempre didi an mga grades o marka san nag-aayo danon.
    Batog tabi san Agosto hasta niyan na Disyembre, nakadanon na an municipio sin 74 na escuela na nag-ayo educational assistance na nagkakantidad sin 91,046 pesos. Pero kun isabay nato an batog pa san Enero hasta Hulyo, nakadanon pa kita sin 61 na estudyante sa kantidad na 94,542 pesos. An suma total sini entero tabi bale 137 na estudyante, nan an kantidad sin naidanon sa kanira bale 187,870 pesos.
    Ini na mga estudyante nag-eerescuela sa Sosrsogon State College, AG Villaroya, RGCC, SLI-KRAMS, Solis Institute of Technology, nan may-on man sin hale sa AMA Computer College, Veritas College, Inmaculate Conception College of Albay nan Bicol University. May-on man kita sin napolo (10) na regular scholars na permi ta insususteniran an pag-escuela.
    San Octobre nan Nobyembre, 20 na Computer Students hale sa SSC IMIT an nahatagan sin P5,000.00 Scholarship Assistance hale sa PGMA-TESDA Ladderized Education Program. Yadto na kantidad mao an naging pangbayad nira sa pag-escuela niyan na Second Semester. Maski diyo napakinabangan yadto san mga napili ta na mga escuela.
    San nakaagi na Summer, in implementar ta gihapon an Republic Act 7323 o an Special Program for the Employment of Students o SPES. INi sa pakikoordinar nato sa DOLE o Department of Labor and Employment. 90 na college students an pinili nan hinatagan ta pribiliheyo na makatrabaho sa municipio nan an suweldo nira ginamit sa pag-escuela nira sini na taun. Ini man na mga service crew san Jollibee kadaghanan sa kanira mga escuela na hinatagan ta rekomendasyon sa Jollibee nan pakatapos sin pambihira na training nagkapirili an 52 sa kanira. Mao na yuon niyan na naiimod nato na service crew san Jollibee. Seguro, saday lang ini na bagay para sa iba, pero sa mga nabiyayaan sini na recruitment nan referral program dako na pakinabangan ini sa tawo na nabiyayaan.
    Sa lado san mga Barangay High Schools nato. Padagos an ato pag-ayuda sa mga escuelahan na ini sa paagi sin paghatag maski diyo na honorarium sa kantidad na P1,000 pesos para sa 11 na volunteer teachers na nagtuturukdo sa Beguin, San Juan Bag-o, Cadandanan, Otavi, JP Laurel nan Gate. Ini na mga volunteer teachers mao an nakasugpon sin dako na serbisyo sa mga barangay ta lalo na sa mga escuelahan na kulang an teachers.
    Kun matatandaan baga tabi nato entero, yaa na mga barangay high schools naitindog sa kagahuman san mga magurang, mga maestro nan lalo na sa danon nan suporta sadto san panahon ni Mayor Guiming. Para sa ako, inpapadagos ko lang an legasiya ni Ex-Mayor Guiming sa lado san edukasyon. Kundire naging matibay nan pusuanon yadto na nakaagi na administrasyon, daghan po seguro an mga naging kakulangan sa ato mga barangay. Pero dahil pinadaba namo an mga barangay, sa lado san edukasyon legasiya ini na dire basta basta mararangka san panahon. Daghanon na man na mga dati volunteer teachers sini na mga escuelahan an sa niyan nakapermanente na sa pagtukdo dahil sa kanira trabaho sa mga barangay high schools.
    Daghanon pa na mga aktibidades an inhihimo nato sa municipio para sa mga escuelahan pareho san mga sa scouting, sa mga sports festivals nira nan sa ananuman na mga okasyon na puwede makasuporta lalo na an ako opisina. Nagsuporta man kita sa mga paglakaw sin mga escuelahan kun may-on sira sin mga contests sa iba na lugar.
    Sini na nakaagi na Disyembre 14, incelebrar nato an Bulan Teachers’ Day, sayo na okasyon sa paghatag ta rekognisyon nan pagsaludar sa mga paratukdo sa elementarya, high school nan college. An saako tabi administrasyon an nagbatog sini na klase sin aktibidad. Ini na an ikatolo na taun soon na Teachers’ Day. Inisip ko na dapat talaga hatagan ta pagkilala ini na mga silensyo na bayani san ato komunidad. Sa paagi sin panguna san municipio, lalo na san ako opisina, naging makolor nan triunfo an selebrasyon niyan na taon. Sinuportahan ta moral nan materyal an pangangaipo para sa Teachers’ Day. Nakapili man kita sin mga Outstanding Teachers niyan na taun. Nan inpapasalamatan ta man tabi an entero na participating teachers nan schools.”
    Now my question is: Is Bulan really an illiterate community or rather a less informed one?

    Comment to be continued.

    jun asuncion

  4. attybenji

    …significant parts of j.a. carizo’s comments are, as follows:

    “Governments who really want to prolong themselves in power will always want their constituents to be poor both economically and intellectually. Why? It’s easy to govern a bunch of ignorant people compared with those who are not. That is why we have Burma. The generals rule by the guns because the Burmese people do not know how to write and inform the world what is their current plight.”

    …and, salient parts of jun asuncion’s discourses are hereunder reproduced, as follows:

    “Marcos was said to have learned from chairman Mao that for a leader to have total control of his people he should ” keep them poor!” ( which for me also means “keep them illiterate!”), Mao whispered this to Marcos, whispered yet loud and clear.”

    In relation to the above discourses of these two gentlemen, I know all of us have read Niccolo Machiavelli’s “The Prince” in college, if my memory serves me right, the basic message of Machiavelli’s discourse in his book to the young Prince about leading his country was that it is better to rule by fear than by love – because love can change on a given day – fear will not.
    The theories expressed in “The Prince” describe methods that an aspiring prince can use to acquire the throne, or an existing prince can use to maintain his reign.

    Machiavelli strongly suggests, however, that the prince must not be hated. He states, “…a wise prince should establish himself on that which is his own control and not in that of others; he must endeavor to avoid hatred, as is noted.” He also says “it is best to be both feared and loved; however, if one cannot be both it is better to be feared than loved.” (see: machiavelli, nicolo wikepedia)

    According to Machiavelli, the greatest moral good is a virtuous and stable state, and actions to protect the country are therefore justified even if they are CRUEL or Brutal.

    In sum, Filipino Leaders & Politicians who really want to prolong themselves in power by keeping their (constituents) poor and ignorant / illiterate would be – an act of Cruelty or Brutality as espoused by Machiavelli in his book “The Prince” – at ito rin ang kasalukuyang ginagawa ng ating mga ganid at sakim na mga pulitikong nakaupo sa kapangyarihan sa malacañang man o sa capitolio o municipio… Pahihirapan at gugutumin nila ang masang pilipino at mga anak ng bayan para sa pagdating ng eleksyon, bibilhin nila ang sagradong boto ng mga gutom na tao at sila ang sikat at hero dahil nailigtas nila ang masang naghihikahos at nagkakalam ang sikmura sa gutom.

    Ang ugaling ito ng mga pilipinong pulitiko ay alinsunod sa doktrinang inilahad sa atin ni niccolo machiavelli sa kanyang librong “the prince” – ito ay ginawa ni marcos at ginagawa rin ng mga naging pinuno ng ating bansa, fvr, cory, erap, gma.

    Laganap ang bilihan ng boto kapag panahon ng eleksyon, – gutom at mangmang kasi ang mga tao, kaya sa panahon ng kagipitan kahit sa patalim ay kakapit…

  5. Thanks for the wonderful discussions. Just a rejoinder:

    There is a saying, “The end does not justify the means”. Going by the common interpretation of “The Prince”, it seems that the message is “The means is justified by the end” or the acts to achieve something is justified by the result. To quote Atty. Benjie: According to Machiavelli, the greatest moral good is a virtuous and stable state, and actions to protect the country are therefore justified even if they are CRUEL or Brutal.
    Given the current situation, there are those who are enticed to coup d’ etats, to dictatorship and similar actions to cure the society. Meaning, okay lang ang na dictator si GMA or or namimili ng boto si mayor or si congressman or si gov as long as pag nakaupo naman siya, good governance naman ang gagawin. Okay lang na may dayaan sa eleksiyon kung pagkatapos naman ng eleksiyon ang mandaraya na ipo-proklamang panalo ay gagawa naman para sa ikauunlad ng bayan.

    But while the idea is good — that is, to speed up development — the logic is still faulty. And this goes back to the concepts of intellectual and economic poverty. Kung bobo ang leader na nandaya, there is no assurance na good governance nga ang tutunguhin ng administrasyon niya. Kung masyadong matalino naman ang elected official at bobo ang mga tao, there is a tendency na maging sakim naman ang elected official at abusuhin lang ang mga tao. And this might lead again to “badil”.

    With regards the report of Mayor Helen de Castro on education, well, that is a way of helping the people of Bulan change intellectually. With an increasing number of educated citizens of Bulan, we can expect a decreasing number of gun-toting citizens harassing or killing others for the sake of money. With education, magkakaroon na kasi ng karagdagang oportunidad ang mga tao na makapaghanap ng trabaho. Kung may trabaho na, siyempre di na gagawa ng illegal. Bawas holdapan, bawas patayan, bawas nakawan. So kudos to Mayor de Castro.

    But of course, mas maganda kung di lang scholarship, additional school rooms, new facilities ang tutok. Dapat quality education din. Sa ngayon kasi, ang graduate sa mga probinsiya, nasa low priority pa rin ng mga employers. So if that will be the case, kahit merong 1 million tayong scholar kung di rin makakahanap ng trabaho, balik ulit sa dati — use of illegal force just to earn money.

    So how do we achieve quality education? There are two ways, increase the livelihood opportunities of the parents of the scholars and of course, the other members of the community. Kung me pera kasi ang mga magulang ng mga scholars, di na mag-aabsent ang mga scholars na yan dahil me pamasahe na sila at me pambili na nang gagawing project. And so on and so forth. The other way is to take a look at the system of education that we have. Baka matataas naman ang grades pero when you ask them to do practical things, wala rin. O kaya kung ihambing mo sa mga estudyante sa Manila o kaya pag kumuha ng exam na kinukuha ng mga taga-Manila, baka bagsak naman. So there is a need to review our system of education as well as our the school curricula being used.

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