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Change We'd All Like To See

By: Cielito F. Habito, PhD
The current leadership of the country came into power on the promise of real change, and apparently wide expectation that it could deliver on that. After seven months, it has become all too obvious that it was never going to be easy.
It now appears that the main idea was to bring about change through the barrel of a gun, by striking fear in people’s hearts. Never mind that a former president had tried the same formula before. Many may grant that positive change did transpire for a couple of years or so after Ferdinand Marcos imposed military rule on that fateful day of Sept. 21, 1972. Sadly, those two years now appear to have been miscast as the essence of the Marcos years, in the history books that our children read in school—something we all discovered rather belatedly. Many derided his slogan “Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan” (Discipline is the key to national progress) at the time, but many swore by it as well, even as it turned out to have a short shelf life. The problem was that there was no way to ensure that the same discipline would be practiced by those tasked to enforce it—not to mention the very people who preached and imposed it. And in two years or so, things began to unravel, and turned into what most of us now see as among the darkest years of the nation’s history.
Now we’re going through a collective déjà vu. Yes, we’ve been through it all before, except we’re seeing the plot played out with much greater speed this time. We’ve had practice, after all. What had taken about two years in the 1970s has taken only months in the ongoing reprise. The murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo was a symbolic turning point. That’s when we all realized what we should have all known out of our historical experience: that discipline is hardest to expect from those that we empower to enforce it. History should have also taught us that it matters little which uniformed service is entrusted with the job. Shifting it from the police to the military, as the current thinking seems to go, forgets that the same task of enforcing discipline was given straight to the military—both the regular armed forces and the infamous constabulary—back in 1972. And we all know what that led to.
Read the full article at http://opinion.inquirer.net/101740/change-wed-like-see