• Kim’s Dream
  • Orlando R. Ravanera

Who controls? Who decides? Who benefits? In a country where only 200 families control the economy, that is res ipsa loquitor! (the thing speaks for itself!)  Such oligarchical control specially of water and electricity which are means to life speaks of a horrible social injustice committed against the Filipino people that no less than His Excellency has underscored during his recent State of the Nation Address.

In a highly skewed pyramidal societal order, social change has become imperative in a “republican and democratic State where sovereignty resides with the people and all governmental powers emanate from them,” as stated in the Constitution’s Declaration of Principles. Indeed, when economic dictatorship of the oligarchs is grafted unto representative electoral democracy, a toxic growth of religious fundamentalism and right-wing extremism is the result. Thus oligarchical control leads not just to the death of democracy, but to the democracy of death, in which exclusion, hate, fear and cash become the political means to mobilize votes and power. Thus, the imperative need of social change.

For those who have dreamt, struggled, advocated, sacrificed and even died for it, social change has been so elusive all these years despite 14 years of martial law and two people-powered revolutions.  The ingredients, systems and structures that perpetuate poverty and social injustice are still as formidable as ever.  BUT NOT ANYMORE UNDER THE PRESENT DISPENSATION OF PRESIDENT RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE.  Change has come! But how? THRU COOPERATIVISM!

Ten years ago, there were just seven (7) million members of the cooperatives nationwide. Today that number has almost doubled to more than more than (12) million from 18,481 cooperatives. As cooperatives are scaling the heights drawing those in the margins into the mainstream of development processes, the number can even reach 20 million in the next five years. No less than the United Nations has rallied the poor and the vulnerable to collectively stop poverty, hunger, social injustices and gross inequities through cooperativism. His Holiness Pope Francis has mentioned in His latest Encyclical Laudatu Si that in a world with so much food, why there are people who are hungry and the countervailing measure is cooperativism.

No one can stop the growth of cooperatives as cooperativism is an idea whose time has come not only in our country but in the whole world. Why is this so? First of all, it behooves upon all of us to examine the present development paradigm which is based on the growth-at-all-cost development strategy aptly called Neo-Liberal Capitalism. That kind of global economic system that is only successful in sacrificing humanity and Mother Earth to the altar of greed and profit is like a giant off-balance. So as not to fall, it has to run and in running, it steps on communities, forests, rivers, seas, agricultural lands, the ozone layer, the iceberg and even on people themselves, leaving havoc on its path.

That AIDS-like development strategy that kills the Earth’s vital organs, advances unbridled materialism and consumerism based on an individual pursuit of self-aggrandizement and wealth where money is used not to enhance the quality of life but to make more money. It this country, you call that block capitalism where cartels and the oligarchs run the economy, owned by only 200 families. In the world, only 8 billionaires are in control, whose total wealth equal the combined wealth of some 3.6 billion people or half of the world’s population. This is based on the Study of Oxfam.

Our country has become a dumping ground of finished products and source of cheap raw materials following extractive economy. Indeed, where have all our forests and minerals gone? Gone to highly industrialized countries as the country still maintains an exclusive and a neo-colonial status, having been a colony of imperial powers for hundreds of years.

Based on these realities, there must be a change now being championed by the present dispensation. An increasing number of people want change but how? When the Filipinos overwhelming voted to office a charismatic Mayor from Mindanao to become President, they wanted political change. This time economic change is in the offing but one that must debunk the present development paradigm. Yes, the only countervailing force is one that harnesses the collective power of the people called cooperativism.