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Midnight Appointments Vs Our Hierarchy of Values And Needs (Retitled/Updated)

July 6, 2009

faceless crowd and gma cabinet montage

needs pyramid

I began this piece one year ago saying how my day began with DZMM radio reporting on Father Joaquin Bernas’s statement urging then Arroyo to forego any plan of running for a national assembly seat in the 2nd district of Pampanga as  backdoor maneuver to become Prime Minister should a ConAss-engineered change in the 1987 Constitution mandate a parliamentary form of government.

Bernas points out accurately that that nothing but her sense of propriety, of delicadeza, would really be the only stumbling block:

“We never thought the President would be humble. If I were her, I would not seek a lower office.” There are no legal obstacles to stop Ms Arroyo, who had previously served as vice president and a senator, should she decide to run for representative. “Now, delicadeza ibang bagay yan (propriety is another matter).”

Bernas’s remark quoted in the Daily Inquirer report by correspondent Tonette Orejas reminded me of the seminal 1943 treatise  of Dr. Abraham Maslow on the human hierarchy of needs or values.

Appreciating Dr. Maslow’s pyramid, I asked myself how Filipinos and Filipino leaders, could be self-rated and how such evaluation with figure in the larger state of Philippine society.
Allow me to reproduce Dr. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Values in this matrix which lays out the study more better appreciation:

Old Paradigm of Protection Values Emerging Paradigm of Growth Values
Safety: Avoiding risk.  Protection via external restraints and constraints; Rules, burglar alarms, and borders to define the places safe from danger, “us” versus “them”; survival is a goal. Spontaneity: Freedom, Willingness to risk and move into the unknown, Survival is assumed.
Comfort: Avoiding pain, threats to belief systems, or contradictions; Strive to maintain the status quo at all costs. Meaning: Willingness to confront life as it is, including uncomfortable contradiction and/or paradox.  Tolerance of ambiguity.
Image: Meeting or exceeding cultural expectations; Conforming to norms and fitting oneself to the “job description”; Status and role valued. Authenticity: Meeting or exceeding one’s own expectations; Willingness to diverge from cultural norms out of integrity and/or curiosity.  Flexibility; Acceptance of other’s nonconformity.
Self-control: Ability to restrain one’s emotional responses and control of the situation.  Repression of anger, fear, sexuality, sentiment.  Self-indulgent, an anesthetic against fear for people. Self-knowledge: Awareness of feelings and their role in behavior; Transformation of fear and anger thru self-understanding and trust; Inner confidence  from having let go of illusions and survived fear.
Ego defenses: Protection of one’s self-image by making others wrong or by rationalizing one’s behaviors and beliefs.  Feeling right or righteous. Vulnerability: The “transparent self” that acknowledges its weakness and draws from its strong points.  It does not identify with the ego’s need to be perfect.
Permanence: Effort to memorialize or freeze the past. Longevity, preservation of traditions, long-range commitments, repeating and recalling past triumphs. Potential: Recognition of the dynamics and flux of life, the impossibility of holding the present moment; Belief that change represents possibility, a future whose capacity to surprise is relished, not feared.
Information: Having answers, facts, training, experience, data; Being sure. Insight: Asking the right questions, eager to learn; Acceptance of uncertainty.
Adjustment: Human beings are seen as limited in what they can accomplish; Effort if futile; Poverty, starvation and war are inevitable. Belief in human limitations, which excuses from effort. Aspiration: Human beings have built great cathedrals, flown to the moon.  Any of us might accomplish something beyond the ordinary; belief in unlimited human potential.
Power over others: Being boss, top dog, judge, authority, or being helpless, manipulative, flattering, coercive. Power with others: Cooperation, mutual support, communications, alignment.
Feeling superior to others: More attractive, intelligent, successful and/or harder working.  Protection from feeling inadequate by being special. Feeling connected to others: Total acceptance of oneself; Identifying with all human traits.
Freedom from responsibility: Sense of impotence, Scapegoatology; What ever happened was the fault of others, social forces, and/or fate.  Feelings of Woundology. Freedom in responsibility: Sense of one’s personal self-empowerment.  Past choices acknowledged, and sense of being able to choose in the future.  Power to change based on taking responsibility.

Paraphrasing the sages: shouldn’t we all be men for others rather than thinking only of our personal well-being, shedding inggit, the takangka mentality, ningas cogon, pataasan ng ihi, and magkano ako riyan.

Since your Midfielder shared that appeal, quite a lot has changed, and continues to change, in our political landscape.

Gloria Arroyo, to her dismay, has slid down to become a diminutive congresswoman from Pampanga (pun intended) and her popularly elected successor Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III trying to undo the wrongs she did (not least among them those damned ‘midnight’ appointments).

Since penning this directive, the President has sort of backtracked to say not all midnight appointees are being sacked.

The manner they were appointed, their qualifications, and actions will now be reviewed with people being retained on a cae to case basis based on merit.

So the new chief executive is spending the better part on his first 100 days in office introducing anti-corruption reforms he hopes will turn things around in these next 6 years.

But as President Noynoy deposited his first pay check, all of P63,002.17 (after tax), little has changed in the social landscape except perhaps slightly quieter streets because lesser wang wangs (sirens) are blaring  and more and more Filipino (except the imperious Vice President) are stopping at intersections and law enforcers are genuinely going after criminals.

Social reforms do not come easy and cheap s our best and brightest including PAGASA’s weather forecasters, DOST’s geologists, and  Philippine Airlines’ pilots are flying out to better paying jobs while 7 million or so of their compatriots are out of work and countless more are underemployed.

Indeed the projection of new Economic Planning Secretary Cayetano Pcaderanga’s of the economy growing by 7 or even 8 % should become a reality.

If fact such GDP uptick must be sustained if not exceed in the next years if the fruits of development are to trickle down and begin reversing the Filipino diaspora.

Only then will ordinary Filipinos proudly pose for pictures while  brandishing their pay checks.

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