Filipinos Have Memories Akin to Senility -- Conrado de Quiros

2 March 2011

The article of Mr. De Quiros in a daily, March 1, 2011, is interesting in several ways, primarily, because it reflects once again the proclivity of not a few commentators to remember the past, long and wide, while suspiciously omitting an entire quarter of a century, specifically, the years between 1986 and today. Mr. De Quiros flaunts his good memory, as opposed to the rest of us that “have a retentive memory of a senile,” as he puts it, by detailing the circumstances by which Manuel Roxas “was known to have cooperated with the Japanese” but was cleared by MacArthur to ensure that the Philippines got the raw end of treaties foisted on us by the US government. He also mentions the Japanese sponsored Presidency of Jose Laurel and Quirino’s electoral victory only because he–“Quirino was accused at the time, which the public believed–cheated massively.”

He also makes what is either a grossly ignorant or a pathetically naïve interpretation of Ilocos Norte’s recent history and its present situation, referring to it as a “land history forgot, or it is a land that has forgotten history, or it is a land untouched by history.” For those that have visited my province, I need not elaborate on anything to counter what Mr. De Quiros imagines it to be. Those welcomed visitors that have been to Ilocos Norte know what the truth is about my province and its people. And the way Mr. de Quiros describes Ilocanos as having been mentally conditioned and helplessly brainwashed by textbooks so as to vote for Marcos is a grave insult to all Ilocanos. He is lucky Ilocanos are generally peaceful and are not familiar with him anyway. But to entice Mr. De Quiros to visit and see for himself that part of our country, let me just say he will be visiting a first-class province that is clean, with cemented highways and roads (a favourite of Filipino bikers) connecting all the cities and municipalities, cleanly energized by the first wind farm in Southeast Asia, and peopled by a friendly and hard-working populace that enjoy health insurance for all, high quality education, peace and order, and with a forward-looking disposition that is both proud and hopeful. We can only hope he finds a way to fit in.

As to my effort at "rewriting history," my statement regarding Singapore that was made during an ambush interview, was a mere conjecture blown out of proportion and interpreted as an attempt at changing history, when what I said was in the realm of “could have been- possibility.” The hypothesis, nevertheless, considered the IMF statistical GDP growth rate of the Philippines from its 1973 9.2% up to 1980 which saw all those years posting no lower than 5% GDP, per IMF figures. Again, still, this was said in the context of a theory, an opinion during an ambush interview on my way from one committee hearing to another. History does not change by my mere say-so, and neither does it by his say-so, something closer to what he thinks, hence, the projection.

As for the excellent memory of the writer/critic, we have no reason not to grant him possession of an elephant’s memory which leads us to conclude that the omission of 25 long years in our history, when talking about EDSA and the promises made then, is done deliberately. It is then curious, or perhaps not anymore, why silence would be applied to the shenanigans, as opposed to reforms, of that whole period especially when one postures as a historian. So, to assist those with memories akin to senility, as the writer arrogantly describes Filipinos, perhaps mentioning a few might jolt us back in to remembering: Mendiola massacre; kamag-anak, inc.; jueteng; daily brownouts; agrarian reform farce; electoral fraud against Miriam; the PEA-AMARI Manila Bay reclamation deal scandal; conversion of the military base in Fort Bonifacio; Centennial Expo project; Benpres-North Luzon Expressway; interferences in government by mistresses of Presidents; unconstitutional removal of Erap with the help of politicians and justices; Hacienda Luisita massacre; GMA-FG-hello garci tapes; deterioration of peace and order including safety of journalists; more hunger and poverty; just to mention a few–all these and more in the “forgotten quarter of a century.” But we will not hold our breath expecting impartiality coming from his side. He has his work cut out for him.
Be that as it may, we invite the good columnist to visit Ilocos Norte and tell us afterwards which he thinks has been left behind by history: the province or most of the rest of the country?