AN OPEN LETTER TO MSU ADMINISTRATION FROM CONCERNED MSU STUDENTS

Over the past years, Mindanao State University Marawi Campus (MSU) has confronting problem concerning to the security system because of increasing unresolved criminal cases in the campus, the 2013 ambushed and cross-firing between the military and unknown group, last 2016 the non-cooperation raids of the military in the campus because of the reportedly found improvised explosive device (IED), and recently, the Marawi crisis which made the campus unsafe for the students, faculty, and staffs from MINSUPALA region and from all over the country.

The on-going Marawi crisis has plagued everyone especially to those who are directly affected tri-people students of MSU Marawi. The campus is approximately two kilometres away from the downtown of Marawi City where the armed conflict was heavily concentrated. Further, the MSU Marawi have 14, 000 tri people-students and dominantly represent the poor provinces in Mindanao (Lanao Del Sur, Maguindanao, Agusan Del Sur, Agusan Del Norter, and Surigao).

During the first week of the crisis, the students in the campus was frightened and unsecured because the bombs and series artillery gunshots was  very clear in the campus premise. Further, the student were rescued a bit slowly in the campus due to some circumstances and delayed response from the MSU Administration.

The tri-people student recognized that MSU Marawi was never been safe primary because of the insufficient and lack of security mechanism of the  campus, more so, with the kind of set up where people can easily in and out of the campus which add to the vulnerability of the campus. This was alarming for the students because there were unknown people allegedly engaged in recruitment in the campus and these people might be a member of the extremist group. There were also people engaged in illegal activities in the campus that also threaten the academic activities of the students. What’s really disturbing, it was never been deterred and until now, the perpetrators are still wandering freely.

Now, the marawi crisis was a huge and clear manifestation that the MSU campus is not safe anymore, till now, military airstrikes and crossed-firing are still perpetual in the downtown. The conflict has overdue enough and the MSU operation was enormously affected. The graduation rites that supposedly to be hold in the MSU Dimaporo Gym was cancelled, the summer class was moved in Iligan City, and now the opening classes for first semester are still determine due to major considerations.

As a student of MSU Marawi we really want to go back to our second home, we believe that MSU Marawi is not comparable to other higher institutions. Aside from that, MSU is not just a learning institution but it was mandated for social integration of tri people in Mindanao in pursuit for peace and development. Conversely, there are factors that the MSU Administration should consider why students and their family are frighten and still have uncertainties about resuming the classes in the campus.

We understand the intent of the MSU administration to send back the students in the campus by telling that the MSU Campus is now safe for academic activity while bombs, airstrikes, and series of gunshot are perpetual; to discouraged all public and private higher institutions in Mindanao to accept MSU Marawi students; and by telling the students that tuition fee and other fees will be free without a clear guidelines.

As a student, it is very unfair and elusive to have those impetuous decisions from higher authority of the MSU Marawi. Indeed, the students acknowledged the efforts of the MSU Administration however, we also need to have an imperative and systematic plans in response to the abnormal condition not just by saying MSU is now safe. If in case the conflict will be finished soon which I doubt with extension of martial law, the students also need an assurance concerning to the level of security mechanism centred on the rights and welfare of the students and not just by militarizing the campus.

It is a colossal challenge for the MSU Administration if there will be a huge decrease of the students, especially, there are already confirmed information that most of the students from CARAGA will be transferring to other higher institutions. Hitherto, the MSU Admin still unresponsive and there are no clear directives to where and when the classes will be resume.

Hence, we appeal to the MSU President and his administration to provide us options and imperative actions about the plans of resuming the classes. We demand to hear our sentiments and frustrations.  And lastly, we see that in every decision are made by the MSU Administration, the student are directly affected so we demand students participation in the decision-making.

LEVEL OF POLITICAL APATHY OF SELECTED STUDENT OF MINDANAO STATE UNIVERSITY-MARAWI

CHAPTER I

Introduction

Background of the Study

Political apathy is frequently viewed as a social problem. One e example of this concern may be noted in a standard text, where the authors deplore the fact that “that average election rarely brings out more than 50 per cent of this possible vote. Such a situation, in a democracy, is an anomaly.

In a similar way, Van Deth explained that it can be manifested in the systematic distrust of the institution, which causes people to be less civic-minded, less well-informed about current events, and less inclined to vote or otherwise participate in political life. More so, political apathy affects both old and young people alike but accordingly, young people have comparatively lower level of political knowledge than their older contemporaries, and have a distinct lack of interest in politics. The justification for labelling the young as apathetic or apolitical usually comes from the different researches related to civic responsibility which were often indicated by studies on voter turnout, and knowledge current affairs.

Political apathy and a lack of interest in joining traditional youth organizations seem to characterize the younger generation in many countries. To many young people, the world of politics seems far removed from their daily realities. Low voter turnout and dwindling membership in political parties should not lead to the conclusion that young people are disinterested in the political future of their societies.

According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) mentioned that the youth political apathy is not only limited to developing countries; instead they emphasized that it has emerged as a major problem in both established and evolving democracies, stable and unstable societies, sizeable and flourishing economies, as well as small and troubles ones.

Markedly, it has been observed that political apathy is a very widespread phenomenon in different countries particularly young people.

In the article of The Guardian entitled “Apathetic and disaffected: the generation who may never vote”. Once, the theory was the people would drift towards the polls when they grew up and became mature, tax-paying citizens. But now the young disengaged are turning into middle-aged disengaged, who may ultimately become a new phenomenon. Evidence shows that voting is a habit that millions may just never get into, particularly if they are less well-off. Ove three quarters of people cast their vote and turnout was roughly equal across the generation. But according to data from Ipsos Mori at the last election, 76% of over-65s were still voting, while declining to 44% aged 18-24. Further, the article found many people have a feeling stronger than apathy: downright disaffection. “Young people don’t think institution or politicians are the answer.”

The same condition in America, in the study of Aaron Blake. “Our turnout rate has been consistently declining since the 1970s.  A new study that suggests that trend is likely to continue in November’s midterm elections. It shows that young Americans are on track to set a new low for turnout in a midterm election, and a record number of states could set their own new records for lowest percentage of eligible citizens casting ballots. The study, from the Center for the study of the American Electorate, shows turnout in the 25 states that have held statewide primaries for both parties is down by nearly one-fifth from the last midterm, in 2010. While 18.3 percent of eligible voters cast ballots back then, it has been just 14.8 percent so far this year.

Significantly it also clear in the Philippines, in the study of Sandoval, Mangahas, and Guerrero of Social Weather Stations (SWS) found out that Filipino youth does not give much importance to matters of politics, for they think that they can do little about this. There are several barriers that cause loss of interest of the youth in politics.

In the article of Dr. Jayeel Serrano Cornelio entitled “Millennial Apathy”, he said, “millennial apathy is what it is often referred to, with young people dismissing People Power as an irrelevant moment in history. The contemporary youth are depoliticized stands in stark contrast to the sacrifice made by young activists during the Martial law. That many young people today readily dismiss People Power in 1986 as a failed or irrelevant revolution might feel like a dagger in the hearts of many who went through the merciless fantasy of the New Society. Thus, to characterize today’s young people, however, as apathetic is misleading.”

In the article of CJ Chanco entitled “Is our generation anti-political?’ he stated “some like what they see as the youth’s growing political apathy to a broader assault on academic freedom. A more conservative atmosphere on campus had led to a crack-down on critical thought. Still others, like anthropologist Jason Hickel, point to the politics of liberalism, or the postmodern condition. Liberalism feeds into a kind of apolitical politics, which puts a premium on consensus over conflict. Differences in political opinion are erased in the name of balance. There is no right or left, only vague centrism that ends up reinforcing that status quo. As a result, the real issues- from tuition hikes to democratic rights to global poverty- are systematically downplayed.

Moreover, in the study of Kuhar, he pointed out that there are several important barriers that prevent or even abstain from being active in politics are: a longer economic dependence on their family; unemployment pressures; a diminishing role of politically active autonomous peer groups; and the consequent retreat into petty.

This study is the benchmark of an exploratory study of Morris Rosenberg on the Dimension of Political Apathy that was published from Public Opinion Quarterly. Accordingly, there were three general factors appeared as the result of the study, namely, (1) the threatening consequences of political activity; (2) the futility of political activity and lastly, and (3) the absence of spurs to interest and participation. Further, the paper suggested several factors which in some cases contribute to political apathy. That these factors have some significance is clearly suggested by the data, but their relative importance, their statistical distribution among various population sub-groups, and their inter-relationships must remain subject for more systematic research. Thus, this study will adopt the three general factors from the exploratory paper of Morris Rosenberg as the contributing factors to student political apathy to know the level of political apathy among the selected student of Mindanao State University, as well as, and the relationship of student’s religion, culture affiliation, gender and course to the level of political apathy.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The main problem of this study will look into level of political apathy of the student of Mindanao State University.

To further understand the issues presented, the study aims to answer the following questions:

  1.  What are the factors contributes to their political apathy?
  2. What is the level of political apathy among the Student of MSU Marawi?
  3. What is the relationship of student’s religion, gender, cultural affiliation, and course to the level political apathy?

OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The study aims to achieve the following objective:

To know the factors that contributes to political apathy of the student.

To know the level of political apathy of the student.

To know if there is relations between student’s demographic variables to the level of political apathy.

SCOPE AND LIMITATION

It has been observed that political apathy is a very widespread phenomenon among young generation, their lack of interest in political activity such as discussion, involvement, voting, and participation in political organization. For this matter, the study is focus to the selected student of Mindanao State University-Marawi as its area of coverage since it is economical and convenient to the researcher. This study is confined inside the MSU-main campus and further limited into ten (10) colleges in which five (10) respondents were selected in each college who are officially enrolled during the second semester of the academic year 2017-2018.

The study focuses on the three general factors which bring the absence of political participation and interest provided in the exploratory study of Morris Rosenberg that may explain the level of political apathy of the student. The study, moreover, will also look into the relationship of student’s religion, culture affiliation, gender and course to the level of political apathy.

This study is limited to the information gathered through survey questionnaires and reliable sources such published and unpublished books, and online materials.

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

Accordingly, the concept of political behaviour as one of the many specialized fields of political science attempts to quantify and explain the influences that define a person’s political views, ideology, and levels of political participation and political apathy. In other words, studying political behaviour means trying to explain why people behave the way they do.

In this study, Political Apathy as the conceptual framework is used to provide the basis and outline the intended information that the researcher wanted to obtain.

Concept of Political Apathy

Political apathy is the lack of psychological involvement in public affairs, emotional detachment from civic obligations, and abstention from political activity. The takeoff point however relates to the word “apathy”, at once denoting “an individual’s impassivity or indifference and a form of collective political behavior. As against the dictates of political participation which brings the people to bear in the political and democratic process of a nation, political apathy shows reservation, restrains and abandonment of the system. Since participation in the political system as discussed previously, the individual has a voluntary right to participate or not to political system.

Political apathy is evidenced in mass, collective behavior but has its origin at the level of the individual psyche. It usually with an individual showing disappointment, distrust and faithlessness in the electoral system and encroaches like to the other members of the society. In the aggregate, political apathy us revealed by attitudes and an absence of expected activity. When people cease to care about political life, withdraw from obligations to civil society, and perform entirely nominal or tote acts- or none at all- in political institutions or organizations, apathy is indicated. Apathy therefore negates the true meaning of democracy which is government of the people, by the people and for the people. The emerging regime and it may lack the local and international backing for its successful administration. It is obvious,  therefore, that as a subset of political behavior, vote apathy is multidimensional, operating as it does at the intersections of psychology, sociology, economy, and geography, history, and the contemporary, laws and structures, process and actors, memory, retention and perception, and among others.

However, several factors have been identified in literature as fuelling the growing political apathy. These includes psychological involvement and collective memory of historical and contemporary events and issues, patterns of trust, feeling of efficacy, political engagement and disengagement of individual, geographic regions (Margum 2003; Mason et al, 1991; Thomas 2004). Psychological involvement us purely and individualistic notion that describes the feeling of participation that an individual have about the political process. The closely linked to the feeling of trust and believes in the electoral system. People will rationally stand aloof when they see the system as biased towards a particular system and more so when that see the election system as not credible. In addition, campaigns communication and the media (Panagopoulos 2009) have the probability to instigate political apathy. In the wake of hate campaign, political blackmail and libel that alienates the people from the electoral process, apathy will increase. The media from time has been a critical determinants f public opinion which may be in favour of one person or group at the expense of another. Thirdly, the role of space, distance and convenience of voting (Dyck and Gimpel 2005) can have varied impact on the electoral process which is a fundamental aspect of the democratic system. When the voting system occasion huge cost implication to the individual or the voting system is rigid, electorates will show voting apathy. To this end, government all over the world strive to make the electoral system as simplified as possible so that voters are able to participate irrespective of their educational status, age, abilities and economic status. More so, polling station should be decentralized and brought closer to the people so that the people in the creeks and hinterland can participate in the elections.

Furthermore, Bowler and Donovan (2011) opined that the competiveness of the elections on account of extent to which elections are considered strategic and election outcomes are projected to be close influence political apathy. On the part of those contesting in election, the perception on the fairness of the entire electoral process will determine if he or she will participate in the democratic process. Other motivating factors include impact of technologies and the human, including poll workers, dimensions of elections, the electoral policy itself and the wider issues connected to economic considerations and voting.
Dimension of Political Apathy

In the exploratory study of Morris Rosenberg, there are three general factors appeared as the result of the study. These general factors are as follows:

(1) Threating Consequences of Political Apathy

Accordingly, the democratic right of freedom of speech does not insure that people will feel free to express their political convictions publicly at all times. (a) Threat of governmental action will deter some. (b) Threat to interpersonal harmony, others will be blocked from talking or acting in behalf of their political beliefs out of fear of losing friends, alienating neighbors, endangering marriages; jeopardizing their positions in groups, (c) threats to occupational success: losing business, jeopardizing their jobs, endangering production in their plants; (d) threats of ego-deflation: facing community pressures, or exposing their feeling of self-esteem to threats.

These are consequences which many people are unwilling to face and to avoid these consequences; they impose a self-censorship on their political expression, participation, and even emotional involvement.

(2) Futility of Political Apathy

(a) Based on the sense of personal inadequacy

(b) Unmanageability of political forces

(c) The gap between ideal and reality

Many people may be deterred from political activity by the conviction that their efforts will be futile. An individual may feel that he/she us but one among so many; that the agents of political decisions- representatives, machines, “the government”, certain powerful anonymous forces- are unable or unwilling to heed his voice of follow his/her will; that the political reality is hopelessly remote from the ideal; or that the hopelessness of political victory makes any effort pointless.

It may be observed that these consequences of apathy derive from the particular nature of the social and political structures. The mass nature of the society, characterized by wide disparities of power, remotes the sense of personal insignificance; the centralization of government fosters a sense of remoteness from the key decision-making process; periodic election produce discontinuous exercise of power; the system of representation draws power from the citizen and grants it to the representative.

In other words, a political structure established with the aim of implementing democracy may unwittingly establish the conditions for political apathy.

 

(3) Absence of spurs to action

It is also relevant to examine the question of apathy in the light of the absence of influences, stimuli, or appeals which might encourage participation.

Under this factor there are three underlying attributes:

(a) The Subject Matter of Politics is often not psychologically compelling

Since the political institution deals with problems of the total society, involving subject of general interest and concern, it tends to have an abstract or impersonal quality. However, for many people, they still remain, dull, remote and uninspiring

(b) Absence of noninstrumental gratification

Some people might conceivably engage in political activity because they enjoyed it, even if the goals they sought were not attained. However, there are individual’s incentive to political activity is often dulled by the absence of direct and immediate satisfaction even if there is monetary rewards or prestige. And some people find their current activity much more directly gratifying than political activity.

(c) Political results meet few direct and urgent needs

Politics may be viewed as a moderately interesting spectacle, but one that is remote from the direct concerns of daily life; they voluntarily alienate her/him in politics. Further, governmental action is considered irrelevant to their lives. They do not conceive of the government as an agent which can solve their immediate and pressing problems.

(d) People often lack a personal thrust to action

Personal influence may be of great importance in determining political attitudes and behavior. The data suggest that interpersonal factor may operate in several different ways to promote apathy or discourage participation.

Interpersonal factors may operate in several ways to promote political apathy.

 

  • The individual may receive no positive encouragement from others to participate.
  • The guilt feeling arising from individual’s inactivity may be assuaged by the observation that others in the community are also inactive.
  • An individual, ready for action, may be discouraged by the observation that the apathy of other people increases his/her political work.

 

  • The individual may be a member of a group in which political apathy is a positive group norm- group which would discourage political action.

Some people might consider it a social responsibility to participate politically may be reassured by the observation that most other people are apathetic.

Thus, the above discussed the framework of political apathy, its concept and dimensions and factors are essential in this study to obtain the level of political apathy of selected student of Mindanao State University-Marawi, as well as, the relationship of students’ demographic variables.

CHAPTER II

METHODOLOGY

 

Locale of the Study

         Mindanao State University was established on September 1, 1961 through R.A 1387, as amended was the brain child of the late Senator Domocao A. Alonto, as one of the government’s responses to the so-called “Mindanao Problem.” The original mission of the university was anchored on instruction, research and extension. The 1954 Congressional Committee conceptualized it as a social laboratory for national integration. Its first four decades reflected a glorious past exemplary achievements that brought it to institutional maturity. From one campus in Marawi City starting with 282 students and 12 faculty members in its pioneering of classes in 1962, it has grown to a multi-campus supra-regional university system, serving over 53,000 students in all levels with nearly 3, 100 faculty members.

         The locales of the University campuses are vibrant, welcoming and reflect cultural diversity. Moreover, its proud history and unique environment make MSU directly charged by the government to advance the cause of national unity and actively pursue integration through education. Today, MSU has units in seven strategic areas which cut across the Mindanao region. From a one-campus university in Marawi City, MSU has grown to a multi campus university of seven autonomous campuses.

        The main campus is composed of sixteen colleges, to wit: College of Agriculture, College of Business Administration and Accountancy, College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Fisheries, College of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Graduate School Center, College of King Faisal Center for Islamic Arabic and Asian Studies, College of Health Sciences, College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, College of Information Technology, College of Law, College of Medicine, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, College of Public Affairs, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, and the College of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation.

Method of Data Gathering and Data Analysis

The research study is purely quantitative and descriptive that will look into the level of political apathy. The main method used to gather the necessary information is through descriptive survey using questionnaires, design to reveal the level of political apathy among the selected student of MSU-Marawi.

The questionnaire will use to gather the needed information from the respondents. Checklists of possible responses for each question are provided in part I including the demographic details while they are ask to check the provided questions which corresponds their answer in part II of the questionnaire.

A four-point Likert Scale will be used to measure the responses of the respondents of each item in the questionnaire. The weight and scale of items were as follow: 4-Always; 3-Often; 2- Rarely; 1- Never.

With the use of Simple random sampling method, the researcher will automatically choose Ten (10) respondents from each college. This method is utilized because this allows an equal probability of being included in the sample from their college. Moreover, the data also gather written published and unpublished materials as well as reliable internet sources that are relevant to the study.

Method of Data Analysis

The study will look into the level of political apathy of the student, in order to know the level the researcher provides the following scale: (4) Extreme Apathy; (3) High Apathy; (2) Moderate Apathy; and (1) Low Apathy.

The data gather from the statistical records were presented in the form of graphs. Also, to validate the hypothesis of the study, the Frequency Count and Percentage Distribution will be used in analyzing the data. Tables will be used in presenting the findings of the study. Frequency Count and Percentage Distribution are represented by the formula:

P=f/n x 100%

The above formula will be used wherein ―P is the percentage distribution, ―f is the frequency, ―n is the number of respondents, and 100% as a constant.

 

CHAPTER III

REVIEW AND RELATED LITERATURE

This chapter is divided into two parts. On the first hand, the first part presents the foreign researches or studies about political apathy in a certain issue. On the second hand, the second part presents evaluative local studies about the Political Apathy in the Philippines.  

 

Foreign Studies

An investigation study into political apathy was conducted among the student of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. The study was to examine political apathy amongst student at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and also, to question whether youth political apathy threatens the consolidation of democracy. More specifically, the purpose of this study was to critically

analyse contemporary literature on the politics of young people in post-apartheid South  Africa, in order to identify its shortcomings and give an in-depth explanation for   youth political apathy, and how it impacts democracy. The writer has employed a qualitative method. Four focus groups were arranged by the researcher at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. All participants of the study were Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) undergraduate and postgraduate black students aged 21-35. The sample of this study included fifty participants. Thus the researcher has utilized a purposive sampling technique. Participants were encouraged by the researcher to have maximum participation in the focus group deliberations. The researcher also made use of elite interviews in the study. The findings of this study suggest that political apathy amongst students at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University does exist. Most of the participants in the focus groups indicated that young people in post-apartheid South Africa have no interest in politics.

Another study was conducted by Yusufu Abdullahi Yakubu entitled Democracy and Political Apathy in Nigeria. The study was an examination of democracy and political apathy in Nigeria between 1999 and 2011. It attempted to find out the dangers of political apathy in Nigeria’s democracy during the period under study. The article observed that political apathy manifested itself in the country between 1999 and 2011 in the following forms: one, the decline to register; two, the refusal to vote; three, failure to protest against rigging and four, failure to assist the security agents with useful information. It discovered that bad governance was responsible for political apathy. The article therefore recommended good governance as a solution to political apathy in Nigeria’s democracy.

Further, the study also conducted by Beatrice Schlee entitled, “Economic Crisis and Political Apathy in Zimbabwe: The impotent society.  Accordingly, the Zimbabwean Regime of Zanu-PF has not only survived for decades but also amidst the deepest economic crisis. Whereas scholars expected a political uprising because of the ongoing marginalisation of people, apathy was the dominant feature of political life between 2003 and 2008.  In studies of authoritarian regimes, political apathy has hardly played any role.  Though many factors have to be considered in an analysis of the stability of the Zanu-PF regime, political apathy plays a key role to understand its long living nature. The paper argues that political  apathy –a constant of Zimbabwean society – was nurtured substantially through the crisis. Factors as the high level of personal frustration due to the declining economy and the humiliation of the once proud Zimbabweans whose country served as a model for Africa had a negative impact on political activism. Survival mechanisms, as the chameleon like adaptation to the ever changing environment of hyperinflation did not only shift the focus from politics to economics but also contained the situation as it helped to restore the personal self-esteem of the humiliated. The same is true for the “exit option” which besides migration also encompasses people seeking an inner exile through taking refuge into humour as a way to trivialise the abnormal. The paper holds the thesis that political actors as the opposition party and civil society groups could not escape the overwhelming climate of apathy which affected negatively their capacity of taking action and strategic thinking.

On the Youth’s Political Apathy, the apathy that is connected to politics and political situation, which typically affects both young and old alike, that result in lower and lower voter turnout during elections is called political apathy. The supposed political apathy of young adults and teenagers has been a subject of discussion by the 21st century academics and laypersons alike  which is a cause of concern about the future of  democracy. According to Dan this is apparent for those in the age group 18 to 24 years. Supported by ample research and poll data like the study of  Pew Research in 2010, this age group has traditionally been uninterested in current events, global politics, environmental concerns, and ethical debates involving scientific invention, human trafficking and social equity.

Sarfaraz, Ahmed, Khalid and Ajmal, defined apathy as a state of indifference wherein an  individual has an absence of interest or concern to  certain aspects of emotional, social or physical life. They further added that it can be object-specific towards a person, activity, or environment. It is the lack of interest in things one does not consider important. It is synonymous to passivity, submissiveness, and even numbness to social, economic, environmental and political issues as evidenced by lack of awareness, concern, social responsibility and action such as voting.

Similarly, Garcia-Albacete supported this, as she explained that the concerns regarding the youth‘s movement away from politics has been emphasized by different institutions and media that resulted to a number of national and international initiatives that confirmed the decrease of interest in politics of the citizens in general, and the young people in particular, as a result of their disaffection towards different institutions and their apathy regarding traditional forms of participation. Some of the usual explanations for the lack of interest in politics include young people‘s belief that politics lacks relevance for them or their preoccupation with other interests and concerns, or the complexity of politics and the difficulties young people have in understanding political life and processes.

Local Studies

A study conducted by Madelene Sta. Maria and Jose Maria Diertro Jr, entitled “The Youth speak: Forms, facilitators and obstacles to their political participation. The drawing of the study on results from four focus group discussions with high school students in rural and urban environments, the researchers explored youth perceptions about their roles as political agents in Philippine society. Participants were also asked to share their ideas on what could hinder and facilitate their engagement of their roles. Both urban and rural youth groups emphasized their avoidance of criminal activities as a way by which they could contribute to societal change. While the rural youth were more particular about their engagement in community activities and the use of resources within the community in the engagement as political actors, the urban youth gave greater importance to participation in mass activities for the common good. Both youth groups saw the lack of appreciation from others for their efforts at participation as a hindrance and the sense of civic commitment as a facilitator to their participation. Differences between the two groups in their constructions of what could hinder or spur their activities as political actors could be found in the way the rural youth emphasized self-related factors, such as agency and knowledge, and in the way the urban youth emphasized non self-related factors, such as time and nature of political activity in the country.

On the other hand, there was a study that concludes youth political participation is not declining rather, it is promising generation. In particular, a study of Wilhelma L. Cabo entitled, Youth and Political Participation in the Philippines: Voices and themes from a Democracy Project”. This study appears to be a prevailing perception that the generation of young people today are uninterested if not apathetic to politics. But is that really the case? Are today’s young generation truly disengaged from politics? This paper focuses on this question, drawing from a democracy project in the Philippines that involved young university students as volunteers in an election monitoring exercise. A content analysis of focus group data and reflection papers of students about their subjective experiences, feelings, insights and views regarding their participation in the project and politics in general belie the conventional wisdom that the young are a politically impassive and indifferent generation. The youths are interested in political life around them and hold critical views about the behaviour of politicians and political candidates. And even as they recognize the weaknesses and deficits in the political system, the youths are interested in political participation not just in voting but in other engagements that support democracy and good government. The paper concludes that today’s youths are a promising generation of political activists whose energies, enthusiasm and aspirations can be mobilized and harnessed to strengthen democratic processes and achieve their aspirations for what they call ‘good society,’ ‘good government’ and ‘good politics.’

 

PERSONALISTIC POLITICS BROUGHT MOCHA USON IN THE SYSTEM

In my Philippine bureaucracy class, we discussed about the Weberian model of bureaucracy which meritocracy, profession as a career are two among the principles of this model.  Now what actually striking me about, in relation to the model is the informal appointment scheme of the executive which I am referring to President Duterte, let’s be realistic here Duterte can appoint anyone he wants or he like without any qualifications or formal processes, without the basic components of weberian model as long as that person is a fully blooded duterte. On the other hand, I am also aware that Duterte has nothing to with the appointment or reappointment because of so-called independent body composed of commission of appointment headed by the senators and representatives, it’s an agency to look into the qualifications for formality sake and to scrutinize the appointees whether that person is a yellowtards or dutertards by blood, or a mao-blooded or unknown bloc in the spectrum.  However, we cannot deny also the real fact that these bureaus or agency are rigidly attached or romanticized to the executive branch, thus, it must be a line with the Duterte’s will r else that person will suffer a lot, a clear example was Leni Robredo was kick out from the cabinet, another is Gina Lopez was rejected because of her progressive approach towards the operation of the Mining. Even Duterte would vocally tell us that we can work and develop without the help of the Mining Industry but this is not and will not going to happen. Indeed, he respects the commission on appointment about rejecting the women in principles but we also know that most of the finances during his campaign were coming from the local elites who operate the Mining.

What’s really insulting me as a citizen is the appointment of Mocha Uson in the presidential communication department because it’s really an insult to the Filipino and must be a big deal among Filipino. But heads up, it’s my right to criticize someone who is in the public service; I paid tax during the time I was employed and soon will be a tax payer again. I am registered voter and I voted during the previous National Election but just to let you know I did not vote Duterte yet showing on the figures, majority of the Filipino voted for Duterte. Of course a lot of reasons why Duterte won the elections, it might be with the populist approach or Machiavellian kind of leadership or a charismatic kind or Teddy Casino tell us that he is socialist like Hugo Chavez (c’mon). One thing for sure, Filipino believes that Durterte will bring enormous change in the system. In order to attain these platforms, Duterte should of course bring the smartest and brightest professionals who could operate and function the organization effectively and efficiently and could bring development in the economic, political and sociocultural spheres.

On the question, Is Mocha Uson qualified to the post? Well, my answer is a big NO. In my justification, I am not going to dwell with  the personalistic reasoning like asking Who is Mocha, before Durterte, her background as a sex guru, revisiting her sex blog, etc. because at the very first place, she don’t have credentials in media profession, indeed, she can write and speak. She has column page like Andanar, she has millions of followers in social media (solid DDS forever), and she can influence millions of people by just one post in the Facebook. She can be one of the best political strategists or she can run as a politician like Sotto and Manny because she is the only Mocha Uson in the Philippines. However, Filipino trying to be blind and deaf with the reality, what I am trying to stress out with reality it means logic and facts, people should deal with the thesis how did she contribute to the national unity, and development in the midst of political crisis; how did she help to propagate logical and rational discourses to increase consciousness to the Filipino, on how she contribute to the government policy and programs. Even I don’t or we don’t, Mocha Uson is now a National Government Official and she has enormous responsibility and accountability to the Filipino and Philippines as a whole.

Since she’s the girl online, I perceived, two contesting views, whether her behaviour in an online interactions create a positive input and output to system as a whole,  on the other hand, it creates harm by providing alternative information or facts based on her biases, personalistic or illogical perception. By looking into the context, the latter views are what Mocha’s behaviour in the online world, particularly in her social media interactions. Mocha is a paddler of lies and fake information, disseminating black propaganda against officials who tried to criticize Duterte, propagating fake information and facts.  What’s really alarming and harmful to this view is that people actually believe to the alternative information or few people called this “post-truth”, people are in the process of indoctrinating this information is factual and rational even this is merely based on emotions, and people are now behaving in accordance to this information especially to those people who patronize Mocha Uson. This is bad to the society in perspective because it alter the truth and eventually it cause social conflicts among interpersonal relations like it create division, apathy, and futility. But I am not saying here that she is not entitled her political views in social media because every one of us is embracing the freedom of speech. But I’m concerning about the pervasive influence of Mocha as part of government bureaucracy which should promote unity, awareness, truth, rational and logical discourses in the society.

Look what she have done to KaDSS and Dutertards they are becoming monstrous using blatant and profanity words against their enemy because Mocha is feeding and tolerating their egoistic nature. What’s really dismayed me, my colleagues and friends in social media are losing their critical minds and logical reasoning.

The appointment of Mocha is also a manifestation of an eroding and perverted political system based on the personalistic politics and political accommodation that answer to the problem why Duterte appoint Mocha, Dominguez, and Sueno and other big fishes at the very first place because of this “utang na loob” attitude. Mocha helps Duterte in the campaign in social media, Dominquez. Suelo and others funded Duterte during presidential campaign. So, Duterte appointed those Big Fishes in the cabinet secretary and Mocha is appointed as communication assistant secretary. It sucks but that’s the system we have and will always have.

 

Organic Farming in Mindanao: A Case of Mr. Boncale.

Boncale’s Determination, persistence, learning and his belief in organic farming were the basis of his success as a humble farmer in his community.

The drastic shift of mode of production in the society affects the very existence of every human being. It affects the relations, outlooks and practices of the people, particularly, the experienced of every farmers in the Philippines in which traditional method of farming are eventually vanishing from their practices because of the new approaches and method instilled by media, private corporations and government.

However, even this is actually happening at the ground level, there are still optimistic farmers that continuously believe in organic farming- just like one of the farmers in Zamboanga Del Sur, Mr. Boncale who consistently perform natural farming in his 2 hectares of land. He shared that learning the strategy and method of organic farming (such as foliar fertilizer and botanical spray) was the best information he got after experiencing failure in farming by using chemical fertilizer. From this bad experienced, Mr. Boncale shows determination by asking information and attending seminars regarding organic farming where he could gain essential knowledge.

According to the information he gained, organic farming can be defined as simple farming, no need for chemical fertilizers as well as pesticides and could really help to our ecosystem. It just like going to the basic agriculture. Also, Organic farming is the response to conventional farming where crops are often sprayed with chemicals that may cause some serious health conditions for farmers and consumers. That’s the main reason why he opted to learn and practice organic farming because of great result not just for myself and family but as well as helping our environment.

A part from experiences and information in organic farming he told us being a farmer, they really need capital to start with the cultivation and production especially when you have 2 or more hectares of land. He added, it’s really important when you have both capital and knowledge and skills in organic farming where you can yield 70% and eventually will reach to 90% per hectares. And last year, Mr. Boncale yielded a total of 124 sacks and 60kg per sack from his 1.5 hectares by consistently use botanical spray and organic fertilizer made locally from available resource. It shows a really great result from his determination and belief in organic farming and creating an enormous impact to all farmers who are still engaging in chemical for their cultivation and rejecting organic farming.

Mr. Boncale also consider that there are a lot of critics saying that organic farming cannot provide the same high yields as chemical farming, He argue that at least their land is safe; that they have not invested in buying the chemicals and increasing their cost of cultivation. If you look at the recklessness by most farmers nowadays, then you will understand that all those farmers who committed suicides have built up huge debts.

The debts kept growing because of borrowing at high interest rates for buying these chemicals which promised to increase the yield. In the end, it only increased their debts, he explains.

Triumph in Organic Farming in the Philippines: A Story of Mrs. Pino in Zamboanga Del Sur

Mrs. Pino is an active member of KASAMAKA which one of the few grassroots organizations in Mindanao campaigning Organic Farming in Zamboanga Del Sur. She is very grateful by her Organization because of the learning she acquired from theory to practice about organic farming. She explained the same with other farmers she also had tragic experienced in farming by using chemicals in cultivation to the extent her husband and children acquired illness. After this bad experienced she was very dishearten by the decreasing harvest, affecting family’s health and the income situation had become so hopeless.

But then again Mrs. Pino’s determination and interest in learning new method in farming resonates to a positive outcome in her life as a farmer. At first, she have doubtful in applying organic farming in her cultivation however after she joined one of the seminars and series of discussions about organic farming in Balongatin, Zamboanga Del Sur organized by CONZARRD and KASAMAKA her hesitation in organic farming was eventually die out by learning all those great inputs and demo. She begins applying organic farming with her ¼ hectares and she was surprised by the results, her cultivation costs were reduced, the soil’s fertility on my farm has improved and my income has increased.

After using organic farming for four years, Mrs. Pino already has 2 Hectares of land. While she is very active in her cultivation, she was also very consistent in gaining new information about organic farming with the help of her Organization. Because of this, she tried to develop vermi cast. She explained, they started from two (2) sacks and right now our construction is going because we are hoping, two months from now we are going to harvest 300 sacks of vermin cast with that result they could also give vermin cast to their interested neighbors. Aside from vermin cast, they also develop vegetable sources and waste of duck.

Through their consistent efforts and initiatives in organic farming, one of the government agencies in zamboanga del sur came to visit and saw the appealing model farm, with that, they decided to support by giving farm machineries and they also gave 12kgs of African night crawler which they added up to the reproduction. Last year, they also join in provincial competition as recommended by the municipal agriculturist on organic farm display and fortunately, they won the competition.

Aside from being an active member of KASAMAKA, she is also a president in commune irrigation system in their community which an add-on to her advocacy to encourage her constituents in organic farming. Recently, the government of zamboanga del sur turn over the rehabilitation dam which cost 7.5 million. The irrigation will help the 80 hectares in Dagohoy and Guipos zamboanga del sur.

The KASAMAKA and CONZARRD are committed to give seminar and training to all interested farmers in Zamboanga Del Sur. They continuously encourage farmers to apply organic farming as one of alternative mechanism to combat climate change instead of using chemical fertilizer that certainly harms the environment and people’s health.

She added, considering that there are farmers are always hesitant is using organic farming because of the meticulous processes and expensiveness but we want stress out instead of purc

hasing vermin cast or natural pest repellents, we could maximize other means such as African night crawler, foliar fertilizer, waste of animals or any organic manures made from locally available resources. Through this, it will reduce your expenditure in cultivation.

Recently, the average of last cropping was 120 sacks per hectare and 70kgs per sack. It really indicates positive outcome through the use of organic farming.

Moreover, aside from raw to production processes they also engage in income generating programs by marketing their products (e.g., rice, atsal, etc.).

Mrs. Pino’s story is one of the vivid manifestations of triumph experience to all farmers and climate advocate, believing that the organic farming is an alternative solution to attain sustainable development and response to the climate change.

A Summary on the Dimensions of Political Apathy and Political Participation

1.1 Some Determinants of Political Apathy

Political Apathy is a very widespread phenomenon in American Culture.

  • serious malfunctioning of democracy
  • Political theorists, favorable behavior rather than by broad cleavage, and is basically stable.

General Criterion:

(1) Political Involvement (2) knowledge (3) activity

If we accept the view that democratic ideal encourages political interest and participation then the question naturally arises: [MAIN QUESTION] what are these factors which bring about the absence of political interest and participation?

THREE GENERAL FACTORS:

(1) Threatening consequences of political activity

(2) Futility of political Activity

(3) Absence of spurs to interest and participation

THREATENING CONSEQUENCES OF POLITICAL ACTIVITY

The democratic right of freedom of speech does not insure that people will feel free to express their political convictions publicly at all times. (a) Threat of governmental action will deter some. (b) Threat to interpersonal harmony, others will be blocked from talking or acting in behalf of their political beliefs out of fear of losing friends, alienating neighbors, endangering marriages; jeopardizing their positions in groups, (c) threats to occupational success: losing business, jeopardizing their jobs, endangering production in their plants; (d) threats of ego-deflation: facing community pressures, or exposing their feeling of self-esteem to threats.

These are consequences which many people are unwilling to face and to avoid these consequences, they impose a self-censorship on their political expression, participation, and even emotional involvement.

FUTILITY OF POLITICAL ACTIVITY

(a) Based on the sense of personal inadequacy

(b) Unmanageability of political forces

(c) The gap between ideal and reality

Many people may be deterred from political activity by the conviction that their efforts will be futile. An individual may feel that he/she us but one among so many; that the agents of political decisions- representatives, machines, “the government”, certain powerful anonymous forces- are unable or unwilling to heed his voice of follow his/her will; that the political reality is hopelessly remote from the ideal; or that the hopelessness of political victory makes any effort pointless.

It may be observed that these consequences of apathy derive from the particular nature of the social and political structures. The mass nature of the society, characterized by wide disparities of power, remotes the sense of personal insignificance; the centralization of government fosters a sense of remoteness from the key decision-making process; periodic election produce discontinuous exercise of power; the system of representation draws power from the citizen and grants it to the representative.

In other words, a political structure established with the aim of implementing democracy may unwittingly establish the conditions for political apathy.

ABSENCE OF SPURS TO ACTION

It is also relevant to examine the question of apathy in the light of the absence of influences, stimuli, or appeals which might encourage participation.

Under this factor there are three underlying attributes coming from the respondent’s interview:

(a) The Subject Matter of Politics is often not psychologically compelling

Since the political institution deals with problems of the total society, involving subject of general interest and concern, it tends to have an abstract or impersonal quality. However, for many people, they still remain, dull, remote and uninspiring

(b) Absence of noninstrumental gratification

Some people might conceivably engage in political activity because they enjoyed it, even if the goals they sought were not attained. However, there are individual’s incentive to political activity is often dulled by the absence of direct and immediate satisfaction even if there is monetary rewards or prestige. And some people find their current activity much more directly gratifying than political activity.

(c) Political results meet few direct and urgent needs

Politics may be viewed as a moderately interesting spectacle, but one that is remote from the direct concerns of daily life, they voluntarily alienate herself/himself in politics. An example of this: the man who wants an apartment usually does not attempt to get one by lobbying for federal housing project; rather, he consults agents, newspapers or friends. Another is, woman who wants lower food prices ordinarily does not attempt to achieve it by joining citizen’s committee striving to apply pressure on congress; rather she goes blocks out of her way to shop at a super-market whose price are lower than those of the neighborhood grocer.

Further, governmental action is considered irrelevant to their lives. They do not conceive of the government as an agent which can solve their immediate and pressing problems.

(d) People often lack a personal thrust to action

Personal influence may be of great importance in determining political attitudes and behavior. The data suggest that interpersonal factor may operate in several different ways to promote apathy or discourage participation.

  • Interpersonal factors may operate in several ways to promote political apathy
  • the individual may receive no positive encouragement from others to participate.
  • the guilt feeling arising from individual’s inactivity may be assuaged by the observation that others in the community are also inactive.
  • an individual, ready for action, may be discouraged by the observation that the apathy of other people increases his/her political work.
  • the individual may be a member of a group in which political apathy is a positive group norm- group which would discourage political action.

Some people might consider it a social responsibility to participate politically may be reassured by the observation that most other people are apathetic.

CHALLENGE AND OPPURTUNITY:

In this article, they suggested several factors which is some cases contribute to political apathy. That these factors have some significance is clearly suggested by data, but their relative importance, their statistical distribution among various population sub groups, and their interrelationships must remain subject for more systematic research.

Favorable rather than broader cleavage: because they feel there is no need to do anything; they are contented with the social and political system (standard of living), have faith in their representatives, see no need for change.

Some people do not participate actively because of the incertitude of their political convictions; to tem politics may be confusing, complicate, and contradictory, other may be exhausted by the pressure of other activities to pay much attention to it and among others. These and other factors would have to be examined before an adequate understanding of the determinants of political apathy could be achieve.

Symptom of the malfunctioning of democracy: What can be done about it? This is obviously a crucial area for social research.

On the other hand,

2. SENSE OF POLITICAL EFFICACY AND POLITICAL PARTICIPATION

Sense of political efficacy may be defined as the feeling that individual political action does have, or can have, an impact upon the political process. And it is the feeling that political and social change is possible, and that the individual citizen can play a part in bringing about this change.

Political Efficacy = Political Participation

It would be positively related to political participation based on the conducted study during 1952 election. The study clearly indicates that the higher one’s sense of political efficacy, the higher the level of his/ her participation. And these two variable is consistent throughout.

It also indicates in the study that there is reflection of educational indifferences [those respondents who attended college rank high on this scale compared with 15 per cent of those who have completed no more that grade schools.] and socio-economic status are also highly related to political efficacy. [Income and occupation]

Thus, the effect of differing levels of political efficacy is not as great for the more socially and politically advantaged citizenry as it is for the less socially and politically advantaged.

Reference:

Morris Rosenberg

Angus Campbell

Gerald Gurin

Warren E. Miller