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Ignorance of the Law: Chasing for Changes in the Country of the Kayumangging-Kaligatan

Is it the responsibility of every Filipino to know the laws being implemented in the land or should it be the government’s duty to inform the Filipinos about the laws that they are implementing? Say that it is the former that must happen, then how can every Filipino knows all these laws? If it is then the later, then is the government fulfilling its duty and is it effective? What’s clear today in the Philippines is that many are violating the basic laws of the streets and of the offices. There is a high level of complaints among common Filipinos when it comes to the integrity and quality of services of government employees. Traffic rules are among of the most violated rules in Metro Manila. Lack of discipline in the roads, parks, and subdivision communities is dominant. Many Filipinos do not know the laws or they know them but they never obey.

On the Photos: Typical Street Life in the Philippines

On these photos, you will see the lack of discipline, wrong doings, violations of traffic rules, dominance of advertisements, and many other acts of Filipinos that have become norms or standard practices in the streets and public places.

Ignorance of the law is a serious problem in the Philippines. It is a fact. Not every Filipino knows even the basic laws of the streets, towns, offices, and even at home. You will hear a government official saying “Nandito na yang sistema na yan nung dumating ako. Hindi ko alam na bawal yan”(When I came here, that system is already in place. I didn’t know that it’s prohibited by the law). You will see big sign boards in the middle of EDSA saying “Bawal tumawid dito. Nakamamatay”(No crossing here. Deadly.) yet many are still jaywalking and not using the crossing bridge or overpass. On many homes, you will see parents battering their children, forcing them to work instead of sending them to school, and even on the homes of rich families, you will witness some parents allowing their children to drive vehicles and hold guns at their very young age. In many towns, cities and barangays, curfews are implemented yet teenagers are still loitering around in the middle of the night. Gambling (mah-jong, pusoy, cara y crus, etc.), drinking sessions, noisy videoke parties, double parking, and selling without permits on sidewalks and even in the middle of the streets on the case of “takatak boys” are the very common scenarios wherever you go. Throwing candy wrappers, cigarette butts, plastic bottles, and many other forms of garbage is a normal situation to witness everyday wherever you go in this country. The seaside, rivers, creeks, canals, and drainage systems; it is certain that there garbage and waste floating, sinking and stocked in them. That is because of the ignorance of the law on cleanliness and sanitation in the environment.

On the Photos: More Violations in the Streets and Public Places

Creating, enacting and executing laws are under the Philippines Constitution. There are about 300 house of representative and 24 senators who were elected to do these tedious, challenging, and sometimes controversial duties and responsibilities. According to the Senate of the Philippines 15th Congress, “There is no limit to the number of bills a member may introduce.” The President either signs the bill into law or vetoed them. This is a long, technical in nature, and costly process. Printing of documents, reading sessions, hearing ammendments, and technical assistance in research and drafting are part of the costing involved in making a law. These are the bills becoming laws. Ordinances made by city and town councils are also laws implemented in the country. Can you imagine how these laws are being made known to the Filipino citizens? According to the “Statistical Data on Bills Resolutions of the 15th Congress”, there were 3,405 senate bills filed from July 26, 2010 to June 25, 2013. 105 of them are already enacted into law as of this writing. Isn't it mind-boggling on how these laws are broadcasted to every Filipino citizen? Isn’t logical that if a law is made, it should be well understood as well by all who are under the jurisdiction of the executors? For more information about the above cited information, please visit the following websites: and .

Not every Filipino is taught about the Philippines Constitution. Not every Filipino knows the Preamble. Many Filipinos don’t even know that they are obliged to follow the rules of the land. It is the truth and there are many big reasons behind that. Lack of education, poor governance, varying culture and tradition, political issues, and geography of the country are among of the major reasons. Ignorance of the law or inefficient system of implementing the law; both have something to do with the current situation of the country. There is something wrong going on and its relevance to change for the betterment of this nation is big. This article will aim to recommend solutions for the positive changes to happen with respect to the laws of the land – the land of the Kayumangging Kaligatan (brown race), the true colour of the FIlipinos.

The Role of Media
The media plays a very important role in influencing the people. On national television, there are news, talk shows, infomercials and many other programs that tackle the political and economic status of the country. In the Philippines, GMA Network, ABS-CBN, and TV5 are the top three media companies that are delivering the information to the people on their everyday lives. The government has its own television channel that is airing its programs about the country. Developments, progress, plans, issues and local and international events are shared to the public via the National Broadcasting Network or NBN. Current events in the House of Representatives and House of Senate are broadcasted to the people thru this channel. Trips of the President local and abroad are being publicized through this channel. And if there are newly enacted bills, NBN reveals it to nation. However, the complete domination of the top three media channels is what causes the unawareness of millions of Filipinos about what’s going on with the country. That instead of watching the news about the recovery of Philippine Stock Exchange index and proclamation of new Presidential Decrees, people are busy watching the “telenovelas” and game shows on the popular channels.

A big portion of the Filipinos' time is being stolen by the attractive, engaging, and worth satisfying TV programs of these popular media companies. This is the truth and the negative effect on the Filipinos lives is very obvious. The main topic of conversation next day in the office is how the main actress slapped the villain actress who seduced the husband of the first. On the nearby store of Aling Nena (Ale or Aling is the common address to lady store owners), the debate and argument among the early-to-rise housewives after sweeping their respective front yards is centering on how the 1 million jackpot in the famous Will Time Big Time game show was won by the tough contestant. The “kanto boys” (jobless boys) are talking about the Barangay Ginebra Kings and the Alaska Aces on how their game ended with huge disappointment of many fans of the former. News about crimes, kidnapping, holdup, theft, child abuse, celebrity brake ups, and latest traffic updates are the usual contents of the evening and morning news programs such as TV Patrol, 24 Oras and Aksyon. This is how the 24 hours of many Filipinos typically revolves the whole year round. The sun just rises and sets for all these informative but almost meaningless events and issues with respect to the people’s personal growth and success.

There is a need for change on how the way media should influence the citizens of the country. The laws being implemented should be shared by the media in a similar fashion advertisement, game shows and “telenovelas” are being aired. A certain portion of the entire day of these media companies should be allotted for sharing the information about the government’s measures, programs, campaigns, and reports about the entire nation. Good or bad laws in the eyes of many, by impacting them on the minds of every Filipino on a daily basis, can do a big change. A game show about “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” with all the questions are about the laws of every town and city may sound absurd, but it can bring information in an attractive and lively fashion. Inviting congressmen and senators to become news anchors on afternoon news programs on major networks can definitely make a big difference. Media can be the mouth and hand of the government and people’s ear and eyes could be willing to see and listen the government in action on insightful ways. Not only on television but also on newspapers, internet and radio stations these kinds of law information dissemination are possible to be done. Media companies should offer these services to the nation fro free as much as possible.

Parks, Government Offices and Public Places
Filipinos, like any other races in the world, love going to the shopping malls (also the reason Why Filipinos Love SM). And on typical days, crowds are in the streets, markets, plazas, municipal and city halls or offices, and inside the public utility vehicles which are mainly the jeepneys, trains, taxis and buses. This is the way of life in the country. People converse with each other while commuting going home. People look on bulletin boards while waiting in the line to get the documents or receipts in government offices. Students are staring on billboards, signages, and moving vehicles while going in and out of their respective schools. In community plazas, many are willing to share their stories and experiences to the people they meet and at the same time they are also wondering along gardens, walkways, and stages of the plaza or gymnasium. The perfect spots for posting information about laws, ordinances and other programs of the national or local government are on these public places. What's obvious is that many towns and cities are not after these law information drives and campaigns. It is the least on their priorities.

Today, what’s noticeable around are the banners of upcoming concerts, brand logo and ads of a sports fest’s sponsor, photoshop-edited faces of politicians and board passers of national examinations of the town, billboards of famous celebrity wearing the latest clothing line or handling the newest electronic gadget, and public utility vehicles fully patched with ads. In the city, look around and the walls, posts and even traffic sign boards are full of vandals. In rural areas, except on health centers and barangays offices, there seems to be almost nothing noticeable around when it comes to the government programs and events about laws. These are not the solutions to the ignorance of the law of many Filipinos. Everybody is busy but not all are doing productive things even at least for themselves. Many tricycle drivers, pedicab drivers, and jeepney barkers are just loitering around and care for almost nothing about the environment they are moving into. They are earning money and wasting them again and again; and they know not much about the violations they are making on the streets. They are the jaywalkers, red light beaters, and solicitors of extra fares. Commuters are riding on the wrong places. Buses are racing on the streets for passengers. Sad but that is the truth on many streets and highways in this country.

Educating the public about a law is about providing them the necessary materials, resources and information about that law. Posting the important laws on places where most people can see on a daily basis can combat the ignorance of the law problem. Remove the giant banners of ads in EDSA and replace them with “Batas Pambansa Bilang” (National Law Number) and see what will happen in the next three to six months. On the “Welcome” arc structures going in and out of every towns in the provinces, place the website of the government offices or latest ordinances approved by the town officials and people will be surely aware on what they should have to be much aware of. Inside jeepneys and buses, place an A4 size bond paper listing all the important laws in the streets particularly about the current fare scheme, traffic light rules, loading and unloading zones, safety reminders, and what to bring and not inside utility vehicles. On train stations, post the LRT management’s new or existing fare rules, the do’s and don’ts when boarding and alighting the train, and the discipline required to every passengers while train is stopping and moving. These are not difficult things to do. These can make the Filipino citizens more knowledgeable about the laws they need to comply with. The end results are not easy to achieve but if promoters of changes like these will be done, it can be.

Political Campaigns and Events
Political candidates are spending money on their aim to win and become the officer of their respective political zones. Some candidates are not only spending, they are investing money with the main motive of getting an assurance that they will get that position in the office. The constitution is accepting these political moves but with controls and cautions. But the sad truth is that many people are being fooled elections after elections. The wrong candidate wins, the right one loses. The funds are misused and the convincing campaigns are only propagandas. Flyers, banners, tokens, and some amount of money; this is how election moulded the mindset of the Filipinos in the past decades. Although there are successful elections, where the winners are deserving and the ballot counts are unbiased, the majority is not. The tenure of office is served and many of the programs and reforms promised or committed are left undone. The atmosphere of the town or city remains the same over and over again. People are complaining about healthcare, street and home safety, difficulty on securing business permits and licenses, poor water distribution system, no road access to the markets, and a lot of more problems about the welfare of the community. The politicians are the culprit; not all of them, but many of them. The life goes on and on like this elections after elections.

Political campaigns can be remodelled in such a way that candidates can inform the public they are campaigning into about certain laws of the land. It can be made as a law itself that political campaigns should involve introduction or orientation to the people of the laws and ordinances. Each candidate should support any laws they want and should discuss them to the people as a part of their election or political campaign. Any political events where the community is involved should tackle at least one law. Mayors, governors, barangay captains, representatives, senators, cabinet members and the president should discuss to the people the laws they are supporting every time they are campaigning or hosting political events. The bills they proposed or will be proposing, they should share it to the public. The public should be aware not only of their reforms but also of their knowledge about the laws they are making and enacting. Politicians are the epitome of the people and they should prove it at all times. People may continue to be fooled by politicians for some more years but they can as well continue to learn about the laws they are bounded to comply with. This can be the start of big changes to the entire country where people knows the law and they loyally abide with it.

There are many other ways to educate people about the law and on how they should comply with it. On these modern days, the internet as a form of media can also be a medium to disseminate information about the laws of the land. It is not necessarily all laws that will be induced to the people but are the basic laws that affect the daily lives of everyone. Beginning with the laws on the streets, laws on government offices, and basic laws on homes and communities can ignite cooperation among Filipinos. Laws inside government offices and on private offices, if they will be followed by the officers and employees themselves, can influence everyone that is doing transactions with them. It can be a change from inside to the outside or vice versa or it could both happen at the same time.

Many Filipinos are chasing for a change from their “kababayan” or co-Filipinos. Isn’t it awful that compliance to the law is the number one thing everybody is talking about but is also the main thing many are ignoring about? The driving forces for change need to act to now with utmost seriousness. The current President is a part of this act. His deeds may not be noticeable yet to many but his aim for positive changes already matters to this country of the Kayumangging Kaligatan. You, the media people, political personalities, business tycoons, fish vendors, taxi drivers, street sweepers, daily commuters, “kanto boys”, housewives, students, office workers, OFWs, whoever you are, have a big part on the change we are chasing on this country. Look around, mind about the laws, and then follow them. Talk to your co-employees, mind about the suggestions on this blog, and start making a change. Spread the news about these ways on how we can liberate our countrymen from ignorance of the law. There is a big hope waiting for the Filipinos if we will act now.

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About this Blog
Thank you for reading this blog post. The purpose of bringing up our ignorance of the law is to impact into our minds that it is now time to change this kind of mentality. Both the government and we individuals have the responsibilities of becoming aware of the laws implemented in our land. The author, Noriel Panganiban, wants to highlight that ignorance of the laws had damaged our reputation and integrity in the many years that passed. It ruined our country.

For more information about Project Pilipinas, explore more this blog site. To introduce change into your life, think of things that will help improve your awareness about the laws. Think about starting a business. Visit to learn more things about business.


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How many jeepneys can you see here?

How about here?

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