American Adobo: A Cultural and Political Review

steaksauce By steaksauce, 17th Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>History

American Adobo is not just a common film telling stories of love, relationship and attitudes working abroad, but it cooks for a menu that talk about politics and life after the revolution. One main political critique of the film was the concept or idea of getting a good future and fortune if you are working abroad. We cannot also judge the characters involved in that Film, since after the EDSA 1, the country is in deep misery of debts internationally.

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American Adobo is a film that showcased the life of the group of Filipino friends who were working in the United States. They were one’s a freedom fighter against the tyrant Marcos and his regime. They considered themselves as a “martial law” babies. These are young, intelligent and had been politically active to marched and ousted Marcos’ throne. The story of the film revolves around the individual lives of each character. The film did not talk only about relationships or personal conflict but we can also trace the roots why they were working abroad. One thing for sure that the film had included is their experience in 70’s during the martial law. There was a scene on the film where Raffy (Christopher De Leon) hosted a little lunch party, and of course part of a Filipino culture is to talk while eating. One of their discussion is about injustices in the world, whether there is still justice and equality or completely just a fallacy of those hopeful. Their discussion of injustices brought them back during the time where they grew up in the tension of martial law. One of the many things they mentioned was the injustice bequeathed by the Marcos’ regime. One asked if there was true justice after the EDSA revolution and gaining back democracy if we talk about the Marcos’ wealth which was not given and surrendered back to the Filipino people. Discussing about injustices during the martial law was rooted in corruption. A trait that we cannot deny that has been rooted from the very bones of our culture. In Cristina Jayme Montiel’s research study titled “Philippine Political Culture and Governance”, she pointed out how our politics has evolved that leads to the maladies of our Politics. She explained that in a collectivist culture like us Filipinos, everybody that is involved during the election exercises a patron-client relationship

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that both parties have the “reciprocity” idea. If we take a look in American Adobo, their discussion about Marco’s regime falls into a category of a patron-client relationship, his majesty Marcos and his Knights the cronies. The crony is a group of allies that cooperatively participated El Presidente’s anomalies. We also have the first lady and her glamorous life style which the expenses came from the Filipino tax payer. Imelda Marcos’ can be considered in Montiel’s research as a support group that planned out Ferdinand’s candidacy and re-election, and apparently they were successful and stayed for 20 years. Third to consider upon discussing the corruption and reign of the Marcoses was the human injustices mentioned in the film. We cannot take it for granted that to stay in dominion; one must have an absolute power, that’s why Marcos declared martial law to put the country under the hands of the military and the police. This has created terrible injustices towards the Filipino people, and due process has been taken away and the armed forces used their power to cover up the dirt of society that time.
American Adobo is not just a common film telling stories of love, relationship and attitudes working abroad, but it cooks for a menu that talk about politics and life after the revolution. One main political critique of the film was the concept or idea of getting a good future and fortune if you are working abroad. We cannot also judge the characters involved in that Film, since after the EDSA 1, the country is in deep misery of debts internationally. The resolve of the conflicting idea might be very difficult to answer however, they have forgotten what they have fought about, it was the freedom that has been taken for 20 years and out of the miserable experiences and struggle that they had endure, they should’ve stayed and contribute to the country’s development and avoided draining the country’s brilliant minds. In Montiel’s research, though history is repeating itself because we have not yet achieve the Synthesis of the two conflicting Thesis according to Hegel, but Montiel suggested a resolution of progressive new politics. Two of the most common ideas to implant would be people empowerment and participative leadership according to Montiel. This way, corruption will be eradicated and people would start in believing that our country can provide a better future for our family and provide a sustainable development.

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In contemporary time research made by Cristina Jayme Montiel and Lutgardo B. Barbo described a Filipino culture towards Politics, Governance and Corruption of the Public office. Relating these researches from the national, local, regional and even in the global milieu has been thoroughly discussed in their works and the response of the respondents toward our culture of the Philippine politics and corruption through the research made and done by the two above had been evaluated. In the national level and regional level, election from president down to senate and congress is like a circus on New Year’s Eve. This is a make or break to a politician running in a national level to gain control and access to the public’s fund. Politician in a national level and regional may spend a lot that could make them gain or lose if they cannot win the masses. However, their ways in conveying more votes are usually through the power of money, when you have enough funds, buying the media can turn the losing candidate into a winning stag. When the candidate sits in the office, his first day would be the very first day that started his campaign, Montiel explained from the responses of the participants, that a candidate must do everything to gain the votes of public for the next election. In the case of the congressperson, even his primary duty as a legislator is to make law, but he must still see to it that time to time he must be visible in order to be not forgotten by his people that might cause his defeat on the next election. Once a relationship has been established, a patron-client relationship is born. Talking about local government unit in their discussion, they pointed out that local leaders contributed a lot from the chain coming from the administration. These people involved in the local government unit can promised a command vote that surely give a national candidate a huge amount of advantage in terms of voting, but in return, the local leader expects something, so the reciprocity idea paved its way. Getting beyond the discussion of Filipino culture in politics, let us check how corruption arises when the politician or a public servant sits in the office. According to Lutgardo B. Barbo, in his research about how corruption runs in the office, and with his experience as a Governor before in Eastern Samar, he stated that once a budget in the province is given, an “itchy hand” will come in handy. He said that he was approached by a construction contractor in a DPWH project to sign the proposal and in return he will get some percentage of the total budget but though he rejected it, the culture towards corruption in the Philippines is very prevalent and rooted somehow or somewhere

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deep in our society. On the other hand, a priest and political analyst Fr. Albert Alejo’s talk about corruption in the Philippines, he said that corruption could start in the family. As a collectivist in nature family can pressure a family member to do what is not right to provide the needs, even this is unconsciously done, but family somehow could be the culprit why people are involved in corruption. In the international aspect, there are also effects on how our country runs our government. Once people knew that the country has a lot of problems that rooted from corruption, his interest and trust working in his homeland is weakened, and the effect would be finding opportunities outside the country that can help him uplift his status in life.
The movie American Adobo has only shown a deep understanding reflecting on how our culture affected our political lives. It is true that nowadays, traditional politicians are still domineering though there are still few progressive politicians and public officer who aims for a better future. Advocating good governance and clean politics were the mottos of those unknown activist and most likely some were dead and half (if not all) are in danger because of their advocacies. One way or another, and even it will take time; I know there will be someone who will stand and fight what is right. We can only hope that in the future if we succeed in these advocacies, that we won’t forget the sad history for the sustainability and sake of our future generations.

Tags

Political Corruption, Political Satire, Political System, Political Values, Politics

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