VIDEO: Is Mayor Vico Sotto a Fan of Universal Basic Income (UBI)?

Wow. Napa-rewind ako dito sa video na ito: an interview of Mayor Vico Sotto by CNN/The Source anchor Pinky Webb about how Pasig City will cover all the 206,000 plus families who need help with cash grants sjnce the DSWD/national government can only give financial aid to 93,000 families via the DSWD’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP). Aside from this constituent-friendly move, this post is actually about what Mayor Vico Sotto says at the 9:40 mark. He and his team really get it. This is what he has to say about giving cash to people:

“Hindi lang po ito health crisis. Ito rin po ay isang socio-economic crisis. Kaya kailangan po para hindi mag-come to a stand still yung ekonomiya natin, now during community quarantine, and even after community quarantine, we need to make sure that our people have money to spend. Kung hindi, lalaki po ang krisis even after community quarantine. So, with the national government, the local government of Pasig will do everything that it can to make sure that our constituents have some degree of liquidity.”

I will not be surprised if Mayor Vico, based on his city’s actions, is familiar with Universal Basic Income (UBI) and its principles: universality, unconditionality, and prioritizing human value. UBI proponents also believe that cash in people’s hands stimulate the economy because they have money to spend for the products and services of businesses, and can even engage in business themselves if they have the extra cash after meeting their needs and paying the bills.

Of course, Mayor Vico may just know the principles of basic economics when it comes sending people cash in times of a crisis like this, but usually, the conventional or layman thinking is, primarily, to give financial relief to those in need. Listen, for example, to how our national government’s spokespersons are talking about the SAP and other cash aid. You don’t hear them talking about the cash grants in the way that Mayor Vico talks about it. If they did, they will be in a rush to cover all the families in the lists of the LGUs — not just stick to a quota (here’s also a comprehensive April 17 article by Bulatlat re the topic, saying that the cash aid is inadequate to cover all affected families) — and look for the money, just like what the city of Pasig did, because in the end, it will benefit the national economy.

In summary, if Mayor Vico Sotto is not a fan of Universal Basic Income now, it’s not hard to imagine that he will soon be, since he is already practicing its core principles.


If you enjoyed, learned something from, or were insipired by this article, kindly consider donating (via bank, G-Cash or Paymaya; if PayPal: paypal.me/filipinowriter), be one of my patrons at Patreon, or please contact me at filipinocreative@gmail.com — your way of providing me a basic income   — so that I may continue my advocacies and continue to research & write more such articles.

11 Reasons Why I Support Andrew Yang

If you are my friend or follower on social media, you may have noticed — and perhaps found it curious, if not weird, since I am a Filipino and not a U.S. citizen — that most of my posts are about the U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. This post is where I explain why.

You may already know that I first became aware of Andrew Yang’s run for the presidency after watching historian Rutger Bregman’s talk on Universal Basic Income (UBI). It wasn’t long before YouTube’s (thanks YouTube!) algorithm recommended to me an interview of Andrew Yang. And that was the start of my journey into the Andrew Yang rabbit hole. (Once you fall through, it’s very hard to climb back up.)

Next stop in the adventures, as people in the comment section recommended, was Joe Rogan’s podcast. For members of the #YangGang — the collective monicker for Yang’s supporters, and the campaign’s de facto hashtagthe Rogan podcast with Andrew Yang is usually the point of no return. Yang’s strength is the long-form interview, and once you hear one, especially this now iconic conversation, you are hooked for life. It was the same for me, and members of the Yang Gang can relate to this.

When you wake up, you want to watch the latest video or news or interview of Andrew Yang. Before you go to bed, you need to have your fill of Yang content. You have this urge to tell friends and family about this guy who is “the opposite of Donald Trump, the Asian guy who likes MATH.” MATH connotes love for facts and evidence-based solutions. It’s also the acronym for Make America Think Harder, the answer and/or antidote to Trump’s MAGA or Make America Great Again.

But going back to the purpose of this article, here are the reasons why I, a non-U.S. citizen — and there are many of us from all continents — am #YangGang.

Andrew Yang on a recent cover of Newsweek.

1.

If Andrew Yang wins, it will mainstream Basic Income. Yang’s flagship policy is Universal Basic Income (UBI) which he has named the Freedom Dividend (because, according to him, it polls better with conservatives). Watching Rutger Bregman’s TED talk about Basic Income, and researching more about it, convinced me that Basic Income is a major solution to the problem of inequality and poverty, empowering & giving economic freedom to individuals and communities.

In Bregman’s book Utopia for Realists, he included a graph showing how inequality and social ills (and health) are interrelated. The greater your nation’s inequality, the more you are plagued by social problems. It doesn’t matter if you are a developed or developing country.

Here in the Philippines, where poverty rate is around 20%, it would be easier to advocate for an unconditional (emphasis on this word) Basic Income, if one of the leading economies in the world — the U.S. — adopts it. And even if your goals are not overly ambitious, e.g. providing regular incomes (which may be time-bound) to survivors of natural (typhoons and earthquakes) and man-made (extrajudicial killings related to the brutal War on Drugs & suppression of dissent) disasters, implementing and gathering resources for these unconditional cash transfer programs would be easier.

2.

Andrew Yang is an authentic human being who truly cares. Yang is a graduate of two Ivy League schools, a lawyer, and entrepreneur, and he could have gotten filthy rich (his net worth is estimated to be just around 1 million USD) but he chose to pursue the path of helping new graduates and would-be entrepreneurs via his non-profit Venture for America.

He saw the need to create more jobs throughout rest of America and he did something about it. And when he found out that the loss of jobs because of automation was faster than he and the rest of America could create employment, he decided to run for president when he saw the government would not do anything about it. He truly cares for his country and for his family. In this clip of his interview with the lawyer/political activist Lawrence Lessig, his voice breaks at the the end when explained why he was running.

Andrew Yang’s voice break when he explains why he is running for U.S. president.

And the greatest proof of his authenticity is when he interacts with his supporters. For example, Yang prevented this guy from getting hurt while the latter was taking a video with his smart phone.

In other words, Andrew Yang walks his talk. During his campaign, he has given 1,000 USD a month for 1 year to more than 10 recipients, just to show that the Freedom Dividend works, improving lives.

Andrew Yang talks to four new recipients of his 1,000 USD Freedom Dividend.

3.

Andrew Yang is extremely intelligent. He is well-read, and up to date about the newest evidence and data about the issues. He now has more than 160 policies (and growing) on his website Yang2020.com, ranging from big issues like Universal Basic Income, Healthcare/Medicare For All, Climate Change, Gun Safety, Harm Reduction and Decriminalization of drug use, to relatively smaller ones like paying student athletes, banning robo-calls, having a White House psychologist, etc. His intelligence also shines through in the way he has conducted this campaign, treating it like a start-up, and making it as organic as possible.

4.

Andrew Yang is an excellent communicator. He stays on message in his interviews and speeches. He has mastered the art of the call and response in his rallies which has solidified his bond with the #YangGang. He is so good with this strategy of repetition that one supporter has even memorized his stump speech.

5.

Andrew Yang is an optimist. One cannot fake one’s personality and character. And Andrew Yang’s positive energy oozes from his person and is infectious. Although he paints a dystopic future, he believes that we can do something about it with the right and creative solutions.

6.

Andrew Yang will be a great leader for the 4th Industrial Revolution. Automation will displace millions of jobs, and Universal Basic income will provide the floor from which the displaced, or what the economist and Basic Income advocate Guy Standing has called the precariat, can navigate and survive this next great disruption. Yang knows technology, and is the best-equipped candidate to provide the solutions.

7.

Andrew Yang unites. Andrew Yang has started a movement called the Yang Gang. And this movement is not just national, but international in composition. Domestically, it is highly diverse, made up of broad coalition of Democrats, Republicans, progressives, conservatives, independents, libertarians, disaffected Trump supporters, and very significantly, the politically disengaged. Internationally, you can find people in social media and the chat groups supporting him from the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, etc.

Moreover, this powerhouse support is technologically-savvy, spreading the #Yang2020 message on platforms like Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube. The latter streaming and video platform is the bailiwick of the Yang Gang, with supporters who have organically become major influencers in the Yang Universe: e.g. actor Paget Kagy, 18-year old, film major, Kai Watson, Mindful Skeptics’ Boyce Littlefield, and graph-loving Nerds for Yang Youtuber, Tom Leung. Twitter meanwhile is the second major stronghold of the Yang Gang, where Andrew Yang’s followers has recently reached the 1 million milestone, and growing fast as we speak.

Actor Paget Kagy in one of her video posts after the fourth Democratic debate.

8.

Andrew Yang is a loving family man who wants a better future for his children (one of whom is autistic) and the rest of the youth. His love for his family shines through during his speeches when he says he misses his wife and kids. In one instance, after a woman asking about gun safety told how one of her children accidentally shot the other, Yang couldn’t help but cry, remembering his two children. He has a beautiful, intelligent, and supportive wife, Evelyn, who has left her job to take care of their two children. This love and dedication to his family I think is so genuine and expansive, that his supporters cannot help but feel that they are part of Yang’s extended family. Thus, the aforementioned passionate support.

Andrew Yang’s wife Evelyn Yang introduced in one of the campaign’s first digital ads.

9.

Andrew Yang is cool and has a great sense of humor. He is literally cool — he is level-headed, and doesn’t get flustered in interviews and in debates, and sticks to the issue at hand. He skateboards, crowdsurfs, plays the piano, shoots hoops, has awesome dance moves, and was once a goth.

He is funny and has tons of fun. Even his fundraisings are fun. See him and his campaign manager Zach Graumann wear silly headwear during their Halloween fundraising. Because of this calm and positive disposition, he will be a president who can think and decide calmly when faced with momentous decisions and in times of crisis.

10.

All of these traits make Andrew Yang an excellent leader. A military veteran (and bioengineer), Russel Toll, gave an excellent impromptu speech during #Yangapalooza rally in Iowa, comparing him to the best leaders he has known in the military.

11.

For all these reasons, Andrew Yang inspires. Andrew Yang is a man with a vision, believes in that vision, and communicates that vision effectively. He has made not just millions of Americans believe in that vision, but the rest of world as well. The poor, the precariat, the workers, the middle class, the artists, the scientists, and the entrepreneurs, have seen that this man speaks the truth, and are now passing on that message with passion.

A supporter-created video of Andrew Yang’s vision for America.

Personally speaking, Andrew Yang has helped show me the way. For a while now, I have been financially challenged, and am at a crossroads on how to go on about living life, whether I should prioritize earning a living (freelance writing), or pursuing my art (creative writing), or helping others especially my countrymen/women living in poverty and suffering injustice. Basic Income has shown me that pursuing all these choices is possible — that is, if we all take care of each other via a regular stipend, living a life of purpose and meaning will not be a hard choice.

Andrew Yang has also shown me that anything is possible if everyone of us just starts to act. Yang saw the future, and he did not like it. No one was willing to confront the challenges in Washington D.C., so he did what all true leaders do: take it on himself. He has also proven to me that one person’s action can lead others to take action as well. The life counsel “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” has never been more true in Yang’s case. He is living proof that one’s generosity of spirit can make others be generous as well, in spirit and in kind. Andrew Yang’s example has empowered and enabled me to make up my mind: I will dedicate my time, however long it takes, to making Basic Income — in the U.S., my country the Philippines, and the rest of the world — a reality.


If you enjoyed, learned something from, or were insipired by this article, kindly consider donating (if PayPal: paypal.me/filipinowriter), be one of my patrons at Patreon, or please contact me at filipinocreative@gmail.com — your way of providing me a basic income   — so that I may continue my advocacies and continue to research & write more such articles.

Basic Income: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

The Activist Historian: Rutger Bregman

It all started when I saw one night historian Rutger Bregman’s Ted talk called Poverty isn’t a lack of character; it’s a lack of cash. And boy, was I blown away. I thought that it was one of the best Ted talks I’ve ever seen. What Bregman was proposing, a Universal Basic Income or UBI was intriguing, and seemed to be backed up by evidence, and was notable for mentioning the Mincome Experiment in Dauphin, Canada in the 1970s.


I researched him some more, and learned that Bregman earned notoriety when he said in the Davos World Economic Forum that everyone should be talking about tax avoidance and the rich not giving their fair share. In his own words, “…taxes, taxes, taxes. All the rest is bullshit…

His unaired interview with Fox conservative political commentator Tucker Carlson also became viral when he agitated the host enough for the latter to swear at him. You can see the unaired interview in Bregman’s Facebook page.

I also found out that he had written a book called Utopia for Realists. I bought the book, and it was so riveting that I read it in less than two days. It was like reading an activist Malcolm Gladwell, replete with fascinating anecdotes and data/evidence-based stories. The book actually discussed three topics: Universal Basic Income, 15-Hour Workweek, and Open Borders (advocating for passport/visa-less employment in another country, as opposed to the prevailing practice now which started during World War I to keep spies out). In this interview with Trevor Noah, Bregman talks more about the 15-Hour workweek, aside from his book and Basic Income. He also mentions the bullshit jobs that millions of people find meaningless.



UBI in Utopia for Realists

In the book Utopia for Realists, I learned that UBI or a fixed income to be received monthly by everyone — without any conditions — to meet his basic needs (this 10-minute Youtube video by our dear friends from Kurzgezagt explains the concept well), was proposed in some form by Thomas More in his book Utopia, Thomas Paine, Martin Luther King, the conservative economist Milton Friedman, and was even almost passed by the U.S. Congress during the time of President Nixon, if not for the objection of the Democrats in the Senate who said that the amount was not enough.

The story about how Pres. Nixon was also persuaded to amend the bill because his adviser Martin Anderson showed him a six-page report about the Speenhamland system in England at the end of the 18th century and the start of 19th century. The report was based on sociologist Karl Polanyi‘s classic book The Great Transformation, in which Polanyi described the system as a failure. The report made Nixon amend the bill which eventually led to its demise. The twist was that, later on, historians found out that Polanyi had based his assessment on erroneous and falsified data. Such stories left you wondering about the roads not taken in the history of humanity.

MLK & Universal Basic Income | Guaranteed Income (5 Reasons)

Here are 5 reasons why Martin Luther King supported a universal basic income…Credit: Matt Orfalea

Posted by Sustainable Human on Monday, January 21, 2019


One important assertion by Bregman is how the poor make poor decisions because of the scarcity mentality. When one is pressed for time, money, etc., his or her ability to make wise decisions diminishes. For example, a study by behavioral scientist Eldar Shafir of sugarcane workers in India who harvested their crops only half of the year, showed that their IQ diminished by 14 points before harvest time.

On the other hand, when an individual is given a regular income so he can meet his basic needs, his overall well-being improves. The Mincome experiment of Dauphin, Canada from 1973-1977 proved this. But it wasn’t until 2009, when Dr. Evelyn Forget a professor at the University of Manitoba, finally found the 2,000 boxes of records of the experiment, that it was shown that it was a resounding success. As Bregman narrated in his Ted talk, the residents of Dauphin didn’t stop working except for the mothers who took care of family members, the number of children going to school increased, hospitalization decreased, and mental health improved. In other words, the basic income gave the recipients the freedom to choose, and what we learned is that people, even the poor, know what’s best for them. The Huffington Post wonderfully narrates the story of Dauphin, Canada in the article A Canadian City Once Eliminated Poverty And Nearly Everyone Forgot About It.

An excellent video explanation by Kurzgesagt about Universal Basic Income (UBI)

UBI Addresses Inequality

Bregman also showed two graphs. One graph showed per capita GDP in the x axis, and index of social problems in the y axis. In this graph, there was no correlation between how wealthy a country collectively is and the amount of social problems it has. But when the x axis was replaced with inequality or the difference in income between the rich and the poor, there was a straight line which clearly showed the link. You can see the graph in this article Population Health: Behavioral and Social Science Insights. In other words, if we help reduce inequality with UBI, the effort would be worth it, as we would be addressing not just poverty, but a host of other societal problems.

The Presidential Candidate: Andrew Yang & UBI

On YouTube, I was also surprised to learn that in the U.S., a Democrat named Andrew Yang is running for president, has UBI as his main platform. He has also written a book called The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future. He is an entrepreneur and the founder of Venture for America, a New York City based non-profit whose mission is “to revitalize American cities and communities through entrepreneurship” by training recent graduates and young professionals to work for startups in emerging cities throughout the United States.

He says that his friends in Silicon Valley all say that in 10 years, a lot of jobs will be lost to Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and automation. In particular, the jobs of truck drivers, people in retail, accountants, etc., will be endangered, and will cause social breakdown. He says that Universal Basic Income or what he calls the Freedom Dividend will provide a buffer to absorb the shock of job losses. The great thing is that his message is resonating even with Trump supporters and Republicans — just look at the comments section of his YouTube videos, and you will seldom see a negative comment. It seems that he is uniting the country with his message. It is, as he put it, not about moving Left or Right, but moving Forward.

This interview with The Atlantic will give you an excellent overview of presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s background and Universal Basic Income platform. This is also my first encounter with him, and the first video I saw of him.

In his own words, the Democrats have focused too much on other themes such as race and identity politics — nothing wrong with that according to him — but they have forgotten why a lot of people voted for Trump: job insecurity. Like many people, I believe Yang will be the next U.S. president, a man, again in his own words, who is the opposite of Trump: “an Asian who knows Math.” If you’re an American/U.S. Citizen or just someone curious about the details of his policies, Yang’s almost two-hour interview with Joe Rogan is must-watch/listen.

Andrew Yang explains to Joe Rogan how he will implement his Universal Basic Income policy once he becomes U.S. President

Just Do UBI!

I also came across a Basic Income documentary on Youtube called Free Money produced by the Dutch broadcasting company VPRO which featured, among others, Mein Grundeinkommen (My Basic Income) a crowdfunded basic income raffle started by startup entrepreneur/web developer Michael Bohmeyer who quit his job and opted to receive 1,000 euros monthly from his former company; the story of the economist Guy Standing‘s experiments in Basic Income in India and elsewhere, and the U.S. state of Alaska, which has solved the problem of poverty because of dividends from its oil earnings, called the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend. I urge you to watch the documentary from start to finish. It’s both fascinating and inspiring.

Fascinating stories of the leading advocates of Basic Income who did not wait for government, and went ahead with their UBI/BI experiments/initiatives.

The Economist & UBI: Guy Standing

And because of the docu, I learned, as I mentioned, about the work of Guy Standing. Please watch Standing’s TedXKlagenfurt video, and learn how their experiments in India has improved the lives of the poor, and emancipated them, especially the women. It is really must-watch.

Economist Guy Standing explains Universal Basic Income, how it should be a right that people should be given, and how their Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) / experiments have shown how Basic Income has improved the lives of people, and emancipated them.


I am now reading Guy Standing’s book, Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen. From the initial chapters, it seems that it is more comprehensive in its treatment of Universal Basic Income, including UBI’s long history, how to implement it, etc. For Guy Standing, UBI is a right because everyone must benefit from the commons.

UBI in the Philippines

Because of UBI, I started reviewing the TRAIN Law, how UBI can fit into our current tax schemes, and how we can modify our tax system to accommodate it, and found something appalling, or at the very least disturbing, from JC Punongbayan’s Rappler series of articles about the TRAIN Law. It seems that our lawmakers and our leaders knew that the Train Law would hit the very rich and the very poor. For the very poor or the 4Ps beneficiaries, around 4.1M Filipinos, they allocated an Unconditional Cash Transfer of 200 pesos per family per month on top of what they are already receiving, from the 4Ps without regard for how many children each family has. What can 200 pesos do in this time of high prices? But aside from that, as JC pointed out, the  disbursement might be delayed because of bureaucracy.

My point is imagine if we crafted our taxes with the UBI in mind — everyone wouldn’t be left behind. It would be fair to everyone, with each person — even children and dependents — benefiting from the earnings/production of the commons. For now, this is a simplistic summary of what can be done, but I think you are getting my drift of an alternative vision of the future.

Speaking of 4P’s or the Philippine government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) which started during the Arroyo presidency, it does seem to help the poor according to World Bank, but wouldn’t it be better with UBI, when it’s unconditional? Perhaps we can raise the amount, or remove the conditionalities and the bureaucracy so that the poor will have the freedom to do what’s best for them? Some things to consider. Will also include this in my future research.

As I continued studying UBI, I became more and more convinced that this is one of the main programs that we’re looking for to address the inequality — 21.6% of our kababayans live below the poverty line, as of 2015 according to the World Bank — and thus, reduce the social ills in our country. UBI will reduce criminality, improve our general health, and improve our general well-being.

UBI is also an advocacy which will touch on other advocacies: labor issues; women’s emancipation — they wouldn’t be dependent on their husbands anymore, or they wouldn’t resort to prostitution; ecology/environment, e.g., tax those contributing to climate change, and distribute the revenues to the people; corruption — where are we losing money in our budget process, e.g. the pork barrel and sums? — if we can save the money from the corruption, then we can direct it to UBI.

It had me thinking also of the livelihood programs we put together for the poor. For example, uniform livelihood programs may not fit the skills of all of the recipients. I was reminded of the families of the extrajudicial killing (EJK) victims we are helping. Their financial needs were different. Some stopped their food delivery service. Others were more concerned with the schooling of their children. If we can just give them cash, then they themselves know what to do best with the money. In the near future, I’m thinking of implementing a basic income or at least an unconditional cash transfer for these psychologically and financially devastated families, and see if this is indeed a better way to help them. A footnote, by the way: livelihood and psycho-social support for the children are among the main needs of these families victimized by the government’s brutal war on drugs (in future posts, will also share my learnings about alternative and evidenced-based drug policies that really work).

Speaking of the drugs, I was reminded when reading about the capability of the poor to wisely decide for themselves when given the chance. In the book High Price by neuropharmacologist Dr. Carl Hart, harm reduction advocate, his experiments with drug dependence showed that given the choice between drugs and money, the person would always choose cash. This validates the findings cited in Bregman’s book that as a rule, people do not spend their money on alcohol and drugs. They spend it on their basic needs, and activities or things which will improve their well-being.

Going back to how artificial intelligence will cause unemployment, the book by Kaifu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order which discusses job displacement in China and the U.S. among other things, said we must focus on jobs which will be valuable in the future, like caring jobs, caretaking, nursing, teaching, etc. For UBI advocates like Bregman, Yang, and Standing, we must start replacing indicators like GDP with measurements which measure our general well-being: health, happiness, etc., This is because activities like volunteering, taking care of the elderly and the children, which are extremely valuable to society, are things not measured by the GDP. For Bregman and Yang, GDP is an outdated measurement meant to address the challenges of The Great Depression. A measurement akin to the Happiness Index will be more appropriate,

UBI From My POV

Personally, I can relate to UBI. As an advocate, I have long seen myself with ambivalence. Am fulfilled and happy, but often find myself financially challenged. This has been a problem that me and my fellow Filipino Cultural Creative (FCC) friends have been grappling with. How can we continue our work which we know is of great value to society? I think a Universal Basic Income is an excellent solution. We can work continuously without worrying where our next rent (as I’m worrying now 🙂 ) or food allowance would come from.

A few days ago, our writers group Freelance Writers Guild of the Philippines (FWGP) co-organized with UNI Global Union ASIA & Pacific (UNI Apro) a forum re the opportunities and current challenges facing freelance writers right now. Aimee Morales, the main founder of FWGP, at one point said that it’s hard to organize writers because they are trying to address their basic needs. I said that it was a chicken and egg situation, but if indeed we had a UBI, then that part of the problem of organizing would be taken care of somehow.

UBI & Work

Indeed. in a UBI society, we need to re-think our concept of work. Bregman has touched on this with his chapter on the 15-Hour Workweek. He tells about John Maynard Keynes who in 1930, just at the doorstep of the Great Depression, delivered a brief lecture called “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren,” which predicted a hundred years hence, in 2030, we are going to work less hours because of our collective wealth.

Still researching UBI, I came across an article titled Living in Switzerland ruined me for America and its lousy work culture by a US Citizen who lived in Switzerland, and you can see the difference between our way of living which we patterned after the U.S. In Switzerland — and in other European countries, for that matter — rest and vacation are valued so much that you can be flexible with your working hours and still get paid handsomely.

Thus, UBI will make us think of how to redesign our society. Our country today has been drawn to the ideology of authoritarianism and the mishmash appeal of populism. I think what Filipinos are looking for right now is a vision of the future which can inspire them, give them hope. Their pains and frustrations — see my thoughts on an FB post here –have attracted them to populism/authoritarianism/fascism. As expected, many are now disillusioned with Duterte, and the rest will get dismayed — they will find out that Duterte is nothing but the same old trapo, but in wolf’s clothing, and is all about greed in power, manipulating and gaslighting them with fake news, misogyny, and threats of violence.

But in order to bring back to our fold those who are still clinging to what is now an illiberal democracy, we must give them an alternative vision: a rights-based, participative (not just representative) society/system, a new way of working and of appreciating work; a society where the citizens value one another, know how to rest, and take a breath; a society which knows that in order to develop as a nation, we need a happy citizenry — less anxious, well-rested, compassionate, abundance-minded. And I think UBI is one of the major ways to get there.

UBI & The Dream of a Better Society

In the following days, I will post more about how we can achieve this society and implement UBI. Will do more reading and consult economists, etc. and will blog about it. I’m also thinking of starting a non-profit to advocate for UBI.

And it seems that I’m not the one only looking into Basic Income. In an event last week — a talk by Nathan Quimpo of the Rise and Decline of the Left in Southeast Asia — Sen. Risa Hontiveros, when I asked her if she has heard about UBI, said that the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) is about to study it.

Meanwhile, Dr. Rene E. Ofreneo Onforio, dean of the U.P. School of Labor and Industrial Relations’ (UP SOLAIR), where we held our FWGP forum, said that he’s aware of UBI and Guy Standing’s work, and Michelle Belino of UNI-Apro said that UBI is one of their advocacies, and their Singaporean colleague and Regional Secretary Christopher Ng regularly gives talks about it.

And just before I posted this, a fellow advocate shared with me this Manila Times article by Malou Tiquia explaing well UBI, and suggesting it is an alternative to the 4P’s.

I have also started evangelizing some of my fellow advocates, and some are inspired, or at the very least, see merit in the idea. Indeed, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is already upon us, where we will face a multitude of challenges, and UBI might well be one of the major solutions.

Make the Dream a Reality

The challenge, as articulated by Rutger Bregman, is how to bring this dream/vision into reality. He appeals for a strong will. In Utopia for Realists, he says “a worldview is not a Lego set where a block is added here, removed there. It’s a fortress that is defended tooth and nail, with all possible reinforcements, until the pressure becomes so overpowering that the walls cave in.”

He says that radical ideas start at the fringes, but become mainstream, not gradually, but in times of crisis. Moments of crisis for him, are instances of opportunities. He reminds us that the word “crisis” comes from the Greek word which means to “separate” or “sieve.” A crisis then “should be a moment of truth, the juncture at which a fundamental choice is made.” And the only way for us to make a wise choice is when we have long prepared for that crossroads.

Today, we are facing such a moment of truth. What’s happening to our country is a symptom of the systemic ills that we must overhaul. We should muster our collective will, and act deliberately and mindfully. UBI can serve as a catalyst. All we have to do now is educate ourselves, organize, and remain steadfast.


If you enjoyed, learned something from, or were insipired by this article, kindly consider donating (if PayPal: paypal.me/filipinowriter), be one of my patrons at Patreon, or please contact me at filipinocreative@gmail.com — your way of providing me a basic income   — so that I may continue my advocacies and continue to research & write more such articles.