Canadian Envoy: ‘Crab Mentality’ Holding Filipinos Back

DAVAO CITY — The Filipinos’ crab mentality may be hindering the Philippines from progress, a foreign diplomat winding up his stint in the country said.

Canadian Ambassador Peter Sutherland described the Filipino people as “resilient” but he said they should conquer their “crab mentality” to attain real development.

“Some people do have the tendency to have [a] crab mentality,” he said during last week’s visit here. He said it could be one of the reasons why the Philippines lagged economically and socially.

He acknowledged some progress in the country’s economic conditions but he said ordinary people had yet to feel this.
“The economy can only be great if men on the street can actually benefit from it,” Sutherland, who will end his three-year stint this month, said.

During his years of stay in the country, he said he learned to love Filipinos for being “incredibly happy people.”

“I am impressed by the Filipino people because of their being resilient and too forgiving,” he said, adding that “despite great depredation, Filipinos are incredibly friendly.”

Sutherland said he was happy that Filipinos have managed to address some issues such as politics and peace and order.
He said during the May 14 elections, he observed that “there was a measurable progress” in voters’ sense of political maturity.

He said unlike previous elections where many “face politicians” or the more popular candidates won, the results of the May elections proved that Filipinos did not care about personalities anymore.

“Before, popularity was [the] ticket to winning an election, but this was not the case in the recent polls,” he said.
On the rebellion, Sutherland acknowledged continuing efforts between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to move the peace process forward.

He said despite some setbacks, the Canadian government continued to be confident about the peace process.
“If we thought this [peace talks] has gone nowhere, then we wouldn’t be involved,” he said.

Canada has been funding peace support projects in Mindanao through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

“I would encourage Filipinos to think out of the box. Don’t be afraid to be ambitious,” he said.

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