Cariño: The democratization of the world

Linda Grace Cariño

METHINKS that the so-called modern world started “democratizing” with the almighty photocopy machine – Xerox – what former UP President Francisco Nemenzo called “the revenge of the third world..” With it, anyone and everyone could read even the most expensive of books.

In this country, such a democratization was surely aided by the late President Ferdinand Marcos' signing into law Executive Order 285, whereby essentially everything could be reprinted in the country, overriding copyright restrictions, as long as they did not leave Philippine shores. Smiley.

Then there came the almighty Betamax machine, followed by all of its clones and successors. With them, we stopped shelling out money to go to movie houses. We just rented and later bought copies of the movies we fancied, to watch in the comfort of our own homes and at times we pleased, which we continue to do. These days, for most of us, a movie has to be an “event” piece before we troop to a cinema to watch it. Most days, we just wait for the DVD versions, sanctioned or un. More democratization. Double Smiley.

Now to the latest of such items. Used to be that airfares were pricey anywhere and everywhere in the world. Then the budget airline revolution happened, leveling the playing (air)field. It was pleasantly shocking to first fly from L.A. to Sacramento – and back, take note – in the late 90s, for the grand price of USD30. This was on a Southwest Airlines (one of the first budget lines) flight. The attendants wore Ts and shorts and sneakers. They served us peanuts and bottled water.

The setup so inspired Lance Gokongwei to thus set up Cebu Pacific, declaring that it was time everybody flies. In my family we say of this person that his brain is “different,” i.e., “Sabali utak na.” Indeed it is. He leads the race to give Filipinos highly affordable airfares to everywhere, payable too practically anywhere.

How's that for democratization. Plus these once pricey airline tickets can now be transacted at what is essentially the corner sarisari store. Take that for freedom.

Happy Independence Day!