Just like any other typical Sunday at home, I once again savor the fact that today is another day off after a stressful week at work despite taking a leave last Thursday to finish a painting task at home and several other business in preparation for “the baby.” And so, as predictable as clockwork I was out of bed early to send my wife to work and soon found myself in front of my beloved sunny side up breakfast and Sunday newspaper.
I’m not really sure if today is some sort of holiday to honor our heroes but the main section of the Philippine Star has its editorial regarding heroes in our midst. It mentions that today is Ramon Magsaysay’s 101th anniversary. While reading it something captured my attention:
“…This year’s Ramon Magsaysay awardees include two from the Philippines…”
This line made me paused for a moment as I can’t seem to gather the relationship between the words Ramon Magsasay awardees and the phrase include two from the Philippines.
Correct me if I’m wrong but a Filipino awarding body will of course give honor to Filipinos, right? Well, after flipping more pages later, another article titled “Touching History” (by Michael Charleston B. Chua) washed away my inch-deep knowledge of this award. I learned from this article that the Ramon Magsasay Awards is an international body that honors not only Filipinos but other Asian heroes as well. So that explains it.
What I find alarming though with those articles is the fact that the majority of recipients of this award are not Filipinos. Even more troublesome is that those Filipinos being honored are not even popular in the Philippines. Do the names Gov. Grace Padaca and Jaime Alip ring a bell? If you’re not an elementary student who has current events or history subject, I doubt that these names are in one of your brain neurons. That’s how serious is our need to have a hero–a Filipino hero. Do you think we have one? Is it Ninoy?
During my elementary days, and despite the innocence, I can still somehow recall the emotions of so many people from the news about the assassination of this opposition senator. The major effect of this event took 3 more years before most Filipinos got grumpy and fed up, marched to the streets, formed the famous People Power, ousted the Marcos dictatorship and eventually seated to presidency Ninoy’s housewife, Cory. I knew from then on that hope for a better Philippines has blossomed… or so they say. Like most pinoys during that time, Ninoy was my hero, too.
But once I graduated from college, started to work and had my own time in front of the TV, I began to learn further about the Philippine political scene. I soon realized that the yellow ribbon song, Ninoy, Cory and the People Power at EDSA were nothing but hype and it worsen when EDSA became synonymous with civil disobedience and short term memory loss. I suspect that it may even be a creation of some spin doctors trying to insult the minds and hope of most Filipinos. The reality is, I figured, Philippines is going nowhere. The crooks were never gone; they just changed form, political parties, and surnames.
That’s how pessimistic I’ve become when it comes to politics. Actually, I’ve been pessimistic on most aspect of the Philippines – should I say, just like most Filipinos do? I’m wondering now who’s to blame for all this. And the answer is? It’s not Erap. Not FVR. Not even GMA. Then who? Surprise! No one but us. Yes, us. Everyone has their own share of this downturn we are experiencing for years now. Everything we did, like paying bribes, not paying the proper taxes, buying pirated items, refusing to register and vote during elections just to name a few, are factors that bad politicians (is this an oxymoron?) and their evil allies enjoy. One way or another we are guilty. We are feeding their greed.
As much as I’m tired of reviving (my own) hope over and over and over again, I still guess that it’s about time that we bring back the slogan”Tama na, Sobra na (enough is enough).” Everything we do right now has its effect and every contribution even in small ways will help in the recovery of our nation. My mind is holding me back from saying this, but let’s start believing that change is possible…let’s cross our fingers, exhale deeply and let’s do our part – consistently.
So in order to do my part right now, I’m setting aside at least some part of pessimism especially now that some group started this advocacy to bring back the spirit of heroism by founding the iamninoy movement. This is long overdue but I consider this a good move and a good start. I do hope that this gets a good media exposure. I hope the media (especially TV) stop their senseless, exaggerated news. Most people are bored of negativity. It’s high time we discover more heroes, dead or alive. From them, let’s look back, review and learn from our past mistakes. Let’s move on.