It’s very easy to give up on the Philippines. To be honest, like you, that thought crossses my mind once in a while, too, because of countless reasons. It is difficult to live in the country, with 16.6% of the Filipinos living below poverty line and countless are barely making above it. Many of our professionals, like myself, choose to leave the country for work because of the lack of opportunities available to lead a better life in it. We have heartless elitists who look at the rest of our countrymen with disgust. We have countless corrupt politicians who never miss an opportunity to pocket Filipino money whenever they can. Lastly, I’m sure many would agree with me that our current leadership is constantly failing us.
Eversince the COVID-19 Pandemic reached the Philippines, I’ve been tremendously depressed by blow after blow of discouraging news about the country. It started with our government leaders being more concerned with China’s feelings over the health and safety of our countrymen. And it went downhill from there. We’ve seen the government implement a lockdown without proper planning and preparations. We’ve experienced countless clownery of those people in power, starting from the late-night rants of a President, to DOH apologizing to China over their low quality products, to the ECQ violations of a Senator, of big names who are supporter of the admin, and most recently, of a Police chief. We’ve witnessed how DOH undermined the services of our healthworkers. We’ve seen how our country is slowly succumbing to the power of China by allowing POGO workers to operate and most recently airing the Wow China! radio program in a state-owned radio channel. We have also not fixed yet the overcharging of PhilHealth on their newly launched premium prices, putting the burden of the Universal Health Care on the salaried workers’ shoulders. The most heartbreaking parts are the continued and countless social injustices that are done to common Filipino citizens, starting from the recent victims of Police violence, with many who lost their lives and livelihood in it. There have also been countless victims of shoot-to-kill, warrantless arrests, unreasonable violence the public received from the authorities recently. We should also not forget the 11,000 workers of ABSCBN adding to the hundreds of thousands Filipinos who have already lost their jobs to this pandemic. Apart from all of these social injustices that we received from our government recently, it is also heartbreaking to see other Filipinos dragging their countrymen down just because of their blind support to a politician. All of these are just heartbreaking, discouraging, and hopeless! Alright, have a long deep breath. I know. I know that feeling, and I am very familiar with it. But, I hope we keep the faith. I hope we don’t give up on the Philippines.
Keep the Fire burning, think of Others
For decades now, I’ve kept telling my father to stop running for public office. Before, when I was younger, I never understood why he kept offering his life to people who do not even care about him. When the same people who betrayed him during elections came knocking at our doors to ask for help, he helps them with or without the position. When the same people who spread black propoganda against him all year round comes running to him for a personal favor, he helps them. I’ve told him millions of times to stop offering his life and soul to these people, but every single time he would just reply; “Kung dili ko mudagan, pasagdaan ra na nato ng mga corrupt dinha maghari sa barrio?” (If I will not run, are we going to let those corrupt officials to continue taking over the village?) Everytime he reminds me of that, I just give out a heavy sigh because I wholeheartedly understand. His words are so right and true that it hurts. Yes, service is tiring and discouraging, but it’s the only way to right the wrongs, to carve a way out. Growing up from a family that has been rigged by politics for decades now, I have learned to accept that service to the people and to the country is a huge burden to carry, but it is a burden worth carrying because it is also a promise to a better future not only to you, but to all Filipinos.
Our love for the country has always been there, but I also know that it is quite difficult to keep that love alive after everything that has been happening recently. However, I want to remind you to keep that love for the country alive. In those moments that you run out of reasons to keep fighting for the country, I want you to think of others. I want you to think of the underprivileged and the poor. I want you to think of our countrymen who will be left behind if you decide to give up. Think of those who do not have the same sets of options like you do. Think of those who cannot escape social injustice like you can. Think of those who do not have a voice. Think of them. Never mind the facists. Never mind the elites. Never the privileged. Do not let the injustice discourage you. Rather, let it fuel your passion to create a better Philippines.
We need all the brave hearts we can get
These recent days, I’ve been seeing friends who have posted their frustrations about everything that’s been going on. Even though many are barely holding things in, many have express their want to give up on our fight for a better country. I understand your frustrations and those feelings are valid. I have those moments, too. But I hope, you don’t give up. I hope you keep fighting with us. We need people who do not turn away from injustice. We need people who right the wrongs. We need people who speak up against oppression. We need people who think of others. We need people who are for progress. Yes, that’s our team, and we need all the brave hearts we can get. I hope you don’t give up. I hope you choose to fight with us. Padayon!