Posts Tagged ‘Philippines’


Wanted: New Heroes

January 8, 2009

Andrea: Unhappy the land that has no heroes.
Galileo: No Andrea. Unhappy is the land that needs heroes.
Bertolt Brecht

The Philippines has its fair share of national heroes who were chosen to inspire the people to become better citizens. It boasts heroes from the intellectual archetype Jose Rizal to Mariano Gomez, one of three priests executed for supporting the Cavite mutiny. Most of these heroes hail from the Spanish colonial period and the war for independence. More recent ones like the women’s rights advocate Josefa Llanes Escoda hail from the American Period to World War 2.
Elementary students are forced to memorize their names along with their achievements, or else they fail. Most of these students forget about them once they finish examinations. More hardy heroes, especially those printed or embossed in currency are remembered mostly by their looks, and rarely by what they did.
Yet these heroes, even though elevated to archetypes, have mostly failed to inspire the docile nation that is the Philippines. Intellectual Jose Rizal is honored only in name. Old woman Tandang Sora’s name is mostly forgotten by widows and spinsters. Paraplegic Apolinario Mabini has failed to awaken the differently abled to national pursuits. Priest Jose Burgos is mostly ignored by the Catholic Church.
Even though the government of the Philippines has officially declared several men and women as heroes; these, however, are not the heroes that its people have set up for themselves. The unofficial heroes are the movie stars, boxers, and every Filipino who has made a name in the international scenario.
Movie stars perceived to be agents of good in the fantasy world of television have been elected to become politicians in the real world. Filipinos who have shown to the world that the Philippines is at par or even better than all the other nations have been elevated to soaring heights in the hearts of those who see them as their heroes.
And in a bid to ensure that the Filipino people be given heroes who can inspire them to become better citizens, the government declared the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) as the “bagong bayani” or new heroes. These new heroes slave away in foreign countries in order to support their families at home.
Yet the elevation of these new heroes is a slap to the sacrifices that the national archetypes represent. The Philippine original national heroes fought against foreign oppression in Philippine soil. Many of these new heroes are now allowing themselves to be oppressed again by foreigners. This time, not in Philippine soil, but in foreign soil.
It should, however, be noted that only their very presence saves the country from bankruptcy. Nevertheless, it is their counter-example of escapism that is threatening to undo the country. Sacrifice for the country is all but forgotten. Sadly, it is their type of heroic example that is being emulated in this country.
The Philippines needs newer and better heroes. The old archetypes have failed to lift the Filipino nation. Many of them were not even worthy examples of nobility and sacrifice. Only the whitewashing of their reputations made them what they are known today. Jose Rizal was a philanderer. Andres Bonifacio was an incompetent general who was murdered by another national hero, Emilio Aguinaldo.
The newer ones do not have a major following. Even the millionaire who frequently lays hold of P1000 bills can’t even name the three heroes printed in them. Ninoy Aquino’s commendable sacrifice was nullified by the advent of the corrupt politicians prevalent in our country today.
The most recent ones, the OFW, although contributing to the economy of the country, do not inspire the Filipino to become more nationalistic. Instead, the Filipino receive them as missionaries to the wonders of foreign countries. Their elevation as national heroes has promoted the culture of escapism in the country. People are no longer inspired to sacrifice for their country when even a fraction of their efforts in foreign soils gives them multiplied earnings.
The Philippines needs new heroes. Yet who can find someone worthy to step into such shoes…


Vacation Over

January 4, 2009

The Philippines boasts as having the country with the longest Christmas vacation. My holiday vacation started from Dec. 22 and it would end tomorrow: January 5. It goes to follow that today is the last day of that said vacation.
Since it would also be time for me to go out of the house more often, I would also be more exposed to the risk of bombings. So far, the terrorist plots have been repelled. I am praying that God would continue to protect our city from them.
At school tomorrow, I would be greeted by an exam. Btw, I only received more than half of the coverage in study materials just a few hours ago. Perhaps that exam would be postponed tomorrow. I’m hoping the Filipino habit for dispensing grace after the holiday season.
There might not be anything dramatic or extraordinary in this post. This is just my way of telling the world that I’m back from a very long vacation, which included not just rest from school but also rest from blogging*.
SEE YOU AROUND, GUYS! May 2009 be a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!

PS I haven’t written any New Year’s Resolution. I’ll be facing the new year as it goes.

*If not for the Pangandaman incident, I would have had a proper rest from blogging…



October 15, 2008

After months of hiatus, I am back blogging.
The past months were quite turbulent. I may or may not be blogging about them sometime in the future. Suffice it to say that those probable posts would involve 3 dead dogs, rabies, vaccines, depression, and then redemption. In the meantime, I am happy to announce that after almost 2 years, I am back in Manila.
Students really do have many better perks compared to professionals. I am of course meaning holidays that only students are entitled, specifically summer and semestral break holidays. Currently, as a student, I am now enjoying my semestral break.
I’ll be posting my insights on Manila as the days go. I’m still trying to sink in to the reality that I am physically in Manila. Somehow everything seems so surreal…


Chaos to Come

August 3, 2008

I predict chaos should the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels ensues on August 5. They are planning to create a Muslim state claiming this contains “ancestral domain” inside the country, in effect giving up sovereignty on Philippine soil. I believe they are also opening old wounds.
It should be remembered that during the 1970s Muslim and Christian fought each other for control of Mindanao land. I wasn’t eve born during those times, but I’ve heard stories about them. Muslims died in Christian hands. Christians died in Muslim lands. Mass migrations emptied villages of Christian or Muslim minorities. The Christian population of Marawi City dwindled in a few years. Muslims from the lowlands quickly took shelter in Marawi.
Work spanning decades for the peace process between Christian and Muslim would be wiped out with an exchange of signatures. I fear that if the deal pushes through, the government would not be dealing with just a Muslim rebellion. It would also face a Christian rebellion against the enforced Muslim statehood upon them. It should also be noted that the MILF doesn’t represent the opinion of the Muslim people. Notable Muslim personages such as the Sultan of Sulu, who has the most legitimate claim for “ancestral domain” along with other leaders have also spoken against this deal.
Furthermore, we don’t know exactly what the deals between the government and the rebels really contain. The meetings are held in secret. They would only be revealed after the signing. Yet the rebels really don’t seem to care for peace, as much as ownership of the land. They have been attacking villages and burning houses even during the “peace” negotiations, and yet the government still listens to them.

So I appeal to those who are outside Mindanao to include us in your prayers.
Pray for real peace in this land, not the peace of surrender, nor the peace of enforced silence, but true peace that comes only from the Prince of Peace. Pray that this heavily politicized deal will not push through. Also pray for our safety.

1. Muslims, Christians to stage protest vs gov’t-MILF deal
2. Solons protest secrecy around Mindanao peace talks
3. 250 families flee as Moro rebels attack N. Cotabato village


Oh! It’s Coup Again

November 30, 2007

In a startling display of bravado, Senator Trillanes stages a coup again, and as with all half baked ideas and unplanned events* it ended in total failure. Someone should have told him this, “You do not wage a war to prove a point. You wage a war to win. Your point will be falsified when you lose. So strive to win. Win. Win.”
His methods were plain manipulative. He expected the people to rally behind his talk against the administration, but they didn’t come. It was Oakwood mutiny all over again. He staged it in another hotel, the Manila Peninsula. It even ended up with the same results; nobody rallied behind him. To his credit, he did have the balls to own his actions, not like the coward below:

Trillanes’s timing was way off the mark. The masses did not have time to think about politics when they had just withstood three heavy storms. Besides, who would support someone who was not heard of for months? He should have worked for that much needed publicity before he made that drastic move.
And to think he had the nerve to blame the people who voted him Senator for his failure! You voted me here. I thought you supported me. Where are you now?
The answer is quite simple. The people who voted for him are busy wagging their heads in disappointment. They made him Senator because they believed in him. They gave him a chance to change the government from within, through legal means. And he threw all that away when he reverted to his past actions!
Only time will tell what the consequences of his actions will be.

*This statement is debatable. A website designed for an unplanned coup should never have appeared instantly and with complete detail. Btw, there is also this site that warned people to stay away from Makati yesterday claiming as his source Greek hackers who intercepted classified emails.