Monthly Archives: July 2015

“Anong nagawa mo sa bansa mo? Buti pa ang Presidente meron.” Why I’m tired of hearing these arguments

Until now, I still can’t believe how time flies so fast. I mean, (nearly) six years have passed! I can remember it was only yesterday when most people in my circle were aghast to find that the people elected a president whose victory was partly owned to Cory Magic. (Well if he didn’t make the decision to run, it would probably be Erap doing the address right now, provided he hasn’t embroiled himself in a scandal or if COMELEC hasn’t disqualified him upon his victory)

So I was just browsing through the social media on the reaction of the people to PNoy’s last SONA. I remembered thinking that Malacanang should have scheduled on Thursday just in time for the #ThrowbackThursday posts, you know…for sentimental reasons! But what really caught my attention is this tweet that struck like a boot to my (perhaps, butthurt) gut

I'm sorry but what?

I’m sorry but what?

From the beginning, I can say I’m no fan of His Excellency, Mr. President, but most of my sentiments about him are lukewarm. There are times I rub my temple and stare in frustration at his face whenever he’s trying to defend an obviously competent official. There are times I would jokingly say to my mom that “Hey, you voted for him” when he did something my mom herself doesn’t agree with. There are times when I thought that six years is such a pretty long time and I can’t wait for 2016 to come.

But there are times that I acknowledge his milestones and applaud him on his breakthroughs. There are times I understand where he’s getting at. There are times that I’m thankful he still managed to stand by his principles and vision. There are times that I admire his inherent quality as a person, not as the president: Single-minded, well-meaning and fiercely loyal.

I don’t classify myself as pro-PNoy nor an anti-PNoy. The president or his critics doesn’t irk me, but what really irked me to no end is how people can label one another as pro-PNoy or anti-PNoy just because of their political opinion, their criticism, their praises and everything they say in the new media. I especially love how one criticism would instantly mark you as anti-this-president or anti-progress.

We, Filipinos, hated every president who served us yet we’ve done nothing to contribute for the betterment of our country.

Please allow me to deconstruct this tweet from the perspective who is (1) A Filipino (2) Doesn’t ”hate” the president and (3) who is curious about the author’s phrasing ‘Betterment of our country’ because she’s really dying to know what it takes to contribute for ‘nation-building’

  • “We, Filipinos, hated every president” — (My goodness, this sounds like a preamble) Now, hate is such a strong word. How do you define ‘hate’ in this context? Is this the same as “I hate Racism”? Kind of like “Augh, how I hate it when plans get cancelled on the last minute”? Or maybe the way you used ‘Hate’ in scenarios like ‘I hate wearing black on a hot day’ but you don’t really hate wearing black at all. You just don’t like wearing it under certain circumstances. For the most part of PNoy’s, or any other president’s term, “Filipinos” really didn’t ‘hate’ their president  in person. Rather, the things they didn’t like is what that president did or what he did not do (but is expected to do so).
  • “who served us” — He’s a public servant. He’s always on the public eye, and whether he likes or not, it is the consequence he must bear for running. He’s the father of the country. Like it or not, his stand and opinion matters than mine or yours. He has the executive authority and the influence to implement major changes in the country. He can actually address all the problems of the Philippines if he wants to, regardless of political or moral consequences. Whether his image is good or bad, people will say something about him because he is the FREAKIN’ President of the Democratic, sometimes Democrazy, Republic of the Philippines and there’s nothing we can do about it. Never single out Philippines in this one. This is the gift and the curse of all nations with this type of leadership. The only difference we had in other more progressive, democratic countries is that their population is more educated and they can give more constructive assessment about their leaders.
  • “Yet we’ve done nothing to contribute for the betterment of our country” — A country is supposed to be a well-oiled machine, right? Because in my book, regardless whether you’re a small-time employee or a big-shot businessman, government worker or a private one, stay-in-parent or a working one, if you’re working abroad or in here, you are still giving something. If you are working , if you are creating, if you are studying hard, if you are earning your keep, if you are paying your dues, you are contributing. You don’t need to be internationally famous, or you don’t need to set up a foundation, or you don’t need to have newspaper stories and online stories about you, or you don’t need to run for public service (though all those things are well and good if you aspire and work hard to be that kind of citizen) to say you are contributing. Sadly in our culture, having an unpopular opinion is perceived as equivalent to something as contra-productive. “You are not helping”. “You only make things more complicated.” In short, you are not contributing something, which is a distorted view of one’s role for the development of his society. What he/she says doesn’t justify what he/she has done for the society as a whole.

Now let me relate this whole ‘Contributing my part’ with that of the president. The President has good intentions. His Tuwid na Daan platform is promising and offers a good avenue to introduce better reforms for this country. Yet there are situations where he, despite his executive authority and influence, could do nothing to deliver what the people want. Unable to defend the Tausugs in Laha Datu, he could do nothing but to call the Tausug warriors back or else, risk Malaysia’s ill-favor. He wasn’t able to offer his full sympathies and accolades to the brave policemen who died in Mamasapano because his words may have an effect to the delicate birthing of Bangsamoro Basic Law. All of this I was able to understood and accept in a hard way. He is not perfect, but so are we. For a country like the Philippines, six years is a mere fraction of the time it will take to change it for the better.

Just like in PNoy’s case, It’s the current situation, or the current system, that restricts us to offer our best for the country.

Most wanted to serve the country. Most wanted to be doctors and help the poor. Most wanted to teach the underprivileged. Most wanted to serve the country and give back.  But most are deprived of basic rights to education and food security. Most are unemployed despite having degrees and certificates. Most just lose hope and settle for less than they deserve, less than they dreamed to have.

We, Filipinos are contributing for the betterment of this country but we are often disappointed on the lack of progress. No, we do not ‘hate’ anything or anyone. We are just frustrated and tired about everything and if not for the occasional glimmer of hope from our public servants or stories of inspiration from our fellow hardworking Filipinos, we will fall apart. We want to believe anything is still possible. We want to believe it is possible.

We Filipinos ‘hated’ the system because despite everything we’ve done to contribute for the betterment of the country, we’re still here.

And sadly, we will keep on ‘hating’ anyone serving us because of this.

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