Nation’s Due

Wrote this in 20 minutes. Sorry for typos and bad structure. Rushing to go to school.

So I read in the news (double checked, found the same story in Rappler and Philippine Star, because I just couldn’t believe it anymore) that Duterte is going to postpone the barangay elections. And you know what else he’s going to do? Fill up the vacant positions left by officials on holdover capacity himself. So he takes people out of commissions in the senate, in congress, and now even shifts power to his people down to local government units. Red flags everywhere. This is not how a democracy is run.

You know, I have this theory that Duterte is just one humongous distraction. There’s always drama going on, and it’s hard to keep up with any storyline – at this point, everything’s lumped up into one ugly mess, with Duterte smack dab at the centre of it all. Duterte’s name pops up on the news literally everyday – something he said, or something PresComm said, or something the opposition said about him. Doesn’t matter. The media eats it up, along with the captive audience that are the Filipinos (at least for those that actually bother with politics).

So, the media has its hairs split chasing the daily headaches Duterte’s administration has caused. No administration as a whole has ever acted with such lack of decorum, with such lack of consideration for the least of its citizens, with such pomp, with such a blatant disregard for the consequences of its actions, without any effort at all in at least appearing democratic and lawful (except when it’s convenient, i.e. I am never going to let go of his secret bank account or the Marcos burial. Of course. Classic). I’d like to argue that he’s messier than Marcos. After all, 3,240 people were killed during the time of Martial Law. And today? Close to 8,000. Marcos was in power for 20 years. This guy hasn’t even reached his anniversary. Don’t get me started on the falling economy and the tense foreign relations (even with China, who Duterte has been trying to suck up to, turned coat and is trying to set up house in Scarborough: There is literally no stability in this nation right now.

So what exactly are they trying to do, here? What is up with this blatant “I’ll just do what I want, the rest of you can go to hell” attitude? Is there some insidious master plan? Are we supposed to get mad? Will impeachment and revolution trigger us all into falling into their trap? Or was this paralysing paranoia the point – was this a ploy to shut us up lest we cause more trouble than good? What a way to abuse the enduring, pacifist Filipino attitudes. It can drive any rational person into madness.

I am reminded of a recent video I saw of the Trump administration. Apparently, while the media was gobbling up all his drama, bills were being filed in the senate – bills about removing their department of education, bills about Planned Parenthood, etc. Would it be possible to have a highly controversial bill passed without getting much attention from the media? Would the US be distracted from opposing something that directly affects the people? Could the same thing apply to us?

And isn’t just downright funny (in the absolute saddest sense of the word) that all of this is happening right now? The world has been thrown into chaos lately, 2016 events proved that. It almost makes you wonder if it was coordinated somehow, or if at least some of it was. What do these all have in common anyway?

Well. Us. The people. We grew afraid – the global economy recently fell and jobs have been a problem for a while now. Migrant labor competition only increases racism. Viral media only feeds impulses, and multiplies them across borders. Corruption cultivated what was planted in ignorance. We grew desperate, and someone stepped up to say all the pretty words we wanted to hear. Why or how didn’t matter. Nothing matters when all we think about is self-preservation.

What if at the end of it, this is the story we deserved? For not educating our fellowman, for not protecting the least of us, for being a cog in the machinery instead of an active agent? It’s so tempting to be overwhelmed and to turn away from trouble – to just focus on “doing your job.” Idk, maybe the worst of it would blow over, right? And then we’d be okay.

You’re incredibly numb for thinking you’re okay when the people around you aren’t.

No. Let yourself be hurt. And do something about it. Get creative. Get connected. Use your voice, mediate conflict, tell others. We should use that ability of ours while we still have it – far be it that it be taken from us… but it may.

I’m not pointing fingers anymore. I am a Filipino and I am responsible for my nation. Di ako aasa sa strong man na Presidente, di ako iiyak sa gilid. I have my own hand in letting this happen, and I have my own hand in fixing it. I know the responsibility isn’t mine alone, but I’m not going to wait anymore.

Ever since, my growth and ideals have been dedicated to you, my mother land. But as the days pass, I get more reasons to push myself in preparation to serve you. I deem it my moral responsibility, far deeper than quaint sentiment. Di ko ‘to ginagawa because I owe my life to you – I owe that to God and my parents. But you are undeniably part of who I am, and my heart aches even when you’ve grown numb. And my heart aches because it hopes. What gives hope to this heart is the joy of one day seeing you, knowing I had a hand in it somehow, liberated, to the glory of God.


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