The Filipinos’ estimation of oneself

By Farah G. Decano


ACCORDING to a former Consul assigned in San Francisco, there are two incidents that made the Filipino gain world respect in recent history – the 1986 people power and the 2016 legal triumph of the Philippines against China.  In both glorious events, the mother and son Aquinos were involved. Former President Corazon Aquino became the icon that fought a dictatorship and brought back democracy to the country while her son, Former President Benigno Aquino III, became the exemplar of courage who foiled China’s attempt to dominate West Philippine Sea and scored a victory before an International Arbitral Tribunal.

The Aquinos, however, would not have become the admirable symbols they have become without the like-minded patriotic Filipinos behind them.  The 1986 People Power happened because of the brave people who risked their lives to stop tanks and the military.  The West Philippine Sea dispute was won because the Filipino intelligentsia worked and cracked their brains together.

These two great victories should be claimed by all Filipinos and their descendants.  No administration should prohibit us from celebrating these proud moments in our history.  And no self-respecting Filipino should ignore, downplay, or worse, erase the many heroic deeds of the many Filipinos who came before us.

The Filipino’s estimation of oneself may be measured based on the results of the elections. The repeated recycling of politicians who are considered as societal garbage because of their numerous involvements in corrupt and criminal activities is indicative of how low we perceive our self-image.  Does our identity now come with a price tag to the highest bidder?

Our Filipino integrity may also be seen from conduct the members of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches and how they incarnate the values enshrined in the Philippine Constitution. Do we have legislative representatives who only give full attention to proposed laws that would benefit their benefactors or the wealthy? What has happened to the wage hike bills? The proposed prohibition of “endo?”  Do we have executive officials who give premium only to “juicy” projects?  What has happened to the implementation of RA 9003 or Solid Waste Management Act and the other environmental laws?  Among the three branches, the members of the judiciary are most expected to embody what is good about Filipinos. They are learned and are steeped in ethical education.  Do we have members of judiciary who are not satisfied with their own allowances, entitlements, and compensations because they still demand from others the proverbial “free lunch?”

Our Filipino pride is also manifested by how local businesses treat foreigners and Filipinos.  We have to show our foreign visitors that they have no right to trample on Filipinos in our own country.   If Filipinos follow the rules and patiently line up abroad, this means that foreigners, too, obey our laws and must line up here if there is a cue.  Allowing aliens to behave discourteously in our country because they happen to bring in the dollars is similar to prostituting our national identity for the sake of money.

On my plane ride from Boracay to Manila, my traveling companion and the Filipino seated next to us exchanged horrible experiences with foreigners from a certain race in that beautiful island.  “They’re rude,” said the guy.  Looks like they are taking advantage of the hospitality and politeness of our local workers.  It is sad that our fellow Filipinos are overwhelmed by their ill behavior. We couldn’t help but advise our kalahi to be more assertive and stand up against demeaning behavior.  We should be able to enforce our rules equally to both foreigners and locals.

I hope the Governor of Aklan will be able to stand up for his fellow Aklanons in Boracay against what can be considered a foreign race’s “privatized” domination over Filipinos.

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