Concerts as new opiate for the masses?

By Farah G. Decano


AFTER several weeks, the rains have already fallen, albeit briefly, somewhere in Pangasinan. Last week, the hottest place in the Philippines nowadays – Dagupan City – almost missed the much needed shower. Looks like Heaven is hesitant to alleviate the condition of the already very tortured Dagupeños. The residents continue to suffer the heat and the consequent torrential amount of sweat during day and night.

No aliwan graben delap, grabe so petang so nagagawa dya ed Dagupan,” someone complained. He then blurted out, “Makasalanan iray manuuley.”

This observation is reminiscent of the Pharoah of Egypt who did not mend his ways despite warnings from Moses.  God was prompted to send calamities and ultimately the angel of death in order to secure the obedience of the recalcitrant leader.

Makasalanan iray manuuley

I cannot blame the person for this remark. The exchanges of political jabs and barbs between the maka-Belen and the maka-Lim elected officials which, by tradition, should commence only one year before the election,  have started immediately upon their assumption of office.  Instead of extending their hands for a possible cooperation, the maka-Lims raised their fists and denied the Mayor’s maiden request for supplemental budget. The political landscape went on a downward spiral from there. Attempts to reconcile the two headstrong factions have failed.

Another commented, “Makasalanan la so totoo ed Dagupan.”  This retort may find basis in Jeremiah 12 to 15 wherein the people of those times were made to suffer extreme drought so that they will turn away from sin.  The verses warned that God will not accept hypocritical displays of piety and will send greater punishment such as war, pestilence, epidemic, and famine.

Whether or not these calamities experienced by Dagupan City are punishments to effect the conversion of our leaders and the people, it is high time that we change our priorities and put premium on the care of our environment.

Pope Francis, in his first Italian encyclical – Laudato Si, wrote that we are all custodians of our natural resources. He counselled the faithful that we do not own our present world.  We are merely borrowing it from the future. The Supreme Pontiff implored the faithful to take good care of our only home.

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When I was city administrator, Mayor Belen undertook the planting of hundreds of coconut seedlings along Pugaro Beach and Tondaligan Beach.  This was not definitely for pictorial purposes.  I witnessed how annoyed she was when she returned to the beaches and saw that some seedlings had dried up.  She called the official in charge and reminded him of his duties. Upon her direction, I regularly checked on the official and repeated the same instruction. 

We hope that any tree planting endeavors in the future will be similar to the style of Mayor Belen where efforts were coupled with nurturing.

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Karl Marx wrote that religion is the opiate of the masses. Religion to him rendered the people accepting of their miserable living and working conditions. He observed that religion comforted the suffering populace and made them forget their existing dismal social realities. To Marx, the worship of God distracted the masses from their assertion of political right to demand the alleviation of their plight from existing oppression.

Nowadays, some local government units in Pangasinan are generous in giving free concerts to their citizenry every now and then.  With their bodies pumped up with dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin, the young and old attendees go home feeling happy and satisfied.

Is this how the present political leaders drown the more relevant issues and silence the outspoken Generation Z? I hope that Filipinos, while they are partaking of this proverbial Marie Antoinnette’s “cake,” will not forget to resist any governmental effort to distract them from what they ought to receive as a matter of right.

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