Thursday, November 24, 2016

When Did We Filipinos Collapse into Factions?

Conversing at length with a friend, we came upon an agreement. It is that we cannot be distracted from what we truly must do for our country. You know, at the end of the day, we want a fair society. We want safe streets, without fear of being killed by riding in tandem vigilante, or mugged by thieves. We want hospitals and affordable healthcare. We want trains. We want roads (decongested). We want sidewalks. We want decent jobs with decent pay.

This is why we awoke. We awoke in separate factions. Pro-Marcos. Anti-Marcos. Pro-Aquino. Anti-Aquino. Ka-DDS. Pro-Country. But when you look at the heart of the arguments, you will see that we often look back at the times when our nation was or could have been great. And at each of those moments, there were heroes who rose up and there were leaders who failed us.

I doubt that there is a Pro-Marcos brother out there who truly means to say he doesn't give a damn about human rights victims as long as he was able to enjoy the infrastructure boom and affordable cost of living. I doubt that the Anti-Aquino who polices us to remember the Mendiola Massacre means to reduce the problem to a war between two families: Aquino vs. Marcos.

What is being said is that even after everything, even after our great People Power Revolution, there are still profiteering politicians in place. We are still asking, where the hell are the trains? Why the hell is energy so expensive? Why are the fuel giants still allowed to collude? Why are there no new state hospitals being built? Why can't I afford healthcare? Why are so many Pinoys still living below the poverty line? Why are there still haciendas despite all these talks on Agrarian reform?

Some throw up their hands and sigh "Pare-pareho lang yang mga politiko." But no, they are not the same.

Ultimately we must ask: who is/are accountable for what's wrong and how do we hold them responsible? And then, after we have destroyed this longstanding impunity, we ask how do we move on from here?

With so many issues plaguing the country, we do each other a disservice by labeling ourselves or another a Dutertard or Yellowtard or whatever. These are distractions. It merely fosters a culture of forgetfulness because it adds to our inability to focus on any one thing until it reaches its full closure. #NeverForget: this humble hashtag may yet be the greatest finding of our time. It empowers us to seek out our cause, our calling. Empowers us to ACT on our cause with dogged focus, and not to digress into namecalling the opposing viewpoint like snotty children who just lost in a game of marbles. They have their own role to play. You have yours. If today we must march for justice, then we march. Tomorrow is a new day.
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