Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Something I believe in

Something I believe in
Rhealeth Krizelle Ramos

In the process of gathering data for a 20-paged paper I’m supposed to write for my class, Contemporary Philippines, the nation-builder in me couldn’t help but feel so much love and optimism.

For the said paper, I chose to write about Gawad Kalinga, Rock Ed, and Yabang Pinoy.

History has often focused on partisan politics. And yes, it has done so for good reason. Dissecting events that have national impact are, after all, a historian’s job. And when people talk about “events that have national impact,” mostly it’s about things related to the government and to national politics. After all, the government is the agency directly responsible for the well-being of its constituents. And among all organizations, it is the one that has legitimate power vested upon it by the people.

However, it is my belief that the noble initiatives emanating from the people should also be included in the pages of history. I know that historians have indeed done this. The numerous readings we had for my class in Contemporary Philippines talk a lot about activist groups. But you see, these groups are very much linked to the government in the sense that most of their actions, if not all, are directed towards the government. With all due respect, I believe in activism.

I, too, am an activist—but of a different sort, that is. And the sort of activism that I advocate is something that history hasn’t paid much attention to. It may be due to various reasons. Others might find it shallow; the change has to be systematic, they might respond. Others might find it too middle and upper class; true activism, to some, emanates from the masses, and actions by the said classes are mendicant in the core. Still, another reason could be that it is only of late that such groups are born or are gaining ground.

Some people are often doubtful of anything coming from the middle and upper class. May vested interests lang yang mga yan! Hindi naman totoong pagbabago ang gusto nila kasi mawawala sila sa pwesto! I have heard so much of that. ENOUGH. For me, the kind of activism groups like Gawad Kalinga, Rock Ed, and Yabang Pinoy are no less noble than other forms of activism. The kind of activism that is proactive and action-oriented is something I believe in. And by action-oriented, I mean actually doing something, and not just waiting for the government to “fulfill its role.” True enough, a lot of the things that these organizations do are things that the government should have been providing for the people. But then again, we all know the government has so many tasks to fulfill. It wouldn’t hurt if we do our part. It is one thing to be critical. A critical mind is a beautiful mind. But a beautiful mind has another component, too. It is empowered. And when one feels empowered, one does not wait for others to act. One acts.

There is too much cynicism. What we need is a Positive Philippines. And it all starts in the mind; the right attitude could bring about the right behaviors. And individual right behaviors could bring about collective change. Of course, I know it’s not that easy. For the truth is that the situation is far more complex than this. We criticize, for example, the corruption in the government. But little do we notice how corruption has creeped into the Pinoy’s daily life. Paglalagay and pagpapalakad, for example, do not transpire only among the bigwigs of the state. It is very much practiced everyday by the ordinary Filipino. And yes, there are a number among the wealthy who might be dressed as lambs but are actually the perpetuators of the long-running rent system and other means of corruption in the country. But then, what do we do? Do we settle for such things? Hell no. We, more than ever, should be concerned, informed, and active citizens. And amidst that involvement, we shall always keep in mind to carry with us hope and positivism. For if we lose sight of that hope, the burning fire of passion for the country might turn into something destructive.

Maybe history has not yet paid attention to such movements because the national impact has yet to be felt. So join us in our mission. Together let’s work for this country. Together, let’s help fight poverty. Let us reclaim our Filipino identity. We are a great nation capable of giving out so much love. People power is not a one-time thing. It is a cause. It is a call for true democracy wherein the people really have a say. The culmination of one phase of that people power would perhaps be when we have proven to the world that the actions of the ordinary people could indeed affect systematic changes. Let us work to help put more positive stories in the pages of our future children’s textbooks :) A Philippines beautiful in every aspect—that is something I believe in.