The Philippines still has some crystalline beaches, certain abundant seacoast and big lands. They may be still considered as national assets. But the truth has to be said: As some beaches are becoming dirty and certain seacoast areas suffer pollution, big land fields are either left untilled on account of insurgency, or taken over by national or multinational corporations with the farmers having nowhere to go.
The country is in a way still known for its thick forests, rich natural resources and pristine environment, especially in Mindanao. These too can still be looked upon as national wealth. But again, immoderate logging, irresponsible mining and consequent environmental degradation have become common phenomena. In all these predatory ventures, the beneficiaries and the victims are always the same, i.e., the powerful having influence and the helpless wallowing in poverty.
But all realities considered, the Philippines has still one distinct, real and lasting wealth, viz, the Filipinos. Invaders came but the Filipinos held on and the former eventually left. Governments come and go doing good or causing havoc. But the Filipinos have always managed to hang on. When affirmed, they flourish. When oppressed, they hold their ground. When challenged, they fight back—to win. The same happens in time of natural calamities. When normalcy of nature is back, they pick up the pieces and build again, they improve their lot and look forward with hope.
Meantime, during the ups and downs of the country, the Filipinos keep their songs and dances, have fiestas, tell their jokes and enjoy their laughter. And come what may, they will have both their joyful Christmas and their tearful Good Friday. It is said that Filipinos are like bamboos. They stand straight, tall and proud. They stay close together for support and strength. They bend with the wind to remain whole and intact. Cut anyone of them and others will gradually appear and grow—and again stand straight, tall and proud.
In their history as a people, it is mostly a bad government that makes them suffer the most. There is nothing than a vicious government that really haunts and hurts, divides, impoverishes and angers them. It can be said that there are basically two instances when their government in effect become their enemy instead of their ally, their curse rather than their blessing. One is when there is too much government riding on them with unconscionable taxes, offending them with so many scandals, fooling them with one big lie after another. Two is when there is too little government working for their common goods, providing public welfare, promoting development.
It is not hard to see that the present government is precisely the one above in both instances. It demands too much from the people yet delivers less and less. It is very haughty and so proud but it is deeply distrusted and commonly disrespected by a great number of the people. For the moment, the Filipinos pray, unite and act—in anticipation of its eventual dismissal.
21 December 2007