Source: Google Images
It was only recently that our batch was made to watch a documentary about the journey of the ever famous senator, Benigno Aquino Jr., towards eradicating Martial Law and salvaging democracy in the Philippines. It depicted the struggles not only of the senator, but also of the Filipinos who suffered from severe human exploitation. It showed that while the government remained passive about the uncountable number of murders and abuses, which, many believe, were also the product of the established system, B. Aquino, with his indomitable spirit, chose not to let these prevail. Tough as it was, he preferred to be jailed than be with his beloved family. He preferred to experience the loneliness brought by the isolation in prison cells than the overwhelming peace his family offered during their three year stay in the United States. He preferred to go against the norm and speak against the seen “tyrant” (Ferdinand Marcos) of the time despite the many threats, than enjoy the luxury of forming an alliance with Marcos. Later, he even preferred to lie on his deathbed than remain silent and passive about the unjust events that continued to dominate the Philippines. Indeed, it was without wonder that this man, this heavily courageous and righteous man, was hailed a hero – a thing that was mutely proclaimed even while he was still living, fighting for every single Filipino.
To say that the movie was inexplicably moving is already an understatement. It displayed too much of an essential piece of the Filipinos’ identity that to say it simply moved me is insufficient. Rather, I was enlightened. It seemed to me that every bit or speck of the Filipinos’ dilemma today rushed and collaged before my eyes. I saw the many labourers who work all day long just to bring home a small amount for the survival of their family. I saw the ill stricken patients in the country’s public hospitals who receive poor quality of health care despite the existence of a national university that aims to provide the country with the best doctors. I saw the raggedly clothed children selling cigarettes or Sampaguitas along the streets, aspiring to study but are unable to not only because of insufficient familial funds, but also because of expensive schooling. I saw the highly unsystematic traffic, and heavily compacted clouds of smoke along the always being reconstructed roads of Manila that threaten both our economy and the health of many Filipinos. I saw the never ending corruption or at least, the disorderly system, of the government. I saw all the flaws, all the problems that this country is currently facing, and as I sat there, watching the struggles of a Filipino man just to fight for his fellow Filipinos’ rights, I asked myself this: I am a Filipino, but what am I doing to help resolve these problems?
A silence of guilt befell both on my head and on my soul. Every day, I pass by beggars along the sidewalks, and I admittedly see them not as human beings who have equal rights but merely as ornaments that blend with the filthy landscape. Every day, I go to Robinson’s mall to buy appetizing – sometimes even excessive- food, while I refuse to give even a crumb to those who are actually starving for God knows how long. Every day, I walk along the polluted streets of Manila, and even cross the road at incorrect locations, playing with the also disobedient drivers in the middle of the lanes. Now once in our history, a man fought for this country. A man died to salvage the beauty attached to freedom, and to promote the welfare of every one of the Filipinos. It is just very unfortunate to accept the truth that all his sacrifices, all his struggles boiled down to the chaotic and poor country we have today. What is even more saddening is not only the fact that the leader of the current administration is the hero’s own son, but also the actuality that a very few aspired and actually continued Aquino’s legacy when in truth, each of us, who are nameless and ordinary, should be struggling to bring this nation into prosperity! Sadly, I, together with many others, am part of those who compose the bulk of the passive crowd.
Then again, it is not yet too late to initiate change just as how it wasn’t too late for Benigno Aquino Jr. to make a difference in this country despite being confined in jail for years. As a matter of fact, it would be much easier to demand for action, and promote camaraderie among Filipinos now than before with the rise of the modern advancements.
In the advent of technology and media, we inevitably become more inclined to activities that involve computers, cellphones, and gadgets. Instead of going to the post-office to send messages to distant friends or relatives, we deliver them just with a single click via e-mail or social networking sites. Also, instead of rummaging through the tall shelves of a queerly silent library, we now prefer to “type in” a keyword in a search engine, which would conveniently present hundreds – sometimes even thousands- of information from different sources. Truly, the current world has become swift with respect to how the formerly time-consuming things are done or achieved. And we could most certainly use this change to initiate another.
First of all, through the internet, we can be more up to date with the different information or events that occur in our country. We can now know immediate news in a blur of a second, which could provide some way for social awareness. This, however, must not require absolute reliance as some data from undependable sources can always be falsely edited. Second, with the rise of social networking sites such as Facebook, Blogspot, and whatnot, we can easily travel back to the days when writing serves as an important instrument for unity, and awareness. With the help of the freedom reclaimed for us by the presented hero, Filipinos can now bluntly express opinions, or provide factual information about the different false workings in our system. Videos can also be created to vividly depict the difficult situations of many, which, at the very least, could gather empathy from their fellow humans and encourage action.
As much as there are negative consequences brought about by the creation of these advancements, the Internet provides infinitely many opportunities that can alter events that need alteration. It could provide the fundamental basis of one to act, and it could absolutely be the medium used for one’s action. Indeed, we have no other option but to use the changes experienced by the society to again establish another change that strives for the betterment of this country. However, our actions must not always be limited to a computer screen. Sometimes, resolution requires voices and definite acts. This, again, is not limited to the usual rallies we see in front of the Department of Justice or in Mendiola. The definite actions can root down from a student exerting all his or her effort to learn, to a newly graduate choosing to serve the country than work abroad. They can be seen in the government officials – if there still are- doing their jobs without a stain of dishonesty. They can be witnessed in ordinary citizens who refuse to receive bribes from power-seeking officials. They can be seen in every single Filipino who lives each day, knowing that he or she has served his or her country right.
We have truly gone past the days when there exists Martial law, and abuses to the extremes are rampant. We now enjoy the freedom reclaimed for us by a hero that selflessly sacrificed his life. But the problems do not end there, and so are the actions we need to do. Each day must be a journey for every Filipino to face the different dilemmas this country possesses. Each day must be a struggle for every Filipino to serve truthfully to this nation. Each day must be a battle against injustice and dishonesty. Each day must be a day away from passivity. And yes, these are a must because if we continue to bury the very reason why a hero such as Benigno Aquino Jr. fought and died, and if we just accept the way things are right now, then the death of a hero and the very wonderful freedom he supposed to have reclaimed will just be a big pile of nonsense in our history.
This served as my essay for my NSTP class.
Do not plagiarize.