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Emmanuel B.

Catabas Redeeming The Filipino Elusive Dream

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11/13/2008

We all have dreams; that inner desire for something we believe that will make our lives more progressive or for achieving something better than what we currently have. To achieve that aspiration, we exert all our effort the best way we can. There is no stone unturned that we shall not turn. There is no narrow path that we shall not tread on. There is no rampaging river that we shall not cross. All for the sake of that elusive dream that strengthen us all – a better life and a bright future. Whether it is of our own personal aspirations, that dream will merge with the dreams of other Filipinos. Even if we do the chasing of that elusive dream individually for personal interests, in the end it will touch the lives of many citizens of our nation. Our lives are so interconnected with each other. Our self-interest will somehow also be the interest of others. A success of one individual will also mean one more victory for the Philippines. All of us have a role in turning the wheels of the Philippine economy – as the market or as the producer; as an employee or as an employer; as a builder or as an architect. We all have a share in the building and shaping of our nation. Not many of us realize this. It is therefore of much import for all us to look beyond our self-serving interests. We have to realize that in every task we do, legal or illegal, legitimate or illegitimate, it affects another Filipino. Our future is the future of our country. Our failure is its failure. If we want to change our lives, we also must persevere to effect that change our country needs most. However, our country needs not only a change but a transformation – of its ideology; of its politics; of its culture. The country is in deep mire. Slowly, we are losing our dignity as a people. A people moving in the highways of globalization without a common vision nor a common mission. We are lost in the jumble of the right and left ideologies; conservatism and liberalism; faith and secularism; administration or opposition. Most of us do not even understand the meaning of these opposing poles or of what they are standing for. What matters for most of us is to get by our daily business without fears for our future. To find jobs or to build businesses without the hassles of bureaucracy. To live our life peacefully and decently. Our politics need a very radical transformation. Sadly, most of our politicians could not present to us any new ideas of how the country should be governed. All we hear are the rhetoric of repackaged personalities. For that is what our politics has turned out to be – a politics of personalities; politicians who do not have any clear political agenda – economic nor a worthwhile idealism. Our political system, sadly, are in a state of disarray. Party loyalties bounded to a common ideology are missing. They do not even have a strong vision to guide the nation; except for their shortsightedness of gaining power.

Emmanuel B. Catabas

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11/13/2008

It is very sad to say that our culture has been heavily damaged by corruption. In every level of the citizenry, this scourge has been permeating its ugly head. Devouring whatever little hope we still have. We are losing our core values of discipline, temperance, self-reliance and honesty. Our communal value of social responsibility is being forgotten; pushed behind our self-consciousness. Thereby producing a deficit of empathy in the country. But whenever we feel disheartened, we must gather our wits and continue to fight not any external foes, but ourselves. We need to cultivate that attitude of communal activism girded by persistence and empathy. We can only transform our world if we can transform ourselves back to our core values - from apathy to empathy; from passivism to activism. We need to redevelop our communal values that will bring about social justice. We have to effect that transformation we need ourselves; no one will do it for us. We have once shown to the world that we, as a people can do it peacefully when we dethroned a detested dictator during the first EDSA revolution. We have revolutionized revolutions – transforming them from being bloody agents of change to being peaceful agents of change. Our example led to the downfall of many communist regimes in Europe. We can still do what we need to be transformed. It is still not too late to redeem that elusive Filipino dream. However, this time the political transformation has to be done not in the streets but in the way of the democratic processes – the prudent use of our power as a transformed electorate to select the best people that will run our government based on a clear platform of governance. The people of Pampanga have shown to us how they were able to organize themselves to use that power. The people of Isabela have proven to us that it is possible to choose a leader worthy of their trust. They have had enough of political dynasties and they wanted change. Change they got. The Filipino also wanted a transformed Philippines – culturally and politically. And we can do it! There are many ways how we can do it. There are already many reliable organizations that we can extend our time, talent and expertise, as well as money. They can help us organize the way for our social and cultural transformation – for poverty alleviation and community organizing, there is the Gawad Kalinga (GK); for crime watchdog, there is the Volunteers against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and many others, each an expert in their chosen fields. Let us volunteer in any of these legitimate organizations, we need to make sacrifices and pay a price for our values. This is the only way we can show that we believe in those values. We do not have to wait for an Obama to lead us through our miseries. Let us use our communal values to scrutinize the character and ideas of each politician claiming he or she has or is the answer to our nation’s problems. These kinds of people are the problem and not the solution. We already have too much of them in government, we do not need another one. Let us not be deceived by their empty promises and eloquent oration. Let us

Emmanuel B. Catabas

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11/13/2008

not be deceived by their great smile and scripted public appearances. Let us organize ourselves and demand from them their clear cut agenda and ideas. Let them prove their worth not only by their previous works but on how their characters were shaped by their work and position. Obama did not become the phenomenon of the recent U.S. election because of his intellect nor personality nor race. He is a product of new ideas and the urgency of the times. His people needed a change and so they organized themselves to effect that change. There are many lessons we can learn from his historic election as a leader of the democratic world. Evidently, the most important of these is the power of the electorate to demand from him his ideas and how his character was shaped by his environment. Five of our respected bishops have recently issued the call for a change. Hoping for liberators that will start the radical reforms our country needs. We need not look far or in the future. We ourselves are that liberators. Do not expect our politicians to change by themselves. It is a hope against hope. Only a determined and transformed electorate can force that transformation from our politicians. Let me also quote whom our bishops quoted “Upang maitindig natin ang bantayog ng ating lipunan, kailangang radikal nating baguhin hindi lamang ang ating mga institusyon, kundi maging ang ating pag-iisip at pamumuhay.” (Apolinario Mabini)