Let’s make 2013 a turnaround year for all Filipinos
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2013-01-01
Only the most negative gainsayers would still assert that our country has not moved forward under President Benigno S. Aquino III (P-Noy). If they can lie to you, then they can easily delude themselves — and they’ve been doing that. Listen to the gainsayers and you’ll wallow in despair instead of revel in the many bright landmark achievements that our country has chalked for the past two years under P-Noy.

It’s been two years and six months since we were rescued from deep despair by one of the cleanest presidents our country ever had. We were on the threshold of despair because we witnessed one of the most scandalous administrations — the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) regime — and how it damaged our national psyche. Today, GMA is facing plunder charges while her husband, the controversial Mike Arroyo, has been accused by a whistleblower as the head of jueteng (illegal numbers game) operations in Pangasinan.

From being cited as the sick man of Asia while all over us our Asian neighbors have been enjoying an economic boom — P-Noy has brought us to just a shade below investment grade in the S & P ratings. He made the world take cognizance of the new spirit and verve of the country, a concerted zero tolerance for corruption and a quest for a better life for every Filipino. Our tourism numbers have breached past record highs. An economic program of inclusive growth has been launched. P-Noy stood tall in challenging China’s claims to Philippine territory.

My sister Dorothy has been based in Singapore for over eight years now. She narrated to me how P-Noy has reversed Singapore public opinion about the Philippines. Even her driver there was telling her that we have a good president in P-Noy.

Good as he is, P-Noy cannot do everything to make life better for all Filipinos. Government can at best only provide the opportunities for all Filipinos to have a fair shot for a better life. P-Noy cannot help indolent fathers who prefer to live off their wives’ meager income and drink it out with neighborhood friends. P-Noy cannot make lazy students from failing to attain the required education and skills to land a good paying job. The fact is there are many good paying jobs out there but few of our countrymen qualify to fill the vacant positions.

There are many other important things that every Filipino must change if we’re to progress like Singapore or China. We have to know our real history. Not knowing our real history is like a person who doesn’t have an inkling of who his parents were and how they lived before. Unless we know our real history and how predators have feasted on us for centuries, we will always be vulnerable to future predation.

First of the predators were our colonizers and they almost wiped out our beautiful culture. These days we’re paying the heavy price of the damaged culture that Spain and the US left in our psyche. If that’s not enough, after raping our natural resources and leaving us with a damaged culture — these colonizers created our corrupt elite. It’s been this elite that has been ruling us and allowing us to be exploited once again. We pay this price for not knowing our real history.

Another negative hangover of our colonial period, we were programmed to be disunited and constantly warring with each other. Divide and rule has been a long practiced foreign policy of conquerors. These days, there’s a mighty China threatening to gobble up Philippine valuable resources. We cannot even hope to resist China if we’re a nation divided.

There are no short cuts to national development. Study the history of the major European nations, the US, Japan and China and you’ll see the common denominator — the national grit and determination to rise above tough challenges and move forward. A good administration can only bring the horse to water but near the water, the horse cannot be forced to drink.

Year after year, many Filipinos keep wishing and longing for a better life. How many of them did something positive to attain their goals? You can spend 10 years of your life praying in church for a better paying job but you know that the better paying job isn’t found in the church. It opens up for those determined enough to fit the requirements and look better then the rest of the field.

In St. Joan, George Bernard Shaw best described the role of God in the making of a nation. Shaw wrote: “God is no man’s daily drudge, and no maid’s either. If you are worthy of it He will sometimes snatch you out of the jaws of death and set you on your feet again; but that is all: once on your feet you must fight with all your might and all your craft. For He has to be fair to your enemy too: don’t forget that.” Over here we keep lazing around and just trusting God to provide our daily bread.

With a great president now leading us, let’s prove ourselves worthy of the qualities that will make our country great.

* * *

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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