Observer Editorial, June 2010


The New Promise of the Nation

The victory of another Aquino—President Noynoy to the many who entrusted their votes to him—to the presidency in the Philippines means many things to people of Philippine descent, whether in the Philippines or in the United States.

Or more so for those more than ten percent of the population of the country who are away from the homeland laboring it out in other places and other climes just to scratch out a life in nations other than their own nation.

We call this the exportation or warm bodies that, at the height of Martial Law under Marcos, became an official government policy for many reasons, one of which was the legitimate cover-up for the inability of the country to absorb the labor market.

In short, it could not provide employment for its people, hence the official sending away of millions of them to other places, some of them going back to the Philippines in cold coffins or raped or both.

We must admit now: many people of Philippine descent in the United States and in other destination countries have been motivated to go away to eke out a life outside the country because eking out a life in the homeland was much harder and the opportunity to do so less possible.

Many of us left because there was not much in the homeland.

Except for the broken promises we have grown tired of, we have only the obligatory self-congratulations of presidents and leaders and their game of endless misdeed and mischief.

At the cusp of this new era—indeed, a new promise for us all—there is one thing that strikes at the core of all the promises we have heard many times over, but promises that have never seen the light of day: President Benigno Aquino III is giving us a new lease on our life as a people.

People of Philippine descent in the United States or abroad may not feel the same way as those in the homeland.

But this new promise is palpable to those left behind to witness the rapacity of thieves in government.

This new promise is an antidote to poison of corruption that has marked previous administrations.

This new promise is a restatement of a commitment to truth, service, and justice for all the people.

It is a promise with a vision.

It is a vision with a hard, raw, real truth.

A dawn is being promised, a new one, indeed, with its rays of hope.

A new hope is being offered, one springing eternal as it has always been, despite the multiple tragedies we have had with the conjugal dictatorship, with the Joseph Estrada presidency of corruption of the highest order, and with the Arroyo presidency of a culture of impunity and graft.

Abuse of power is what people call these tragedies that have visited us and that have rendered us impotent, inutile, unproductive, hopeless.

We can also call this absolute power corrupting us all absolutely.

And we are not the better for these untold stories of corruption.

But with this new presidency, we have heard some good news, and we can only pray that this good news will be sown on good soil and ever-ready for the sprouting and growing.

Nation making, as well as state crafting, are a factor of the political imagination.

We have to imagine a land, a homeland, a country, a nation, and on this imagination, we have to push for, even as we account, the deeds that will bring about results: democracy in the real sense of the word even as we hope for the masses getting the proper political education, and social justice translatable into access to resources.

We inaugurate a new hope.

We inaugurate a new nation.

We inaugurate a new imagination for the people of the Philippines.

It is not too late to hope.

The people—our own people—deserve better, better than all the self-accolades and the lies and the broken promises of the past leaders.

FAO, Jun 2010