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Monday, 12 July 2010

On Being a Filipino

On Alex Lacson’s 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country…

When I was in fourth year, my Physics teacher told my classmates and I that the whole universe “abides” by Newton's Third Law of Motion which is the Law of Interaction. He set an apple thrown upward as an example. He told us that the earth pulls the apple that's why an apple falls whenever it is thrown upward; but as to follow the Law of Interaction, the apple thrown upward can also be interpreted the other way around – the apple, no matter how minute it is, also pulls the earth.

Our actions are like apples that pull the earth, the little deeds that we do have effects on the respective societies that we are living in. That is what Alexander Lacson wants us to realize through his book 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country.

When I started reading the book, I felt like I was reading our Christian Living book when I was in high school because of the idealism contained in it. I thought that the things written on the book were too ideal for the Philippine setting because it is undeniable that we are quite hard-headed in our own country, we always want things our way. In short, I met this book with a little cynicism. But I still kept on reading the book. Then, I realized that the only way to change our nation is through idealism.

Everyday, we are bombarded with negative news, with realism, that makes us feel inferior compared to people of other nations. We feel that we could not be at par with those who live in the West – well in fact, our “diskarte” could be at par with theirs. But how do we cure this inferiority complex? I don't think that our inferiority complex as Filipinos could not be cured with realities presented to us on the media. If only the realities presented on us could cure that 'inferiority complex', then we should have been completely cured because we are faced with realities of life all throughout our lives.

The problem with facing that realism everyday is that we get used to it and then we don't do something to change that – we just live with it. What if we are faced with some streaks of idealism? I think that would work because we would strive to achieve that ideal situation then sooner it would become a reality.

I also realized that it only takes a little discipline to follow everything that he proposed to do.

Those are some of the realizations I had right after reading the book (besides that those 12 little things that he listed could be really beneficial to all of us if and only if we work on them). Lacson made me realize that immediately using simple words that were strong enough to create a positive impact. Lacson did not make me feel that he is intellectually superior (although I am sure he is – he is a lawyer after all) compared to us “commoners”. He did not make me feel intimidated with big words that I am sure he could use to boast his intellect. He made me feel that he is just a concerned ordinary citizen encouraging us to join his advocacies to make our nation a better one.

If only all Filipinos could be able to read this book and take all the things written on it to heart, the Philippines will certainly be better. Maybe it would not become a paradise, but surely it would be better. I have no doubt that once the messages expressed in the book would be taken seriously, those messages would be converted into actions since the points made in the book were so strong that one could not help but feel positive.

If and only if those 12 ways to help our country could be followed even for just 30 consecutive days, those 12 ways could become 12 habits towards a brighter future for our country.

On my own 12 Little Things to Help the Philippines…

  1. Don't just study hard; study smart.

  2. Apply things learned in school in nation-building.

  3. Take time to teach the poor children.

  4. Respect parents, teachers, elders and other authorities.

  5. Have a nose for news.

  6. Blog positive things about the country.

  7. Do not hesitate to correct others when appropriate.

  8. Procrastination is a no-no.

  9. Be a friend to everyone.

  10. Save money!

  11. Conserve energy.

  12. Keep in mind: “No day but today.”

On Changing the Charter…

I think that there should be a charter change. An obvious reason would be that 1987 was more than two decades ago. In those past two decades, a lot of things changed – the values and the motivations of the people during 1987, when the Constitution was first released, were entirely different from the values and motivations of the people now.

Twenty-three years ago, some of the sanctions in the Constitution may have worked efficiently in making the people under the Constitution abide by the laws but now, some of those sanctions do not work efficiently anymore – not all people are 'afraid' of the Constitution and for that reason, anarchy-like situations occur in some places.

It is also unavoidable that the 1987 Constitution has loopholes when it will be adopted in our modern times because there are some instruments that can be used in making crimes today that were not available in 1987. For example, exploitation of women and children in the internet and through webcams are widely occurring (especially when I watch Imbestigador) but offenders still get away with their heinous acts because there are no specific laws that could exactly 'satisfy' that crime.

The 1987 Constitution is also verbose. There are a lot of superfluous words that only confuses civilians who should abide by the law. Even the Tagalog version of the 1987 Constitution can be classified as a “difficult reading.”

If ever there would be a charter change, the committee who would be making the new charter must focus on making each law comprehensible to ordinary citizens. They must also find a way to disseminate the new charter to the masses who comprise the majority of the citizens here in our country.

As one of the 2010 Presidential Candidates responded when he was asked about the issue of changing the charter, he said that the 1987 Constitution was only a short-term response to the change of governance – it failed to see the long-term value of this Constitution. Therefore, we urgently need a Constitution that will not only be concerned with the present but would also care about the welfare of the next generations.