Sunday, January 02, 2005

The will to heal

The will to heal

Updated 02:09am (Mla time) Jan 02, 2005
By Isagani Cruz
Inquirer News Service

Editor's Note: Published on page A12 of the January 2, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

AS we begin this brand-new 2005, I hope we will address ourselves to our many chronic problems and take more resolute efforts to solve them after the useless placebos we have been using all these years. We err in considering these illnesses as already part of our way of life. That is a defeatist attitude we must not indulge. Though serious and apparently hopeless, they may still be cured with competent attention and, of course, the will to heal.

Many of our current difficulties did not exist decades ago. We used to be one of the most prosperous nations in Asia before graft and corruption reduced us to the tail-end. We had the highest literacy rate before, with better knowledge of English than other Orientals, but not anymore. Peace and order was manageable even with the communist insurgency and without the bandit groups that now bedevil us. Adequate treatment was available in the old puericulture centers, unlike now where the poor have to pay for their medicines in government hospitals. And, yes, there were less misfits and nitwits among our elective officials.

In my opinion, the most urgent needs of our country today are the improvement of peace and order and the promotion of education. Attainment of these objectives will lead to the solution of other problems like the worsening national economy, the loss of popular confidence in the government, and the deterioration of the election process. Rights will be better enjoyed in a well-ordered society and talents can be fully exploited if they are wisely encouraged and developed.

One reason for the flight of foreign investors from our country is the criminality that has been plaguing us not only in the rural areas but also in the urban centers. It is bad enough that alien businessmen cannot venture in the undeveloped regions of our land (which they want to develop) but what is worse is that their lives are in danger even in Metro Manila. The trouble is that the law-enforcement officers, from those highly placed to the minor kotong cops, prey on the foreigner as milking cows. Even banks are regularly robbed in broad daylight and the culprits are often able to escape at will.

We can recover the virtues of that not-so-distant past and, as well, strengthen them with our native aptitudes and modern knowledge. Our children know much about the information technology and modern math (although perhaps not as much of literature and the arts and, surely, the Bible or the Koran). What the present generation needs most is the civic consciousness and political involvement of past generations of Filipinos that made them participate in the function of government and the solution of its problems. Development of such spirit in the younger citizens today will help much in coping with our present troubles.

An obvious flaw of our alleged democracy is the election of unfit officials by unfit voters. Candidates are more often than not chosen on the basis of money, guns, pakikisama and, most deceptive of all, the fatuous appeal of the popular entertainer. It is only during the past few years that mostly unqualified actors/actresses/basketball players/TV and radio announcers have presumptuously sought elective office and, worse, won over their better qualified rivals.

These pretenders are able to infiltrate the government because of the support of the bakya crowd, which consists of persons with little or no education and believe that a make-believe hero in the movies or an attractive singer on TV will be an ideal public officer. They were proved wrong when they elected Joseph Estrada to the highest office in our land but they did not learn their lesson. There are still brassy incompetents masquerading as public servants who pollute the public service by grace of their idiotic fans.

That vice can be corrected with the education of our electorate. They should be taught to resist the seduction of the entertainment world that, by and large, offers cheap and middling shows, toilet jokes, sexual promiscuity and immorality, ignorance and superstition, and adulation for make-believe actors who think that serving in the government is just another role for making more money at public expense. That unhealthy delusion is not in the script.

This mindless conviction of the voters can be resisted only by their proper education, particularly on their civic rights and responsibilities. Only education can release them from their infatuation with unqualified entertainers who up to now occupy and cheapen public offices. As Benjamin Franklin said, the best remedy against an unwise electorate is not to deprive them of their vote but to educate them on its proper uses.

We have many more problems to solve, but I believe that the improvement of peace and order and the promotion of education will go a long way in enhancing the future. Focusing on these two objectives will solve many of the other difficulties that continue to plague our confused country. We have so far failed dismally to deliver us from our moribund condition because of our ineffectual remedies. With the right direction and the will to heal, this New Year could be our redemption.


Post a Comment

<< Home