I am not a political person and I am guilty of being among those without care at all when it comes to how the country is run by those in power. I am in my comfort zone, anyway. This roots from the way I view politics when I was younger: “Politics in the Philippines is dirty,” my late father would say. Hence, I would shun from any discussion as regards politics.
Ninoy Aquino’s death at the tarmac on August 21, 1983 was my political awakening. Until now, everytime I hear replays of Ninoy’s speeches I felt so inspire and proud as a Pinoy, more so when he says that “The Filipino is worth dying for.” Wow! Who am I that he would die for me? Parang kay Jesus Christ ko lang kayang itanong yan ah. Now, I tell myself, what a great man and wonder where this country might be in the world map had he held the reigns of the government and run it as he said he would.
Yesterday, another great Filipino is laid down to rest, a man who is an epitome of honesty, decency, integrity, and good governance, Jesse Robredo. His life is a living testament of a true public servant. Much praises and accolades have been said and written on how he led in his simple ways as a Mayor in Naga and later on as Secretary of DILG. Full disclosure in the government was his crown jewel; to serve and not to be served. And again I wonder, where would we be had he been given more time to serve our people.
What impressed me in these two great leaders is their faith, in God and in the Filipino people. While Ninoy said, The Filipinos are worth dying for; Jesse would say, Kaya natin as he invoked participatory governance. And look how he placed Naga in the map?
Apart from Ninoy and Cory Aquino’s death, I have not witnessed such outpouring of accolades and praises for a public official upon his death. I believe it is not just a coincidence to recover Sec. Jesse Robredo’s body on Ninoy Aquino day. I believe this is a wake-up call to us, Filipinos. If we are to remain faithful to the memory of these great Filipinos who had gone before us, then we have to rise up to the challenges they left us with. We have to be united so that we can move forward as a nation. The people who were elected and appointed to office should serve as our role models in the “daang matuwid” governance of the present leadership.
Mission Accomplished, PNoy had said in his eulogy. Both Ninoy and Jesse had served well. Now it’s our duty to continue their legacy. Let the loss of a few good men pave the way so that other good or even better men shine and live out the values they embodied. It would be much better though if we do not wait for another loss to face the challenge. Let us live the Filipino Spirit as we participate in the task of nation building.
By the way, the project to teach Robredo 101 in our schools is a good start. A follow-up to this would be to elect honest and competent people to office in the coming 2013 elections.