Message to all Filipinos

I got this open letter via one of my mailing lists, and I’m sharing it here now because it deserves to be read by as many Filipinos as possible. Contained in this open letter are brave and insightful thoughts, written anonymously.

To all Filipinos Everywhere:

Philippine FlagI used to think that corruption and criminality in the Philippines were caused by poverty. But recent events tell me this isn’t true. It is one thing to see people turn into drug addicts, prostitutes, thieves and murderers because of hunger and poverty, but what excuse do these rich, educated people have that could possibly explain their bizarre behavior? And to think I was always so relieved when petty snatchers got caught and locked away in jail because I never fully realized that the big time thieves were out there, making the laws and running our country. Can it get any worse than this?

Every night, I come home and am compelled to turn on my tv to watch the latest turn of events. I am mesmerized by these characters. They are not men. They are caricatures of men – too unreal to be believable and too bad to be real. To see these “honorable” crooks lambast each other, call each one names, look each other in the eye and accuse the other of committing the very same crimes that they themselves are guilty of, is so comical and appalling that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It is entertainment at its worst!

I have never seen so many criminals roaming around unfettered and looking smug until now. These criminals wear suits and barongs, strut around with the confidence of the rich and famous, inspire fear and awe from the very citizens who voted them to power, bear titles like “Honorable”, “Senator”, “Justice”, “General” and worse, “President”. Ironically, these lawless individuals practice law, make our laws, enforce the law. And we wonder why our policemen act the way they do! These are their leaders, and the leaders of this nation – Robin Hoodlum and his band of moneymen. Their motto? “Rob the poor, moderate the greed of the rich.”

It makes me wonder where on earth these people came from, and what kind of upbringing they had to make them act the way they do for all the world to see. It makes me wonder what kind of schools they went to, what kind of teachers they had, what kind of environment would produce such creatures who can lie, cheat and steal from an already indebted country and from the impoverished people they had vowed to serve. It makes me wonder what their children and grandchildren think of them, and if they are breeding a whole new generation of improved Filipino crooks and liars with maybe a tad more style but equally negligible conscience. Heaven forbid!

I am an ordinary citizen and taxpayer. I am blessed to have a job that pays for my needs and those of my family’s, even though 30% of my earnings go to the nation’s coffers. Just like others in my lot, I have complained time and again because our government could not provide enough of the basic services that I expect and deserve. Rutty roads, poor educational system, poor social services, poor health services, poor everything. But I have always thought that was what all third world countries were all about, and my complaints never amounted to anything more.

And then this. Scandalous government deals. Plundering presidents pointing fingers. Senators associated with crooks. Congressmen who accept bribes. Big time lawyers on the side of injustice. De Venecia ratting on his boss only after his interminable term has ended, Enrile inquiring about someone’s morality! The already filthy rich Abalos and Arroyo wanting more money than they or their great grandchildren could ever spend in a lifetime. Joker making a joke of his own “pag bad ka, lagot ka!” slogan. Defensor rendered defenseless. Gen. Razon involved in kidnapping. Security men providing anything but a sense of security. And it’s all about money, money, money that the average Juan de la Cruz could not even imagine in his dreams. Is it any wonder why our few remaining decent and hardworking citizens are leaving to go work in other countries?

And worst of all, we are once again saddled with a power-hungry president whose addiction has her clinging on to it like barnacle on a rusty ship. “Love (of power) is blind” takes a whole new meaning when PGMA time and again turns a blind eye on her husband’s financial deals. And still blinded with all that is happening, she opts to traipse around the world with her cohorts in tow while her country is in shambles.

They say the few stupid ones like me who remain in the Philippines are no longer capable of showing disgust. I don’t agree. Many like me feel anger at the brazenness of men we call our leaders, embarrassment to share the same nationality with them, frustration for our nation and helplessness at my own ineffectuality. It is not that I won’t make a stand. It is just that I am afraid my actions would only be futile. After all, these monsters are capable of anything. They can hurt me and my family. They already have, though I may not yet feel it.

But I am writing this because I need to do something concrete. I need to let others know that ordinary citizens like me do not remain lukewarm to issues that would later affect me and my children. I want to make it known that there are also Filipinos who dream of something better for the Philippines. I want them to know that my country is not filled with scalawags and crooks in every corner, and that there are citizens left who believe in decency, fairness, a right to speak, a right to voice out ideas, a right to tell the people we have trusted to lead us that they have abused their power and that it is time for them to step down. I refuse to let this country go to hell because it is the only country I call mine and it is my responsibility to make sure I have done what I could for it.

Those of us who do not have the wealth, power or position it needs to battle the evil crime lords in the government can summon the power of good. We can pray. We can do this with our families every night. We can offer petitions every time we celebrate mass. We can ask others to pray, too, including relatives and friends here and overseas. And we can offer sacrifices along with our petitions, just so we get the message to Him of our desperation in ridding our nation of these vermin. After all, they cannot be more powerful than God!

I implore mothers out there to raise your children the best way you can. Do not smother, pamper, or lavish them with too much of the material comforts of life even if you can well afford them. Teach them that there are more important things in this world. I beg all fathers to spend time with their children, to teach them the virtues of hard work, honesty, fair play, sharing, dignity and compassion – right from the sandbox till they are old enough to go on their own. Not just in your homes, but at work, in school, everywhere you go. Be good role models. Be shining examples for your children so they will learn to be responsible adults who will carry and pass on your family name with pride and honor.

I call on educators and teachers – we always underestimate the power of your influence on the minds of our youth. Encourage them to be aware of what is happening in their surroundings. Instill in them a love of their country, inculcate in them the value of perseverance in order to gain real, worthwhile knowledge, help us mold our children into honorable men and women. Encourage our graduates, our best and brightest, to do what they can to lift this country from the mire our traditional politicians have sunk us into. The youth is our future – and it would be largely because of you, our educators, that we will be able to repopulate the seats of power with good leaders, presidents, senators, congressmen, justices, lawmakers, law enforcers and lawful citizens.

I ask all students, young people and young professionals everywhere to look around and get involved in what is happening. Do not let your youth be an excuse for failure to concern yourselves with the harsh realities you see. But neither let this make you cynical, because we need your idealism and fresh perspective just as you need the wisdom of your elders. YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU! Let your voices be heard. Do what you can for this land that gave you your ancestors and your heritage. Use technology and all available resources at hand to spread good. Text meaningful messages to awaken social conscience. Try your best to fight moral decay because I promise you will not regret it when you become parents yourselves. You will look back at your past misdeeds and pray that your children will do better than you did.

Remember that there are a few handful who are capable of running this country. You can join their ranks and make their numbers greater. We are tired of the old trapos. We need brave idealistic leaders who will think of the greater good before anything else. Do your utmost to excel in your chosen field. Be good lawyers, civil servants, accountants, computer techs, engineers, doctors, military men so that when you are called to serve in government, you will have credibility and a record that can speak for itself.

For love of this country, for the future of our children, for the many who have sacrificed and died to uphold our rights and ideals, I urge you to do what you can. As ordinary citizens, we can do much more for the Philippines than sit around and let crooks lead us to perdition. We owe ourselves this. And we owe our country even more.

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9 Responses to “Message to all Filipinos”

  1. Monique says:

    This is very very true… Can I post it to my blog too?

    Thanks!

    • Blogie says:

      Hi Monique! Pls feel free to repost this to your own blog. (But pls don’t hotlink the image ok?)

      Thanks for your comments! :)

    • Remedios Paningbatan says:

      Dear Monique,

      I would like to set the record straight. I am not the writer of this piece. Please send my disclaimer which I posted below to all those whom you have forwarded it to.

      I would greatly appreciate it too if you could please remove my name from the article before posting it in your blog.

      Thank you and I greatly appreciate your indulgence.

      Best regards,
      Remedios Paingbatan

  2. Kahit saan ka lumingon ngayon. Madami nang kawatan at sakim sa pera, mapa-gobyerno man o mapa-pribado.

    Sa usaping pagnanakaw sa gobyerno, di na dapat natin ikagulat ‘yan. Matagal na silang mga salot sa lipunan.

    Ang mas nakakamuhi ay ang mga pribadong indibidwal na nagbabalat-kayong maka-bayan at nagmamalinis. Kunyari’ng galit sa mga kurakot na taong gobyerno pero magnanakaw din pala kapag may pagkakataon.

    Kung maghahanap tayo ng pagbabago. Ito ay dapat magsimula sa ating mga sarili. Huwag natin hingin sa ibang tao ang mga bagay na tayo mismo di kayang gawin.

    Sa usaping pangungurakot, bago tayo tumingin sa iba, tingnan muna natin ang ating mga sarili.

    Masasabi ba natin na malinis ang ating konsiyensya? Naging patas ba tayo sa ating pakikipag-kapwa’t tao? Sa trabaho at gawain natin na may usaping pera, di ba tayo kumupit ng kahit isang kusing.

    Ika nga nila, madali pumintas ng iba, ngunit higit na mas mahirap at mabigat ang maging makatotohanan kung sarili ang hinuhusgahan.

    Bato-bato sa langit ang tamaan, Huwag sanang magalit.

  3. Remedios Paningbatan says:

    A major clarification from Remedios Paningbatan:

    Dear Friends,

    I just wish to set the records straight and put credit where credit is due. Please note that I am not the writer of the piece “To All Filipinos Everywhere”. Although I wish I could write as proficiently and as passionately, I do not wish to own up to something that I haven’t truly done and grab the distinction from the true writer.

    In 2008, I had simply forwarded the e-mail to my relatives abroad and perhaps, my automatic e-mail signature must have stayed there as it got passed around everywhere. I would greatly appreciate it if you could inform your friends about this and to take out my name as the writer of the said piece before forwarding it. Should you have already forwarded it, please send them my disclaimer too.

    If you do not mind, you may forward to me the e-mail you received and I would take it upon myself to email them my disclaimer. I have always replied all e-mails regarding this saying that I didn’t write it. If only I could write even half as good as that! : )

    Fyi, you may wish to look at these different links. One of them might be the distinguished author.

    http://www.philippinepressclub.com/2008/02/to-all-filipinos-everywhere.html
    http://sinaglaya.wordpress.com/2008/03/07/letter-to-filipinos-everywhere-by-peter-ong/
    http://filipinaimages.com/open-letter-to-all-filipinos/

    Thank you and I share your hopes and dreams of an improved and better country.

    Remedios Paningbatan

  4. RAdigan DG. Ap-apid says:

    Hello!

    Your article is great! It shows what is really happening here in the Philippines. I am fully aware of the happenings of this country. I also see the way children in my school have been doing when they are supposed to be studying. I am in the 5th grade in UPIS and I don't mind seeing others play around when they should be studying because we are still young. We are nearly teenagers and when we are teens, we will not be able to have fun as much as we so now. Do not worry about their study habits, our teachers see our potential and will tell us when we should start being serious (which they probably wont need to do, for me and my friends know when to do what we have to do). There are many bright minds in my class, nearly all of my batch and I'm sure there are millions more in my generation. We have been taught what has happened to the Philippines due to corruption and witness it ourselves in our daily lives. My Social Studies teacher said that war brings out the best, or the worst of everyone because some perform heroics in war but some turn into thieves and other nasty things just to live while the war is going on. I have noticed that this not only goes for war, but with poverty. Poverty has made many smart people have enough of corruption and act against it, while those experiencing poverty resort to stealing and turn into prostitutes just to get money to buy food. Don't worry, I'm sure all students are being taught well about these things (it's up to to them to listen or not) and hopefully do something about it. Maybe someone from my school, maybe my batch, my section, my friends, maybe even me.

  5. Jun Duque says:

    Absolutely TRUE! let us join together to eradicate corruptions! there's a brighter hope for our beloved country – The Philippines!

  6. cejie del fierro says:

    TRUE

  7. C.M.Rodriguez says:

    As a New York city criminologist dating a Philippine and being welcomed into their close knit network, I have had several occasions to observe and note from a strictly social perspective, their willingness to coalesce with American customs and traditions but not values, morals or lack thereof.

    Organized religion marks the single most important standard – in this writers estimation – of any society foreign or domestic. There are 5 of these social institutions in all within the American culture; religion, family, schools/education, workplace and political groups.

    To go back to an earlier statement concerning morality, which speaks to all 5 of the social institutions and you also consider the potential ramifications presented with the advent of technology, it opens a Pandora's box allowing in to be sure, greater connectivity and or and increased alienation of the those unaware, unwilling or unable to participate in this free flow of communication. This taking place will undoubtedly foster compartmentalization of communities and even societies. This quickly becomes
    generational to a very large extent thereby making the issue one of access and who has control over this access.

    There are classical schools of thought attempting to explain why crime is committed in society but none holds my interest as much as correlation also known as ecology criminology. This study asserts that crime is proportionate with the type of population density within a given setting. The reasoning when watered down says that small towns self police more than large towns and they also tend to be more communal as opposed to disconnected from each other. Social class or status does not mitigate this model and is the most likely in an emergent country.

    Without having yet visited the Philippine Islands it would be speculative at best for me to assign this as the cause for the growth in crime but is completely plausible. In addition, after viewing television shows from the Philippines, I am struck by how similar the broadcasting content is to that of any found here in the USA or Mexico. The question that I ask myself is "who is rearing who?"

    Carlos M. Rodriguez
    New York City

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