Ironically, Lenten Season comes to the Philippines when this whole gamut of an election fever or "circus" is all over the place. It will be amazing to see some form of abstinence from the candidates to constrain themselves from using "guns, gold, and gang" to influence the result of the coming elections. But, whatever optimism I could squeeze out of my veins, it seems very apparent that the "guns, gold, and gang" syndrome is endemic to any election fever in the Philippines. At the end of the day, it is the electorate who bears the grunt of this epidemic and yes..it all boils down to a responsible electorate.
Lenten Season, perhaps, is the time for us to reflect on the integrity and honesty of Jesus. Here we have candidates talking about how they came from the poor and that they know how it is to be poor. Jesus came from a carpenter's family. The candidates say that they have seen it as incumbent upon themselves to lift up the lives of the poor. Jesus walked through vast plains and mountains to preach that blessed are the poor for the heaven is theirs. The superstars of the show come and distribute gifts and goody bags and then commence their piece of elocution in giving hope and emancipation from their hunger. Jesus saw them without food and water and he multiplied the loaves and wine to feed them all. Perhaps, those who have more will get more. Jesus had more but he had himself nailed on the cross so that they will have more. That was Jesus' integrity and honesty. Through these years, it was Jesus' honesty and integrity which won the hearts of millions of people all over to put him into victory.
Will the present line up of candidates care any less for the form of honesty and integrity which Jesus showed? Candidates invest a lot of their funds into this circus. Some say it as a sacrifice. For others, as human as they are, their conscience tells them that they have to have the returns. One popular candidate says he is not concerned about ROIs because he says that was not his intention in the first place. His intention is to help the poor. He continues to expound that if he at all is concerned about getting his money back, he would have remained as a businessman and not join politics. He forgets that in the Philippines, politics is business. He is still in business.
So how does this evil cycle end? How will the reflections of the Lenten Season ever come to our senses? The answer maybe is not in the hands of the candidates who promise hope and freedom for all. Is the answer with the electorate? Maybe, it is neither with them since there is still a cloud of doubt whether politics in the Philippines has already matured and whether the electorate is responsible enough to vote for the responsible.
My learning prods me to look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Maslow contends that people will never mature to the level of self-actualization and self-esteem unless his physiological needs are met. In effect, people will continue to be influenced by guns, gold, or goons or gang..whatever...because it is the guns, gold, and goons who satisfy their physiological demands. As long as there are people without food and house and as long as people without food and house are used for personal and vested interests...the cycle of desperation is there to stay... Such a pessimistic picture, isn't it?
But, the Lord knows what reason does not...and this brings us back to the Lenten Season.
Let us give the candidates the benefit of the doubt. And perhaps, we vouch for the least evil of them...somehow, somewhere...there ought to be persons replacing the incumbents, after all.
Lenten Season is a time for taking a breather, a pause. It is that moment given to all to put things in a standby mode and taking stock of ourselves. It is a gift given to re-energize and cleanse ourselves. Yes, perhaps, it is a time to take a shower more than once...maybe twice or thrice a day...but, you see it will not help conserve water during the El Nino.
That is what is meant by taking a pause. Not everything that we see seems right.
Let us pause then...and listen more...then, we can find the answer.
BAYARAN Ka Rin Ba?
(Mga Guidelines para sa Inyo bago mag-Eleksyon 2010 Part 4)
Ayaw na ayaw ko iyung pulitikong laging nagpapa-cute sa mga masa. Don’t get me wrong. Hindi ako galit sa common tao. Ganoon din naman kasi ang pamilya ko. At para sa lahat pinadala ang isang paring katulad ko. Pero alam naman ng lahat na ang unang ginagamit ng mga pulitiko ay mga masa. Kapag kampanya na, ayan na sila at naglalakad at nakikihalo sa mga masa. Ok lang sa kanilang mabahiran ng pawis ng mga masang naghihintay sa init ng araw. Pero come to think of it, hindi nila karaniwang ginagawa ito. Pag kampanya lang. Usually, nasa mga aircon na lugar sila at nakikihalubilo sa mga sosyal. Kaya utuan lang talaga ang nangyayari…at nakakapanggigil sila. How dare they use the masses!
Tapos meron din diyang mga pulitiko na nakikita mo lang ang mukha pag may nasalanta ng bagyo, lindol, at kung anu-ano pang trahedya. Wala naandoon lang sila…paturo-turo, pabati-bati…at laging may kasamang assistant na inuutusan niyang isulat ang mga pangako niyang hindi naman tutuparin. Of course naandiyan din sila para mag-distribute ng mga plastic bag na may lamang pagkain para sa isa, dalawa o tatlong araw lamang – na kalimitan ay mga instant noodles na ang alat-alat at walang balanse sa sustansya.
May nakilala nga akong opisyal sa munisipyo na galit na galit sa isang senador: may proyekto kasi siyang magtanim ng mga puno sa kung saan-saan para daw sa kalikasan. Kaya nagsimulang magtanim ang mga volunteer sa ilalim ng init ng araw… ang tagal ni Senador…halos patapos na ang pagtatanim…halos ubos na ang mga itatanim…ayan na, dumating na si Senador…bumaba sa kanyang malaking SUV, pinapayungan, tapos, umalis sa sukob ng payong, kumuha ng isang halaman, tinabihan ang mga nangangamoy-araw nang mga volunteer, ngumiti at nagpakuha lang ng picture. Tapos, balik sa SUV. Kaway diyan, kaway doon…at isinarado na ang pinto ng SUV…at umalis na. Ni juice man lamang hindi nagpainom. Kung hindi ka pa naman ba masuka sa mga kalokohan ng mga pulitikong ito!
Kaya ang iboboto ko ay yung ginagawa niya talaga ang kailangan niyang gawin dahil alam niyang iyon ang trabaho niya. Iboboto ko yung walang pakialam kung ano ang hitsura niya dahil hands-on siya sa trabaho – kahit maalikabukan siya o maputikan o parang binuhusan na ng langis sa mukha pag iniinterview sa TV. Iboboto ko yung taong walang pakialam sa sasabihin ng mga taong gusto lang naman makalusot sa batas. Iboboto ko siya dahil sa kanyang “work ethic.” Oh by the way, at dahil sila rin ang unang makikita at makakausap ng mga ibang bansa at ng international press, iboboto ko ang taong makapagpapabalik ng respeto ng mundo sa Pilipino!
Hindi ako utu-uto! Hindi ako magpapadala sa mga survey na iyan! Basta ang importante, alam ko ang obligasyon ko bilang Pilipino. Gusto kong umangat ang aking Bayan. Oo, kailangan nga ang pagsisikap ng bawat Pilipino. Sobra-sobra na nga yata siguro ang pagtitiyaga natin! Nakokontra lang dahil sa mga sakim na pulitikong iyan! Kaya para makumpleto na rin ang pagtitiyaga nating mga Pilipino, let’s vote for the right and worthy person this coming elections!
Mabuhay ang Pilipino!
ALAM NYO BA... talagang iba ang selebrasyon ng pasko at pagsalubong ng bagong taon sa Pilipinas. Kahit mahirap ang buhay, masaya pa rin kasi tipun-tipon kayong mga mag-anak. Dumating kami ng Christmas eve sa NAIA then straight home na kami sa Pampanga. Mahaba nga lang ang biyahe from NAIA to Pampanga kasi super traffic within Metro Manila. Wish ko lang na maayos ang traffic condition sa Metro Manila. Da best talaga when you spend Christmas and New Year sa Pilipinas. Kahit saan parte ka pa ng Pilipinas, there is really no place like home. Agree kayo, di ba?
ALAM NYO BA… mga kababayan, please check ninyo ang Philippine Embassy website for updates. Pwede na rin ma-download ang mga application forms at iba pang mga impormasyon. Malalaman nyo rin sa website ang mga araw na walang pasok sa Embassy para di na kayo mahirapan sa biyahe lalo na kung kayo ay galing pa sa malayong lugar. Kaya check nyo na ang website ng Philippine Embassy Tokyo at the following URL: http://tokyo.philembassy.net/
ALAM NYO BA… that sometimes when you are in love, you feel frustrated only because your love for that person is taken for granted lang. Marami sa atin ang nagmamahal ngunit kadalasan nasasaktan. What is love nga ba talaga? Is it to give you pain or hurt your feelings? Is it to make you happy forever? To love, you will have to experience everything, masakit man o masaya, masasabi mo na masarap palang magmamahal. It does not really matter if you are taken for granted or not, as long as you know that you are in-love, at ang importante ay wala ka naman nasasaktan na kapwa. Go on, go ahead and fall in love, love-cry, love-hurt, love-happiness.
ALAM NYO BA… na ang Office of the Commercial Counsellor ng Philippine Embassy ay nakapag-organize ng isang IT Mission to the Philippines last Feb. 7 to 12, 2010. The mission is in coordination and sponsored by the ASEAN-Japan Centre, isang organization ng Japanese government. The mission comprised of 17 members including our Commercial Counsellor, Mr. Mike T. Haresco, he is also the leader of the mission. The main purpose of the mission is to attend the 10th e-Services 2010 in the Philippines. The e-Services is the largest IT-Enabled Services (ITES) sourcing event in Southeast Asia. It is also the venue for IT and ITES companies to meet, building of partnerships and for high level business matching. Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is the special guest of honor. She delivered her keynote address and said that she is very happy that for ten years now, since the start of her administration, she declared technology as the foundation of the future of the Philippines’ economic development, create wealth by developing the labor-intensive skills. The group also met with some IT companies and visited UP-ITTC in Manila and in Cebu.
ALAM NYO BA… the date for Palm Sunday this year is on March 28. Ang Palm Sunday ay ang pang-anim at huling Linggo ng Lent at simula ito ng Holy Week. Ang Holy Week naman ay ang week before Easter, commemorating events in the last days of Jesus Christ’s life on earth. This year, April 1 is Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday), ito yung last supper of Jesus and the betrayal by Judas, followed by the Good Friday (Holy Friday), ito yung hinuli si Jesus, his crucifixion, death and burial at ang Holy Saturday, ito yung Sabbath on which Jesus rested in the grave.
ALAM NYO BA… pagka-simba namin ng isang colleague, si Tess, last Ash Wednesday, we went for a quick lunch. Pag pasok namin sa restaurant, tinitignan kami ng mga Japanese. Then we realized na may ash pala sa forehead namin. Ang nakakatawa ay yung waitress even offered us oshibori (hand towel) para daw punasan ko ang nuo namin. I wanted to laugh but instead, I explained na lang sa waitress yung reason. Then we just laughed and alam naman namin ni Tess why they were staring at us.
God bless you all and may all your dreams for this year 2010 come true. Let’s continue hoping and praying for the best!