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Our 18 best friends in 2018 and all the time

In navigating through life's many pathways and byways, this new year, and all the time, it is important to have enough wisdom to know who are our allies and our enemies. It is essential that we have enough discernment to distinguish who are for us and who are against us. In life, there are predators and there are prey. We do not want either of these roles but it is critically necessary that we know who shall devour us and who shall protect us from danger. Tomorrow we shall tackle the enemies. Today we start with our best friends. Best friend number one is our family, especially our parents. Next to God, the family is what really matters most in life. They are the people who shall never abandon us.

Best friend number two are honest, hard-working public officials. Believe me, there are still a handful of them. They are competent and honest and perform their duties and responsibilities without fear, favor, or fanfare. Third are the teachers, especially the public school teachers in the hinterlands and in war-torn and disaster-prone areas. They are underpaid and overworked, often forgotten and unsung but still faithful to their sworn duties. Fourth are the honest and loyal soldiers who risk their lives fighting criminals and rebels, even when their pay is hardly enough to support their family. Fifth are the policemen who are always at war against crime and drugs and still are falsely accused of summary executions.

Sixth are the firemen who risk their lives saving others. Seventh are the forest rangers who guard our natural environment from illegal loggers, greedy miners, and other predators of nature. Eighth are the Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard who protect our coastlines and watch against pirates and aliens who rob us of our territories. Ninth are the farmers who work hard to produce our staple foods, fruits, and vegetables. Tenth are marginalized fisherfolks who risk their lives to bring to our markets and consumers the fish and other marine products. Eleventh are delivery truck drivers and seafarers who move products from farms and seas to the marketplaces.

Twelfth are our land-based OFWs, some 12 million of them deployed in 200 countries, bringing in no less than $32 billion a year. Thirteen are our seafarers who are the best in the world, risking their lives in high seas, some of them kidnapped and killed by pirates. Fourteen are the DOLE officials abroad who care for both land-based and seaborne OFWs. Fifteen are Philippine embassy officials, both career and political appointees, who pursue our foreign relations and push our political and economic missions. Sixteen are journalists here and abroad who face dangers for reporting the truth. Seventeen are our religious leaders who lead us to the right path. Eighteen are our civic leaders, Rotary, Jaycees, Lions, and others who give service above self. Happy New Year to our friends.

josephusbjimenez@gmail.com

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