Opinion ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

We need more heroes!

It’s about time we develop more heroes in this country. Heroes are not always born heroes. They are made. And if only our leaders act in responsible ways to safeguard the resources and the wealth of our nation – then this country will be overflowing with heroes. The problem is that, we have entered an age of greed and so the ultimate goal of many statesmen is to make money and become rich.

Nowadays, it is the ordinary people who make the difference. We see many outreach and socio-civic services initiated by private groups and individuals whose funding comes from their hard earned money to help improve hospitals, schools, orphanages, communities, etc. Quite an irony and at the same time frustrating scenario since our public servants are given so much pork barrel and budget (even at the barangay level) allocated to improve public services and systems. But what do we get in return? Inefficient service and corrupt government officials. The ordinary people have become our modern day heroes because they are the ones who have shown care and genuine concern for those in need and the sorry state of our country. What happened to our leaders? Why do they come in such “limited-edition” – Hmmm! This says quite a lot about our present day leaders.

Today is National Heroes Day. As a people, we should renew our pledge to uphold the traditions, ideals and aspirations of our country, and commemorate the achievements, the deeds of valor and patriotism, and the gallant sacrifices of the nation’s heroes and martyrs.

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In the dawn of Philippine history, after the cross was implanted on that historic spot, and after the first Filipino converts to Christianity were baptized, there took place on April 27, 1521, on the nearby island of Mactan a historic encounter between two great men, an event of the deepest significance to our country. Those men were Magellan and Lapu- Lapu. The immediate outcome of that famous battle is perhaps of less importance today than the ideals for which those men stood for, seemingly in violent conflict, yet both wonderfully harmonized, in the course of centuries, towards the molding and triumphant emergence of a greater Philippines. The immediate objectives of individuals, their quarrels and conflicts, often become more insignificant incidents, in the course of time, to the larger patterns of history and human destiny. Magellan and Lapu-Lapu met as enemies on that far-distant day, yet they were working together, perhaps without knowing it, in close collaboration for a common cause: the formation of a new nation, the Philippines that was to be. Magellan brought to this country the first blessings of Christianity, and the civilization and language of Spain, decisive factors in the unification of the Philippines and the birth of the Filipino nation. Without the integrating influence of a common religion, and a common civilization and official language, our people would have indefinitely remained divided into small isolated communities, without political solidarity, and often at war with each other, conditions in which no strong nation can come into existence. Burgos, Rizal, del Pilar, Luna and others rallied our people into the realization of their common destiny and aroused them to action.

Our heroes are an embodiment of Filipino courage and love of country and passion for freedom, thrilling all succeeding generations with brave stands on the battlefields. Let them fill the hearts of every Filipino with patriotic fervor, and the firm and enthusiastic determination to serve their country in peace or in war, and to make of the Philippines a truly great, progressive and strong nation. Let them put to shame those defeatists who, accustomed to an easy, sheltered existence, do not wish to take any risk nor make any sacrifice for their country.

Opinion ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

My late grandfather, Benito T. Soliven, reminded us in one of his journals that: “This day is not one of defeatism and self-abasement. Had our ancestors given up the struggle, had they despaired of victory and success, we would not have those glorious traditions that they have left to us as our most precious heritage. Had they accepted the charge that we were an inferior race, that we were naturally unprogressive, weak, indolent and thriftless, incapable of advancement, fit only for bondage under some stronger and more highly-gifted race, we would have today no national aspirations and ideals, there would be today no Filipino nation.”

A long time ago, our detractors were of foreign blood. They are now silent, and their accusations, their calumnies and prejudices have been conclusively refuted and disproved by the achievements and the deeds of our national heroes, and by the remarkable progress we have made within a single generation under a democratic and just government. We have demonstrated that we are not ethnically inferior to other races, that while we lay no preposterous claims of superiority over other peoples, we have proven that under circumstances we are not inferior to any of them.

But, strange as it might seem, our modern day leaders have destroyed the fabric of this nation. Like termites chew on wood and weaken the foundation of a house or an edifice, these leaders are doing just about the same thing. And if we don’t stop this bad habit, we will probably find ourselves inferior and unprogressive. We need to wake up and save our country for our future generation. We need to unite and learn how to cooperate instead of pulling each other down.

Our strength as a nation lies in work, in unity and coordination of efforts, in the rapid development of a solid national economy, in an intense, all-pervading love of country, that should make everyone of us ready to render service, to undergo any hardship or sacrifice, in order to achieve our national security and salvation.

The rights and the form of government guaranteed by our Constitution represent those ideals to which we pledge ourselves as a people. We should defend them with all our might. Consider, for example the right to suffrage. Elections are not far away. Suffrage is the foundation-stone of democracy. It is an act of sovereignty on the part of the people. Those who seek to tarnish the purity of the ballots are enemies and traitors to our country. And those who seek to win an election by unfair means, by unlawful advantage and fraud, are not only scheming scoundrels but traitors to the Constitution and to the people. We should be on the alert to defend our nation against such dangerous enemies of democracy, decency and justice.

I should remind myself that the true spirit of the day is faith, courage and optimism: faith in ourselves, faith in the capabilities of our people and in our national destiny; courage to carry on the patriotic work commenced by the heroic dead, firm determination to exert every effort to achieve the fullest national vindication, and to make our country free, progressive and great; and a joyous optimism in the success of our efforts and the eventual triumph of our cause.

Opinion ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
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