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Freeman Cebu Business

What is the flag to you?

BUSINESS AFTER BUSINESS - Romelinda Garces - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — I watched as the guard carefully folded the flag. He was not tall enough I noticed, but he swung the cloth over his shoulder so as not to let the fringes touch the ground. I asked out of curiosity and a bit of naughtiness why he did not want to just let the flag hit the ground when it was obvious he was having a hard time folding it. His answer astounded me. “Sagrado man ni mam” (it is sacred).

The flag, an emblem of our being independent has not been easy to install. Blood was shed to secure it and place it steadily as a symbol of our patriotism, valor, peace, justice, truth, democracy, freedom and sovereignty.

Our president, belonging to my generation, calls for the very same clamor of the old. Unity, discipline and love for country.

Yet, we find ourselves willing to trade our citizenship for better economic opportunities. Willing to suffer greater weather challenges in a land we do not own. Still, with our own economy, we find ourselves also not owning our Philippine soil as more and more informal settlers abound.

How can we keep our own citizens here? How can we compensate our people competitively with their professional counterparts abroad? Somehow nationalism may not be enough to feed the family. It must come hand in hand with appreciation of contributions aside from monetary remuneration that gives value to the talent.

We have a lot of good workers. A lot of starting entrepreneurs. Highly qualified professionals who need to express their expertise. We just need an open field that allows them to be productive without so much burden on requirements to set up their business, or tax breaks that allow them a good start, or better management of public funds that will encourage honest tax payments. We need our taxes, yes. And if we look back at what our flag encourages us to do and live it, who would want to leave our beautiful country and people? — (FREEMAN)

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