Ending death

BUSINESS AFTER BUSINESS - Girlie Garces (The Freeman) - March 9, 2017 - 12:00am

The newspapers seem to be steaming with all the reports on death. The death penalty being revived, the Davao Death Squad, and the inadvertent death of the young as they are sought to be held accountable for their crimes at a younger age, are just among the many incidents that glare at us in the papers. What makes our country reek of blood? Why are we so suddenly thirsty for it?

Oh yes, it could be that our president has called for people to kill anything that has to do with drug addiction and corruption. But do we have to take it all so literally?

I agree that death should be imposed. Death to crime. Death to drugs. Death to corruption. Death to using youngsters to carry out what the adults are scared to do or afraid to be caught with. But death to humanity is something I cannot, in conscience, support.

How do we bring back what we used to stand for? And what did we stand for in the first place? Our identity as Filipinos is shrouded with so many influences that we have become lost in it. Or are we? Perhaps we can revisit, if not redefine what we mean by being a Filipino.

I grew up with the influence of Carlos P. Romulo on being a Filipino. In fact his piece “I am a Filipino” was our graduation piece that has somehow left its message in my brain. Yes, “I am a child of the East and the West.” But before the adulteration of my blood, I was first, a Filipino.

Lapulapu’s defeating Magellan shows how a Filipino was willing to fight for what he thought was his right, but equally, there were Filipinos in those times like Datu Zula who subordinated his suffrage to Magellan to gain better ground against Magellan. And there are many like him, just as there are many like Datu Lapulapu. So which are we then?

This is where real citizenship and shaping comes in. This is where we have to seriously revisit our views and conviction on how we really want to be as a people. I say I want to be because there will always be some who may opt to go another way, and still be Filipinos.

So what are we talking about again? Imagery or reality?

In Alexander Lacson’s 12 Things Every Filipino Can Do, the gist boils down to discipline. Being born in the country does not make us who we are. In fact our citizenship does not even matter. If our hearts are not after what is good, right and just we may probably just embarrass our country.

Growing the right citizens is what matters most and it starts from the home. 

I was at the All Cebu Sports Awards the other day and was contaminated with the pride the parents had as they joined their children in accepting their award. Encouraging your children to get involved in sports brings about a routine that aligns with discipline. It fosters good health habits as it practices a basic business principle of sportsmanship. Oh yes, good business dealings are set because seasoned businessmen know how to play fair. And being fair, I hope falls in the list of being a Filipino.

Courageous in adversity and being able to rise above every defeat, that I learned  from Sportsman of the Year Willfred Steven Uytengsu of Alaska Milk Corporation and the renown triathlon promoter and triathlete himself. That courage and resilience is displayed in several “bangon” movements after calamities, and economic upheavals. How Filipinos support other Filipinos when they are affected by disasters, and how grateful we have been to others who have helped our country rise. That is being Filipino.

Let me not go so far. I would like to site John Pages. This young businessman, who has balanced his being a busy entrepreneur, sportswriter and sportsman himself, not to mention dedicated husband and doting father, has never failed to impress me with his astute business sense and addiction to time management. His Filipino time is the right time, and that to me is Filipino.

Loyalty, discipline, trustworthiness, resilience, acumen, passion for what is right and love for God is the new definition of the Filipino. The combination of various influences to our culture may be taken in as condiments that spice up our character and provide us with better options to do what is good.

With these we end the prevalence of death by killing what is bad in our habits and believing there is God who we are accountable to.

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