We should have more ‘’Brigadas’’ for our communities
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - June 6, 2018 - 12:00am

The “Brigada Eskwela” is a very positive undertaking showcasing the best character of our citizens. We should be doing more community endeavors. It is good for character-building and community-building. It also instills in us the positive spirit of working together productively, peacefully, joyfully, without expecting to be paid. The Filipinos have been accused of too many negative cultural baggage, like the “bahala na” philosophy, the “kanya-kanyang kayod,” crab mentality, the “walang pakialam” attitude, the “ningas cogon mentality,” and the culture of “pangpamilya lang, hindi pang komunidad.” Thus, we clean our houses but throw garbage all over the neighborhood, spit anywhere, urinate everywhere, and do not care at all how our recklessness impacts others.

In my advocacies among OFWs, I have always stressed the positive values, traits and attitudes of Filipinos like “malasakit,” “bayanihan,” “damayan,” and “kapitbahayan.” I always start by saying the other meaning of the term of  PILIPINO is PILI na LIPI na PINO ang ugali; a chosen race with refined and fine manners, character and attitudes. I have written that the “Brigada Eskwela” is an emerging showcase of the positive side of being Filipinos. It manifests that we respond positively, act productively, and interact very harmoniously, when given a challenge and when led by a truly inspiring leader.

Thus, I propose that each first Sunday of the month, every barangay, homeowners association, purok, or contiguous sitio should come together and clean up the streets, beautify our surroundings, and plant fruit-bearing or flower-bearing trees, and remove all eyesores. The barangays should consider this as a core responsibility and the captains and kagawads, along with their families and close friends, should lead the way. Community projects like these should be promoted and supported by civic associations like the Jaycees, Rotary, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lions, Inner Wheels, Zonta, and other groups of civic-minded people.

The DILG should consider this as a core program and a budgeted project. The intended goal is not just a clean, beautiful and safe community, but also a people that come together bound by a common purpose. When we see a clean environment always, we feel good, think positive, and develop a more hopeful attitude. Most of all, this is good for our health, physical, mental, psychological, and social well-being. It is even good for the human spirit and the soul. Thus, the Church should support this community endeavor. The schools, youth, women, senior citizens and all institutions should join and showcase what the best in our character as Filipinos. Let us call it “Brigada Comunidad” or “Brigada Limpiada.” Whatever, the name does not matter.  What matters most is that we shall be developing a positive culture of community volunteerism, we shall teach our young the importance of caring for our environment and, above all, empower our people with a spirit of productive cooperation, harmony, and a feeling of being truly one, a community, a nation pursuing a common dream of a united, strong, and happy people.

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