Heroes in our country
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas (The Freeman) - August 29, 2019 - 12:00am

Many come to mind as heroes, our very own. Lapulapu, Tamblot, Dagohoy, Andres Bonifacio, Gregorio del Pilar, Gabriela Silang, Jose Rizal and more. Contemporary ones mentioned are Edgar Jopson, Lean Alejandro, Benigno Aquino Jr., Jesse Robredo, others more.

Countless others go unnoticed. In their own simple, silent ways, so many of our people have gone out of their way to serve, even risking their own lives for others. There are a number remembered in our history for doing their share to free our nation, from foreign colonizers, from the abusive in our land. Heroes in every sense. Do genuine heroes need official proclamation?

On the other hand, there are those who fake their way to be recognized as heroes. Fake medals, fake “heroic” accounts. They desecrate the graves of the true heroes at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. A widely protested official decision proclaimed a toppled dictator a hero.

If there are no official heroes, as the daughter of the toppled dictator claimed, then her father does not deserve to be buried in a cemetery for heroes? Then, following her logic, all those at the same Libingan with her toppled dictator father are not bayani because they have not yet been officially proclaimed?

Wow.

Perhaps we should not at all be surprised when the non-deserving become heroes and the real heroes unrecognized in this administration where lies are accepted as truth, where laws are blatantly selfishly interpreted to further their own agenda, where real criminals, those convicted of graft and corruption are allowed to run free while the truly innocent are either killed, imprisoned, or persecuted.

We are alarmed and concerned, however. What message are those in the present dispensation relaying to our people, especially to our children, to our youth?

Not only are they confusing the young minds about the true meaning of heroes and heroism. Corruption, accepting gifts while in office and public service has become the new normal? Killers and rapists can be allowed to be free on the basis of the privileged’s power and interpretation of the law?

There are lawmakers who are pushing for a no homework policy and concurred by no less than the DepEd Secretary. Is this suggestion backed up by reliable research by educators that homework is negative, non-productive for schoolchildren?

But are these types of issues really the more important ones needed by our people, by our country now?

Are these issues raised now to divert public attention away from the more essential discussion and scrutiny of the proposed budget, of the Chinese presence in our territories, and other more vital national concerns?

Let us take the proposed 2020 budget for Du30. According to reports, in 2018, it was P5.2 billion. In 2019, it rose to P6.8 billion. For 2020, the proposed budget is a higher P8.2 billion, of which P4.5B will be used for confidential and intelligence expenses. The rest of the budget is intended as follows: P670 million for travel, P418 million for representation, P239 million for supplies/materials, P221 million for repair and maintenance, and P144 million for utilities.

Critics have pointed out that Du30’s proposed budget for 2020 (P8.3 billion) is three times (3x) that of the last budget of Noynoy Aquino (P2.8 billion). The huge P4.5 billion is confidential funds at the discretion of Du30. Why the huge amount for travel, representation and even for supplies/materials?

While our real heroes, our hardworking teachers, workers, and resource producers still need their salaries/wages/livelihood to be secured, there seems to be no limit to the proposed amount requested for 2020 for the President and those in Congress!

NATIONAL HEREOS
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