“Ask not what your country can do for you”
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - June 1, 2020 - 12:00am

One of the greatest US presidents, aside from Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Barrack Obama, was John F. Kennedy, the first and only Catholic ever to be elected to the Oval Office. And he is best remembered for what he said in his inaugural address: “And so, my dear countrymen, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Today, in the Philippines, we hear a lot of demands on the government, people always complaining about the failure of government to give them SAP, CAMP and all forms of amelioration and assistance, aside from the 4Ps. Every Tomas, Dikoy, and Hilaria is bashing the president, DSWD, DOLE, DILG, and DOH. They demand food and freedom, jobs, and justice and they expect that all of these are given to them on a silver platter. They ask for free housing, free  health facilities, free education, and an array of other demands and expectations. Let me ask them now, what have they done for their country?

The people demand a clean community. But most of them throw garbage everywhere. They spit in public and complain of infections from germs, microbes, and viruses. Some of them urinate here and there and relieve themselves without due regard to the environment. Then they blame the government for not cleaning up the streets and alleys. They throw waste into the rivers, esteros, canals, and ponds. Then they complain of stinking surroundings and poison that kill the marine lives. What have they done for the country? What help have they extended to the government?

As an urban settler myself, I will never forget my origins. But during my times, I always led the community in regular cleanup and sanitation. I never expected the government to clean up my mess. People nowadays leave the rural villages and tend to congregate in urban centers. They occupy lands of private domain or owned by the government. I was there too, I must interject, but during my times, I never expected the government to provide food, housing, and free medicine. The duties of government are national defense, foreign affairs, crime prevention and solution, justice, and peace and order. The people should work for their own food, shelter and pay for their own medical services. Of course, the crisis is an exception, but the exceptions should not become the new normal forever.

People should learn the principle of self-reliance. Social amelioration cannot be endless. It is not sustainable. The ones who are noisy and too arrogant in demanding for more and more “ayuda” are the ones who are not paying income taxes. The middle class, who are doing the hard work, are paying the taxes. One-third of their income goes to the government. And yet, these overburdened taxpayers aren’t qualified to receive any “ayuda”. Is this not grossly unfair? The ones who are lazy, inept, just drinking liquor, day and night, and gambling are the ones who are always complaining and bashing the government. The middle class people are silent and law-abiding, and know their duties to themselves and to society.

And so, my fellow Filipinos, who do you think are really part of the problems, and who are providing the solutions? In case you do not know, please ask Kim Chiu. At least, she knows the law of the classroom. And to those who keep on complaining about the government, answer me here and now: What have you done to help the government?

ABRAHAM LINCOLN
Philstar
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